The Retail Hotlist: 'Hottest retail concept' goes to Whoa! Studios

  • News
  • July 31, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
The Retail Hotlist: 'Hottest retail concept' goes to Whoa! Studios

Nominees: AS Colour, Reduced to Clear, Dry & Tea, The Free Store, Barkers Groom Room, Thankyou, Little Bird Unbakery, Giapo, Whoa! Studios.

People’s choice

Barkers Groom Room

Judges’ choice

Whoa! Studios

Whoa! Studios is the only film and design studio open to the public in New Zealand. It’s a child-friendly and immersive environment where visitors can experience a world-class live show, park and family food offerings. Featuring state of the art studio and theatre facilities, experience the live ‘Custard’s World’ shows, the ‘Urban Playground’ and family eatery 'The Grounds', run by celebrity chef Ben Bayly.

This unique family-friendly activity was the brainchild of technology entrepreneur David Sutherland more than five years ago. The idea grew and, not content with settling with anything but the extraordinary, Sutherland even filed three resource consents before he was completely happy with the design.

The partnership with Ben Bayly hugely influenced the unique world of Whoa! Studios, with Sutherland initially expecting to create a more familiar venue for families. With Bayly’s on-site restaurant The Grounds, they worked together to create an atmosphere that is more commonly found in Europe, where adults can easily find healthy restaurants that are child-friendly.

“The concept of a fresh, healthy food restaurant at a family-friendly activity was something we knew would be risky. The profitable food option for children’s entertainment venues is generally popcorn and Coca-Cola, but we wanted to reflect community aspirations rather than take the easiest option.”

Sutherland treated the creation of Whoa! Studios as a project that was not inherently for-profit, which helped him make decisions based on what he thought was right, rather than easy. 

Creating the playground was also a veer away from the norm. Sutherland and his team conducted an international search to find the perfect centrepiece which ended up being a giant crochet trampoline that the rest of the playground was designed around. 

Sutherland unleashed his newfound sense of freedom after his corporate past, and wanted to create a world full of creativity. 

“Underneath our aspiration for it to be unexpected, we wanted to have the element of surprise. In my previous life I had to come up with corporate goals and vision, with Whoa! Studios our goal is just to create a smiles and fun.”

Despite spending 20 years behind a desk, Sutherland never lost his inner child. Now he is surprised by how many corporates want to engage with Whoa! Studios for team events. While Whoa! Studios was built to be an experience for families, its versatile design has made it possible to reach an exclusively adult audience as well. 

“It’s really nice to unlock that child-like fun in people who don’t get to unlock it very often.”

About 70 percent of the visitors to Whoa! Studios come from outside of Henderson, which Sutherland hopes is a positive for the local area. So far the reaction has been one of surprise and delight. He says Whoa! Studios is all about creating those little memories that keep families close. 

Judges’ comments from Sarah Dunn: Whoa! Studios is a classy re-imagining of the family fun park, expertly working retail into its offering alongside a high-quality ‘modern family eatery’. It embodies the ongoing importance of entertainment and experience to the retail industry.

Barkers also gets a shout-out for its commitment to continued innovation.

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 756 June/July 2018

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Kiwi Property makes $138m net profit for the year

  • News
  • May 21, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Kiwi Property makes $138m net profit for the year

Kiwi Property has reported a strong full year underlying profit, as it continues to reinvest in its Auckland retail and office properties.

Read more

Thankyou’s latest campaign combines scent and charity work

  • News
  • May 21, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Thankyou’s latest campaign combines scent and charity work

Australian charity product organisation Thankyou has launched its latest Kiwi campaign, combining that fact that 100 percent of its profit goes towards helping end global poverty with its use of perfume-grade botanical oils in its products.

Read more

From edible insects to beautiful homeware: Made of Tomorrow’s co-founder talks its new venture

  • Design
  • May 21, 2019
  • Idealog
From edible insects to beautiful homeware: Made of Tomorrow’s co-founder talks its new venture

Most people would be in agreement that bugs, planters and room dividers don’t have much in common, but Matt Genefaas and Dan Craig would beg to differ. The two juggle running an edible insect company, Crawlers, as well as a homeware company, Made of Tomorrow. Genefaas has a chat about what the new furniture range, Space Between, was inspired by, as well as how him and Craig spend their days in slashie roles moving between pushing dried insects to the world, as well as polished mirrors and space dividers.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Why is the next generation so anxious? Here's how young founders can avoid burn-out

  • Opinion
  • May 21, 2019
  • Jennifer Young
Why is the next generation so anxious? Here's how young founders can avoid burn-out

There may be good reason to be concerned about our young entrepreneurs. Millennials and Generation Z have been labelled generation burn-out, generation snowflake and described as narcissistic, entitled, tech-dependent and fragile. They’re also oversaturated with headlines about the raft of issues like climate change they have to tackle, plus concerns about the impact of technology and social media on their mental health. Jennifer Young explores possible reasons why the younger generation is so anxious, as well as what young founders can do to avoid burn-out.

Read more

Vodafone NZ sold to private investors for $3.4b

  • News
  • May 21, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Vodafone NZ sold to private investors for $3.4b

Infrastructure investor Infratil is teaming up with a Canadian investment firm to buy the local operations of Vodafone for $3.4 billion.

Read more

Readings present revised plan for Courtenay Central

  • Property
  • May 16, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Readings present revised plan for Courtenay Central

The company that owns Courtenay Central in Wellington says it has big plans for redeveloping the complex - which is closed due to earthquake risks.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit