Events for everyone to take a shine to this summer

4 December 2019

December is upon us, which means the events calendar is filling up with festivals, fairs, parades, exhibitions, shows, and activities happening all over the capital.

Hundreds of people sitting around the edge of a lagoon at night.

Acting Mayor Sarah Free says the next few months will have everything under the sun, with most events free and accessible to all.

“We’re proud partners of the New Zealand Festival 2020 and the Fringe Festival – but we’re also huge supporters of the hundreds of free, fun, whanau-friendly, and diverse events coming to Wellington this season.

“We invest in the creative sector through numerous funding channels and a large support network, developing and retaining local talent and attracting artists from outside the capital – and this is rewarded in dividends with a vibrant, entertaining and exciting city.”

Councillor Nicola Young, Arts, Culture and Events portfolio lead says support of the creative community benefits everyone in Wellington.

“Wellington City Council has always been an advocate for the arts and cultural communities, providing funding opportunities, venues, expert advice and support, and forging strong relationships over the years.

“We now have a world-class creative, diverse and innovative reputation with a high quality of life which appeals to locals and visitors alike,” says Councillor Young.

Events are happening in the heart of the city, on the waterfront, and around our communities, so check out the Council’s events page to make sure you don’t miss out. Here are just some of the highlights for your diary:

7-8 Dec | The Wellington Underground Market is open every Saturday and Sunday in December with over 100 stalls of local artists and designers under one roof.

Sat 7 Dec | Strathmore Christmas in the Park – Head to Raukawa Reserve from 5pm-7pm for an afternoon of free whanau friendly festive fun.

Sat 7 Dec | Johnsonville Christmas Parade – Join thousands of spectators for an exciting parade of festive floats, colourful characters and Santa himself.

Sun 8 Dec | Khandallah Village Street Fair – The annual Khandallah Street Fair is open to all ages from 10am-2pm in the Cornerstone Community Centre. Enjoy food, performances, and pick up some early Christmas presents from the quality stallholders.

10 Dec – 27 Apr | Suffrage in Stitches Exhibition – An exhibition of 546 individually designed textile art panels representing people who signed the Suffrage Petition in 1893 at Wellington Museum.

13-22 Dec | Toi Pōneke’s – The Toi Three Hundy annual residents’ exhibition is a chance for Christmas shoppers to grab a last-minute art bargain, with all artworks $300 or under.

Sat 31 Dec | New Year’s Eve – Come along to a family friendly New Year’s Eve celebration at Whairepo lagoon (Frank Kitts Park lagoon). Bring together friends and whānau, grab a seat and get ready to bring in the New Year with great music, food trucks and fireworks.

Sat 31 Dec | Summer City – Kick-off three months of over 70 events in Summer City’s 41st year. wellington.govt.nz/summercity

Tue 8-Sun 27 Jan | Gardens Magic – Wellington’s favourite free concert series starts on Tuesday 7 January 2020 for 18 nights of Aotearoa’s best and brightest talent plus international acts being showcased on the Botanic Garden Soundshell stage.

Sat 18 Jan | Pasifika Festival – The sights, sounds and flavours of the Pacific come together at Odlins Plaza to celebrate our Pacific communities with a day of traditional and contemporary music, performances, delicious food, and whanau friendly activities.

Sat 25 Jan | Kids Magic in the Dell – Head to the Dell in the Botanic Garden on Saturday 25 January with a picnic, the whole whanau, and be entertained with musicians from Orchestra Wellington, face painters, bubbles, and so much more.

1-2 Feb | Chinese New Year Festival – One of Wellington’s favourite cultural events returns with another explosive programme. Asian Events Trust is proud to present the Chinese New Year Festival 2020, the Year of the Rat. 

Weds 5 Feb | Whanau Film Night – Enjoy a programme of short films from Māoriland Film Festival followed by New Zealand favourite, Hunt for the Wilderpeople at Waitangi Park as part of our Waitangi celebrations.

Thurs 6 Feb | Te Rā o Waitangi – Celebrate our national day with live music, kapa haka and kai on Wellington’s Waterfront.

Thurs 6 Feb | Kotahi – Kotahi is an annual, all ages music festival held in the natural amphitheatre at Kahurangi. Tiki Taane, Ria Hall and Laughton Kora are the amazing artists joining for Kotahi 2020!

Sun 9 Feb | Island Bay Day in the Bay – Head to the South Coast for a day of carnival rides, entertainment, and food stalls.

Other events happening over summer:

Queens Wharf summer programme

5pm-8pm, 24 Jan-28 Feb | Under the Sails on the Waterfront

Every Friday for six weeks there’ll be a summer mix of events, live music and family fun for all ages. wellington.govt.nz/events/annual-events

Taranaki Street Wharf summer programme

5pm-8pm, Dec-Feb | Odlins Plaza on the Waterfront

Every Thursday and Friday night for six weeks there’ll be a summer mix of outdoor movies, live music and fun. wellington.govt.nz/events/annual-events

There will also be Salsa at Sunset every Thursday in February.

Performance Arcade

In February 2020 The Performance Arcade is returning to Wellington waterfront with an entirely FREE programme of live art, music and performance. This specially curated event will feature a broad selection of new performance installations by NZ and International artists: offering spectacular and intriguing arts encounters for all ages, performances unfold in a unique architectural arrangement of shipping containers.

20-23 Feb, 27 Feb-1 March, 10am-11pm. Waitangi Promenade, Wellington Waterfront. Full programme: www.theperformancearcade.com, IG: @theperformancearcade

Summer Shakespeare presents – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Fri 14 Feb–Sat 29 Feb

Love turns the world upside down. Clothes and social skins are shed, nice people turn nasty and imaginations run riot. Expect ferociously beautiful poetry, robust physicality, anarchic invention and a donkey, as Shakespeare’s oh-so-magical play is brought to life this summer. http://summershakespeare.nz/

Visit wcc.govt.nz/summercity or wellington.govt.nz/events or wellington.govt.nz/gardens-magic for information on these events, and many more. For updates or postponements keep an eye on Wellington City Council’s Facebook page.

Some of our facilities and services have reduced opening hours during holiday periods. Visit our holiday hours website section for all the information you need.