New Zealand has plenty of local and nationwide festivals throughout the year and the ones listed below are just the tip of the iceberg. Try to see at least see one Maori celebration during your visit. New Zealander’s love their food and wine and visitors will find that many of the events revolve around the fresh seafood and world-class wineries!
Bluff Oyster & Food Festival
In May, visitors flock to Bluff on the southern point of the South Island to enjoy the freshest oysters in New Zealand and all kinds of other seafood delicacies. There is plenty of entertainment such as oyster shucking, blindfolded competitions and live music.
Queenstown Winter Festival
In June, visitors and locals head to Queenstown to see international skiers race and perform during this popular festival. The celebration marks the beginning of the winter season and has taken place every year since 1975. There are fairs, parades, and shows topped off by an amazing fireworks display.
One of the most interesting cultural events is the Maori New Year. When the so-called Matariki star rises, the Maori celebrations begin. In Auckland, visitors can enjoy a range of traditional concerts, art and dancing.
Rally New Zealand
Word class rally car drivers and teams come to Auckland in August to race through the harsh New Zealand terrain. First held in Taupo in 1969, the event has been moved to Canterbury on the North Island since 1971. It forms part of the FIA Rally Championship calendar and is a must-see for car lovers.
Gisborne Wine & Food Festival
Nestled in the middle of New Zealand’s wine region on the east coast, the Gisborne Wine & Food Festival is a must over Labor Day weekend in October. Visitors can taste some of the best local wines while enjoying great music and food. Tickets for the event need to be purchased in advance.
Wellington International Jazz Festival
Jazz enthusiasts will love the International Jazz Festival, which takes place in November every year. For one week, enjoy a range of international musicians coming from all over the world.
The Auckland marathon is held annually in October (sometimes early November). Known for crossing Auckland Harbor which requires a 108 foot climb, the New Zealand race attracts about 9,000 runners from around the globe.
Caroline Bay Carnival
Running for roughly three weeks in December, enjoy music, dancing, rides and acts, culminating with a big fireworks display.