The best day of the week (it’s end) is almost upon us and you’re in for the good life this long weekend. From blossoms to bees and the ABs at The Brit, to a wonderland of creative performances from a multi-storey lounge. Explore Uptown, sacrifice some tastebuds at our national hot sauce festival, hit the markets, sketch shoulder-to-shoulder with artists as you chow down on free kai, be awe-inspired by dance and take a snap of you in a talking car. IYKYK. All this and more.
Here are 26 epic things to do in Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend.
Friday 23 September
Be Mesmerised By Movement
Prowl Productions, directed by professional dancer and artist Hayley Tekahika, is premiering a dance film called ‘Revolving Reflections’ this Friday at the Kenneth Myers Centre in town. The evening, which will feature live performances in addition to the screening, will be an intimate experience inviting the audience to discover the realities of living within the patriarchy in Aotearoa from a minority perspective. Featuring dance styles from Waacking and Vogue to Krump and Contemporary, head along to witness profound storytelling through movement by talented local artists.
Doodle And Sketch At Limn Gallery
Aotearoa’s largest urban and contemporary art gallery, Limn Gallery in Ponsonby, is throwing a wicked, and totally free, Sketch event this Friday from 6.30-8.30pm. Rock up to doodle alongside local talent Jimi Grins, Diko, Berst, Enox and Finn Gerry Wilson, plus score yourself free food from BurgerFuel and craft beer from Urbanaut, and there’ll be a DJ spinning sweet vibes on the decks.
Go From Idea To Concept In Just 54 Hours
Startup Weekend Tāmaki Makaurau is back and it kicks off this Friday night at GridAKL. For the uninitiated, Startup Weekend is a chance to band together with a team and create, develop and pitch a business idea under the guidance of some exceptional coaches like Nurain Janah (Rehendi, Authenticity Aotearoa, EY), brand designer Georgia McConnon, investment analyst Zoe Chen , Michal Garvey (Foodprint) and Benedict Stewart (Lowndes Jordan), and more. Over the weekend you’ll find a team, validate your idea, build a working prototype, create a business plan and present to a panel of judges with some great prizes up for grabs.
Sit In On Shakespearean Anarchy
Prepare for the ultimate power play in NZ Opera’s performance of Macbeth this weekend. When witches predict Macbeth will become King of Scotland, his wife, Lady Macbeth, urges him to kill the existing ruler, King Duncan. Egged on by his ego and Lady Macbeth’s ambient Macbeth begins a murder spree that quickly spirals out of control. Shakespeare’s iconic play will take place at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre in Aotea Centre from 7.30pm this Friday, and from 2.30pm on Sunday.
Get Nostalgic With The Hoff
2022 marks the 40th anniversary of 80s TV hit Knight Rider where David Hasselhoff stars as Michael Knight, a spy whose partner is a talking car named KITT. To celebrate, and in support of the Child Cancer Foundation, SkyCity will be awash with KITT replicas this Friday and Saturday. Donations of $5 or more will score you a snap of you sitting in the driver’s seat of one of the cars. Rad.
Feast On Tāmaki Makaurau’s Tastiest Food Trucks
The Food Truck Collective is slingin’ all your fave eats out East this weekend so head along to Metro Park in Millwater and eat all the things. This weekend’s menu includes mouth-watering delights by Double Dutch Fries, The Rolling Pin, K-Pork, Natalias Food Journey, Hash n Smash, Hapunan, Brooklyn Dogs, Sweet As Crepes, Cinta Caravan plus a pop-up craft beer bar, music and entertainment. Busy on Friday? No problem, swing by Aickin Reserve in Torbay on Saturday for a similarly delicious lineup.
Saturday 24 September
Choose Your Own Adventure At The Little Lounge Arts Festival
MoveSpace on Dominion Road is hosting a brand new mini-Fest, Little Lounge Arts Festival, this weekend with 16 performers spread across six rooms and stages. Featuring an art exhibition, sunset kava on the rooftop, a magic show, a poetry showcase, an immersive experience, a pole dance showcase and a DJ spinning beats on the decks, this festival is one of the best things to do in Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend.
Cheer On The All Blacks At The Brit
This weekend the All Blacks will clash with the Wallabies as both vie for the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park. While the Eden Park seats are sold out, and you could watch the game from home, it’ll be so much better getting amongst the hype at The Brit. The good folks at The Brit have sussed a mobile ordering system for drinks and snacks so you can keep your eyes glued on the action.
Branch Out At Uptown Spring Festival
Fancy plants, dog portraits and a massive wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano are just three of the good things you can get amongst at Uptown this Saturday. The Uptown Spring Festival is the coming together of ten local venues for a joyful celebration of spring. This is Uptown like you’ve never seen it before with giant games and free doughnuts from Fount Coffee Co, still life drawing at Mibo Bakery, live handpan music at Sun Vietnamese, a pop-up puzzle room at Wok ‘N Noodle and more. Get amongst.
Peruse A Maker’s Market
Speaking of spring, Wonder Journal and friends are throwing a Spring Maker’s Market in Britomart from 10am-2.30pm. Pop along to The Pavilion and browse beautiful creative works by local designers and artisans. Expect crafts, ceramics, glassware, plants, candles, vintage clothes, homeware, accessories, Japanese food, sweets, teas and more.
Get A Little Spicy At NZ's Annual Hot Sauce Festival
Forget being sad about the cold weather because we've found the perfect place to catch some heat. The Hot Sauce Festival returns to Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen for its seventh year. If you’re a lover of spice, then you won’t want to miss this one, folks. The Annual NZ Hot Sauce Festival will have you trying international and locally-made hot sauces to enjoy or take home. Be sure to check out the NZ Chilli Eating Comp final too—things are about to get hot, hot, hot!
Kick Back With Street Tacos At East St. Hall
Broke Boy Tacos and East St. Hall have come together in a very tasty li'l collab called Street Tacos—a lunchtime residency of Mexican goodness that you can wrap your mouth around every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am-3pm for the month of September. Mouthwatering tacos, chips and guacamole, vegan and chicken plates, street fries smothered in all your fave Mexican flavours topped with jalapeño and lime, and spicy margaritas. Come through.
Sunday 25 September
Get Buzzed At Highwic
September is Bee Awareness Month and in salute of our tiny winged friends Highwic and For The Love Of Bees have whipped up a delightful Bee Afternoon event in Highwic’s heritage gardens. You’ll learn all about bees, Highwic’s role as a bee sanctuary and For The Love Of Bees’ latest projects. Sprogs are welcome and will have a load of fun taking part in bee-themed crafts and a garden hunt. If this sounds like a bit of you, RSVP and have a gold coin donation at the ready for entry then, come Sunday, make a beeline for Highwic.
Create New Life With Babylon
Halloween's still a little while away but you can absolutely start the festivities early. And what better way to celebrate than by creating your very own botanical Frankenstein? That's right, pull up a seat at the potting bench at Babylon, St Heliers’ plant paradise, and learn all the secrets to successful propagation—growing a brand new plant from a cutting—so you can grow your very own Pinterest-worthy jungle at home. Workshop tickets include an introduction to a number of key propagation methods and techniques, afternoon tea, three plant cuttings, and a whole lot of botanical banter.
Find The Artistry In Your Yoga Practice
Yoga meets Picasso in these immersive hatha-style yoga sessions at the Auckland Art Gallery. Surrounded by an ever-changing array of historic and modern artwork this is a yoga class like no other. Taking place every Sunday from 9-10am and led by qualified yoga teacher, Penny Hacking, you’ll be guided through a warm-up, stronger poses, balance and breath work before concluding with some relaxation or meditation. Stretch, strengthen and expand your understanding of self and life in a stunning setting. Namasté to that.
Support Indigenous Creatives At Te Mākete
On the last Sunday of every month, Te Mākete // The Market appears at The 312 Hub, from 10am-4pm. The freshly squeezed meet-up market is a space for indigenous creatives, small business start-ups and local movers and shakers to share their amazing taonga and goodies with the world. Peruse the stalls and meet the makers while getting down to live performances and enjoying tasty kai.
Monday 26 September
Bid Her Majesty Farewell
If staying up late watching Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral made you feel all the feels for the late monarch, you’ll be stoked to know an Auckland memorial service is being held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell from 5pm. If churches aren’t really your thing you can gaze upon some of Tāmaki Makaurau’s most iconic structures—set to light up in royal purple—instead.
Indulge In High Tea
Pinkies up, high tea is oh so very British and there are a whole bunch of eateries slinging some mighty fine high teas in and around Tāmaki Makaurau. While some will be closed for the public holiday, many are keeping their doors open to treat you to an assortment of dainty cakes and tea good enough for royal-tea (we had to). So if high tea is a-calling, take your pick of one of these mighty fine establishments and RSVP.
Kick Back With Friends
While some of our favourite eateries are closing on Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day for a break (and a well-deserved one at that!), a bunch of cafes, bars and restaurants are keeping their doors open so we can all relax in style with curated cocktails and delicious kai. Here’s where to feast.
Take A Bloomin’ Good Roadie
Spring means one thing and one thing only—cherry blossom season. The NZ Cherry Blossom Festival is in full bloom this month at the stunning English Cherry Tree Manor in Hamilton. This year, the highly-anticipated festival will run across six days—Saturday 24-26 September and 1-3 October. Wander the lanes and gardens taking plenty of snaps for the 'Gram, exclaim how cute the local cows and alpacas are, indulge with a delicious High Tea or book a tent for you and the crew under the blossoms.
Bargain-Hunt Some Luxury Pieces From The Shelter
Smash that piggy bank, curated lifestyle destination The Shelter is having their annual workroom sale this weekend, from Saturday through to Monday in their Ponsonby Store. Featuring brands like Raven + Rose, Jimmy D, Lela Jacobs, Triumph & Disaster, Pera May, Bokeo and more, this is your chance to get your mitts on one-off pieces, exclusive samples and coveted past season gems, from $30. Talk about a steal.
Discover A Secret Piano Bar
Hidden beneath bustling Queen Street is an intimate pozzy packed with cabaret artists, musicians, cocktails, and late-night magic. The Piano Bar is back as part of Auckland Live’s Cabaret Season, a feast of cabaret fusing ultimate glamour with the grit of the gutter. Storm the stage and belt out a tune or sit and sip in a martini in a darkened corner while absorbing the timeless underground carnival vibe of the Cabaret Season’s secret hideout. Open from 7pm ‘til late, the cosy bar will be in action daily during the cabaret season.
Fall Down The Ultimate Rabbit Hole Of Glitz And Intrigue
Let yourself be seduced by the beauty and grandeur of The Civic, winding through a labyrinth of mystery, cosmic energy and One Eyed Jacks. You might happen upon a poet, a gambler, and live musicians, or perhaps a fortune teller will let you in on what the future holds… You may even turn the corner and find yourself in the absurd, wonky and totally wild Club-a-lub-a-long-long… There’s only one way to find out.
Muse Over Melanin At Depot Artspace
Abhi Chinniah is a portrait photographer and writer. In 2020 she created a photographic exhibition exploring colourism and now she returns to delve deeper into today’s skin-lightening practices and the portrayal of dark-skinned people by the media through a collection of portraits, essays and interviews called ‘Melanin Rising’. The exhibition is at Depot Artspace in Devonport, available for pondering from now until 28 September. Get amongst.
Do Date Night With A Dash Of Mystique
If your dream date is cracking clues and solving riddles with your boo (or a beguiling stranger) while gathering tasty snacks en route to a beautiful mystery picnic destination look no further. Amazing Co’s Mystery Picnic turns your date into a magical treasure hunt and who wouldn’t be wooed by a bit of that? It certainly beats the totally unoriginal drink-in-a-dive-bar situation.
Toast Spring With Sapphire Lane
Dreaming of warmer days? As we welcome springtime Ponsonby Central will be donning its most glorious garb—in the form of colourful umbrellas and glowing lights with pops of neon at night—to bring you Sapphire Lane. Wander through the laneways and sample a limited-edition Bombay Sapphire cocktail or three on offer at the many bars, restaurants and eateries that make up this buzzing Ponsonby hotspot for the month of September only. Definitely a good start or end to any evening on the strip.
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Image credit: Raquel Moss.