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Garage start-up: Couple brings immersive entertainment experience to Christchurch

After opening an entertainment business in Rotorua, Kiwi couple James and Laura Astrop have decided to extend their entrepreneurship further with the launch of an immersive entertainment experience in Christchurch.

Working closely with industry contacts to identify exactly what the Christchurch entertainment scene was missing, the couple have sourced, planned and built attractions that are nothing like New Zealand has seen before. Created in the couple’s garage, The Oasis entertainment destination includes virtual-reality, mini golf, an arcade and more and will become a permanent fixture at the city’s The Palms Shopping Centre.

Originally, the couple planned to bring an exciting new style of mini golf to Christchurch, however after spending time understanding the market in the area, they realised there was an opportunity to do something much larger.

“Having spent a lot of time operating businesses in completely different industries, it’s been a really exciting and nerve-racking experience to build the company from the ground up,” says James.

“There is always a sense of pride in being able to say that the Oasis is 100 percent locally owned and operated and although some of the technology has been sourced from overseas, it’s all assembled in New Zealand and installed by hardworking Kiwis.”

The couple’s perfectionism has made the process a stressful experience, with many late nights and expected headaches. Although, the pair say working alongside AMP Capital Shopping Centre and The Palms Shopping Centre team has been great in getting the project over the line.

James says the amusement industry has been growing substantially over the past few years, coinciding with the growth in the technology sector.

“One of the things we do feel pretty strongly about is that Virtual Reality is the future of gaming. We’re excited to bring this into a public space in a way we feel no one in New Zealand has done before.”

A pop-up attraction is currently running until the end of February, with The Oasis set to open in August this year.

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