News | 4 October 2021

Summer City through the '80s

Relive the '80s in Pōneke with over 500 digitised photos of Summer City, thanks to the team at Wellington City Archives.

A group of people in fantasical colourful and shiny costumes stand around in a public garden.
Citation: Wellington City Archives, 00557-319-23

For over 40 years, Summer City has been entertaining locals and visitors alike with a huge variety of free events spread across the warmer months of the year.

The Topp Twins perform outdoors with a guitar in the 1980s.
Topp Twins perform at Summer City - Citation: Wellington City Archive, 00557-311-11

The first Summer City was held in 1979 and featured a series of outdoor music concerts and whānau friendly activities. It started as a way to employ local musicians, artists and students and just kept growing.

A baker pours hundreds of eggs from a bucket onto a metre long pie base covered in bacon.
Making a giant bacon and egg pie - Citation: Wellington City Archives, 00557-321-19

From town and country displays with metre long pies, hay fights and farm animals to giant eyeballs and martial artists jumping through fire, Summer City has seen it all.

A person wearing a large yellow headdress and colourful costume makes a funny face at a giant fake banana.
Pineapple hat and giant banana anyone? Citation: Wellington City Archives, 00557-308-11

Over the past 40 years, Summer City has made a big impact on the Wellington way of life and is now a showcase for all the creativity and diversity the city has to offer. The festival is still going, kicking off on New Years Eve and running through to Waitangi Day.

Check out the gallery below for more colourful '80s nostalgia, and visit the Wellington City Archives website for the full collection.