The wellbeing of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s communities, land and sea is at the foundation of Summernova – the region’s dynamic summer festival series which will captivate residents and visitors alike through a long, hot summer.
Curated by Auckland Unlimited – the region’s cultural and economic development agency – on behalf of Auckland Council, Summernova has chosen a trio of charitable partnerships to ensure inclusion and sustainability are at the forefront of the programme.
The three partnerships are Bring People Dancing, a mental-health focused organisation who matches people in need with long-lasting experiences, Be. Lab, New Zealand’s leading access innovation lab and Sustainable Coastlines, an award-winning ocean sustainability charity which strives for beautiful beaches, healthy waterways, and to inspire people to care for their environment.
Steve Armitage, General Manager Destination at Auckland Unlimited says Summernova’s charity partners nicely represent the festival’s ethos of inclusivity and sustainability.
“We are proud to partner with three organisations that are doing an incredible job of drawing attention to some of the most crucial challenges we face as a community, and hopefully contribute to their important work.
“Summernova is a packed programme of events shaped around the 36th America’s Cup. We understand the unique opportunity we have this summer to create a legacy for our region, and that legacy will include an understanding of how transformative accessibility, mental wellbeing and improving the health of our waters is for us all,” says Steve Armitage.
The Summernova - Bring People Dancing partnership, which will connect nominated recipients with opportunities to attend and enjoy festival events, will ensure conversations about mental illness are encouraged during Summernova – which is an important first step in better understanding and making sure those with mental wellbeing issues know someone cares.
As co-founder Mitch Lowe explains, “Summernova features a range of positive experiences that will be ideal for people who may be struggling with mental illness, providing them with unforgettable memories and experiences that will hopefully help them push through the tough times.
“This year has been incredibly difficult for many Kiwis, resulting in an increase in mental health issues, so Summernova is shaping up as a great opportunity to reach those in need.”
Auckland Unlimited has also teamed up with Be. Lab to ensure events and activations in Auckland are inclusive and inviting to all New Zealanders, including the one in four who identify as having an access need.
Be. Lab has completed site assessments at core Summernova festival sites as well as the America’s Cup Village and carried out a series of workshops with festival event organisers and volunteers to ensure they understand the true meaning of accessibility.
Be. Lab Founder Minnie Baragwanath says: “Accessibility is a fundamental right of all New Zealanders, and while awareness of the challenges facing people with access issues is growing, it’s really pleasing to have a festival with the breadth of Summernova embrace true accessibility as a bedrock principle.”
Alongside Summernova’s diverse range of events, from wine festivals and live music to arts and cultural showcases and sporting events, Sustainable Coastlines will deliver several focused events, including large-scale beach clean-ups, workshops, a speaker’s event and other activations throughout the region.
Sustainable Coastlines Chief Executive Josh Borthwick says: “The America’s Cup is one of the most watched water-based events in the world, so there is no better time to focus attention on the plight of our precious oceans, which are under severe threat from litter and pollution.
“Our involvement in Summernova is the perfect way to connect with our community and talk about waste, sustainability and the many personal ways we can all help to stop pollution in our Hauraki Gulf and the Oceans surrounding Tāmaki Makaurau oceans.”