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Visit Motueka's two cinemas

Not that long ago there were no cinemas in Motueka. To watch a movie you had to travel to Nelson and back. Now we are rather spoilt by having two movie theatres. And furthermore they tend to show films which don't always compete with each other, therefore giving us a wider range of choice.

If you want to see what's showing this week, and you've lost the latest advertised programme in the paper and can't find the phone number to ask, then Motueka Online has just the answer for you. The current programmes at both cinemas, updated weekly, can be found on this website, on the "Things do do" ..... "Movies showing" page.

State Cinema

The State Cinema is located at the entrance to the Recreation Centre in Old Wharf Road. Plenty of parking, all the usual cinema treats (popcorn, ice creams, candy bars and other stuff that seems to go with movie watching these days), and showing many of the current popular movies as they are released. And not just the pop stuff, but also some of the more "art house" movies.

State Cinema is owned by Nelson State Cinema but managed locally by the indefatiguable Mark Wentworth (who also looks after the technical stuff at Memorial Hall) and was first opened late in 2002. It houses 97 people, and the seating is very comfortable with good leg-room. For many people, however, a few hours out at this cinema does mean a car trip as the venue is not as central in town as the Gecko.

(This venue was the site of the first attempt at local cinema, many years ago, which was a rather primitive and cold affair showing second-run movies, built from funds raised locally from cake stalls etc. Pat Goodman helped with a grand clean-up and upgrade, but the building remained vacant for some years.)

Having just the one projection room, it must show a varied rotation of the current programmed movies, and it achieves this as well as could be expected. But, as with the Gecko, it does mean that you need to keep your eyes open for films you want to watch and timetable their showing days and times in your diary so you don't miss them.

As of the start of 2013, State Cinema now has a digital projection system which shows 3D movies, which it can show as soon as they are released rather than waiting for hand-me-down copies. 3D glasses are provided free for the duration of a session.

State Cinema provides a weekly email service telling you what films are to be screened when for the coming week. You just need to give them your email address.

The Gecko

This quirky alternative cinema is right in the centre of town, so many people can easily walk there. The Gecko is well known throughout New Zealand for its homely feeling and friendly service, with comfy couches, cushions and coffee tables spread around the theatres and more than ample leg space to stretch out. This setting encourages a more relaxed and personal night out, with conversations common among the audiences. The manager for the night introduces each movie personally, and checks that the room temperature is fine.

The Gecko shows HD digital films, much like a high-tech home cinema setup. In 2009 it upgraded its projection technology from DVD to hard disk, which provides better on-screen quality but also enables them to access more recent, higher rating movies.

This means that, while many of the movies it shows are more arthouse and less "popular" (meaning usually not for the popcorn brigade), it can often show current movies which have also been released in digital format. This enables a wide choice of programmes between the two cinemas, depending on your taste.

The Gecko cinema is owned by 22 shareholders, and it started in 2003 in a cute but cramped room in High Street. In 2008 it moved to its far more appropriate premises off Wallace Street, with its proper foyer and two viewing rooms, the larger one (photo below) housing up to about 25 people and the other tiny one with seats (well, couches and armchairs) for six people. Some food and drinks are available at the counter.

Gecko also provides a weekly email service telling you what films are to be screened when for the coming week. You just need to give them your email address. Their email address is