Festivals in New Zealand - Celebrate the Kiwi Culture

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In addition to its diverse scenic beauty, New Zealand also hosts many significant and fun-filled festivals around the year. While some of the festivals in New Zealand, give you a glimpse of the Māori culture, others let you appreciate the stunning food and others centre exclusively around the diverse social artistic expressions of New Zealand as well as the world. Music festivals are also quite popular with focus on styles like rock, electric and punk. 

Check out the list of some of the most famous summer and winter festivals in New Zealand below:

Famous Summer Festivals in New Zealand

  1. Rhythm and Alps

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This festival brings together world-class bands, DJ’s and festival-goers to celebrate the new year’s eve together. The best way to celebrate the festival is to camp here, either put up a tent or go glamping. The sister festival of Rhythm and Vines, it is one of New Zealand's biggest and best music festivals. Spend your New Year's Eve soaking up the majestic scenery while enjoying this music and camping festival.
Dates: 29th - 31st December.
Location: Cardrona Valley, Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand.

  2. Rhythm and Vines

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Held in Gisborne, the first place to witness the sunrise, the festival is globally famous as the first one to welcome the first sunrise of the New Year. Held over a period of three days, it is the sister festival of Rhythm and Alps. It is a huge socio-cultural event with many top artists coming from around the world to perform their gigs of rock and electronic music in front of over 3,50,000 people from various countries and backgrounds. 
Dates: 28th - 31st December.
Location: Gisborne, North Island, New Zealand. 

  3. WOMAD

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Short form for World of Music, Arts and Dance, the festival brings together artists from different parts of the world and collaborates with different cultures. Focused on folk music and other art forms, its primary aim is to inform and create awareness of the value and potential of a multicultural society. An interesting twist in this festival is "Nova Energy - Taste The World", where artists swap instruments and microphones for cooking utensils and unusual ingredients. 
Dates: Second week of March.
Location: TSB Bowl of BROOKLANDS, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

  4. Traditional Māori Kai Festivals

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Visiting New Zealand and not attending any Māori cultural festival is like going to Starbucks and not having coffee. The Māori Kai is a chain of festivals that take place across the nation at different times of the year. This gives the tourists an opportunity to experience the incredible culture of the Māoris during any time of the year. You get to enjoy some of the best Māori food like wild pork, kebabs, mountain oysters, mussels, etc. Some of the famous Māori festivals are Kāwhia Kai Festival, Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival and Te Rā o Waitangi. 
Dates and Location: Varies with every festival. 

  5. Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

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One of the best food festivals in New Zealand, it is heaven for all you foodies out there. The festival brings in some of the most mouth-watering delicacies from the west coast like marinated tuna, smoked salmon, whitebait patties and the traditional Maori Hangi among others. Moreover, you also get to enjoy various cultural events like the Feral Fashion Competition, After Party and music performances by various famous artists at the main stage of the event.
Dates: First week of March.
Location: Weld Street, Hokitika, New Zealand.

  6. World Buskers Festival

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World Buskers Festival is a unique festival where you get to witness some of the best busking pitches from around the world perform here at Christchurch. A large number of comedians, fringe artists, street performers, musicians and visual artists from the country and the world come together in this entertainment festival. On its 20th anniversary this year, the celebration will also include acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, hula hoop artists and many others. This makes it a festival where you can enjoy multiple genres of performances on a single stage. 
Dates: Mid January to the beginning of February.
Location: Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand.

Famous Winter Festivals in New Zealand 

  1. Matariki

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The winter celebration of lights, Matariki festival is held in mid-June. A festival of the Maori New Year, the roads and markets of the city are lit up, and food counters selling hot mulled wine and food are set up all over the place. Also, the epic firecrackers show that light up the skies are worth the watch. Relish the food, mulled wine and cider from the stalls, take a stroll to enjoy lit-up streets, and enjoy the fireworks. Other celebrations include kite-flying and Maori Art exhibitions. 
Dates: 20th June - 15th July.
Location: Changes every year.

  2. Queenstown Winter Festival

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Held in June and lasting for one week, this festival is held annually since 1975 and creates a lot of buzz and excitement among the people of the city and adds a buzz for Queenstown in winter. One of the most awaited events, it attracts over 45000 people every year who come to enjoy live music, comedy, fireworks, treasure hunts, delicious food, polar lake plunging and much more!
Dates: 21st - 23rd June (Mid-June)
Location: Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand.

  3. Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival

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This annual festival delights chocolate-lovers with a week of irresistible chocolate events including chocolate decorating, chocolate painting, chocolate facials, as well as the iconic Cadbury Crunchie Train. The biggest event is the Jaffa race where we see giant Cadbury chocolate balls rolling down what is said to be the world’s steepest residential street: the Baldwin Street. The event is not only a delight for the taste buds, but also raises money for charity. Since 2002, almost $1 million has been generated for charities such as the Surf Lifesaving, Make a Wish and Cure Kids.
Dates: 16th - 22nd July.
Location: Various locations in Dunedin.

With such a rich cultural heritage, New Zealand certainly has its fair share of unique experiences to offer travellers! If any of these festivals in New Zealand aroused interest in you, check out our travel packages to find out how you can get there!

This post was published by Vidushi Nigam

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