2015/16 NZ Events
World of WearableArt
24 September–11 October, Wellington
The idea? No matter how extreme, if it can be worn it can win. This internationally renowned design awards show sees designers from all over the world enter extravagant ‘wearable’ art in the form of garments.
Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon
21 November, Queenstown
A running festival that takes place at the foot of TheRemarkables mountain ranges and offers several distances, from 10 to 42 kilometres.
F.A.W.C! summer series
6–15 November, Hawke’s Bay
Meet some of New Zealand’s best-known chefs, producers and winemakers at the Food and Wine Classic, a series of pop-up foodie events – such as murder mystery nights with ‘death by dessert’ – held around Hawke’s Bay. Previous local participating venues have included the likes of Sileni Estates and Elephant Hill.
Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge
28 November, Lake Taupo
There are 18 event categories on offer at this popular cycling event, including on- and off-road options and the ever-popular 160-kilometre Bike Barn Solo – a one-lap circumnavigation of Lake Taupo. Each year around 8000 riders participate, so book your spot early.
The Hilton Lake Taupo Masters Golf
29–31 October, Taupo
Tee off at some of New Zealand’s best courses, including the Kinloch Club and the Centennial, at this social golfing event. Enter the tournament as a team or as an individual. Live entertainment will also be on offer.
BOI Walking Weekend
2–4 October, Bay of Islands
Choose from more than 20 different walks, each led by local guides, in and around Russell, the ideal base for discovering the Bay of Islands. Each walk takes a maximum of 20 walkers and features a mix of highlights, from cultural experiences to breathtaking photo opportunities.
Christchurch Arts Festival
27 August–20 September, Christchurch
Quirky, fun and undeniably cool, this four-week-long festival features an eclectic line-up of events, from contemporary music and cabaret to interactive art displays, theatre shows and comedy acts. On 28 August, Worcester Boulevard will be humming with families as two kid-friendly outdoor performances take place throughout the night. Try to secure tickets to A Simple Space, featuring seven acrobats performing circus acts.
Auckland Diwali Festival
17–18 October, Auckland
A vibrant, family-friendly event attracting people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds thanks to its live music and dance displays, Indian street-food stalls, Bollywood dance competition and fireworks.
Taste of Auckland
5–8 November, Auckland
The ever-popular Taste series of festivals takes on Auckland this spring, bringing a round up of the country’s best chefs to town. Devour new seasonal dishes, see live demonstrations, take part in a masterclass, enjoy free wine and whisky tastings and sample fresh produce in the growers’ market. Past chefs have included Kyle Street from Depot Eatery and Nick Honeyman from French restaurant Lava Dining.
Auckland seafood festival
See celebrity chef demonstrations, listen to funky live music, bask in the sunshine by Halsey Wharf and tuck into the freshest seafood (lobster, crayfish, regional oysters) at this three-day festival. WaitemataHarbour plays host to the event and a portion of the funds raised are donated to charity.
NRL Auckland Nines
6–7 February, Auckland
With its carnival-like vibe, this knockout tournament brings together more than 280 players, 90,000 fans, 16 NRL teams and NZ$2.6 million in prize money. Eden Park will host the event and footy fans can expect to catch over 31 games during the course of the event.
Hamilton Garden Arts Festival
19–28 February, Hamilton
This summer-inspired arts festival offers a mix of theatre, music, art, dance, writers, ideas, circus and street performances – all set within the handsome Hamilton Gardens. Be sure to catch Backyard Beats, an outdoorsy event featuring tunes, craft beer, artisan wine and street food.
Art Deco Weekend
17–21 February, Napier
Vintage glamour is the order of the day at this popular event evoking 1920s and 30s fashion. Think old-school cars, steam train rides, Great Gatsby-style picnics, outdoor concerts and lavish dinner dances. Over the weekend there’ll be more than 200 events held throughout the Hawke’s Bay region.
Rotorua Bike Festival
12–21 February, Rotorua
From world-class mountain bikers to young families, this event is open to everyone and offers more around 30 events to choose from, including the leisurely dress up ride Frocks on Bikes and the two-hour free Rotorua Ride to Recycle.
Coast to Coast
12–13 February, Christchurch
It’s the ultimate test of fitness: a 243-kilometre course covered in one day via foot, bike and kayak as part of the World Multisport Championship race. Other options include a two-day tandem event orthe 30.5-kilometre mountain run. You’ll need a decent level of fitness for this vigorous challenge.
New Zealand Millennium Cup
27–29 January, Bay of Islands
A sailing regatta for superyachts, held in conjunction with the Bay of Islands Sailing Week. The race features a selection of challenging courses that weave in and around the islands that dot the bay. Fun, yet competitive, it’s become the South Pacific’s premier superyacht regatta.
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival
1 February, Auckland
What started as a series of weekly shows at a tiny Melbourne bar in 2004 has bloomed into one of the most anticipated annual music festivals in Oz and NZ. With indie acts from home and abroad, Laneway Festival never fails to deliver a line-up of amazing artists.
Challenge Wanaka triathlon
Set against the stunning alpine backdrop of the Southern Alps and the TeWahipounamu World Heritage Area, the Challenge Wanaka triathlon is one of the world’s toughest courses. Be one of the 1500 professional and amateur athletes competing, or line the gorgeous route and cheer those racing along.
Balloons over Waikato
16–20 March, Hamilton
Attracting balloonists from all over the world, this five-day festival is a gorgeous spectacle from the air or the ground. Watch mass hot air balloon ascensions just after sunrise and head to the University of Waikato in the late afternoon and evening for live music and a light and sound show featuring the beautiful balloons.
Auckland Arts Festival
2–20 March, Auckland
A celebration of people, place, culture and art, the Auckland Arts Festival features more than 900 local and international artists that inspire the coming together of communities to laugh, cry and be amazed.
iD Fashion Week
10–17 March, Dunedin
One for the fashion lovers, this exciting week of premier catwalk shows features international guests and iconic New Zealand designers, as well as the much-anticipated 12th annual iD International Emerging Designer Awards.
Queenstown Bike Festival
13–22 March, Queenstown
With more than 25 events, including films, photography competitions, social rides, fun races and down-to-business-races, the Queenstown Bike Festival is a dream for keen cyclists. Its location on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu makes it an even bigger drawcard on New Zealand’s event calendar.
The Ultimate Waterman
14–21 March, Nationwide
In a bid to find the world’s best all-round waterman, each competitor’s skills and endurance will be tested in different surfing disciplines over eight days. A hub site on the Auckland waterfront will host spectators and exhibition events.
BMW NZ Open Golf
12–15 March, Queenstown
A cornerstone event on the PGA Tour of Australasia, the BMW New Zealand Open will include a minimum field of 140 amateurs and 140 professionals playing alongside one another. Hosted at two spectacular golf courses – The Hills in Queenstown and Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown – visitors will enjoy golf alongside stunning scenery, too.
Auckland Writer’s Festival
A delight for writers and readers alike, this festival brings the very best local and international fiction and non-fiction writers together with audiences to explore ideas, share stories and experience brilliant conversations.
Mountain biking’s defining celebration descends on Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park, bringing the world’s downhill, slope-style and enduro legends together with fans, rising stars, and the next generation of mountain bike riders. Expect competitions, concerts and loads of fun.
NZ International Comedy Festival
A talented and, let’s face it, hilarious line-up of comedians, from Noel Fielding and Ronny Chieng to Ed Byrne and Deanne Smith, have graced the stages at previous comedy festivals and 2016 will be no different. Throughout the festival new shows are constantly added, so keep your eyes peeled – and book your tickets early.
Queenstown will be abuzz as 45,000 people arrive to celebrate the beginning of winter. With street parties, fireworks, international and local acts, comedy, family fun and plenty of mountain mayhem, winter has never been more fun.
New Zealand International Film Festival
Film buffs and doco fans are in for a treat at this event as more than 150 new features, shorts, documentaries and animated films are screened at various locations across the country. There will also be the chance to attend ‘meet the filmmaker Q&As’ to learn more about the art of filmmaking from the experts. BYO popcorn!
F.A.W.C! winter series
3–26 June, Hawke’s Bay
Foodies rejoice! The Food and Wine Classic is a series of one-off, out-of-the-box food and wine events set in stunning locations throughout Hawke’s Bay. Get your fill of cheese platters, scrumptious mains and desserts, and of course, wine. Select vineyard restaurants will also offer decadent menus with wine pairings – think duck tamarillo with cinnamon, bokchoi and dates paired with a 2009 reserve tempranillo.
Visitors brave the cold and locals come out of hibernation in August to enjoy wining and dining throughout the city as part of Restaurant Month. There’ll be more than 30 foodie-inspired events and dining offers galore to ensure you find great deals that won’t break the bank. Venues such as hip Orleans, exotic Café Hanoi and funky Odettes will all take part in the month-long event.
Semi-Permanent is a platform for creative folk seeking art and design inspiration. From exhibits and competitions to workshops, all-night parties and talks from world-renowned guest speakers, the event is hosted annually in some of the world’s biggest cities, including New York, London and LA.
World Press Photo
This travelling exhibition showcases some of the most powerful and captivating images shot by professional press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers all over the world from the last year. The evocative pictures, often confrontational pictures will melt your heart.
It’s super rugby season again which means you can catch your favourite Kiwi footy stars from the Blues, Hurricanes, Crusaders, Highlanders and Chiefs as they take to the field for some action-packed sport. Keep checking the leaderboard to see what player is topping the list.
Last year saw the inaugural event of this festival and 2016 is shaping up to be even better. See inspiring dance acts and bold theatre performed by Maori artists across four iconic theatres in Wellington, including the Circa Theatre and Hannah Playhouse.
Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival
Chocoholics, this one’s for you. Highlights include giant Cadbury Jaffa balls, which have been made in New Zealand since 1931, being hurled down the steepest street in the world, Baldwin Street, over the course of the event. Head along to a chocolate tour or be adventurous and try a chocolate facial.