Auckland Festivals

Civic Theatre
Civic Theatre, home of the International Film Festival

Feels like there’s a festival every week at the moment in Auckland. Thought it might be useful to share a selection I know of and when to look out for them…

Films Festivals
International Film Festival, Late July, early August. The big one, three weeks of cinematic bliss across half a dozen venues in the city. Look out online for details of repeats of the most popular films from the festival during the final few days. Also look out for their Autumn long weekend in April showing classic films at the Civic, usually including at least one Kubrick classic
Rialto film festivals, seemingly every other month. They include Architecture and Design (early to mid May), Italian, French, Japanese, African, and films made in 48 hours
Documentary Edge Film Festival, late May. Documentaries from around the world (though there’s also a lot of good documentaries in the International Film Festival), showing at the Q Theatre, along with free talks and Q&A sessions
Academy Cinema. Ad hoc celebrations of famous directors usually. Beneath the city library on Lorne St this is a bit of a gem, and very cheap, $5 films on Wednesdays
Show Me Shorts Film Festival. November. The only Academy Awards accredited film festival in New Zealand, showing the best of short films from New Zealand and around the world

Arts Festivals
Auckland Writers Festival, Mid May. Along with the International Film Festival, it is my favourite festival, filling a weekend (and a few evenings the week before) at the Aotea Centre. Makes one feel more intelligent just sitting listening to intelligent people talk, including this year Haruki Murakami, David Mitchell, and Tim Winton. There’s enough free events, including some top writers, to fill the whole weekend
Auckland Arts Festival, now annually in March. This attracts some pretty eclectic shows from around the world, generally including lots of firework related action at the Domain
Fringe Festival, February. Runs before the main Auckland Arts Festival and is a great start to the arts year (nothing happens in January), with a huge number of new show in a few weeks, most of which are at the Basement, my favourite theatre
Artweek, mid October. Loads of events in galleries across town and public places
Auckland Festival of Photography, June. Special exhibitions and events at galleries across town

Music Festivals
Waiheke International Jazz Festival, Easter. Nice way to end the summer season
Westfest, March. For those who like to rock!
Laneways, February. Great place to discover new acts

Other Festivals
Auckland Heritage Festival, October. Huge number of (usually) free events to learn more about the city, much more history than you might expect. Particularly recommend the various guided walks including K Road, Symonds St Cemetery and Ponsonby, and the tour of the Civic Theatre is amazing (and fills up very quickly)
International Comedy Festival, Late April to early May. Seemingly takes over almost every venue in town
Auckland Architecture Week, September. Interesting selection of talks and panel discussions
Pasifika Festival, March. The biggest Polynesian festival in the world, great atmosphere, food and music
Lantern Festival, February. Doesn’t change that much each year but is definitely worth going at least once for the lanterns, performances and food

Plus most areas will have their own festivals such as the Grey Lynn Park Festival (November).

Author: jontycrane

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