Auckland: 6 Events To See Before The Year Is Out

13 July 2015
Read Time: 2.4 mins

New Zealand's biggest city is bursting with things to do between now and Christmas, from Maori New Year to Christmas in the Park. There's festival fun for foodies, fashionistas, film fans and the fleet of foot, so make sure that you visit Auckland before the year is out.

Matariki Festival, June 20-July 19

 Maori culture is on show during Matariki. Picture: Getty Images

Celebrate Maori New Year in Auckland, which is heralded by the rising of the constellation Matariki – a time to connect with and give thanks to the land, sea and sky. It is also a time for sharing kai (food), rituals, hospitality and knowledge.

Learn traditional weaving or hear traditional stories accompanied by taonga puoro (flutes). Explore Maori art, music, theatre and performance at venues across the city, culminating in Matariki on the Waterfront on the final weekend, with markets featuring indigenous art, as well as light and sound shows and music.

NZ International Film Festival, July 16-August 2

The New Zealand International Film Festival kicks off in Auckland and Wellington, before a smaller program tours the country. Screenings are held in cinemas across Auckland, starting with the surreal satire The Lobster, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, who live in a world where people must couple up or be turned into animals – a film that won the Jury prize at Cannes.

The festival runs the gamut of music (Amy Winehouse); fashion (Iris Apfel); animation (Studio Ghibli's latest); and iconic (restored Charlie Chaplin prints accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia). So get out there – a world of cinema awaits.

Restaurant Month, August

 Make a dessert pitstop at Cafe Hanoi for Dinner by Bike. Picture: Cafe Hanoi

Auckland celebrates restaurant month with 31 days of events to tantalise even the most jaded of palates. So get on your bike for the progressive Dinner by Bike – pedal a four-kilometre course, stopping at The Black Hoof for entree, Ima Cuisine for main, Cafe Hanoi for dessert, and finishing with a digestif at Fukuko.

And don't miss Auckland's Street Eats at Queens Wharf, or dance your way from Brazil (with Brazilian Fever at Besos) to Bollywood (with Bollywood Night at iVillage). Don't worry if you miss out, as you won't have to wait long for another foodie fest – Taste of Auckland comes along in November.

New Zealand Fashion Week, August 24-30

Fashionistas, make a beeline to Auckland as NZ Fashion Week celebrates its 15th year. It is a trade show, but regular folks can get in on the act at designer shows during the week, and NZ Fashion Weekend, which includes an opening party (featuring Kate Sylvester's spring/summer collection), seminars, a beauty hub and a designer pop-up sale.

Rub shoulders with designers – including Yvonne Benetti and Margi Robertson – as well as international fashion media. There's something for the menfolk, too, with a group show by New Zealand's leading men's labels. Don't be fashionably late!

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Auckland Marathon, November 1

This year's Auckland Marathon clashes with the Rugby World Cup final, but organisers have promised to broadcast live coverage on a big screen at the start line on King Edward Parade at Devonport, so intrepid runners don't miss out. And they're inviting competitors to dedicate their run in support of the All Blacks' quest for victory.

Events include the ASB Auckland Marathon, Half Marathon, 12K Traverse, 5K Challenge and a Kids Marathon. Last year's event attracted more than 14,000 competitors, but you don't have to lace up the running shoes to feel the adrenaline rush.

Christmas In The Park, December 12

 The pohutukawa is New Zealand's own Christmas tree. Picture: Getty Images

The pohutukawa tree is in bloom to herald Christmas – and Christmas in the Park. It bills itself as one of the happiest, most magical musical extravaganzas on the Kiwi Christmas calendar, and why not?

Pack a picnic hamper and bring the family to the Auckland Domain for singing, dancing, a solar-powered Christmas tree, and fireworks. Santa might even put in an appearance.

This year's lineup is yet to be announced but previous events have featured NZ music duo The Broods, and Tui Award-winner Tami Neilson. The past two years have been alcohol-free, so check the regs before you pour the wine.

Renae Spinks

Travel for me is about conversations and connections. There’s nothing like setting foot in a new land and meeting people a world apart. From talking to North Sea fishermen in Norway’s Lofoten Islands to breakfast chat at a B&B in my own back yard, there’s always a story to share and a tale to tell.