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Celebrating Aotearoa: New Zealand’s Top Events and Festivals in Spring 2013
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Celebrating Aotearoa: New Zealand’s Top Events and Festivals in Spring 2013

Picture of Andrew Kingsford-Smith
Updated: 9 February 2017
A diverse country of unrivalled cultural and natural beauty, New Zealand’s events calendar holds a multitude of festivals that focus both on local and international talent. In celebration of this, we present a guide to ten of the best festivals and events taking place in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and beyond, spread across a range of artistic and cultural disciplines.

Film | New Zealand International Film Festival

Various Cities: 18 July – 20 November 2013

Founded in 1969 as part of the Auckland Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival eventually became its own series of events, increasing in size and reputation throughout the years. Today it consists of an overall programme of around 150-170 features, and tours the country starting in Auckland and Wellington, and then to other cities such as Masterton, Dunedin and Christchurch. With each destination featuring their own schedule of events, the films screened represent the best cinematic experiences from both New Zealand and around the world.

Performance | Christchurch Arts Festival

Christchurch: 22 August – 22 September 2013

A multifaceted festival that encompasses the creative landscape of both New Zealand and the globe, Christchurch Arts Festival is spread across five weekends in the country’s cultural calendar. Displaying awe-inspiring performances of circus, cabaret, classical music, contemporary dance, theatre, music and visual arts, the festival also includes an ‘Festival of Ideas’ category which presents talks and presentations from leading practitioners and academics.

Visual Art | Franklin Arts Festival

Pukekohe: 7-15 September 2013

Showcasing the best contemporary artworks being made in this archipelago nation, the Franklin Arts Festival celebrates its 24th year in 2013. The festival is open to artists of all levels, from amateur to professional, and its low entry cost of $5 enables it to truly open up the art world to everyone. With the 2012 event presenting more than 800 artworks over many disciplines, art lovers can feel confident that 2013 will feature a staggering range works.

Design | World of WearableArt Awards Show

Wellington: 26 September – 6 October 2013

Renowned as ‘New Zealand’s largest arts event’, the WOW (World of WearableArt) Awards Show is a display of artworks that use the human body as a canvas, and amalgamates as a two-hour theatrical production that fuses fashion, art and performance. With hundreds of internationally acclaimed designers and artists involved, the event attracts audiences of nearly 50,000. 2013 will also see exhibitions that display WOW’s best garments since its foundation in 1987, which will be presented at the TE MANAWA Museum from the 2nd November 2013 – 23rd February 2014.

Culture | Auckland Heritage Festival

Auckland: 28 September – 13 October 2013

New Zealand is a country that has always taken pride in both its Maori and Western heritage, and the Auckland Heritage Festival is the perfect example of this. The programme of this two week festival holds an exciting mix of events, including heritage walks, film screenings, boat tours, art exhibitions and fascinating talks, and its wide focus encompasses everything from Maori traditions and the history of the city’s landscape, to reflections on New Zealand’s intercultural exchange with other countries.

Food | Kaikoura Seafest

Kaikoura: 5 October 2013

Set on the rugged East coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikoura is surrounded by awe-inspiring mountains and boundless ocean views. Kaikoura Seafest started in 1995 and showcases the best food and wine of the region, with a particular emphasis on the unmatchable seafood. Dubbed a ‘taste, sight and sound extravaganza’, live music performances are another important aspect of the festival and revellers often come in costume to celebrate the event.

Dance | Tempo Dance Festival

Auckland: 9-20 October 2013

Presenting the most innovative dancers and practitioners from around the country, Tempo Dance Festival is a landmark event that has supported New Zealand’s dance industry throughout its ten year history. With an enthralling programme of events, the festival hosts an array of dance form and styles, from ‘hip hop to contemporary, Pacific dance to ballet, Bharatanatyam to Cirque’. Tempo also features forums and workshops that allow outsiders a glimpse into the minds of acclaimed practitioners, and educational programmes that are designed to encourage enthusiasts young and old into this diverse artistic medium.

Music | Queenstown International Jazz and Blues Festival

Queenstown: 24 – 27 October 2013

Newly named ‘Queenstown International Jazz and Blues Festival’, this festival will gather standout musicians from New Zealand and around the world in the picturesque city of Queenstown. Presenting jazz, blues, soul funk and more, the festival will feature a programme of both free and ticketed events with scores of artists taking part. Some of 2013’s highlight performers include Kevin Borich, Paul Ubana Jones and Blues Queen Mahia Blackmore.

Performance | Tauranga Arts Festival

Tauranga: 24 October – 3 November 2013

Taking place in the buzzing paradise of Tauranga, Tauranga Arts Festival is the Bay of Plenty region’s leading arts event. Presenting internationally acclaimed performances in dance, circus, theatre, music and beyond, the festival also features workshops and school programmes to nurture talent as well as showcase it. On top of this, 2013’s itinerary will host a compelling list of authors who will their present new books, and give talks on their work and the industry.

Food | Taste of Auckland

Auckland: 14 – 17 November 2013

Rivalling Wellington on a Plate, the Taste of Auckland festival is a gastronomic event that highlights the best culinary experiences that Auckland has to offer. 2013’s programme includes a range of flavours that will satisfy the cravings of all food lovers, such as signature dishes from Auckland’s finest restaurants, live cooking performances by renowned chefs, New Zealand whiskey workshops, marquees full of the country’s most delicious cheese and wines, and many more menus of delectable culinary experiences. The Peroni Bandstand will provide the score for these flavoursome journeys with a range of live music performances.

By Andrew Kingsford-Smith