News | 4 January 2023
Share on social

Gardens Magic return is music to the ears for Pōneke

The iconic Gardens Magic concert series returns to the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā’s Soundshell for three weeks this month – so get ready to face the music.

Singer Toni Huata with a billowing purple cape in a dramatic outdoor setting.
Toni Huata photo credit Stephen A'Court

Wellington City Council is proud to be hosting this free event in its 43rd year, filling the summer nights with stunning sounds and a light display which transforms the gardens into a magical setting.

Gardens Magic programme

Head along with a rug and picnic and grab some friends and whānau for an evening of free entertainment from some of the best local talent around.

There’ll be something for everyone with music ranging from contemporary pop to indie to classical to rock.

Here’s what some of the artists have to say about their Gardens Magic experience and performing live.

Toni Huata, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata (Aotearoa Allstars | Thurs 19 Jan)

A Wellington-based group made up of artists from a number of award winning Kaupapa Māori music groups. The group aims to promote te reo Māori through music and having fun with the audience.

"I have performed and attended Gardens Magic at different times over the years and what I like about this festival is that it celebrates all genre of music, performance, culture and talent.

"Gardens Magic also celebrates Wellington and our arts culture here. In particular to our involvement, in the past and in 2023 with 'Puoro ki te Ao' and 'Aotearoa Allstars' we celebrate our reo, traditions, compositions and contemporary kaupapa Māori music for all to experience and enjoy.

"I love being in nature, it brings a beautiful mauri. I also like being with families, different cultures and sharing our music to uplift and heal others. We are lucky that this is a two-way process and we receive a lot of positivity in return. The good thing with Gardens Magic is that it is a family audience, it's fresh into Raumati 2023, and we are sharing our reo with the multitudes.

"I'd like to thank Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Whanganui a Tara for your tautoko and WCC for hosting this stunning festival. We are coming up to 3 years of the arts industry being hit hard, a lot of loss personally and professionally for many, so let's give ourselves the space to celebrate in 2023 at Gardens Magic."

Singer betty performing with guitar in front of microphone in room setting.

betty (betty | Weds 25 Jan) - UPDATE: Due to personal reasons betty will not be performing this season.

At just 17, betty’s debut single 'thedumbthingsyoudo' was recorded early last year and has been gathering momentum on Spotify ever since.

betty’s distinctive voice with a clear crisp tone and smoky depth carries her songs, and the listener, on a soft indie pop journey.

"I love the atmosphere at Gardens Magic and the dynamic between the audience and performers.

"It's a great time to perform as everyone is in such a good mood in the summer environment outdoors. 

"This is the biggest gig I have done to date and I'm looking forward to performing live again as I haven't been able to in a while.

"I'm so pleased to be given this opportunity to perform and get more experience and exposure in Wellington as I progress as a musician."

Loveshack performing on stage.
Love Shack

Rob Joass (Love Shack | Sun 29 Jan)

Love Shack is your ultimate 80's party band featuring some of New Zealand's finest and most experienced musicians. Relive the magical days of dancing the night away, rocking out to your favourite songs of the 80's.

"I’ve performed at Gardens Magic before, most recently with my other band Hobnail in 2018.

"I’ve also been in the audience many times, most memorably to see the Warratahs, Sam Hunt, Darren Watson with Smokeshop, and The Frank Burkitt Band.

"It's always a great atmosphere, family friendly, we usually have a group of us with picnic blankets and food. Great night out. For free!

"Playing to a large crowd in such a beautiful setting is a joy. I love playing with Love Shack and can't wait to see how the audience will respond. We are an unashamed nostalgia show and our audiences are usually up and dancing from the first song."

Gardens Magic Concert Series

Āhea | When 8pm–9.15pm, Tuesday 10 - Sunday 29 January 2023
Ki hea | Where Botanic Garden Ki Paekākā Soundshell | 
View on Google Maps
Te utu | Cost Free


Kids Garden Trail 

Āhea | When 10am-5pm daily, Tuesday 10 - Sunday 29 January 2023
Ki hea | Where Botanic Garden Ki Paekākā | 
View on Google Maps
Te utu | Cost Free

Enjoy a free, fun summer’s day out with the kids, exploring the Kids Garden Trail. Join our Space Explorer in her voyage discovering the remarkable plants and animals of the Botanic Garden. Pick up a mission report activities sheet at the Tree House or Space Place or find online in January.

Light Display 

Āhea | When 9pm-10.30pm daily, Tuesday 10 - Sunday 29 January 2023
Ki hea | Where Botanic Garden Ki Paekākā | 
View on Google Maps
Te utu | Cost Free

As the sun sets see the gardens transform with a magical light display by MJF Lighting.

We encourage everyone to use public transport or walk, ride, scoot or car share to avoid parking frustration during this busy time. If you do drive, remember to Drive Safe, Drive Sober.

For more information about Gardens Magic and the full programme visit and keep an eye on Council’s social media channels for weather updates.