New Zealanders love to celebrate and your clients will find all manner of parties and festivals happening throughout the year. From wine, music, arts and crafts, sports, horse racing, dance and fashion to flowers, architecture, seasons, scallops and even huhu grubs, New Zealand loves to revel in its natural talents and bounty! So whether your clients’ interests run to fashion, music, food or sports, make sure their itinerary includes at least one or two New Zealand events.
From the celebration of winter that is the Queenstown Winter Festival (June) to the breathtaking World of WearableArt™ (September) extravaganza of art adorning the human body and the high-fashion events that make up New Zealand Fashion Week (September), New Zealand hosts a range of iconic events. Music lovers flock to the National Jazz Festival in Tauranga (April) and the Bay of Islands Jazz and Blues Festival (August), while art buffs relish the Otago Festival of Arts in Dunedin (October), the Nelson Arts Festival (October) and WOMAD in New Plymouth (March).
World Buskers Festival (Christchurch, Jan) A 10-day frenzy of street theatre, clowns, acrobats and more. Indoor and outdoor, day and night events. www.worldbuskersfestival.com
Art Deco Festival (Napier, Feb) Built in Art Deco style, Napier is the perfect place to celebrate the razzmatazz style of Art Deco. www.artdeconapier.com
PASIFIKA (Auckland, Mar) A kaleidoscope of cultural performances and events celebrating New Zealand’s Pacific roots. www.aucklandnz.com/pasifika
National Agricultural Fieldays (Hamilton, Jun) 1,000 exhibitors arrive in Hamilton for New Zealand’s biggest agricultural event. www.fieldays.co.nz
World of WearableArt™ (Wellington, Sep) Spectacular wearable creations in an amazing show. www.worldofwearableart.com
Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations (Oamaru, Nov) The whole town gets out and about in period costume in the historic whitestone precinct. www.vhc.co.nz
Food and Wine Festivals
Celebrate New Zealand’s cuisine at a food and wine festival. Many festivals combine delicacies for the taste-buds with musical treats for the ears, and they make for a great day out. Outstanding events for wine buffs include Toast Martinborough and the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival. A special highlight on the country’s food calendar is the annual Hokitika Wildfoods Festival; stall holders at this unforgettable celebration of unusual ‘bush tucker’ offer anything from wasp larvae ice cream to huhu grubs!
Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic (Hawke’s Bay, June/Nov) This biannual celebration of the famously good wine and food of the bay holds a winter and summer edition each year. www.fawc.co.nz
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival (Hokitika, Mar) An unforgettable event featuring totally unique foods sourced from the surrounding area! www.wildfoods.co.nz
Bluff Oyster & Southland Seafood Festival (Bluff, May) Celebrating the local delicacy – Bluff Oysters – at the start of the oyster season. www.bluffoysterfest.co.nz
Whitianga Scallop Festival (Whitianga, Aug) A celebration of Coromandel seafood and cuisine that coincides with the opening of the scallop season. www.scallopfestival.co.nz
Seafest (Kaikoura, Oct) Kaikoura’s premier food and wine festival is an exciting celebration of the region’s abundant seafood, combined with live music. www.seafest.co.nz
Toast Martinborough Wine, Food and Music Festival (Martinborough, Nov) A wine, food and music event set amongst picturesque vineyards. www.toastmartinborough.co.nz
Kiwi athletes stand tall on the world stage and if you’ve ever heard of the All Blacks, you’ll know that rugby is the big national game! Encourage your clients to catch a game at a stadium – or head to a pub and watch it on the big screen. Big events on the horse racing calendar are also de rigueur for the locals.
Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta (Auckland, Jan) A celebration of sailing on the Waitemata. www.regatta.org.nz
Speight’s Coast to Coast (West Coast – Canterbury, Feb) Competitors cycle, kayak and run across the South Island. www.coasttocoast.co.nz
NZI Sevens (Hamilton, Feb) This international seven-aside rugby tournament draws costume-bedecked fans from all over the world. www.sevens.co.nz
Auckland Cup Week (Auckland, Mar) Glamorous horse racing carnival featuring fashion, entertainment – and horses. www.ellerslie.co.nz/auckland-cup-week
New Zealand Cup & Show Week (Christchurch, Nov) A major social event combining horse racing with fashion, food and agricultural events. www.nzcupandshow.co.nz