One of the best ways to start your Christmas build up has to be to head along to your local Santa Parade! The atmosphere and colour can surely get even the most die hard Christmas lovers out with a smile on their faces!
Christmas Parades are held in many countries across the world and enjoyed by millions. In New Zealand the first Santa Parades were started by department stores in the early 1900's. The Parade heralded the arrival of Santa in store and of course was merely a marketing ploy to draw in the customers. It is understood the first Santa to be paraded on the way to the store was George and Kersley Ltd's "The Economic" store in Wellington.
Over the years, as department stores competed with each other the Santa Parades became bigger and more elaborate as well as the mix of characters growing bigger and bigger. Elves and fairies joined in the fun and as each department store tried to outdo the others elaborate staging was introduced. In the 1930's Armstrong's Santa arrived on an elephant and in 1937 Farmers Santa paracuted into the Auckland Domain!
After a break in the Parades during the Second World War these were again reinstated by 1948. In the 1980's the Parades were becoming too expensive for the department stores to run and the main ones were taken over by Charitable Trusts. Smaller ones are generally now run by the Local Council or Business Association in association with local sponsorship. Community and Volunteer groups also became involved.
So are you going to battle the traffic and crowds and head along to your local Santa Parade? It is worth the effort especially when you see the kids faces!
You can view lots of Parades to visit across New Zealand in our Santa Parade page.
“it's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine ... it's summertime!” This quote from Kenny Chesney kind of says it all really as we head into our long New Zealand summer. These early heady days where we are full of anticipation for the weather, glad the cold and wet seem to have been booted out the door, and getting ready for our relaxing summer holidays and therefore it's a great time to sit back and enjoy one of New Zealand's best loved Food and Wine Festivals in the abundant region of Hawkes Bay!
The F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic is an event held bi-annually and the array of crisp, clear summer wines, al fresco dining delights partnered with sweet summer sounds and stunning scenery make the summer event one to be put in the diaries.
With events such as Mission Vintage Garden Party at Mission Estate, Sunset BBQ with Al Brown Black Barn Vineyards, Art in the Olive Groves and Porchetta in the Vines at Trinity Hill Winery and a Masterclass with Ray McVinnie and Nici Wickes just a smattering of the wonderful events. Featuring some of New Zealand's top chefs, winemakers, artists, brewers and many more this 10 day event has it all for the food and wine lover!
Held this year from 3-12 November jump in that campervan or set yourself the task of seeking out one of those delightful B&B's across the region and enjoy the Summer Hawkes Bay Food and Wine Classic!
Get ready this weekend for a very Kiwi activity with the whitebait cook-off at the Westport Whitebait Festival on from 20-22 October!
Whitebait, for those who are unfamiliar, are typically just 1-2 inches long and travel in schools along the coast and into estuaries. They can be found in a number of countries including Australia, China, Italy, Japan, the UK and of course New Zealand. Whitebaiting is a seasonal activity with a legally fixed and limited fishing period and whitebait are often enjoyed in a whitebait fritter.
The West Coast is a well known whitebaiting area and showcases this in events including the Westport Festival. If you love whitebait, this is the festival for you!
Chefs compete to make the best whitebait dish bringing inspiration and flair that would make every little whitebait proud to be part of in the Whitebait Cook-off and the winner takes away the coveted Cook-off Trophy.
The Festival doesn't just involve the cooking and eating of lots of whitebait but also offers live music, market stalls, entertainment and fun for the whole family including the famous Whitebait Filleting Competition - hmmm, now that would be a spectacle to see just how much meat is left from a filleted whitebait!
There is a main entertainment stage which is located outside Westport’s iconic Clock-tower with a range of fabulous local bands and entertainers from across the country
This is a family friendly, a community event held annually on Palmerston Street during Labour weekend.
There is live music, entertainment, late night shopping, stalls, community and sports group fundraisers, food and drink, children's entertainment and lots of other fun activities. Stop in to see "The Great Whitebait Cook Off" - a competition & cooking display from local chefs, followed by "The Famous ".
So head along this weekend to the stunning West Coast of the South Island and enjoy just one of our wonderful truly Kiwi experiences!
The sea will be awash with waka action this weekend at the first ever Bay of Islands Waka Festival! A a 2 day event, with races for all ages – sprints, short distances and a long race. There are races for the novice, intermediate and experienced paddlers. This will be lots of fun if you are in the Bay of Islands area!
If you are however the other end of the country then colour is the theme at the Wanaka Festival of Colour ...
A programme of local, national and international arts. The Festival began on Tuesday and is a full 7 days and nights of "world class music, dance, theatre, comedy, visual arts and Aspiring Conversations. The Festival brings transformational moments and unforgettable experiences to the whole region".
There's never far to go to experience a great food and wine Festival in New Zealand and this weekend its the turn of the fifth, and very popular, A Taste of Matarangi Festival. Tucked away on the Eastern edge of the Coromandel Peninsula and within easy reach from Whitianga this beautiful sand spit borders the northern edge of the Whangapoua Harbour. Well worth a visit particularly at Festival time!
If you are in Havelock North you won't want to miss the Extravaganza Gypsy Market with their wonderful array of arts and crafts as well as lots of games, food and family fun. Great for unique and wonderful gifts and yet another spot to head this weekend if you are looking for unique and handcrafted items is the Te Atatu Artisan Market on Sunday when they are holding their EggSceptional Market and Easter Hunt!
If you don't find yourself in any of these areas this weekend there are still always lots of markets and great things happening so check out our Linku2 Markets Event Calendar to keep up to day with Markets and events every Saturday in Auckland and across the country and every Sunday in Auckland and across New Zealand.
So New Zealand is no exception when it comes to an amazing array of Festivals , whether Music, Art, Film or of course icon Kiwi events such as Gum Boot Throwing or The Sheep Run!
This post we thought we'd feature on a selection of up coming Film Festivals and give you plenty of notice to get these in your diaries...
First up this coming weekend you can celebrate the Maoriland Film Festival. Held between 15-19 March in Otaki, on the Kapiti Coast, this Festival is a celebration of indigenous cinema, that will take audiences from Aotearoa to the Arctic. With screenings, workshops and special events if you are in the lower part of the country this week then don't miss out!
Firstly, the Banff Mountain Film Festival. You don't need to be a snowboarder or mountaineer to appreciate the magnificence and majesty of mountains and the feats of those who attempt to conquer or spend time immersing themselves in the splendour of the company of a mountain range.
With films showing in 7 North Island and 5 South Island venues between mid May to early July there's bound to be something to get that heart beating and adrenalin flowing! Check out full details on their website.
The second film Festival you will want to diarise is the New Zealand International Film Festival. On between 20 July and 24 September and again across New Zealand in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. With currently four fabulous titles announced being Fitzcarraldo, Manhattan, Voyage of Time: Life's Journey and Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music, more films will be added throughout March culminating in what will once again be a Festival to remember.
For lovers of Short Films the Oscar accredited Show Me Shorts Film Festival, held from the beginning of October through to the second week of January is a no brainer. With Opening nights in Auckland on 1 October and Wellington on 13 October along with short film talks on 11 and 18 October the Festival tours right across New Zealand, and yes, encompasses many of our small centres such as Dargaville, Hokitika, Pahiatua and even travels as far afield as Stewart Island and yes, right down to Scott Base in Antartica!
With sessions including Secrets and Lies, Bump in the Night, Heartstrings, My Generation and lots more there are an array of great short films to suit all tastes. Entries are open now for any short film submissions.
Another film festival in New Zealand you can enjoy is the Wairoa Maori Film Festival. No dates appear to have been announced yet for 2017 but we'll keep you informed as we hear!
So head out and enjoy great films and entertainment right across New Zealand. For full details on lots of Kiwi Festivals and Shows visit our Events Calendar ...
Well very timely this week with Valentine's Day we thought we'd tell you about a fantastic festival for singles ...
In Lisdoonvarna in Ireland every year single ladies and men looking for love should head along to the Matchmaking Festival. This year running from 1 September to 1 October (so time for you to get your tickets and airfares together). As the Festival website tells us "Matchmaking is one of Ireland’s oldest traditions and, for the last couple of hundred years, a good deal of it has taken place in Lisdoonvarna during September and early October.Matchmaking began in Lisdoonvarna when the visiting gentry who were here to take the waters, wanted their accompanying children to be matched to their fellow “upper classes”. Traditionally they came in September after the harvest was gathered for a holiday…but the more serious business of arranging suitable marriages for their sons and daughters was high on the agenda. The potential match was done by the parents placing them together at social gatherings, sporting events and musical evenings. If the match was pleasing to all parties, their courtship was encouraged to blossom" Read more ...
Which leads us timely into the question of who exactly was St Valentine and why do we celebrate St Valentine's Day?
For those who are unaware St Valentine's story is actually more brutal than romantic! St Valentine was a Roman physician and Priest who came from the small town of Terni in Umbria. He was actually beaten, stoned and beheaded for marrying Christian couples. Because of this act he became known as the patron saint of love (his marrying not his beheading!) Hardly a very fitting end to a supposedly romantic story!
Terni is however a beautifully typical Italian town and advertises itself as the "City of Lovers" ...
So do you celebrate Valentine's Day and if so we hope you headed to one of your fabulous local markets this weekend all of which will have had some excellent unique items for that loved one!
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
For those with an unusual talent or ability the wonderful world of busking is always an option and for those with a lot of talent this can open opportunities to travel the world alongside some amazing experiences.
Busking Festivals are popular the world over and New Zealand is no exception. The World Buskers Festival in Christchurch is on over a 10 day period in January. It is held in a variety of venues and covers a huge range of genres.
Auckland hosts the International Buskers Festival on the waterfront over Auckland Anniversary weekend.
Nelson hosts the Nelson Buskers Festival, this year from 2 to 5 February in Nelson CBD and on the same weekend in Invercargill you could have experienced the Southland Buskers Festival.
Unfortunately these Festivals are all over now for 2017 however there is one, coming up on 24 to 26 February with a spectacular international line up. The Orewa Boulevard of International Buskers is held across a number of locations through the beautiful coastal town of Orewa just north of Auckland.
With acts including Sport Suzie with her crazy aerobics, sport and circus act. All the way from Venezuela the incredible aerial hoop gymnastics of La Dominique Zircus, performances from the award winning Mulletman with genuine comedy and skillful circus stunts and the amazing juggling and magic tricks from Kozo Kaos.
Including a performer showcase with over 16 performers at Muldoons carpark on Saturday 25 from 7 pm this whole weekend will be excellent.
If you'd like to spend the whole weekend in the beautiful Orewa and Hibiscus Coast region visit Orewa Beach website for details on accommodation and dining options as well as a full schedule for the Boulevard of International Buskers!
So it's February, the kids are heading back to school and it looks like summer has finally arrived - well in Auckland anyway and just in time for yet another month packed with great festivals, shows and markets.
There really is so much happening right across the country (and we are well aware that our calendar is missing so many more events so let us know about these) but we thought for this blog post we'd just concentrate on Auckland and what's coming up in the next couple of weeks!
This weekend is Waitangi Day and there are celebrations everywhere! If you want some great activities for the kids you can head to Hayman Park in Manukau on Monday 6 February from 9.30 am includes a great music line up. Or plenty of activities too from 10 am at Okahu Bay, Orakei and also at the Hoani Waititi Marae in Glen Eden from 9.30 am.
For those who love our fabulous Hauraki Gulf island of Waiheke on right now is the Headland Sculpture on the Gulf Festival with more than 30 artworks along a spectacular 2 km coastal walk, if you need an excuse to head to Waiheke here's a good one on from 27 January to 19 February. Or for those who love sand, sea, speed and lots of excitement later in the month on 26 February you can enjoy the Onetangi Beach Races from 10.30 am ...
If you haven't taken a trip yet to the Auckland Lantern Festival then this is a must. On from 9-12 February in the Auckland Domain from 4.30 pm onwards this is a fine display of Chinese culture including music, food, crafts, theatre, dance and martial arts displays. There are hundreds of lanterns and a grand finale fireworks display. If you are in East Auckland there are also performances, activities and lanterns from 5 pm on 9 February at Pakuranga Plaza.
For those who love diversity, light, colour and fun you won't want to miss the Auckland Pride Festival. With a great highlight with the Big Gay Out on Sunday 12 February at Coyle Park in Pt Chevalier and culminating in the Pride Parade on Saturday 25 February from 7.30 pm in Ponsonby Road the actual Festival runs from 10-26 February with over 80 events including concerts, sports, films, parties and theatre.
A little town in North Auckland which is becoming well known for it's wonderful diversity of events during summer is Orewa and they have their Boulevard Arts Festival on Saturday 11 February. With entertainment, food trucks, market stalls, amusement rides and art sales and a back drop of gorgeous Orewa beach this is a day out worth taking.
And last, but not least, for the sporting fans this weekend 4 and 5 February there is of course the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park and coming up the Black Caps v South Africa T20 on 17 February ...
What could be more fun than wandering around your local market. Fresh baking smells, lovingly handcrafted items, each one unique and special, delicious home grown produce - that's what we love and we hope you do too!