If there’s one thing Kiwis know how to do, it’s throw a party. From mesmerising Māori performances to food and wine festivals, here’s your guide to immersing yourself in the heart of New Zealand’s cultural and creative events.
Kick off your cultural journey at Te Matatini, a showcase of Māori performing arts. Held every two years, this national kapa haka competition gathers the best of the best as Māori groups from across the country converge to demonstrate their mastery of traditional song and dance. The singing and intricate choreography will leave you with a profound appreciation of Māori heritage.
Transport yourself to the islands of the South Pacific at Auckland’s Pasifika Festiva. This vibrant event brings together the diverse cultures of the Pacific, from Samoa to Fiji and Tonga to Tahiti. Indulge in traditional cuisine, sway to the rhythm of live music, and admire intricate handmade crafts – the best of the Pacific, in the heart of New Zealand.
Marlborough Food & Wine Festival
Home to some of New Zealand’s finest vineyards, Marlborough’s annual food and wine festival brings together the region’s culinary and creative delights into one fun-filled weekend. With food, wine, music and masterclasses, you’ll come away having sampled the best the area offers.
Art Deco Festival
In 1931, the Hawke’s Bay Earthquake effectively levelled the small coastal township of Napier. But, from the ashes rose a new town, designed in the style of the day – Art Deco. Today, Napier remains one of the world’s most distinctly Art Deco places. Each year, it hosts the Art Deco Festival, where the glitz and glamour of the 1920s and 30s fill the streets. From vintage car parades to Gatsby-esque soirées, you’ll find it all here.
Queenstown Winter Festival
Brace yourself for an avalanche of fun at the Queenstown Winter Festival, where the Southern Hemisphere’s largest winter celebration unfolds. From ice carving competitions to races on the slopes, this festival encapsulates New Zealanders’ love for the great outdoors and unique sense of humour.
Experience the magic of Matariki, the Māori New Year, as it graces the skies over New Zealand. A time of reflection, renewal, and connection with the cosmos, it is celebrated in towns across the country, where you’ll find traditional ceremonies, stargazing events, and cultural performances.
New Zealand’s festivals and cultural events offer a range of experiences that showcase the country’s rich history. They’re an invitation to dance, celebrate, and create connections, whatever your background. So, save the date and immerse yourself in everything New Zealand has to offer.
Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way.