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Visit New Zealand During the Festivals.

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The Practical Guide of the Activity.

  • 1A Hundred of Festivals in New Zealand!
  • 2Public Holidays in New Zealand.
  • 3Which Festivals to Attend During Your Stay?
  • 4The Best Festivals in New Zealand.

1A Hundred of Festivals in New Zealand!

The main cities of the country host the major festivals and cultural events. You may be lucky enough to watch a great New Year's fireworks.

The number of festival is one of the highest in the world.

For a small country with only 4.5 million inhabitants, New Zealand offers an extraordinary number of festivals. Whatever the period of the year in which you visit the country, there will be plenty of opportunities to discover Maori culture and the New Zealand gastronomy.

With more than 100 referenced festivals, you can attend a film screening in a botanical garden, watch a sailing race or explore the local culture in a festive atmosphere with barbecues...

There are so many possibilities, but don't panic, I will help you choose!

I will, of course, give you the links to the official websites of every festival where you will get more practical details.

At the end of the page, you will also find our friend Ben the Kiwi who manage his own question and answer section.


Every year, the Chinese New Year is celebrated in the streets of Auckland with parades of dancers and dragon-shaped lanterns.

Chinese New Year is an important event in Auckland.

But before going on with the list of festivals, I suggest you consider the list of public holidays in New Zealand.

Booking a flight to arrive in a country with all the shops closed is not the best idea one can have.


2Public Holidays in New Zealand.

The Waitangi Day takes place every year on 6 February and commemorates the end of the conflict between the British settlers and the Maoris. The founding act of New Zealand is celebrated.

The national holiday celebrates the rapprochement of communities.

Public holiday often rhyme with festivals in New Zealand. And to the national festivals one must add the festivals of each region which celebrate their own anniversary dates.

The region festivals' dates being not fixed, you will pardon me for not quoting them here.

Here is the list of major public holidays:

Public Holiday Date
New Year's Holiday January 1st and 2nd
National Day (Waitangi Day) February 6th
Good Friday March
Easter April
ANZAC Day April 25th
Queen's Birthday First Monday of June
Labor Day 4th Monday of October
Christmas December 25th
Boxing Day December 26th

Public holidays are to be taken into account during the organization of your stay. Consult the list of school holidays of the year on the official website of the government.


3Which Festivals to Attend During Your Stay?

There is not, strictly speaking, a season for festivals in New Zealand, even if the beautiful days host major outdoor events such as concerts. Whichever period you travel, there is certainly a festival to attend.

Do not miss the festivals during your trip.

To help you plan your trip, I have divided the country's top festivals into three distinct categories. You can easily spot the festivals taking place during your stay or according to the season.

The Must-Do Festivals

Guaranteed atmosphere with these international festivals which justify that you plan the dates of your trip to match the festival's ones.

The Original Festivals

These festivals are worth a visit, especially if you have some free time during your stay. As the name suggests, originality makes all the difference.

The Small Festivals

These festivals are not essential, but if they are on your itinerary, you can give them a try or follow your motivated friends.


4The Best Festivals in New Zealand.

  • All New Zealand Festivals
  • Spring Festivals (Sept, Oct, Nov)
  • Summer festivals (Dec, Jan, Feb)
  • Autumn Festivals (Tue, Apr, May)
  • Winter festivals (June, July, August)

Open Men's International Tennis

Open Men's International Tennis

One of the first ATP tournaments of the year is held in the ASB Tennis Center of Auckland and opposes the best players in the world.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
Auckland Seafood festival

Auckland Seafood festival

Tastings of seafood in a festive atmosphere with fireworks.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
Auckland Anniversary Regatta

Auckland Anniversary Regatta

The biggest regatta of the year with more than 500 participants takes place on the Monday of the last week of January.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
Big Day Out

Big Day Out

The biggest festival of the year in New Zealand is famous for its concerts that attract international stars as well as artists from the alternative kiwi scene.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
Music & Movies in Parks

Music & Movies in Parks

Free concerts and films screened outdoors in the parks.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
Auckland Lantern Festival

Auckland Lantern Festival

The Chinese community of Auckland celebrates the New Year in a spectacular way during three days of parades and evening shows with lanterns.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day

The celebrations of the national holiday which take place the 6th of February (the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi) focus on Maori culture and tradition.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
Pasifika Festival

Pasifika Festival

The largest festival dedicated to Polynesian culture attracts exhibitors from all the Pacific islands. Dances, concerts, tastings and exhibitions are featured in the Western Spring Parks in early March.
  • AUCKLAND
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
Auckland Festival

Auckland Festival

Do not miss the most important artistic festival of New Zealand that takes place in odd years.
  • AUCKLAND
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
Matariki Festival

Matariki Festival

The Maori New Year, which takes place from mid-June to mid-July, is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the culture of the country.
  • AUCKLAND
  • WINTER
  • JUNE
NZ International Film Festival

NZ International Film Festival

Screening of foreign films, some of which competed at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • AUCKLAND
  • WINTER
  • JULY
Diwali Festival of Lights

Diwali Festival of Lights

The most important festival of the Auckland Indian community takes place in the Vidaduct Basin and has a magical atmosphere.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SPRING
  • OCTOBER
Farmers Santa Parade

Farmers Santa Parade

The big Christmas parade is followed by free concerts.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • DECEMBER
Summer City Festival

Summer City Festival

A great summer festival that starts on New Year's Day and lasts two months with countless cultural activities and screenings of outdoor movies.
  • WELLINGTON
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
Cuba Street Carnival

Cuba Street Carnival

The colorful carnival of Wellington takes place in odd years in Cuba St, the most famous street of the capital of New Zealand.
  • WELLINGTON
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
New Zealand Festival

New Zealand Festival

This festival, which lasts three weeks (from February to March), is organized in even-numbered years and includes a considerable number of animations with excellent concerts and attractions (but alas paid ones most of the time).
  • WELLINGTON
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
Air New Zealand Cup

Air New Zealand Cup

The Westpac stadium hosts the rugby championship with the best teams of every provinces.
  • WELLINGTON
  • WINTER
  • AUGUST
Dunedin Summer Festival

Dunedin Summer Festival

The main festival of the region with shows, markets, exhibitions ... for almost a month between February and March.
  • DUNEDIN
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
Rippon Vineyard

Rippon Vineyard

Every year this world-famous triathlon attracts athletes who compete in one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world.
  • WANAKA
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
Queenstown Bike Festival

Queenstown Bike Festival

This 376 km race is to be traveled on foot, by mountain bike or by kayak along the old path of the gold diggers.
  • QUEENSTOWN
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
Warbird Over Wanaka

Warbird Over Wanaka

Come and admire the greatest mountain biking champions on the vertiginous slopes of Queenstown near Lake Wakatipu.
  • WANAKA
  • AUTUMN
  • APRIL
Winter Festival

Winter Festival

A great arts festival (music, dance, theater ...) is held every two years for a whole week.
  • QUEENSTOWN
  • WINTER
  • JUNE
Marlborough Wine Festival

Marlborough Wine Festival

Tastings of the best wines of the Hawkes Bay with producers of Napier and Hastings.
  • PICTON
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
Rotorua Bike Festival

Rotorua Bike Festival

Come and admire the champions of mountain biking compete and achieve spectacular jumps on the trails of the Redwoods forest.
  • ROTORUA
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
Women's International Tennis

Women's International Tennis

The ASB Classic is a women's tennis tournament where the best players in the world compete.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
Big Gay Out

Big Gay Out

New Zealand legalized gay marriage in 2013, but there is still a long way to go and the New Zealand Gay Pride organizes parades and open-air concerts.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
Starlight Symphony

Starlight Symphony

The Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra performs classical works and pieces of the Lord of the Rings for free in the Auckland Domain Park.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
NZ International Comedy Festival

NZ International Comedy Festival

From mid-April to early May, this festival of laughter takes place in most major cities of the country.
  • AUCKLAND
  • AUTUMN
  • APRIL
NZ Boat Show

NZ Boat Show

Anyone who owns a boat (or any floating object) is invited to join.
  • AUCKLAND
  • AUTUMN
  • APRIL
HSBC Coastal Classic

HSBC Coastal Classic

At the end of October, a hundred sailboats race from Devon Port to Russell in the Bay of the islands.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SPRING
  • OCTOBER
Adidas Auckland Marathon

Adidas Auckland Marathon

This marathon borrows the Harbor bridge closed to traffic for the occasion.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SPRING
  • OCTOBER
Manukau Festival of Arts

Manukau Festival of Arts

Musics, dances, films, arts and crafts in the honor of the Pacific arts.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SPRING
  • OCTOBER
Christmas in the Park

Christmas in the Park

A great party for all ages is held in the Auckland Domain Park before Christmas.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SUMMER
  • DECEMBER
NZI Sevens

NZI Sevens

The Rugby World Cup is a major event in Wellington, with the 16 best teams of the country, at the Westpac Trust Stadium.
  • WELLINGTON
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
The Fringe NZ Festival

The Fringe NZ Festival

A great festival dedicated to theater and dance.
  • WELLINGTON
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
NZ International Comedy Festival

NZ International Comedy Festival

The festival of laughter presents local and international comedians for three weeks.
  • WELLINGTON
  • AUTUMN
  • APRIL
The Food Show

The Food Show

The festival of the arts of the table where every kind of kitchen are in the honor.
  • WELLINGTON
  • WINTER
  • JUNE
Christchuch Art Festival

Christchuch Art Festival

Christchurch celebrates the arts every odd year and the ice dome is set up in Cathedral Square for two months.
  • CHRISTCHURCH
  • WINTER
  • JULY
Cardbury chocolate Carnival

Cardbury chocolate Carnival

Innovative and experimental arts are honored.
  • DUNEDIN
  • WINTER
  • JULY
Challenge Wanaka

Challenge Wanaka

For almost 40 years this festival has existed, the formula is still not used and the folk music is doing well.
  • WANAKA
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
Festival of colour

Festival of colour

One of the largest aviation meetings is held for three days in even years when the warplanes of the Second World War are flying again.
  • WANAKA
  • AUTUMN
  • APRIL
WOMAD

WOMAD

New Plymouth hosts artistic performances in the outdoor concert hall of Brooklands Bown.
  • NEW-PLYMOUTH
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
Wild Food

Wild Food

This festival proposes to you to test the flavors of larvae or insects in a festive atmosphere conducive to challenges between friends.
  • HOKITIKA
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
Luminate Festival

Luminate Festival

From the end of February to the beginning of March, this festival of sound and light encourages the original visual creations.
  • TAKAKA
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
HSBC Round The Bay

HSBC Round The Bay

The largest marathon in the world held in mid-March and attracts over 70,000 participants on the 8.4-kilometer seafront of Auckland.
  • AUCKLAND
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
Auckland Cup Week

Auckland Cup Week

The largest horse race of the year takes place at Ellersie.
  • AUCKLAND
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
Royal Easter Show

Royal Easter Show

A small festival dedicated to farmers and farm products.
  • AUCKLAND
  • AUTUMN
  • MARCH
Out Takes

Out Takes

This festival of gay and lesbian cinema is held from the end of May to the beginning of June.
  • AUCKLAND
  • AUTUMN
  • MAY
Air New Zealand Fashion Week

Air New Zealand Fashion Week

Organized around the Viaduct Basin of Auckland, the festival of fashion reunites the best creators of the country.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SPRING
  • SEPTEMBER
Heritage Festival

Heritage Festival

Free visits of the country's heritage places.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SPRING
  • SEPTEMBER
Sovereign Harbour Crossing

Sovereign Harbour Crossing

The best swimmers in the country swim across the port of Auckland.
  • AUCKLAND
  • SPRING
  • NOVEMBER
World of Wearable Art Awards

World of Wearable Art Awards

A festival of colorful fashion where artists dare the most eccentric creations.
  • WELLINGTON
  • SPRING
  • SEPTEMBER
Toast Martinborough

Toast Martinborough

Come and taste the best White Sauvignons produced in the Marlborough region.
  • WELLINGTON
  • SPRING
  • NOVEMBER
World Buskers Festival

World Buskers Festival

Street art in Christchurch during the last week of January.
  • CHRISTCHURCH
  • SUMMER
  • JANUARY
NZ Cup and Show Week

NZ Cup and Show Week

The racecourses at Addington Raceway and Riccarton Raceway host horse races, fashion shows and concerts punctuated by fireworks.
  • CHRISTCHURCH
  • SPRING
  • NOVEMBER
Splore

Splore

One of the biggest New Zealand wine festivals where more than 50 producers participate!
  • COROMANDEL
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY
National Jazz Festival

National Jazz Festival

The most important Southern Hemisphere Jazz Festival featuring international stars.
  • TAURANGA
  • AUTUMN
  • APRIL
Orientation Week

Orientation Week

Older students organize city tours for newcomers and it's an interesting approach to make friends and discover Dunedin from another angle.
  • DUNEDIN
  • SUMMER
  • FEBRUARY


William, Kiwipal
A Guide Written by William.
Founder of Kiwipal, New Zealand Travel Guide.
william

Questions & Answers.

What can I do for you? You'll always find me on the street during the big summer festivals. If I can help you choose activities, do not hesitate to contact me.

Ask a question to Ben

  • How to get more info about cultural shows?

    The "Event Finder" website which lists every concert, show or festival is fantastic.Event Finder

  • Is there a gay pride in New Zealand?

    Yes, and I recommend you to check the Auckland Pride Festival website for more information. Remember that New Zealand legalized gay marriage in 2013.Auckland Gay Pride

Guillaume picture in the mountains

Ask Questions to William.

New Zealand Expert

Without planning your whole stay around a festival, I advise you to watch at least the agenda before your departure.

It would be a shame to miss the start of a great regatta or an opportunity to taste the best wines of the country (to give only a few examples).

william Ask me a question

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Guillaume picture in the mountains

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