Each year along with nine other global destinations, Wellington plays host to the rugby sevens tournament. Boasting 10 wins out of 13 since the series’ inception, it goes without saying that New Zealanders take their rugby union seriously. More than anything, the competition has drawn attention for the tradition of spectators donning fancy dress and its inescapable party atmosphere.
February – March
New Zealand Festival
New Zealand’s premier cultural event has been advocating the arts for more than 25 years. With 300 plus events across the realms of theatre, dance, music, visual arts, film and the written word, there are plenty of chances to laugh and cry, cheer and jeer. The biennial festival takes place over 24 days at a number of venues throughout the city, promising something for everyone from free gigs to family-friendly productions.
Showcasing Kiwi talent in all its glory, Homegrown is a major highlight of the summer music festival season. Multiple stages surround Wellington’s iconic waterfront, identified by genre including rock, pop, R&B, electronic and dub and roots. As of 2014, Homegrown is expanding its cultural offerings by adding markets, pop-up bars, rides and art installations free to the public.
July – August
New Zealand International Film Festival
Movie buffs will be chuffed to learn that a whopping 150 to 170 films are shown in Wellington and Auckland during the New Zealand International Film Festival. Running for more than 40 years, the Wellington leg of the festival screens a diverse menu of motion pictures all around the city in the likes of the Embassy Theatre, the Film Archive, Soundings Theatre at Te Papa and the City Gallery.
Visa Wellington On a Plate
Growing bigger, better and tastier by the year, Visa Wellington On a Plate is one of the country’s foremost foodie celebrations, highlighting Welly’s booming culinary scene. While there are tastings, masterclasses and demonstrations aplenty, the focal point of the festival is DINE Wellington, which sees more than 100 eateries showing off special menus and deals for lunch and dinner during the fortnight of feasting.
September – October
World of WearableArt
Pushing haute couture to its most dramatic limits, the World of WearableArt Awards Show is an annual two hour display of garments that will have you questioning the difference between fashion, uttering echoes of “WOW”. The sell-out showcase is a visual delight which has earned international acclaim and put Wellington on the map as the “creative capital”.
Food, wine and music converge at Toast Martinborough, located in the wine growing region of the same name just an hour from Wellington. Some 11 boutique vineyards – accessible by foot or shuttle bus – keep the grape juice flowing, while winemakers pair their varietals with quality dishes from partnering restaurants to create an outstanding epicurean experience.