Waikato Regional Theatre

The Waikato Regional Theatre will be an iconic building and key destination site for Hamilton. Bringing this vision for a cultural and artistic performance home for the wider Waikato region is a complex undertaking – this project is actually three in one; theatre development and construction, commercial construction (including hospitality fitouts), and the development of the public realm areas. Across all this is the development of the cultural narrative and art integration plan in partnership with mana whenua.

RDT Pacific has been involved in this project from the very early ideation phases; the RDT team assisted in the community stakeholder engagement in setting the brief and subsequently with identifying and assessing various location options prior to the project settling on the current site on Victoria Street.

The success of this project lies not only in the Theatre build, but the establishment of a thriving commercial space directly behind the preserved and restored heritage façade, plus the reimagining of Embassy Park and other surrounding public spaces. This equates to three different stakeholders with their own objectives and funding for their separate portions, and each with varying motivations and constraints. RDT Pacific supported all parties in the negotiation of the contracts and funding agreements to bring the three projects under one main contract with one Contractor; this ensures that works across all the spaces are considered in relation to one another and staged effectively and efficiently, as well as streamlines communications.

In the case of the main Theatre, RDT Pacific have assisted Momentum Waikato (the party leading the fundraising for the Theatre) in the application process for many of the potential funders, including the Provisional Growth Fund and the Regional Cultural and Heritage Fund.  Following the successful applications RDT Pacific have support the Waikato Regional Property Trust and Momentum Waikato in the regular reporting and engagement required with these funders in providing the assurance necessary for timely payments and in amendments where necessary.

Both the Theatre and Commercial areas will have hospitality offerings and are being designed and constructed in such a way to maximise flexibility of future tenants and their ability to fit out the space. The vision is to have food and beverage offerings which enhance the overall visitor experience. Steps have also been taken to ensure provision for certain services is there, but does not necessarily need to be used immediately, but without detracting from the overall design.

Telling the story of the history of the site is a key outcome for this project, and that includes restoring the Riff Raff statue to Embassy Park. Navigating the cultural and social history of the site, from maara gardens to the debut of the Rocky Horror Picture show, this site has seen it all. While some may see elements of the site’s story as conflicting, RDT Pacific is helping the project embrace the diverse uses the site has held and find appropriate ways to celebrate this history for future generations of users to embrace.

While this project is only partway through construction, it is a prime example of a landmark venture that RDT remains proud to be part of. This next phase involves us continuing to support our clients and stakeholders as the building and surrounding spaces come to life, ensuring that the required quality of construction is there for longevity and maintaining a dedicated and focussed contractor team that can see us through to completion.

The RDT Pacific Capital Intelligence team were also engaged to support this project through iwi engagement to establish the cultural narratives for the theatre site and surrounding public spaces.


This theatre will be more than an iconic arts centre for the whole region. Identifying the best location for the new theatre and integrating that with Hamilton’s aspirations as a city, and the Waikato’s aspirations as a region, is fundamental to the success of the project.
Momentum Waikato

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