From the southern hemisphere’s biggest indigenous film festival to a month-long culinary showcase and a groundbreaking event combining fashion, art, design and costume, Wellington and Wairarapa have no shortage of world-class events. The only dilemma is choosing which spectacle to plan your trip around.
Here are some of the highlights, but as ever, dates could change due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
NZ Art Show
Queen’s Birthday weekend (June 3-5) will see the work of hundreds of contemporary artists arrive for the NZ Art Show at TSB Arena. Mediums span from painting and sculpture to printmaking and digital art, photography and illustration, with all artworks priced under $5000 for the event.
This flat course takes runners (and walkers) on a scenic tour of Wellington Harbour. Leaving from Sky Stadium, half and full marathon courses take in capital city landmarks including Te Papa, Oriental Parade, Scorching Bay and Queens Wharf. Ten-kilometre and kids’ races also feature. The starter gun is set to fire at 9am on June 18, 2022.
Matariki ki Pōneke
As the star cluster known as Matariki appears above Aotearoa New Zealand, the celebration of Matariki begins in Wellington. From June 23-26, in line with the country’s first-ever Matariki public holiday, a series of immersive experiences including projections, performances, installations and fireworks will mark the occasion on the Wellington waterfront.
Māoriland Film Festival
The southern hemisphere’s biggest indigenous film festival shares stories from indigenous filmmakers from across the globe. Taking place in Ōtaki from June 29 to July 3, 2022, the event will feature over 80 films including feature-length flicks, documentaries and short films.
Greytown Festival of Christmas
The festive season arrives in the lower North Island six months early when the Greytown Festival of Christmas comes to town. From July 1-31, the event rolls out a family-friendly programme of festive lighting displays, European-style night markets, workshops and free events. This year welcomes the theme of “Gingerbread”, meaning baking competitions and a pop-up gin bar.
Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival
After two Covid-affected seasons, NZIFF will run a shorter, “more focused” festival in 13 towns and cities this July/August. The film festival will open in Auckland on July 28 before heading to Wellington the week following. Around 50-60 films make up the programme between the capital’s Embassy Theatre and Roxy Cinemas.
Wellington On a Plate
The country’s biggest culinary festival takes place in the capital every August. The official line-up for 2022 is yet to be announced but you can expect signature highlights including inventive burgers, one-off menus and all manner of pop-up events and installations. Craft beer carnival Beervana is another main component of the festival.
Carterton Daffodil Festival
After a cancellation in 2021, Carterton’s blooming popular daffodil festival is set to return in September, with activities from flower picking to street markets, horse rides and an art sale. The Daffodil Express will be operating from Wellington Railway Station.
The World of WearableArt Awards
The mediums of fashion, art, design and costume become one at The World of WearableArt (WOW) Show. The annual production annually attracts around 60,000 people to see the work of designers from across the world come to life on stage. From September 29 to October 16, 2022, Wellington’s TSB Arena will come to life with creations under the Elizabethan banner.
You don’t have to visit Japan for picture-perfect cherry blossoms. Upper Hutt’s Aston Norwood Gardens annual celebration, Blossom Valley, welcomes spring with a walk-through of their 14-acre private garden and under the pink and white canopy of more than 300 cherry trees. From September 15 to October 9, 2022.
Wellington’s annual cocktail and spirits celebration showcases the region’s best mixologists and distillers across two days with food and music to match. There will be multiple sessions held over September 23-24, 2022. Wellington Cocktail Week will run from September 19-25, 2022.
Toast Martinborough has marked the beginning of summer in Wairarapa for 30 years. Mark November 20, 2022 in your calendar for local wine and food along with quality musical accompaniment. There are over 40 wineries and vineyards located in the area, caterers and restaurants from across Wellington and the Wairarapa. Top it all off with fantastic live music and non-stop entertainment from a range of Kiwi artists.
Beers at the Basin
Wellington’s craft beer spectacle returns to the grass of the Basin Reserve on November 26, 2022. Hop between the region’s best craft breweries, wineries and street vendors. All food menu items are limited to a maximum price of $9 while beverages top out at $7.50 each.
Wellington Wine and Food Festival
The landmark foodie event has been rescheduled to December 10, 2022 at Waitangi Park. The event rounds up Wellington’s finest wine, food and craft beer in one location while live music completes the festival atmosphere.
After cancellation in 2022, Wellington’s biggest street party, CubaDupa, returns to mark the end of summer from March 25-26, 2023. The family-friendly event is held on Cuba Street and across its neighbouring streets with a jam-packed programme of entertainment and cultural experiences.
Jim Beam Homegrown
Annual celebration of New Zealand music, Homegrown, was another casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022. The event rolls over into 2023 with one day of local acts taking the stage across the Wellington waterfront on March 18.
New Zealand Fringe Festival
The 2023 New Zealand Fringe Festival takes over the capital for 23 days of groundbreaking art. returning from February 16 to March 12, 2023.
Staying safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Follow the instructions at covid19.govt.nz.