Auckland’s exciting new winter festival, Elemental AKL, will see the light of day for the first time this July. The month-long festival is set to transform Tāmaki Makaurau into a stunning creative canvas with more than 40 free and ticketed events taking place in bars and eateries, theatres, hotels, public spaces and more.
Elemental plays on the elements of air, fire, earth, and water to create a unique and inspiring programme of events themed around sensational cuisine, dazzling lighting installations, and impressive entertainment and culture.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) has worked with event partners from throughout the region, along with the local food sector to create a new festival to liven up what is a traditionally quieter period for New Zealand’s largest city.
Locals and visitors will have their pick of everything from Shakespeare, live music, art and performances, food shows, craft beer and boutique wine events, to special menus and progressive dinners.
A range of family friendly events will include ice skating, Māori dance and storytelling, giant glowing puppet shows, and lighting installations in local parks, down central city streets, and on Auckland’s iconic Harbour Bridge.
ATEED General Manager Destination, Steve Armitage says Elemental is designed to make Auckland a more compelling visitor destination during winter, but will also add more vibrancy for those who live here.
“A key focus for ATEED in delivering the Destination AKL 2025 strategy is to encourage a more even spread of visitors throughout the region, particularly in the seasons which are traditionally quieter like winter,” he says.
“To do this we need to create more reasons for people to visit Auckland outside of the peak visitor periods, and so with the support of our local events industry and other key partners we have developed Elemental, an exciting new winter festival programme of events, experiences and activities throughout the month of July.
“We are looking forward to revealing the full line up of events in late April but wanted to start spreading the word now that something exciting is coming this winter.”
As a small taster of what’s to come, the first light-inspired events for Elemental are revealed alongside a delectable region-wide cuisine event.
Visitors can step into Albert Park’s interactive playground to experience Tūrama - a living art piece, juxtaposing the existing environment with a radiant array of lighting installations throughout this popular inner-city space. Over four days Albert Park will transform into an immersive space where people can play, listen, watch, eat and engage. With the park as their canvas people can explore curated sensorial experiences, including projection mapping, interactive light-art, fire and performance. A variety of cultural outlets will provide a healthy and diverse selection of food and beverages. This free, luminous event will take place from July 25-28.
Stellar is an after-dark experience bringing innovative and interactive lighting installations, food and music to Smales Farm in celebration of Matariki, the Maori New Year. Take the journey by foot as the stars look down into an optic wonderland and spot the roving entertainment and DJs along the way. Stay warm with the delicious food offerings and hot coffee on site, making for a real night-time treat for families and friends to share together. This three-day event takes place from July 12-14.
InMotion Matariki, the magical, all-wheels, illuminated parade in celebration of Matariki on July 6. Audiences are encouraged to decorate their wheels to the theme of Matariki and join Touch Compass “in motion” on a journey of discovery through the urban maze of Wynyard Quarter. Bring your wheels - whether a bike, scooter, wheelchair, billy-cart, skateboard, unicycle, or power chair. The parade is a fun, free, and fully-accessible family friendly event.
The Matariki Glow Show
The Matariki Glow Show is a giant-scale puppet show like no other. Watch the magic unfold as more than 40 glow-in-the-dark characters some from Māori myth and legend – including a 5-metre Taniwha – light up the stage to tell a delightful story about the Matariki stars as they prepare for the Māori New Year. Rich in Te Reo Māori, this cutting-edge, glow-in-the-dark puppet show will have kids on the edge of their seats with catchy tunes, lively characters and a whole lot of fun. The Matariki Glow Show is the perfect opportunity to get the family, a pre-school or school group together, to learn about Māori myth and legend with an upbeat and engaging performance. Shows are on throughout the region in July.
Lights Out on Great Barrier Island
Hop on a ferry or a plane to witness the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Island by night. Take part in an impressive series of activities themed around astronomy, from photography competitions, navigation lessons, sundial making, and an Island ball. With the island’s lights ‘off’ visitors are in for a truly compelling and magical display of the night’s sky. Programme dates to be announced soon.
Fine dining restaurants, cafes, bars & pubs, and food trucks will plate up a unique festival dish or menu using ingredients sourced from the Auckland region and inspired by the elements. Audiences can take their taste buds on an unforgettable culinary tour of Auckland’s world-class food scene. Elemental Feast will reveal its full smorgasbord of eateries soon.
Expect further announcements over the coming weeks as Auckland prepares to inject vibrancy, colour and excitement to the region this winter.
Keep up to date with festival announcements, calendars, accommodation and travel detail via elementalakl.co.nz.