16 Mar 2017

Newsletter | March 2017 | Whoa! A new playland with a conscience

'Dr Gloom' is one of Whoa! Studios' live action characters
‘Dr Gloom’ is one of Whoa! Studios’ live action characters

Perpetual Guardian client David Sutherland always wanted to give back to the community. After selling his successful IT business, he had the means to undertake a philanthropic project close to his heart.

David has been a Perpetual Guardian client for more than 12 years. Through various Trust structures, we have been able to help David protect his assets. Client Manager, Tammy Barker, says that “David has always wanted to do a ‘give-back’ project”.

Four years in the making, Whoa! Studios opened in December 2016 in Henderson Valley, Auckland and has been wowing kids and adults alike ever since. The unique family destination sprung out of David’s vision to combine the magic of movies and theatre with an urban park and family eatery – where adults and children can have an equally great day, creating new family memories. The urban park’s centrepiece is a giant crochet play net crafted by Japanese artist Toshiko MacAdam. The studio boasts a state of the art movie set where high-tech live performances take place, combining 3D mapping and projection technology with puppetry and live action.

David firmly believes businesses should have a social conscience – even venturing as far as to say that businesses should become the ‘new charitable organisations’. And, he walks the walk. Ticket prices to Whoa! Studio are subsidised. What’s more, David is actively reaching out into the community to create magic days for families. Starting as he means to continue, David organised for Whoa! Studios’ opening day to be held in conjunction with Make-A-Wish New Zealand’s 30th birthday.

“I thought Make-A-Wish was the ideal organisation to partner with because, in a sense, what they do is what we’re trying and wanting to do here: we want to bring joy into the lives of children and their families.”

Many more events like this will follow, and David is also looking to expand their outreach into low decile schools – combining education with inspirational experiences.

You can find out more about Whoa! Studios by visiting

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