Transforming Auckland into a captivating destination during winter months

A plan is underway to make Auckland an unmissable winter destination, to bring more visitors to the region in quieter months when spare capacity exists.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) is working with event, tourism, hospitality and other partners to create and promote a captivating programme of events in the region each July. 

As Auckland’s destination management and marketing agency, ATEED is developing a winter festival identity. The organisation will promote it as the centrepiece of winter domestic tourism campaign, as well as curate the line-up of events and invest in events where necessary.

ATEED General Manager Destination Steve Armitage says the winter festival grew out of discussions with Auckland’s industry leaders during the development of Destination AKL 2025, Auckland’s shared strategy for its visitor economy.

“We believe Auckland has all the ingredients to be a world-class winter destination. We want to bring all of these elements together to celebrate and showcase Tāmaki Makaurau each July, with the aim of stimulating domestic and international visitation during the quieter time of the year. 

“The intent is for this to become an established annual event where people will have an unforgettable and uniquely Auckland experience, whether it’s savouring local food, beer or wine, rugging up to watch or take part in an outdoor event in our stunning landscape, or enjoying a special offering created by Auckland’s rich arts and culture scene.

“Our major events, tourism and economic development teams will be working with our contacts across the region to create and grow this new Auckland festival, and we’re keen to hear from potential partners who want to be part of it.” 

ATEED is calling for expressions of interest, including event concepts, until 1 November 2018. 

Events and activity will need to align to the broad themes of the over-arching events programme – food and drink, lighting, and/or Auckland’s Māori and Pacific cultures.

Organisations can get involved in Auckland’s Winter Festival Programme in one of two ways. 

They can apply for event funding or apply to be included on a marketing-only basis, to be promoted in the context of the festival identity in Auckland’s winter marketing campaign.  

ATEED’s Head of Major Events, Stuart Turner, says initial interest has been strong.

“We put the call out to our established events, tourism, food and beverage, and hospitality contacts at the start of the month, and feedback has been very positive. 

“There are some really interesting ideas for new events out there, and a number of existing events open to shifting the timing or tweaking their event to align with this new initiative.

“We’ve also had positive feedback about the push to reduce seasonality in the local visitor economy, using major events and marketing activity to attract domestic and international visitors and really enliven Auckland in the low visitor season.

“We’re keen to hear from people who might not have previously worked with ATEED, who have an idea that aligns to our themes and meets our criteria, that would help make Auckland the place to be in July.”

Each individual event or activity is not expected to draw visitors on its own, but to contribute to the overall festival which will make Auckland an appealing winter destination.

ATEED is seeking expressions of interest, including event concepts now. While submissions close on 1 November 2018, the Winter Festival Programme team is keen to start discussions early, so contact ATEED about your idea as soon as possible. Email to request a call back. 

ATEED is holding an information session about the Winter Festival Programme, in its city centre offices on Tuesday, 23 October. Email to register your interest in attending.

A detailed description of the Winter Festival Programme including eligibility criteria, and how to connect with ATEED are available at

Chris Gregory
ATEED Media Manager
Contact Chris