Auckland, prepare for one explosive weekend. With a variety of events to choose from, the big question is—which will you attend? Take advantage of the warm summer days and pack as much into your weekend as possible. Choose between several live-music events, plays and musicals, open-air film screenings and champagne parties.
Here are all the fantastic things to do in Auckland this weekend.
Are We There Yet? Women And Equality In Aotearoa
Don’t miss your chance to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage. This weekend is your last chance to see the moving exhibition that is Are We There Yet? Women and Equality in Aotearoa. On display at the Auckland Museum, you’re invited to explore the subject of gender equality from all angles. Delve into its history. Learn about the successes and speed-bumps the movement encountered along the way and ponder the future. Through a series of photographs and posters, the exhibition seeks to provoke thought and conversation into the subjects of equal pay, reproductive rights, gendered violence and body image.
Sounds of Summer in Aotea Square
Now that the jandals and sunnies have been pulled out from the depths of our cupboards, the summer season is officially here. To celebrate the warm days and bright sun, you're invited to Sounds of Summer—a series of free music events in the city centre. Held in Aotea Square, the theme this weekend is folk music. From world-folk, to indie, blues and contemporary fusions, expect to hear the genre in all its forms.
American Express Openair Cinemas
Launching this week, American Express invites you to Openair Cinemas in the open fields of Western Springs Stadium. Grab a bite and a brew from on-site vendors and enjoy live music before settling down for the night’s screening. Scheduled for this weekend is Bumblee showing on Friday, The Grinch on Saturday and Fantastic Beasts—the Crimes of Grindelwald on Sunday. Pop yourself down on the grass or upgrade to blankets, loungers or table-service. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your doggo, because they’re invited, too.
Disney’s Aladdin The Musical
Check out everybody’s beloved street thief, Aladdin, as he graces the stage of The Civic. Young or old, we’re all brimming with excitement. And in tow with the infamous entourage of stunning princess Jasmine and the comic Genie, amongst others, this Disney musical absolutely delivers. It has the most dazzling of costumes, impressive sets and decorations, a myriad of special effects and all the magic you’d expect from the live adaptation of a Disney classic. In awe of the performance, you’ll be singing Arabian Nights long after you’ve left the theatre.
1000 Doors At Aotea Square
Architecture, interior design, history, grungy spaces and endless mystery come together in the spectacular installation that is 1000 Doors. Dare to enter and you’ll find yourself stepping across threshold after threshold as you make your way through an endless series of doors, screens, gateways and portals. Explore the numerous vestibules and parlours within, each defined by previous inhabitants and the traces of their past. What you find within, is limited only by your imagination.
Walk into the circus tent of Cirque Grande and witness all sorts of astonishing performances. You’ll be amazed at the strength, skill and beauty of the performers who seem to have an endless supply of energy, providing entertainment all night long. The cheeky humour of Grande’s clowns will have you laughing until it hurts. The sense-defying tricks of their daring acrobats and bewildering magicians will leave you staring in awe, questioning the reliability of your eyesight.
Summer Night Sky At Stardome
If you’re after an enchanting evening, make your way to Stardome and immerse yourself in the magic of our solar system. Summer Night Sky is a presenter-led show which guides you through all the planets, stars and constellations visible in the sky. Held in the 360-degree immersive theatre, you’ll be able to relax in the reclining seats and enjoy the action upfront. The virtual tour is followed by a telescope viewing from the courtyard or observatory dome, where you’ll be able to take in all the astronomical beauty, wish upon some stars and get a pinch of education while you’re at it.
Richard III At Pop-up Globe
Get a bit of culture and a tad of history into your weekend with a visit to the Pop-up Globe to see Richard III. Transport 400 years into the past as you watch Shakespeare’s infamous play come to life in the Pop-up Globe—the space for which it was written. Admire the uncanny Jacobean costumes and the talent of all involved, from the actors to the musicians. Follow Richard III, a very likeable villain, as he rises to power by means of extortion, execution and manipulation. One-part morality tale, one-part black comedy, this drama will have you laughing through the evening and thinking all night long.
Friday 18 January
Dining In The Dark
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the famous company Dans Le Noir and their unique dining in the dark experience. Eating in complete darkness, the idea is to cut out vision thereby intensifying the other senses to enjoy every aspect of the food. Smell the complex aromas, feel the textures as they crunch and melt on your tongue and taste every note of flavour. Thanks to Rydges hotel, you can now take this sensory journey right here in Auckland. Featuring a three-course menu and optional wine pairing, the experience will cause you to re-evaluate your relationship with food. The menu will be kept secret and revealed upon completion of the dinner. Who knows, you might even discover a taste for something you would never have tried willingly.
Isle Of Dogs At Silo Cinema
If a free film screening under the open sky sounds like a bit of you, then head to Silo Park to catch Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Isle of Dogs, projected onto silo. Set in a dystopian future, the story depicts a world amid the ultimate cat vs dog conflict, and one boy’s struggle to save his furry companion. Released last year, the film is an absolute must-see, celebrated for its phenomenal stop-motion-animation and exceptional humour. Also, on the grounds of Silo Park, you’ll find a night market full of arts and crafts, clothing and accessories, and a variety of food trucks to satisfy your taste-buds. Make a night of it and explore the stalls before settling down with a snack to watch the film.
Saturday 19 January
Fat Freddy’s Drop At Western Springs
As part of their annual summer roadie, Fat Freddy’s Drop are appearing on the stage of Western Springs, playing all your favourite tunes. Starting in the afternoon, the concert will run late with a line-up of artists making an appearance, including Ladi6, Salmonella Dub and the Black Seeds. Bring your own food, chairs and blankets and settle in for a nice evening of fun and music.
Sparkling Pinot and Petanque at Cleveland Winery
There’s no drink more summery than sparking wine. Served chilled, it’s a perfect refreshment in the heat of a summer’s day. Want to get your fill of the glorious beverage? Head along to Cleveland Winery’s and spend the day playing petanque, grazing cheese platters, and drinking all the sparkling Pinot you can manage. Experience a blind tasting session, sample locally made liquors or participate in a grape stomping competition. And if you get hungry from the day’s activities, a variety of food vendors will be ready to make you a treat onsite.
Summer Vibes Night Rides Rainbows End
Taking advantage of the warm summer nights, Rainbow’s End is inviting you to enjoy all their rides until 11PM. Get ready to shake things up and get your adrenalin pumping. Plunge down to the ground on the Fearfall, get thrown around on the Stratosfear and spin through the night on the Invader. Enjoy the park in the dark, illuminated by lights and brimming with a festive atmosphere.
Music In Parks at Auckland Domain
Grab a picnic and relax on the grounds of Auckland Domain’s historic grand rotunda, taking in the soothing sounds of world music at Music In Parks. Several performers will take to the stage, busting out exotic tunes and exciting solos. We’re taking music from all parts of the globe in a variety of styles. From the Caribbean Islands to India, from jazz to gypsy. Lounge in the sun and share a laugh with your crew—this is what summer’s all about.
I Love Takapuna Summer Days Festival
Enjoy the weekend in the most Kiwi of ways at I Love Takapuna Summer Days Festival. Bringing a variety of musicians to our beloved Takapuna Beach, this is a free event promising good tunes and chill vibes. Relax in the free beanbags or bring your own blanket to sit on. Work on your tan in the sun, taking periodic dips in the ocean to cool off. A variety of food trucks will be there, providing delicious eats day-long.
Sunday 20 January
Moët Ice Summer Sessions At Headquarters
Embrace the warmth of summer with a champagne-heavy afternoon at the second installation of the Moët Ice Summer Sessions. Playing host this time is viaduct bar Headquarters. Bring your friends and make new ones at the event, sharing your love for fun and good drink with likeminded people. In true Moët & Chandon style, Ice Impérial is an elegant and mature champagne with hints of bright fruit. Enjoy the drink plain over ice or, choose from a variety of Moët Ice Impérial-based cocktails curated around the flavours of summer. Drink, laugh, and bop along to a live DJ set.
The Taming Of The Shrew
Another gem from the Pop-Up Globe and its talented crew, the Taming of the Shrew is regarded as Shakespeare’s most controversial drama. The play revolves around a hasty marriage between a rude, misogynistic drunk and an intelligent, outspoken, wealthy woman. Themes of power dynamics and gender roles are addressed in the most hysterical of ways as the husband tries to tame his woman into a ‘perfect wife’. Enjoy the classic play delivered to you with a modern, 21st century undertone and ponder the question: did Shakespeare intend for the work to be pro-fem or pro-patriarchy?
Prefer to stay in? Here are the best movies on Netflix right now.