The anniversary of Waitangi Day falls on a Wednesday this year, and while it’s not a weekend away, there’s still plenty to do, see, and eat in Auckland.
Here are the top ten spots to be this Waitangi Day in Auckland.
Orakei Waitangi Day Ki Okahu
First and foremost, it’s important to remember what Waitangi Day is all about, and what better way to be entertained and informed than heading along to the annual Orakei Waitangi Celebrations. This year marks the 179th anniversary of our ancestors signing the Treaty of Waitangi. Auckland Council is hosting a free event in Orakei Basin. There will be educational exhibitions, food stalls, arts and crafts, and activities. Don’t forget your togs—the waterside event makes it a perfect spot to take a quick dip.
The Pink Gin Pop Up Party
Celebrate Waitangi Day in the most picturesque setting at La Zeppa Kitchen and Bar’s Pink Gin Pop Up Party. Pink gin is in this summer and will be flowing from the rooftop bar from midday to midnight. The house cherry blossom tree will be in full bloom, allowing for a totally ‘grammable photoshoot. Meanwhile, there will be lawn games, sugar-coated sweets and treats, and candy-floss cocktails to keep you entertained and hydrated.
Auckland Shakespeare In The Park
Feel like doing something a little more cultural with your day off? The PumpHouse Amphitheatre returns this year with Shakespeare in the Park. For their 23rd annual Auckland summer shows, the dedicated cast and crew have been working hard and will remain true to Shakespeare’s vision with professional performances of Henry V and The Twelfth Night. Grab a blanket and BYO treats, as well as some good company. The show kicks off at 7:30pm.
Nice ‘n’ Urlich At Regatta Bar & Eatery
For a hefty cocktail of good music, good company, and great vibes head to Regatta Bar & Eatery in Takapuna this Waitangi Day. The iconically soulful house and dance duo, Peter Urlich and Bevan Keys, will be headlining the celebrations with their highly acclaimed sets. Supporting the dynamic duo is legends from our neck of the woods, Murry Sweetpants and Nigel Love. To turn the line up into a full-blown party, Regatta will have food and drinks specials going all night.
Begin your Waitangi Wednesday in absolute serenity with a sunrise yoga session at Queen’s Wharf. From 7am-8:15am find your inner peace while watching the sun rise over the waterfront. The classes are completely free and all experience level yogis are welcome. Run by WE-and their host of top instructors, sunrise yoga is the perfect way to unwind and detox on your hump day.
Waitangi @ Waititi
If public holidays get you in the festival mood, Waitangi @ Waititi is the place to be on February 6th. The free event is brought to you by the Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust, and they have outdone themselves with a stacked line up. Some of your favourite Kiwi performers like Stan Walker, Smashproof, The Royal Family, Kiko, Sammy J, and Annie Crummer, to name a few, will be taking the stage. There’ll be food stalls, activities, and arts and crafts for the whole family, and our personal favourite tidbit—free watermelon all day long.
Auckland Night Markets
A public holiday is possibly the greatest excuse to eat yourself silly, and where better to devour some of the best Kai on offer than at the cheap and cheerful Auckland Night Markets? You’ll find the markets at Botany Town Centre in East Auckland. From smoked bratwursts to hot cinnamon doughnuts, fresh pad Thai, and pan-fried pork dumplings, your belly will be thanking you this Waitangi Day.
Blues Block Party
Nothing shouts New Zealand more than a good old game of rugby. BNZ and The Blues are throwing a Waitangi Day block party at Alexandra Park Raceway, with live music, food stalls galore, entertainment for all ages, and giveaways to fill the day. On top of all this, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of professional grafitti artists Gasp, Rams, and Berst in action, creating a giant mural to commemorate the day. To add to the excitement, you’ll be able to spot your favourite Blues players out and about on the day.
Queer & Trans Open Mic Night
As part of the infamous Pride Festival, Breaking Boundaries takes over the ASB Waterfront Theatre this Waitangi Day with an all-inclusive open mic night. Breaking Boundaries believe no matter your age, ability, identity, or talents, you’re entitled to your five minutes in the spotlight. Whether it’s reciting slam poetry, singing a song, interpretive dancing, even the weirdest and most wonderful talents are welcome. Entry is by donation, with all funds reinvested into helping Breaking Boundaries support the LGBTQ+ community.
Waitangi Vector Lights
Local iwi Te Kawerau a Maki has put together a tremendous light show along the Auckland Harbour Bridge for the Waitangi Anniversary. Catch a glimpse of the dazzling lights, directed to tell the ancient stories of the islands around the Waitemata Harbour. Luckily, there’s plenty of spots to secure the perfect view of the light show from both sides of the bridge. We suggest setting up a cosy picnic, ready for a 9pm start.
Little Creatures Brewery Opening
Head to Hobsonville Point this Waitangi Day, where craft beer brand Little Creatures will host an event to celebrate the opening of its first New Zealand brewery. Free to the public, it kicks off at 11am, with performances from Sola Rosa Sound System and Josh Leys, as well as contortionists, fortune-tellers and more. There will be plenty of food options, including pizza, oysters, fried chicken sliders and lamb shank pie. Wash it all down with an amber brew, and make the most of Waitangi Day.
Looking for more things to do this month? Here are the best things to do in Auckland this February.
Image Credit: Vector