Summer in New Zealand is a time to recharge the batteries and enjoy sunshine, swimming and succulent food. Christmas is celebrated in shorts and T-shirt style, as the bright crimson blooms of the pohutukawa - New Zealand's native Christmas tree - line the coasts with festive colour.
And just as the pohutukawa flower brings the coast to life, New Zealand summer also bursts into activity with everything from some of the best music festivals, held in some of the most dramatic locations on the planet, to top-notch sporting events like international cricket, the NRL Nines, topped off with some of the world’s most gruelling and rewarding multi-sports events.
As always, arts and creativity feature strongly and visitors are never far from experiencing some of the most delectable produce found in New Zealand - foods that offer the true taste of summer.
20 Novemeber, 2016
One of New Zealand’s sweetest North Island towns will host its 25th annual wine festival. And like the fine vintages it celebrates, Toast Martinborough just keeps getting better with age, with an exciting musical finale just one new ingredient keeping it fresh. The nine wineries hosting this year’s Toast can be found within an easy 2km stroll of the village centre.
Auckland Farmers Santa Parade
27 November, 2016
Experience Christmas Kiwi style with the Farmers Santa Parade. This iconic parade has been delighting children and adults alike for over 79 years and is the event that brings on the Christmas spirit. Each year this beloved holiday parade full of fun, laugher, music, characters and floats traverses a well-travelled route around Auckland’s central city streets, transforming the ‘City of Sails’ into the ‘City of Santa’ for one afternoon only.
Auckland Farmers Santa Parade
TSB Bank Festival of the Lights - New Plymouth
18 December, 2016 - 5 February, 2017
New Plymouth’s magnificent Pukekura Park, a vast 52ha domain, provides a dramatic backdrop for one of the region’s most highly anticipated festivals. This summer festival-goers can expect On Stage night entertainment, Summer Scene - a daytime activities programme and the Lighting Feature, which showcases a display of new lighting features from local and national artists.
TSB Bank Festival of the Lights
Rhythm and Vines Music Festival - Gisborne
29 December, 2016 - 1 January, 2017
The Rhythm and Vines Music Festival has become one of the biggest parties in the southern hemisphere. Set in the picturesque Waiohika Estate on the sunny east coast of Gisborne, this is the ultimate New Year experience in the first place in the world to see the dawning of a new year. For the 30,000 campers inhabiting the estate's lush green hills and vines, there are 100-plus acts on five stages and an award-winning three-day festival.
Rhythm and Vines Music Festival
Rhythm and Alps Music Festival - Cardrona Valley, Wanaka
30 - 31 December, 2016
Rhythm and Alps is the South Island sister of Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines. Created to ensure the good people of the South Island of New Zealand could celebrate the New Year to the beat of some of the world’s hottest music, the 2015 festival will be held in the Cardrona Valley, near Wanaka. Rhythm and Alps is the only two-day music festival in the South Island and runs at the same time as Rhythm and Vines.
Rhythm and Alps Music Festival
ASB Classic - Auckland
2 - 14 January, 2017
Sunshine, strawberries and a feast of great tennis are all on offer at the ASB Classic. For the first time The ASB Classic will feature both a men's and women's draw attracting some of the top international players from around the world. World number one Serena Williams will make her first appearance in the 2017 Women's Tournament There will be plenty of action for fans off court as well with organisers announcing a new entertainment precinct serving up two weeks of live action.
World Buskers Festival - Christchurch
19 - 29 January, 2017
The 2017 World Buskers Festival promises to carry on the tradition by offering a full programme of events that showcases the very best of the best with 65 amazing street performers, comedians, fringe artists, musicians and visual artists who are destined to leave the crowd mesmerised. Whether you're a fan of highly skilled acrobatics, hula-hoopers, trapeze artists, musicians, dancers, circus and vaudeville skits, burlesque or you're simply out for a good belly laugh - they've got it all.
World Buskers Festival
Auckland Seafood Festival - Auckland
27 January - 30 January, 2017
The Auckland Seafood Festival, held on Auckland Anniversary Weekend, is a celebration of Auckland 'City of Sails' and the abundant seafood that is caught in its harbours and beyond. The three-day festival has everything from live music, cooking demonstrations, competitions and of course mouthwatering seafood.The family-friendly event is held in the heart of the waterfront on Halsey Wharf, Wynyard Quarter, which is a working port in the centre of Auckland's fishing district.
Auckland Seafood Festival
HSBC Rugby Sevens - Wellington
28 - 29 January 2017
New Zealand’s most colourful and vibrant sporting event, the Hertz Sevens is the fourth leg in the HSBC Sevens World Series, played in Wellington each year. Rugby fans flock to the capital in fancy dress for a carnival-like weekend of partying and fun. For a rugby-obsessed country like New Zealand, the Hertz Sevens is one of the main highlights on the sporting calendar.
HSBC Sevens Series
St Jerome Laneway Festival - Auckland
30 January 2017
St Jerome Laneway Festival is the place to hear some of the most unique established and up and coming artists of the national and international indie world. For the first time the festival will be set amongst the inner city green of Auckland’s Albert Park. Laneway is the most thrilling urban music experience New Zealand has to offer.
St Jerome Laneway Festival
Blackcaps take on Australia
30 January - 5 February, 2017
The Australian Cricket team are crossing the ditch and taking on our boys in their own backyard in three one day internationals. The fierce rivalry will continue with matches being played in Napier, Hamilton and Auckland.
Blackcaps summer schedule
NRL Auckland Nines - Auckland
The fourth NRL Auckland Nines take over Eden Park once again for a day of family fun and some top quality rugby league. The National Rugby League competition will showcase their best players in a unique format of the game which results in fast paced, open space football. Crowds will dress up on the day to add to the atmosphere across the two days.
NRL Auckland Nines
Tarawera Ultra Marathon - Rotorua
11 February, 2017
The 9th annual Tarawera Ultra Marathon gets underway on Waitangi Day and pushes competitors to their limit. Runners entered in the 100km, 85km or 60km race will complete a course that will take them around four lakes, through many forests, past waterfalls and some of the most stunning scenery in the world, from Rotorua to Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. The spectacular course will also take runners through places of immense cultural significance to Maori people, the indigenous people of New Zealand.
Tarawera Ultra Marathon
Marlborough Food and Wine Festival - Marlborough
11 February, 2017
Combining quality wines, gourmet food and live music, this is New Zealand’s original and most successful wine festival. Sample the crisp sauvignon blanc that the region is famous for and enjoy entertainment from some of New Zealand’s top performers on one of the wine region's oldest and most beautiful vineyards, Brancott Estate.
Marlborough Food and Wine Festival
Speight’s Coast to Coast, Kumara
10 - 11 February, 2017
The Speight’s Coast to Coast is one of New Zealand’s most famous multi-sport events. The rugged ocean to mountain landscape makes this premier multisport event a must-do. The two-day event can be completed with a one, two or three person team and traverses the South Island from Kumara Beach on the Tasman Sea to Sumner Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Competitors cycle, run and kayak some of New Zealand’s most multifarious terrain including a mountain run that crosses the Southern Alps and kayaking through New Zealand’s grand canyon.
Speight’s Coast to Coast
Tremains Art Deco Weekend - Hawke's Bay
15 - 19 February, 2017
Napier is the Art Deco ‘capital of the world’ and the city steps back in time each February to celebrate the glamour and style of the 1920s and ‘30s during the Tremains Art Deco Weekend. The stylish celebration incorporates over 200 events held in Napier - bringing the good-time crowds to town and throughout the Hawke’s Bay area.
Tremains Art Deco Weekend
Challenge Wanaka - Wanaka
18 February, 2017
Challenge Wanaka is part of the global Challenge Family series of triathlons around the world - but with the event being held against the backdrop of Mount Aspiring National Park in the South Island - the New Zealand edition has often been described as the most scenic. The varied and tough terrain of the 226km course has led competitors to describe it as one of the best events on the international circuit and attracts a variety of athletes who are keen to push themselves to their limits.
Te Matatini – New Zealand Kapa Haka Festival - Hawke's Bay
22 - 26 February, 2017
The national kapa haka festival is known as Te Matatini which means 'the many faces'. Held every two years, Te Matatini is the world's largest celebration of Māori performing arts and attracts more than 40,000 people from throughout New Zealand. Two teams from Australia and 36 teams from 13 regions of New Zealand attended the 2009 event having first qualified at a series of regional competitions.
Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival
New Zealand International Arts Festival - Wellington
23 February - 18 March, 2017
Wellington New Zealand’s capital city, is known to be a centre of creativity, and it is set to get that little bit cooler when the NZ International Arts Festival comes to town. This event will bring Wellington to life with over 300 events in indoor and outdoor spaces around the city. This is a leading Australasia multi-arts event that celebrates some of the world’s top artists whilst also nurturing New Zealand’s own.
New Zealand International Arts Festival
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan, Taupo
4 March, 2017
Held on Lake Taupo - New Zealand’s largest lake - the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan New Zealand is set to celebrate 30 years since its incarnation. Each year this event sees competitors from across the world converging on New Zealand to take part in the thrilling competition. The event - which has legs across the world and draws thousands of spectators - sees competitors swim Lake Taupo, bike through native forest and run off the beaten track through some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery.
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan
Motatapu - across New Zealand
4 March, 2017
Motatapu is a unique event that offers participants a mountain bike or marathon option in five different events all held on the same day in some of New Zealand’s most top locations. These include Speight’s Summit 47KM Mountain Bike, Icebreaker Off-Road Marathon, the XTERRA UDC Triathlon, R&R Sport 49KM Team Adventure Run and the Arrowtown Miners Trail. The event is now in its 10th year and has seen participants continue to grow on an annual basis.
Auckland Arts Festival
8 - 26th March, 2017
Auckland Arts Festival is Auckland’s premier festival of New Zealand and international arts. The globally recognised event celebrates people and culture, and showcases the unrivalled location, cultural diversity and vibrant energy of New Zealand’s largest city.
Auckland Arts Festival
BMW ISPS Handa New Zealand Open - The Hills & Millbrook, Queenstown
9 - 12 March, 2017
The pairing of world-class golf with some of the world’s most stunning scenery sounds too good to be true, but not in Queenstown. The New Zealand Open is played each summer at the exclusive The Hills course and Millbrook Resort. The golf is challenging, the scenery is breath-taking and off-course Queenstown offers world-famous wineries, top notch restaurants, luxury places to stay and masses of things to do.
New Zealand Open
Auckland City Limits, Auckland
11 March, 2017
Inspired by the legendary Austin City Limits in Texas, Auckland City Limits sophomore event will be held at Western Springs Stadium just 5 minutes drive from downtown Auckland. With over 40 acts from overseas and New Zealand, there is bound to be something for everyone.
Auckland City Limits
iD Dunedin Fashion Week - Dunedin
18 - 26 March, 2017
iD Dunedin Fashion Week sees some of the hottest talent from the fashion world, including overseas guests and retrospective celebrations, converge on the South Island region for a thrilling week of all things fashion. Fashion parades on the world's longest runway (the platform of the spectacular Dunedin Railway Station) and the iD International Emerging Designer Awards are two of the annual highlights.
iD Dunedin Fashion Week
WOMAD - New Plymouth
17 - 19 March, 2017
Known as the ‘world’s festival’, WOMAD brings together a selection of some of the biggest artists from round the globe with the aim of celebrating different forms of music, art and dance. It's held in the beautiful surroundings of New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park (a New Zealand 'Garden of National Significance). WOMAD is more than just the music the experience is enriched with tastes from around the world, various workshops and an ‘artists in conversation’ programme.
Balloons Over Waikato
March 22 -26, 2017
Balloons over is held annually in Hamilton and the five-day event has become a national icon. It attracts balloonists from all over New Zealand and around the world to experience the magic of the balloons. Over 130,000 spectators over 5 days will enjoy the amazing site of balloons ascending through the Waikato sunrise at 7.30am every morning.
Balloons Over Waikato
Pasifika – Auckland
25 -26 March 2017
The Pasifika Festival is a truly unique experience that has something for everyone. Pack a picnic rug, slide on your jandals and step into the relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere. Eleven authentic Pacific Island villages have their own performance stage and market setting, each with a distinctly unique vibe.
25 March - 2 April, 2017
Rotorua joined the Crankworx World Tour in March 2015 with its inaugural event hosted at the year-round, gondola accessed Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park. The 2017 event looks to be even bigger and attracts the best mountain bikers in the world. Descending on New Zealand’s coolest hot spot, athletes will discover the geothermal phenomenon that is Rotorua with exploding geysers, steam and bubbling mud pools, not to mention the genuine warmth and hospitality (manaakitanga) of Maori culture.