Famous for its lavish scenery and spectacular weather, New Zealand is the place to be this season. With a multitude of rich arts, music, and culture festivals, there’s much to explore in this beautiful country. From ethnic food festivals to picturesque winter carnivals, take a look at all the brilliance awaiting you at New Zealand this season.
1. St. Jerome’s Laneway festival
When: February 1, 2016
The Australian mega event, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival rose from its humble beginnings to become one of the most successful traveling music festivals in the world. Its New Zealand edition takes place annually in the month of February, as if to usher in the well-meaningness of the new year. In 2016, the one-day festival will play host to names such as Chvrches, DIIV, East India Youth, Flume, Courtney Barnett and Grimes, to name a few, thereby being the hotbed for all indie music lovers.
2. Kāwhia Kai Festival
When: February 6, 2016
Kāwhia Kai marks New Zealand’s national holiday – Waitangi Day – on 6 February every year, bringing together locals and tourists alike for the ethnic food and culture festival. Kāwhia, a coastal town in the central North Island of New Zealand, is famously known as the “kai food heaven” because of the plentiful supplies of seafood and wild game. On the day of the festival, the poeple of Kāwhia celebrate the indigenous culture of the place with a hearty feast, and with particular focus on native Māori food. If you’re looking to treat your pallette, head to Kāwhia for this spectacularly unique food festival.
When: February 19 – 21, 2016
Splore, which means “carousing”, is a cultural and musical gathering at a lovely regional park just south of Auckland. Facing the South Pacific ocean, this festival is not only one of the most scenic ones, but also harbours many great and immersive activities, such as face-painting, sailing, burlesque troupe performances, and much more. Not to mention the fact that the music is outright incredible. One of the most idiosyncratic boutique festivals out there, this one is a must-visit.
(Source: BurgsEye Photos/Splore Facebook)
4. Auckland Pride Festival
When: February 11 – March 19, 2016
The city’s most popular pride festival, Auckland Pride celebrates the queer and transgender community with great enthusiasm and vigour every year. During this festival you can expect to see some incredible performance arts acts and an all inclusive vibe that’s immensely liberating. The 2016 Auckland Pride Festival will feature around 50 individual events – including literature, communities, film, theatre, dance, cabaret, comedy, sport, youth, debate, visual arts, music, family and more. The “Same Same, But Different” Writers Festival, launched by novelist, historian playwright and film-maker Peter Wells for the LGBTQ community as the first queer literature festival in New Zealand, will also take place during the Auckland Pride Festival.
(Source: nzherald.co.nz/Getty Images)
When: March 18 – 20, 2016
Where: New Plymouth, Taranaki
WOMAD, or the World of Music, Arts, and Dance is a festival where upcoming artists from New Zealnd, along with previously unknown talent from around the world are featured in New Plymouth, New Zealand during the month of March. WOMAD is possibly the only festival that focuses on increasing local awareness on a global scale, and hence, artists from across the world, at WOMAD, hold sessions to tell people of the work they do, of the kind of music they create, and about the art they make. At WOMAD – there’s always something to do, for you, and for anyone else there too! This year’s roster features eclectic artists such as St Germain, De La Soul, Asha Bhosle, and many more.
When: April 2, 2016
This is the best place to discover some of the greatest independent musicians in New Zealand. In the month of April, Jim Beam Homegrown takes over the Wellington Waterfront with six stages and a bevy of exciting acts. The festival sold out in no time last year, so if you’re after tickets you wouldn’t want to wait too long. The line-up is overflowing with local goodness on all stages, you can take a look at it here.
7. Queenstown Winter Festival
When: Jun 24 – Jul 3, 2016
The biggest winter festival in New Zealand, Queenstown Winter Festival kicks off winter in June this year. This festival is a great whirlwind of snow sports, street parties, music, performances, competitions, charity events, food and fireworks, with Queenstown’s scenic surroundings to compliment the festivities. If you’re sporty, there’s plenty to discover here, from ice hokey to snowboarding. But if you prefer the non-physical forms of art, there’s a plethora of those too, ranging from an arts & craft market, to jazz nights, concerns, comedy shows, a lakeside Mardi Gras party and a grand ball. While winter sports can be a competitive affair, there’s a jovial, humble and friendly nature to the kiwis who populate this festival.
8. World Buskers Festival
Every year, people with unusual, eccentric talents come together to perform at the World Buskers Festival in New Zealand, and the result is an absolute riot of wacky brilliance. Since 1993, these people have found an outlet for their skills, and a place to shine, at this festival. This year, World Buskers Festival will take place at Christchurch, New Zealand. There’s really no limit on what kind of artist can perform at this festival. Comedians, trapeze artists, musicians, visual artists, dancers, street performers, acrobats, hula-hoopers, circus, vaudeville and burlesque acts, and anybody whose talent is more than a little left of centre, are welcome here. There’s really no dearth of quirky acts at the festival, from performers who attempt to escape a straitjacket on a pogo stick, to those who juggle while riding a unicycle.