New Zealand Events Calendar: What’s Going On?

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New Zealand’s annual events

What’s happening in New Zealand? Well, you have come to the right place. New Zealand looks forward to many events each year, whether it’s to party to live music or to celebrate how much they love food. So, expect to be well-fed at many New Zealand festivals.Backpackers, especially, will enjoy some of the free events happening regularly in the bigger cities. After all, a buzzing atmosphere is priceless.Otherwise, some highly anticipated music festivals or workshops could be something tosave the cents for. What’s more, those on a working holiday visa have the opportunity to volunteer at New Zealand festivals.

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Top 5 free events in New Zealand

On a budget? Check out some of these free festivals and events.

  • Silo Cinema, Auckland (summer)
  • Meridian Gardens Magic, Wellington (part of Summer City)
  • Balloons Over Waikato, Hamilton
  • World Buskers Festival, Christchurch
  • Wellington Sky Show

Roger Wong on Wikipedia© Roger Wong on Wikipedia

January

Wellington Summer CityStarting from the new year, Wellington hosts more than 90 free events around the city over three months, including frequent live music in the Botanic Gardens. Find out more.World Buskers FestivalHead to Hagley Park, Christchurch for music performed by buskers from all over the world. Find out more.St Jerome’s Laneway FestivalAn alternative music festival in the alternative setting of Silo Park, Auckland. Find out more.Auckland Seafood FestivalTaste the finest the sea has to offer on Halsey Wharf, Wynyard Quarter. Seafood stalls, musical acts, cooking demonstrations and competitions all take place onthis three-day festival. Find out more.Plan your trip in January: New Zealand in January.

 russellstreet on Flickr© russellstreet on Flickr

February

Auckland Pride Festival The list of events of this festival celebrating the LBGT community is extensive: theatre, cabaret, debates, drag, burlesque, sports, parties… and the list goes on throughout the majority of February. Find out more. Auckland Lantern Festival Chinese culture is showcased in this three-day festival with stage performances of martial arts, dance, music, and concludes with the Sky Tower fireworks. Find out more. Art Deco Weekend Vintage buffs will love this event celebrating the 1920s and 1930s in the “Art Deco Capital”, Napier. Find out more. Kawhia Kai Festival Get your cultural and food fix in the Maori food festival hosted for one day in the coastal town of Kawhia. Find out more. Te Matatini Festival Immerse yourself in the Maori culture and watch some top kapa haka groups compete. Find out more. Plan your trip in February: New Zealand in February For more summer festivals, check out 5 Summer Festivals in New Zealand.

 Eli Duke on FLickr© Eli Duke on FLickr

March

Wildfoods FestivalA festival where no huhu grub is safe. Eat some of the weirdest foods at the Hokitika one-day event. Find out more.Balloons Over WaikatoYour camera will love you for capturing this amazing display of hot air balloons, both classic and novelty, flying over Hamilton over the five days. Find out more.CubaDupaThe street festival on Cuba Street, Wellington, gives the public the chance to get dressed up and dance. Stick around for flash mops and street theatre. Find out more.Pasifika Festival Auckland11 Pacific island nations are celebrated in this two-day event. Browse stalls, eat well and be entertained through traditional and contemporary arts. Find out more.Auckland Arts FestivalAuckland experiences an explosion of the arts to praise cultural diversity. International dance, theatre, music and more can be seen over the 19 days.Find out more.Gumboot DayTaihape is the “Gumboot Capital of the World” so celebrate by throwing a gumboot or taking part in other novelty competitions. Find out more.Plan your trip in March: New Zealand in March

Maxpixel© Maxpixel

April

NZ International Comedy FestivalLike laughs? Prepare for a lot of them between April and May with heaps of stand-up. Most of the action is in Wellington and Auckland, but some comedianswill tour across the country. Find out more.Plan your trip in April: New Zealand in April

 chrisjtse on Flickr© chrisjtse on Flickr

May

Auckland Writers FestivalReadings, debates, stand-up poetry and literary theatre! For five days in May, Auckland celebrates the world’s best form of communication. Find out more.HandmadeBook yourself into one or several creative workshops across Wellington to learn something new over the weekend! Find out more.Plan your trip in May: New Zealand in May

 Juan Manuel Gomez on Flickr© Juan Manuel Gomez on Flickr

June

Queenstown Winter FestivalThe start of winter is a magical and manic time in Queenstown. Expect 10 days of mountain races, street parties, fireworks, jazz, comedy and competitions. Find out more.Mt Ruapehu Mountain Mardi Gras [Update: cancelled for the foreseeable future]. Get pumped for the start of the winter season in Ohakune, the North Island’s apres-ski area with fireworks and live music. Find out more.Plan your trip in June: New Zealand in June

 Dunedin NZ on Flickr© Dunedin NZ on Flickr

July

Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate CarnivalOne week of chocolate it doesn’t get much better than that… The highlight of the festival is the Jaffa Race down the world’s steepest street. Find out more.New Zealand International Film FestivalThe season of film from both NZ and international filmmakers is between July and September. All over New Zealand, you can see something different from your everyday blockbuster! Find out more.Plan your trip in July: New Zealand in JulyFor more winter festivals, check out 5 Winter Festivals in New Zealand.

 Fast Forward Event Productions on Flickr© Fast Forward Event Productions on Flickr

August

Wellington on a PlateThe capital city hosts New Zealand’s largest food and beverage event!Find out more.Plan your trip in August: New Zealand in August.

 Tony Hisgett on Flickr© Tony Hisgett on Flickr

September

World of Wearable Art (WOW) Award ShowThe most creative and crazy fashion show you’ll ever see. See the catwalks in Wellington from September to October. Find out more.Body FestivalLearn how to dance from the masters or simply sit back and enjoy dance performances from mid-September to mid-October in Christchurch. Find out more.Plan your trip in September: New Zealand in September.

 Global Panorama on Flickr© Global Panorama on Flickr

October

WanakafestAs the days start to get warmer, relax in the mountainous Southern Lakes region with gigs, movies, costume, food and drink! And if it wasn’t obvious from the name, this festival is in Wanaka.Find out more.Kaikoura SeafestCelebrate the sea and everything that comes from it! Expect good food, live music and daft costumes. Find out more.Plan your trip in October: New Zealand in October

 Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia© Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia

November

NZ Tattoo and Art FestivalIf you are fascinated by body art, then this festival in New Plymouth is for you. Entertainment includesburlesque and live music.Find out more.Wellington Sky ShowGuy Fawkes Night evokes fireworks displays across the country, but Wellington is the place to be for a carnival atmosphere. Find out more.Plan your trip in November: New Zealand in November.

AFlickion on Wikipedia© AFlickion on Wikipedia

December

Silo CinemaAll summer long, on either Fridays or Saturdays, you can enjoy a movie in this free open-air event at Silo Park, Auckland. Find out more.Rhythm and VinesThe New Year reaches the city of Gisborne before any other city in the world. Party with the large festival atmosphere. Find out more.Rhythm and AlpsCelebrate the New Year in the beautiful alpine setting of the Cardrona Valley, while enjoying world-class music acts. Find out more.Festival of LightsNew Plymouth hosts this festival extending into January with the illuminated decorations ofPukekura Park, live gigs, and outdoor movies at theBoat Shed Lawn. Find out more.Plan your trip in December: New Zealand in DecemberFor more New Year’s Festivals, check out 10 NYE Events in New Zealand You Can’t Miss!

Seasonal events

Find more festivals and events in these awesome articles:

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