What’s On

New Zealand boasts a busy events calendar all year round, and you’ll never be far away in time or location from something worth getting to. Big name gigs join thrilling outdoor events, cultural and artistic festivals, professional theatre from local and overseas touring acts, huge sporting occasions, thought-provoking exhibitions, and a lot more besides. The country also offers plenty of uniquely New Zealand events of the kind that you won’t find anywhere else.

Concerts and Gigs

Music lovers rejoice – New Zealand has your all musical tastes covered. You can experience everything from classical works from regional and national orchestra, arena-filling rock concerts from huge international names and local legends, jazz or opera at vineyards and multi-day outdoor music festivals through to classic Friday night pub gigs and DJ sets in trendy bars and clubs. Jazz and blues festivals are also popular throughout New Zealand, attracting big names and happy crowds.

At the Theatre/Performance

Home to a progressive theatre and dance scene, New Zealand has been on the professional touring circuit since the 1860s. Venues to visit include Wellington’s Downstage Theatre, The Fortune Theatre in Dunedin, The Court Theatre in Christchurch, Palmerston North’s Centrepoint, Circa and Westpac St James Theatres in Wellington and the Auckland Theatre Company. There are a number of international multi-art festivals which commission New Zealand works, and regular fringe festivals, especially of note in Wellington and Dunedin, are a great place to see new work. Auckland in particular also supports a robust comedy scene, and the national ballet and opera companies stage exciting work around the country every year.

Art Scene

There are intriguing art galleries all over the country; the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (New Plymouth), Sarjeant Gallery (Whanganui), Suter Art Gallery (Nelson) and the Auckland and Christchurch Art Galleries in particular should all be on the must-visit list. The World of WearableArt™ Gallery in Nelson showcases Kiwi creativity with its dramatic mix of lighting, music and movement. Another Kiwiana highlight is Fred and Myrtle Flutey’s Paua House, lovingly recreated at Christchurch’s Canterbury Museum.

Festivals and the Big Occasion

New Zealand’s festival calendar is full of large-scale events and idiosyncratic special interest gatherings all year round – everything from Oamaru’s Steampunk Festival to the Hokonui Moonshiner’s Festival. Nearly every region of New Zealand can point to its very own iconic, Kiwi-as festival event – Whitianga’s Scallop Festival in the Coromandel, Southland’s Bluff Oyster Festival New Plymouth’s Festival of Lights, Queenstown’s mammoth Winter Festival , Hokitika’s Wild Food Festival, Napier’s Art Deco Festival … if you’re in the right town at the right time of year, checking these out is virtually compulsory! Food festivals are also popular and held regularly all over the country.

The Big Game

Kiwi athletes stand tall on the world stage and if you’ve ever heard of the All Blacks, you’ll probably know that rugby is a bit of a national obsession! Catch a game at a stadium – or head to a pub and watch it on the big screen. It’s not all about rugby though – international cricket is always a feature of the New Zealand summer and depending on when you’re here, you can get your fill of top-class sporting action in everything from basketball to soccer, hockey, athletics, sailing, or even darts … the list is long!