This content has been prepared by Takapuna Beachside Cinema and is being published by NZME as advertorial.
Heartbreaking fire & floods give way to swish new community asset.
Life has a way of going full circle at times - good coming from adversity. After 11 months with closed doors, Takapuna’s local cinema, now called Takapuna Beachside Cinema, re-opened this month.
It brings a fresh look and bright future ahead for moviegoers and new owners, Shaun and Helen Hayward, after those twin plagues – fire and flood – forced the closure of this iconic cinema last year.
Putting the past behind them, Shaun and Helen have come out of the clouds of closure and Covid; better, brighter and confident. Closed since last New Year, following an electrical fire, the flooding a week later wrought further damage. Refurbishment was necessary but changing the cinema’s look and rebranding seemed an opportunity.
The cinema has welcomed customers back with a red-carpet greeting. In re-branding and refurbishing, the Haywards have created a red-carpet effect up the stairs. The pop of red continues in the lounge, blending with blue and gold tones to accentuate Takapuna’s beach vibe.
Renamed Takapuna Beachside Cinema, the new look reflects this cinema’s locale in the heart of Takapuna. The beach on one side, Waiwharariki Anzac Town Centre on the other; parking all around and the bus depot near making light of transport.
Like many throughout Auckland who suffered through the lengthy second lockdown, the Haywards experienced a mood for change. It became a driving force within their business – one bought just before the fire.
Combining the re-branding with the restoration and new look was a bonus, they say. They wanted their cinema to be more than just somewhere to watch movies; somewhere supporting locals and businesses alike - creating a synergy within the community to bring people together.
Screenings have increased and time slots allow wider flexibility. Workers will find it more attractive to take in a movie after work, for example. Helen says they hope people will be motivated to dine at nearby local restaurants.
Food is available at the cinema, along with a bar service, but Helen stresses they’re not out to compete. Their menu is more along the lines of an in-house takeaway. They hope locals and visitors will engage with the total experience – from a day at the beach, a meal in town and a movie.
Sole ownership is key. Not tied to the corporate restrictions of large chains, Shaun and Helen’s personal approach is an advantage. While they screen all main blockbusters, they can also handpick films for private showings.
It allows group bookings for one of the cinema’s four theatres. Ethnic groups can enjoy movies in their own language. People can share corporate functions, product launches, birthday parties and specific occasions with special-interest films. “Tell us what you want and we’ll try to find it,” says Helen.
Fundraising is another major option - and more personalised. Helen cites students who need to fundraise for sports trip and how packages can be tailored around individual needs. She adds it’s also an opportunity for other Takapuna businesses to come on board. A win-win all around.
Community sits at the heart of what the Haywards want to achieve – bringing memories of the past into the present; when the local cinema was the main entertainment. There’s a touch of nostalgia for Shaun. He remembers going to the ‘pictures’ as a kid in this very theatre – though not the exact theatre.
From its birth as a community hall in 1914, possibly screening New Zealand’s first film, the cinema morphed over the years with several owners under different names. Demolished and rebuilt in 1998, it was eventually run by Monterey up until its sale to the Haywards.
Fire nine days after buying the business on December 23, 2022, followed by flooding on January 10, could have ended a dream for the Haywards - but just made them stronger and more determined.
Refreshed and rebranded, Shaun and Helen hope rolling out the red carpet will bring Takapuna locals back to the movies – popcorn, pizza and a drink to toast it all.
Life has come full circle for Shaun since those childhood outings. Now owners of the cinema, Helen says they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s the fun bit about owning a cinema.”
For more information: takapunamovies.co.nz