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Napier Art Deco Weekend

The entire town of Napier relives the jazz age for one weekend in February, hosting hundreds of events across the Hawke’s Bay region. Locals and visitors don their best Gatsby-inspired garb, picnics and concerts fill the outdoor spaces and classic cars rumble through the streets. The Art Deco Capital of the World honours the Roaring Twenties with guided architecture walks, flapper parties, vintage movies and fabulous soirees.

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

Thousands of wine lovers descend on Marlborough annually for the Wine and Food festival – New Zealand’s first and longest running wine festival. Set among the region’s most renowned and scenic vineyards, including the country’s oldest, the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival features wine tutorials from leading viticulturists, fashion shows, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations and live music from the brass band ensemble.

Kawhia Kai Festival

Held to commemorate Waitangi Day – a public holiday marking the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi – the Kawhia Kai Festival celebrates New Zealand’s national day with traditional Maori food, dance, art and music. Taking place off the main tourist routes on the North Island’s west coast, Kawhia Kai is one of the most important indigenous festivals and offers an insight into Maori culture with plenty of sumptuous food to be shared.

Te Matatini – Maori Cultural Festival

The biennial Te Matatini festival is the world’s largest celebration of Maori performing arts. Te Matatini is a fierce national championship held over four days, where elite cultural artists via for top honours in traditional song, poi performance, haka and more. Best male leaders, female leaders, costumes and Maori language are awarded before a Nga Toa Whakaihuwaka (overall competition winner) is crowned. The 2015 Te Matatini will take place in Christchurch.


New Zealand Festival

Over 24 jam-packed days, cool capital Wellington hosts the annual New Zealand Festival. Played out over a handful of venues including the Embassy Theatre, Opera House and Soundings Theatre at Te Papa, New Zealand Festival is an eclectic variety of theatre, dance, music, film and visual arts. There are plenty of free and family-friendly events, with everything from comedic cabaret to symphonic orchestra on offer. Some 300 events make New Zealand Festival the top multi-arts festival in Australasia.


MarchFest Nelson

MarchFest brings craft beer and music together in Nelson – the only area in New Zealand that grows hops for local and international breweries. Nelson boasts more craft breweries per capital than anywhere in the country, with local crafters producing new pints especially for the festival. Crowds are kept entertained by folk, bluegrass, indie and electric jams, plus plenty of food stalls to complement the free-flowing beer.

Dunedin Fringe

Clocking up more than a decade showcasing alternative arts, the Dunedin Fringe Festival runs for 10 days in March to coincide with the Auckland, Wellington and Adelaide (Australia) Fringe festivals. Dance, circus, cabaret, comedy, visual art, film and theatre are presented by emerging and established artists, injecting the usually calm town of Dunedin with a heavy dose of creativity and culture.


Queenstown Winter Festival

The highlight of the snow season on the South Island is undoubtedly the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival. Nearly four decades on from its first instalment, the event has grown to become New Zealand’s biggest and best winter celebration. Mountain races, concerts, comedy, fireworks and street parties keep tens of thousands of keen snow seekers entertained for 10 days in late June.


Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Festival

Each year Dunedin hosts the Cadbury Chocolate Festival to the delight of chocoholics everywhere. One week sees the university town drizzled with chocolate tours, chocolate decorating, chocolate artworks and even chocolate beauty treatments. Home to Cadbury World where treats like Chocolate Fish and Dairy Milk blocks are produced, Dunedin caps off the celebrations with the iconic Jaffa Race down Baldwin Street – the steepest street in the world.


New Zealand Fashion Week

New Zealand Fashion Week is the country’s most prestigious platform launching new kiwi designers and cementing the reputation of industry heavyweights. Held at Auckland’s fashionable Viaduct precinct, NZ Fashion Week showcases cutting edge, contemporary and groundbreaking designs, with the cherry on top the Designer Selection Show held each night. There are also public events for budding fashionistas as well as the exclusive runway shows.


F.A.W.C! Hawke’s Bay

Hawke's Bay's Food and Wine Classic is a 10-day culinary extravaganza, celebrating the start of summer with an assortment of wine tastings, master classes, fruit picking and special restaurant events in the townships of Napier, Hastings and Havelock North. In June 2014 the Hawke’s Bay region will also host a winter instalment of F.A.W.C! where outdoor barbecues are replaced by cosy indoor fireplaces and full-bodied red wines are preferred over crisp whites.