The Sound Of Dunedin Action Plan

Our full music ecosystem approach to Dunedin’s future investment in live music put forward to the people of Dunedin and the DCC.

Step One

Small Venues

We ask that the DCC provide planning solutions to enable growth in the local live music industry. One example is the noise control issue. Currently the DCC relies exclusively on the RMA when engaging with noise complaints. While the RMA defines excessive noise, it does not define ‘reasonable’. The remit of a noise control officer is actually to work with the person producing the noise to turn it down to a ‘reasonable level’. Other councils around NZ have adopted guidelines as to what is reasonable in which part of the city and at what time (including, for example, Wellington and Christchurch). This is done as part of the district plans. The DCC are able to undertake a variation in the District Plans to accommodate live music in the CBD zone.

We ask simply ask the DCC to take reasonable steps to ensure the longevity of the venues that are the spiritual home(s) of the Dunedin music scene and to help it thrive.

Step two

Mid sized venue

Recent explorations into a mid-size venue in Dunedin were targeted only at theatre and did not consult with the music community. The options put forward in the 10-year plan DO NOT address the real issue for the music community which is the absence of a concert venue which can cater for between 500-800. We ask that the council urgently explore a more equitable solution.

Step three

Rehearsal spaces

Bands need to practice somewhere. City councils across New Zealand – from Palmerston North to Hamilton, from Auckland to Wellington – have either council-run or council-funded rehearsal rooms that can be booked at minimal cost. We ask that the council investigate options for this in Dunedin in addition to providing clear guidelines with fair and robust protections for existing commercial rehearsal spaces.

Step four


While other cities in New Zealand have worked to facilitate using green zones for events, Dunedin currently has a time-consuming process that prohibits people from using our spaces for innovative and culturally enriching events. We ask that the council explore how to streamline the application and approvals process to put on events in these zones.

Step Five


We ask the DCC to explore how they can support opportunities for artists across all levels of the music scene and to enable the scene to thrive rather than survive, through clearer access to arts funding, programs that highlight local artists and enable them to succeed as well as supporting the local music scene as a whole, especially in areas where the benefits are less tangible.

Step Six

The future

We ask that the DCC develop a clear way forward, particularly in terms of district planning, that will facilitate the growth of a vibrant city of music. This includes considering long-term how the city can grow additional artistic hubs (outside of the CBD). We also ask the DCC to investigate how to approach regulations around development such that medium density housing can co-exist with a vibrant city (through exploring, for example, noise insulation requirements, as Wellington Council has done).

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