What's On

21 Brilliant Things To Do In Auckland This May

By Marilynn McLachlan - 02 May 2016

things to do in auckland in may, what's on, auckland guide

We’re almost half way through the year (how on earth did that happen??!!) but trust us, the City of Sails just keeps on delivering awesome things to do so there’s no reason to slow down or begin your winter hibernation—there’s time enough for that.
This month there’s plenty of music, theatre, films, art, markets and even something extra-special for wine lovers.

NZ Music Month | All Month

Celebrate our home-grown musical talent throughout the month of May. For 31 days, there will be more than 800 events held in schools, libraries, parks, on our screens and on our stereos so get out and about and support our local musicians. 

NZ International Comedy Festival | 22nd April—15th May

It’s a new month, but the NZ International Comedy Festival is still going strong with hilarious performances throughout Auckland. If you haven’t been to a show yet, check out the debut performance from Renee Lyons, Tinderella, grab whanau and friends for a great night of comedy at the Te Pou Theatre in New Lynn, join Jeremy Elwood for a Three Night Stand or head to Q Theatre for Keep Out Of My Box, a multi-character mini-musical. Fave comedian Chopper is performing Heath Franklin’s Chopper, but if you’re still not sure what to go to, check out the NZ International Comedy Festival website for details of the full line up.

Rudimental | 4th May

Drum and bass band Rudimental hit Vector Arena to play their biggest headline show to date. Going from strength to strength after the release of 2015’s We The Generation which included Platinum-selling single Lay It All On Me (featuring Ed Sheeran) and the new single Rumour Mill, they have played to near sell-out audiences around the world and is one of the best music events in Auckland this month. 

TEDx Auckland | 5th—6th May

Join more than 30 speakers who explore the theme Flipside at this year’s TEDx Auckland at Shed 10. The event kicks off on Thursday afternoon, with a fleet of food trucks to hit the hunger spot during the evening break. Talks on Saturday will be followed by a special two-hour lunch and an after party. It’s time to see old problems in a new way. 

The Man Who Knew Infinity | 5th—31st May

This British biographical drama tells the story of mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, who grows up poor in India and earns admittance to Cambridge University during WWI under the tutelage of Professor G.H. Hardy. The film is an emotional rollercoaster of war, racism, love and the burning desire for success. Jeremy Irons gives a stellar performance as the professor, as does Dev Patel as the mathematician. It is well worth seeing. 

Florence Foster Jenkins | 5th—31st May

Hollywood royalty, Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant are back on the big screen this month in the hilarious and heart-warming story of Florence Foster Jenkins. Based on true events, it tells the tale of the world’s worst singer who is protected from the reality of her abysmal voice by her wealth and over zealous husband, played by Grant. With a dream of performing in Carnegie Hall, the truth will be revealed—how will audiences react?  

To Kill A Mockingbird | 6th—22nd May

The Auckland Theatre Company brings To Kill A Mockingbird to The Civic this May. This classic story set in America’s Deep South, tells the story of lawyer Atticus Finch, played by Simon Prast, who struggles for justice when a black man is falsely accused of raping a white woman. Along the way he inspires his children Scout and Jem and pricks the conscience of a community steeped in hatred and hypocrisy. Get your tickets here. 

Space To Dream | 7th May—18th September

The first major exhibition in Australasia to introduce, in depth, the art of South America at the Auckland Art Gallery from May through September. It showcases the work of 41 artists, including some who have been internationally recognised for their contribution to art, as well as younger artists. It brings together paintings, sculpture, photography, film and performance from across six countries, making this one exhibition you won’t want to miss. 

Queens Wharf Block Party | 8th May

Inspired by the community congregations on New York’s east side in the 1970s, Queens Wharf will come to life with a plethora of creative art and displays, workshops, breakdancing, games and stalls. This is a free event, so get your party shoes on and get amongst. 

Glory Days Presents Mum Is The Word at MOTAT | 8th May

Celebrate that special woman in your life on Sunday as Glory Days and MOTAT take you back in time to the 1950s. You’ll be treated to vintage makeovers, fashion shows, personalised portraits, market stalls, dance lessons, photo shoots and more!  

Auckland Writers Festival | 10th—15th May

We love the Auckland Writers Festival so much we included it in our list of 50 Things You Should Have Done If You Live In Auckland. Bringing the world to our fair city, there are more than 120 events during the festival, so there’s really something for everyone. See our guide to The Auckland Writers Festival here. 

Drag Wars | 13th May

Add a little spice to your Friday night as DRAG! Performers compete for prizes, bar tabs and cash—and the title of Miss Drag War May. Hosted by Kita Mean and Anita Wiglit, you’ll be laughing in your seat throughout the evening. Every member of the audience receives tipping bills on arrival and a ballot paper to vote for the winner. 

Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Show On Ice | 13th—15th May

Hailed as one of the best family shows of this decade, and brought to you from the creators of Cirque du Soleil, audiences can expect the spectacular at Ice Age Live! Held at Vector Arena and starring the beloved characters from the three Ice Age movies, it tells the story of Manny, Sid and Diego as they set out to rescue young mammoth Peaches when she is kidnapped by an evil bird. There will be LED screens, pyrotechnics and acrobatics performed by world-class athletes—all ensuring a great time.

Winetopia 2016 | 20th—21st May

New Zealand can pat itself on the back as being a true wine success story, and this May, it’s our chance to appreciate all the vineyards and cellar doors sprinkled throughout the country with Winetopia. Held at Shed 10 over two days, you’ll be able to savour the world of reds, whites and more while being offered a range of mouth-watering food options. There will also be entertainment, so head along, raise a glass and celebrate the fun, the stories and the people that make our favourite drops. 

Everest Untold | 20th May—4th June

The story of Sir Edmund Hillary has become a part of the Kiwi psyche, but on his journey to conquer the world’s most formidable mountain, he was not alone. The stories of the two men who accompanied him—Brit Sir John Hunt and fellow New Zealander, George Lowe—will be told at the Herald Theatre stage this June. It’s a tale of friendship, rivalry, brotherhood and what it means to be a team—and what it means to be left behind. 

The Block Party | 20th May

Brought to you by Talk later, Mai FM and Red Vodka + Energy, The Block Party is an urban music festival that encompasses great artists and great production. This is strictly R18 and includes stage artists like Tomorrow People, Che Fu & The Krates, PNC and Times X Two, so audiences can expect an awesome evening out.  

General Collective Autumn Market | 21st May 16

The General Collective returns to Ellerslie for an epic day with more than 130 stalls as well as a huge selection of street food vendors serving up food, coffee, fresh juice, smoothies and fine tea. Take along some cash and shop amongst the stalls for homewares, art, jewellery, fashion and more. 

Blue Man Group | 24th—29th May

In an event that defies categorisation, The Blue Man Group comes to The Civic this month for a journey that promises to be funny, intelligent and visually stunning. More than 35 million people from around the globe have seen one of the various productions of the Blue Man Group productions, and now it’s your enjoy the trio of bald and blue performers.

Bike Night Film Night | 24th & 26th May

If you’re into biking in a big way, head along to Academy Cinemas for an award-winning collections of stories that will include everything you’re looking for in a film—action, drama, humour and even romance, making you fall in love with your bike all over again. 

Auckland Art Fair | 25th—29th May

After a three-year break, the Auckland Art Fair returns this May at The Cloud. This year, the focus shifts to encompass the wider Pacific region, and will include parts of Asia, the west coasts of America and Latin America as well as a mix from New Zealand’s top galleries. While you’re there, take advantage of the fact that Peter Gordon (of The Sugar Club fame) is curating all culinary offerings—including a pop-up restaurant on the mezzanine level of The Cloud. 

Evita | 28th May—18th June

Another of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s productions hit Auckland this May and we couldn’t be happier! Evita tells the story of Eva Peron, the wife of a former Argentine dictator, and her rise to wealth, power and iconic status—ultimately regarded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’. Held at The Bruce Mason Centre and with more than 40 performers, this musical is sure to dazzle. 

Want more? Here are 50 Things To Do In Auckland For Less Than $50

Image credit: Luxor

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