CubaDupa Festival of The Street

24 June 2014

Creative Capital Arts Trust proudly announce: CubaDupa Dance - Play - Do from 28-29 March 2015.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and the Mayor of Cuba Street Roger Young

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown with the Mayor of Cuba Street Roger Young


A celebration of the change of season. A transformation from the last party of summer to the first party of winter. CubaDupa brings all walks of life together in an immersive experience to ‘get on up’ during the day or ‘get on down’ in the evening.

Over the weekend of 28 and 29 March 2015, Wellington’s most iconic street will be transformed to a magical playground of light, sound and taste. At the new CubaDupa festival, restaurants will spill into the streets to create a culinary cacophony, people will flow through the streets and laneways, exploring the myriad of spaces filled with activity, music, dance, circus, theatre, and installation.

CubaDupa is an innovative and distinctive celebration of the creative spirit of Cuba Street and the Wellington community, drawing on the international influences of street festivals and carnival to create an extraordinary and unique experience.

"We are delighted to bring a major event back to the Cuba Street precinct, the creative and cultural heart of Wellington," says Artist Director, Drew James. "CubaDupa brings together the creativity, innovation and talents of artists, businesses, and our community to create a unique and exciting festival of the street that could only happen here in Wellington."

"There will be lots of opportunities to dress up, dance and be part of the action. We are looking for creative artists and projects to take part, from flash mobs to street theatre, décor to dance bands, and much more."

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said CubaDupa will unleash the extraordinary creative energy of the Capital. "Residents and visitors alike see the beloved Cuba Precinct as an essential part of Wellington’s built and cultural heritage," she said. "The return of a festival to celebrate the Cuba quarter will be exciting for the Capital."

Get amongst it - we’re looking for extraordinary work to be part of CubaDupa and, expressions of interest (artistic, community, hospitality, retail or volunteer) are open now at

A full programme of events will be announced early 2015. Get on Up and Get on Down at CubaDupa!

Additional information - a (very) short history of Cuba Street 

On 2 January 1840, the NZ Company’s ship Cuba arrived at ‘Port Nicholson’ bringing with it a survey party of 26 men led by head surveyor Captain William Main Smith. The group was charged with surveying and planning the new settlement of Britannia. Originally this flash new settlement was laid out in Petone - the streets were mapped out with wooden pegs, each plot of land was one acre in size. However it only lasted three months before the Hutt river flooded, forcing the men to journey across the harbour to try again. Hence we have a Cuba Street in Petone and ‘Port Nicholson’, which was later renamed ‘Wellington’.

Cuba Street was once the route of the Wellington trams. Following the removal of the rails, the middle section of the street was closed to traffic in 1965. Mayor Frank Kitts reopened ‘Cuba Mall’ in 1969 with a special new feature. Designed by architects and town planning consultants Burren and Keen, The Bucket Fountain is a major attraction that never falls short of attention!

In its 174 year history Cuba Street has a proud history of entertainment and is one of the busiest areas of pedestrian activity in Wellington. It is where people meet, shop, dine, study, create, and the best place in town to soak up the capital of cool’s culture.

Part of this rich history is the Cuba St Carnival. Held 1990 to 2009 it was New Zealands biggest street festival. CubaDupa aims to replace the hole left by the loss of Cuba St Carnival by creating an event that takes the celebration, family, fun, and community essence of Carnival, revolutionizing it - encouraging Wellingtonians and New Zealanders to immerse themselves in the inspiring creativity of this amazing place.

The street became a registered Historic Area under the Historic Places Act in 1995.

"...a place that embraces diversity and steadfastly refuses to be boring." - Grant Smithies, Sunday Star Times

The Team

  • Drew James, Artistic Director - Womad NZ, Taranaki International Arts Festival
  • Emma Giesen, General Manager - Creative Capital Arts Trust, NZ Fringe Festival
  • Miett Fear, Project Manager - The Lord of the Rings Wellington and World Premiere
  • Hannah Clarke, Liaison - NZ Fringe Festival
  • Brianne Kerr, Marketing Manager - NZ Fringe Festival
  • Josh Hopton-Stewart, Administration and Online Content Manager - NZ Fringe Festival

CubaDupa is governed by the Creative Capital Arts Trust. The core funder of the event is Wellington City Council, and Cato Brand Partners are the first sponsors who have lent their support to the naming and visual identity underpinning the CubaDupa strategy.

  • CubaDupa Vision: To be the most extraordinary, participatory and creative inner-city celebration in NZ.
  • CubaDupa Mission: To create an iconic grassroots creative event for Wellington that is unique, accessible, interactive and sustainable with the potential to grow.