People went to the movies in Kaitaia for the first time in more than 20 years this week.
Te Ahu Trust held a ‘soft opening’ of the newly-refurbished Little Theatre last night and had a full house for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Trust general manager Mark Osborne says the 36-year-old, 110-seat theatre’s first outing as a cinema went without a hitch.
“It was wicked. Everything went perfectly.”
He was impressed with the cinema’s $114,000 digital projector which is easy to use and can be operated remotely.
“It’s the best equipment I’m aware of north of Whangarei.”
Mark and Ingrid Galloway, who own the Cathay Cinema in Kerikeri, will run the cinema in conjunction with the trust and the Far North District Council.
“We’re effectively operating as a fourth screen of the Cathay Cinema,” Mr Osborne says.
They plan to screen 4-5 films a day during school holidays and at peak times depending on demand and other groups that will use the venue.
Showing films downloaded from a digital hard drive will allow the cinema to offer a greater choice of films, because they are cheaper to hire than 35 mm movies.
"We will essentially have our choice of all the new releases.”
The trust will continue to fine-tune the cinema, which it has spent about $500,000 upgrading, before its official opening in a few weeks.
“We want everything to be right.”
Kaitaia’s Princess Theatre burned down in 1990.
Residents have had to travel to the Swamp Palace at Oruru, the Cathay Cinema in Kerikeri and Castle Duo in Kaikohe to see films since then.