Regent Cinema Re-opening Press Release
New Zealand’s longest operating provincial Cinema in Dannevirke is set to re-open this year
15 January 2022
Dannevirke's Regent Cinema, opened in 1919 as the Arcadia Picture Theatre, has been pivotal in the role that movies play in the education, entertainment and inspiration of communities such as Dannevirke.
A ‘Boosted’ funding campaign has started with the goal to raise $4,000 to establish a small museum display as the first step of getting this historic theatre back in operation and donations can be made at https://boosted.org.nz/projects/moviefest.
The theatre has a category two heritage building status, in recognition of its historical and cultural significance and holds the record for being New Zealand's only provincial theatre to have remained open continuously, apart from short periods for repair and refurbishment, until its closure in 2012.
The owner's daughters, Stephanie and Alison Amboy, who as children grew up in the apartment above this cinema and have been actively endeavouring to reopen it since 2018, have now been joined by the MovieFest Charitable Trust in their endeavour.
Graeme Moffatt who is a trustee said, “The trust was set up in 2005 with the objective of organising amateur short movie competitions for schools and amateur movie-makers. This was also along with providing appropriate venues and facilities for films to be screened and filmmaking courses to be held and to assist in the public education of artistic taste.”
Graeme, who is also a documentary filmmaker and Managing Director of Capital Video Productions in Wellington, is currently distributing the iconic 1970 film ‘This is New Zealand’, went on to say, “In the process of visiting Hawkes Bay venues, I discovered that the owners of the Regent Cinema in Dannevirke were intending to re-open their theatre after being closed for the past 10 years.”
Stephanie Amboy told Mr Moffatt, "I'm very excited because as a child I grew up around this cinema so I'm determined to see it re-open, and I'm treating this project as my little baby and can't wait until we're showing movies again.”
Stephanie continued saying that it was sad the Regent had been closed, and since reopening the Regent Cafe in the same building, she had people coming in and reminiscing about going to the cinema.
As a consequence, the trust recently entered into an agreement with the owner of the Regent Cinema, to take over the management and maintenance services, and have appointed three additional trustees from Dannevirke to assist in this effort.
This agreement includes getting it back operational, and to facilitate this we have obtained a digital projector, that will initially enable the screening of a range of films, when the cinema has been bought up to an adequate standard.
Mr Moffatt also stated, “the aim is to take one step at a time with the first one being to set up a small museum, which will include a small auditorium, to showcase the history of the cinema and the production of films during the past 103 years, that the theatre has been in existence.”
In order to get underway as soon as they can and prior to the cinema re-opening, the trust has begun a funding campaign to raise $4,000 to produce some display panels along with the installation of suitable display lighting, and to acquire a small digital projector along with procuring a small number of theatre seats.
The museum display will highlight the history of the Regent cinema and will have an emphasis on the role of the New Zealand National Film Unit, that was acquired by the government from Filmcraft in 1936, eventually being sold to Television New Zealand in 1990, and then Peter Jackson in the late 1990's and becoming Park Road Post.
The crowd funding platform ‘Boosted’ is the means of generating the funds needed and donations can be made at https://boosted.org.nz/preview/moviefest.
Name: Graeme Moffatt
Phone: 027 660 3094
Geoff Lealand was an Assoc Prof in Screen and Media Studies at the University of Waikato from 1992 to 2017. Now retired (not a word he favours), he writes social history, maintains this site, its Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as going to the cinema at least twice weekly.