We’re Having a Party…and a Puff!

As The PumpHouse’s 40th anniversary celebration launch draws near, we reflect on how far we’ve come as a grass-roots theatre space and what we bring to our local community.

"When the North Shore Theatre and Arts Trust formed to rescue the broken down old pump house, the founding members probably never imagined that the theatre would still be fulfilling their vision in 2017.

Back in the 1970s the North Shore was an arty enclave; home to a number of amateur theatre groups and arts societies. At that time there was no dedicated arts space in Takapuna or surrounding suburbs. The trust’s vision was to transform the building into an arts centre for these groups and for the wider community to use and enjoy. To do this, the trust became a Registered Charity.

Providing a community arts space is an expensive business, especially at a grass-roots level. We try to attract the most diverse range participants and patrons from all socio-economic groups. The discrepancy between what these groups can afford and what it costs to run a working theatre is the reason we have charitable status.

Community participation in arts and culture is significantly associated with good health and high life satisfaction.* A report using data from 10,000 survey respondents, found that people who had attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months were almost 60 per cent more likely to report good health compared to those who had not, and theatre-goers were almost 25 per cent more likely to report good health. Participants in creative activities were 38% more likely to report good health compared to those who did not. 

Some of the theatre’s founding participants who still visit the venue are in their 80s and 90s. So it’s possible The PumpHouse has increased the lifespan and happiness of the thousands of people who have been involved in some way. 

But even the joys of a theatre can’t prevent the inevitable. Many of those original passionate rescuers if still alive, would be the same age as the 112 year old PumpHouse. 

With this in mind, it’s important that we celebrate the anniversary of the theatre’s first performance with those who are still with us and acknowledge their contribution to Takapuna’s lake side treasure.  

We hope our local community will join in with the celebration too at our family open day next month. There will be lots of things to do and see for kids plus giveaways and free entertainment because it’s not just the past, but the future that deserves a party. 

And speaking of the future…. 

Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea lake

Tim Bray Productions is here building the set for the April school holidays’ season of Puff the Magic Dragon. All children know the lyrics to Peter, Paul and Mary’s folk hit which is still on high rotation at school and kindy sing-alongs. It was released in 1963 around the time Takapuna’s then Council was looking to demolish the pump house. Serendipity.



James Bell


What’s On:

April 8-29

Tim Bray Productions presents Puff the Magic Dragon

Two sessions daily except Sunday and public holidays

$22 - $25


May 6

The PumpHouse 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Family Open Day

Free stuff for the kids, entertainment, food and back stage tours

10am – 4pm


Evening Showcase by local performers 


Tickets for evening showcase $10 – no booking fee


The PumpHouse Theatre, Killarney Park, off Manurere Ave, Takapuna. Bookings 09 489 8360 www.pumphouse.co.nz


By James Bell

Channel Magazine: Issue 75 April 2017. Check the online article HERE.