The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals in 2022© Ripe Festival - Andy Woods
The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals in 2022

The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals šŸ™Œ [2024]

© Ripe Festival – Andy Woods
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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The Ultimate Guide to Celebrations, Festivals and Events in New Zealand

Party, eat, drink, dress up, dance and spectate your way through this year in New Zealand by hitting the major events found around the country! From music festivals to cultural competitions, there’s plenty to observe during your time travelling around New Zealand. Checking out some of the New Zealand events and festivals is a fantastic way to experience the local culture and enjoy the vibrant ambience of a Kiwi get-together. We list events well worth getting tickets for in this guide to the top New Zealand events and festivals for this year!

Top 6 Māori Celebrations, Festivals and Events Events

Celebrate the cultures of the South Pacific and New Zealand with these Māori festivals and celebrations. Be captivated by the haka, entertained with song and dance, and filled with wonderful food while you explore New Zealand!

  1. Wellington Pasifika Festival at Odlins Plaza, Wellington (February)
  2. Māoriland Film Festival in Otaki, Kapiti (March)
  3. Pasifika Festival at Western Springs, Auckland (March)
  4. ASB Polyfest at Manukau Sports Bowl, Auckland (March)
  5. Move Your Tinana Music, Movement & Kai Festival at the Omimiti Reserve, Kawhia (February)
  6. Matariki / Maori New Year, Nationwide (28 June 2024).

The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals in 2022© ATEED

New Zealand Music Festivals

Summer in New Zealand runs from December to February which means that, unlike in the Northern Hemisphere, some of the best festivals happen from New Yearā€™s Eve up until Easter.

One of the biggest music festivals of the year, Rhythm and Vines (29-31 December 2024 in Waiohika Estate, Gisborne) is the ultimate New Year’s Eve celebration. Party among the sunny vineyards of Gisborne along with the 20 Best Things to Do in Gisborne.

Alternatively, kick off the new year with Rhythm and Alps (29-31 December 2024 in Cardrona Valley, Wanaka). Head to the mountainous South Island setting near Wanaka to celebrate the start of the new year. While you’re there, don’t miss the 25 Best Things to Do in Wanaka.

New Zealandā€™s family-friendly summer festival, Soundsplash (January at Wainui Reserve, Raglan) has more than 40 music acts performing across three stages. Treat the tastebuds at its global food market and engage in all sorts of musical and cultural activities in between the 15 Best Things to Do in Raglan.

WOMAD (14-16 March 2025 in TSB Bowl of Brooklands Park, New Plymouth) stands for “World of Music, Arts and Dance” so expect great diversity in one of the most vibrant art hubs of the North Island, New Plymouth. Six stages are set up over three days bringing you energetic performances, workshops and much more! Check out more things to do in the 15 Best Things to Do in New Plymouth.

Experience summer at the Dimension Festival (31 January – 3 February 2025 at Nukutawhiti, Northland). Escape to this four-day electronic music festival featuring more than 80 international and local acts. There are three zones of non-stop music, including Psytrance, DnB and Chill, as well as an exotic market area to taste some tantalising cuisine.

Splore (Cancelled for 2025) is a music festival by the beach in the beautiful location of Tapapakanga Park. Enjoy an extensive line-up of musical acts and cultural performances.

More New Zealand Festivals and How to Get Involved

For more festivals worth checking out, be sure to check out the 10 Summer Festivals in New Zealand. If you want to get involved, meet new people and save money on a festival ticket, take a look at our guide on How to Volunteer at a Festival in New Zealand.

The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals in 2022© NZPocketGuide.com

New Zealand Cultural Events

Festivals and events are a great way to experience the diverse culture of New Zealand. Here are some of the top cultural events to check out this year.

Waitangi Day (6 February 2025) induces Māori cultural events all over the country! Top Waitangi Day events include those at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands and the Okains Bay Museum in the Banks Peninsula near Christchurch and Akaroa. Learn more about the public holiday in What is Waitangi Day?

Similarly, Matariki (28 June 2024) is the start of many cultural celebrations across New Zealand, which last about one month. Find out more about the event in What is Matariki ā€“ The Maori New Year.

And for a slice of the Kiwi culture, check out the wacky mid-winter events of Russell Birdman (8 July 2024 on the Russel Waterfront, Bay of Islands) where you can participate or watch people launch themselves into the chilly Bay of Islands’ waters from Russell Wharf. There are also fancy dress races, spaghetti-eating competitions and more. Learn more about what to do while you’re there in the 20 Best Things to Do in the Bay of Islands.

The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals in 2022© WellingtonNZ

New Zealand Food and Wine Festivals

Treat yourself (and your stomach) to one of the foodie festivals in New Zealand. Make it a part of your foodie getaway by also following the advice in The Food Guide to New Zealand.

The infamous Marlborough Wine & Food Festival (8 February 2025 at Renwick Domain, Blenheim) is where around 40 local wineries get together for a huge party and everyoneā€™s invited! Join in for some great music, awesome food, great wine, masterclasses and more in New Zealandā€™s largest wine-making region. Learn more about the area in the 10 Best Wineries in Marlborough.

The Wildfoods Festival (8 March 2025 at Cass Square in Hokitika) is a Kiwi calendar favourite. Try heaps of weird food on offer like huhu grubs, bats, chicken legs and so much more. Otherwise, enjoy fancy dress, cooking demonstrations and a pretty wild after-party. While you’re there, treat yourself to some of the 10 Best Things to Do in Hokitika.

Wellington on a Plate (1-31 August 2024 all over Wellington) is where New Zealandā€™s capital city gets our tastebuds watering for a whole month with hundreds of events going on around the city and outer region. Learn more about Wellington’s food scene in The Food Guide to Wellington.

Sample the best wine and food from the Central Otago region at Ripe – The Wanaka Wine and Food Festival (March at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka). The event’s high country station venue on the shores of Lake Wanaka makes for a stunning setting to enjoy local wines and artisan delights. The festival is single-use and waste-free too, with tickets including reusable cups to take home, vendors using reusable plates and more. In between, check out the 25 Best Things to Do in Wanaka.

New Zealand loves seafood, so experience their passion at the Bluff Oyster Festival (25 May 2024 in Bluff) to taste Southland cuisine and wild foods. The North Island equivalent is the Coromandel’s Whitianga Oceans Festival (1-30 September 2024 at Lyon Park, Whitianga). Check out 10 Best Things to Do in Whitianga and 5 Best Things to Do in Bluff for more experiences to have beyond the festivals.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

New Zealand Vintage Festivals

New Zealand loves a bit of “yesteryears”, so much so that they have era-themed festivals!

If you want to experience a town go back in time, donā€™t miss Oamaruā€™s Victorian Fete (17 November 2024 in the Victorian Precinct, Oamaru). Put on your finest Victorian attire (because you packed that for your trip to New Zealand, right?) and join in with the locals for a day of crazy competitions, too much food, too much drink and some more fun stuff. While you’re there, try some of the 10 Best Things to Do in Oamaru.

Finally, we canā€™t forget the Art Deco Festival (18-20 February 2025 all over Napier) in New Zealand’s “Art Deco Capital”. See the city come alive with outfits to match the architecture, parades, air shows, costumes and endless amounts of vintage fun and finery. Otherwise, Napier is a good place to experience all things vintage anyway, just see in the 15 Best Things to Do in Napier.

The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals in 2022© Hamilton Waikato Tourism

New Zealand Free Festivals

Some of the best festivals are free! Check out the New Zealand festivals in 2022 that you don’t have to pay for.

Wellingtonā€™s Gardens Magic (January at the Botanic Garden, Wellington) is the capital’s summer party with free concerts in the Botanic Gardens and gorgeous light displays in the evenings, while the daytime offers family fun at the Kids Garden Trail.

Christchurchā€™s Bread & Circus (January all over Christchurch city), formerly the World Buskers Festival, is a mix of free and paid events of some of the world’s best street performers, from music to burlesque to comedy. Most free performances can be found at Christchurch’s Market Square and the Bridge of Remembrance.

Balloons Over Waikato (March at Innes Common, Hamilton) is a renowned annual event here in New Zealand! See a sky full of creative hot air balloons, from traditional to the weird and wonderful. Check out more 10 Great Things to Do in Hamilton.

For the prettiest park you ever did see, enjoy Taranakiā€™s Festival of Lights (December-January at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth) with picturesque illuminations, free competitions and music happening in the park throughout the summer. Combine the event with the 15 Best Things to Do in New Plymouth.

The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals in 2022© DunedinNZ

New Zealand Sports Events

New Zealand loves sports and you will too after attending some of the nation’s biggest events this year!

The HSBC NZ Sevens (January at Fred Jones Park, Hamilton) is New Zealandā€™s biggest rugby party! Experience the electric atmosphere of a rugby tournament in New Zealand with a Kiwi stadium hosting men’s and women’s rugby teams across the world. Join in the after-party with comedy and musical acts in a festival-like atmosphere.

Watch skiers and snowboarders do their thing at the Winter Games NZ (23 August-9 September 2024 in Queenstown, Wanaka and Naseby). From high-octane alpine ski racing to thrilling freeski and snowboard park and pipe events to adrenaline-inducing freeride events, there is something for everyone.

Rather than being a spectator, get into the sport yourself with one of New Zealand’s marathons! It seems that every town or city in New Zealand likes a good excuse for a running event, but a few worth keeping in mind include the Queenstown Marathon (16 November 2024), Wellington Marathon (23 June 2024), Christchurch Marathon (21 April 2024) and Run Away Hawkeā€™s Bay Marathon (18 May 2024).

Alternatively, get on your bike with the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge (30 November 2024 in Taupo). New Zealandā€™s largest cycling occasion welcomes thousands of riders and supporters.

More About Events and Festivals in New Zealand

That’s it for our guide to the top New Zealand events and festivals, but we have much more on the subject for your browsing pleasure:

Public Holidays in New Zealand

Finally, don’t forget the public holidays, which we list in our complete guide, Public Holidays in New Zealand.

Sources:

The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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