It’s Mental Health Awareness Week so we’ve rounded up a bunch of weekend activities that’ll soothe, inspire, move yo' body, hold space for self-expression and allow you to reconnect with the people and places that lift you up.
From yoga and soul-warming, belly-pleasing kai, to clay and cocktails, fabulosity, a whole lot of LOLs and music that’ll get you boppin’ and groovin’, plus ways to make a difference in the lives of two and four-legged creatures, if that’s your jam. All this and more.
Here are 20 epic things to do in Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend.
Friday 30 September
Get Your Zen On In Support Of The Mental Health Foundation
Grey Lynn-based studio, Basecamp Power Yoga, is hosting a yin yoga class, Intention: Connection, in support of mental and physical wellbeing. The 45-minute class will be guided by multi-disciplinary creative and yogi, Mia Malazo, and entry is via koha donation of $15 or higher. All attendees will go in the draw to win a Sans[ceuticals] Sensitive Skin Trio bundle, a BraveFace Natural Stress Support bundle or a $100 Flo & Frankie gift voucher. Namasté to that.
Relax And Refresh On Waiheke
Speaking of yoga, if you’re in need of a bit of R&R, treat yo’self to a restorative three-day weekend at Nourish Retreat with Sarah Tanner. Taking place at Puriri Valley on Waiheke Island you’ll be treated to nutritious food, pilates, yin yoga, mindful walks and workshops, the opportunity to bliss out in a spa pool, and a collection of goodies including an eco-conscious Eartha Life yoga mat, and a collection of crystals from The Hidden Gem Waiheke. There are only two spots left so if this sounds like a bit of you, you’ll need to book your ticket, stat.
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 you’ll want to wrap your mouth around. If you haven’t already got amongst, or if you want to come back for seconds (no judgment here) make sure you head on down from 11am-3pm this Friday. Expect 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.
Make Date Night A Little Dirty
Stare into your lover’s (or soon-to-be lover’s) eyes as you both play with big, round, moist balls… of clay, obvs. Orewa’s Studio Rūma is back with their highly sought-after Cocktails and Clay event and this time it’s the date night edition. Kick back with tunes, snacking platters, and some tasty tipples, shaping your ball of clay into whatever your heart desires from 6.30-8.30pm. Next door, Drifter Coffee is hosting a food truck night so fuel up prior or swing by after for a celebratory feed.
Prepare For Fabulosity
Get your umbrellas, it’ll be raining fellas at Studio The Venue this Saturday night when Todrick Hall and his dancers take to the stage in Todrick Hall: The Femuline Tour. The multi-talented singer, rapper, actor, director, choreographer and social media personality first appeared on American Idol and has since created a YouTube channel with over 3.5 million subscribers, has choreographed flash mobs for Beyoncé and regularly creates sickening choreo for RuPaul’s Drag Race. Hall will be performing the tracks on his 2021 release ‘Femuline’, a celebration of the artist becoming comfortable expressing both his feminine and masculine sides equally.
Mt Smart Stadium is playing host to Listen In, a concentrated version of Australia’s National dance music festival Listen Out, and it’s the place to be if you dig dynamic hip hop and electronic tracks. Treat your ears to AJ Tracey, BBNO$, Bru-C, Central Cee, Chris Lake, Disclosure, Elissa, JessB, JID, Meduza, Nia Archives, Poris, Roddy Ricch, Trippie Redd, and more. Ticket sales are very limited so round up your crew and do the thing.
Feast On Tāmaki Makaurau’s Tastiest Food Trucks
The Food Truck Collective is slingin’ all your fave eats all over the show this weekend so grab a picnic rug and head along to Victoria Park this Friday to eat all the things. Busy on Friday? No problem, swing by Woodall Park near Narrowneck Beach on Saturday and dig into mouth-watering delights from the likes of Akemi’s Gyoza, Brooklyn Dogs, Double Dutch Fries, Hapunan, Lalele Organic Gelato, Langos, Mamas Donuts, Nom Nom, The Corner, Vege Pulse and Wipeout Kitchen, plus a pop-up craft beer bar.
Snag A Ticket To Snort
If you've never experienced cult-favourite Snort at Basement Theatre (or even if you have), this Friday's as good a time as any to get amongst. The famed late-night improv show features a rotating cast of Aotearoa’s funniest comedians and improvisers including Alice Sneddon, Mayne Mehta, David Correos, Tom Clarke, Chris Parker and more. True to the genre the artists ad-lib in front of your eyes so no two Snorts are ever the same. This is true artistry at its best. Expect to laugh until you cry and/or wet yourself, and be totally inspired by these artists’ wit and talent.
Saturday 1 October
Get Involved In Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As you may or may not know already, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers and, in fact, 3,500 women and about 25 men, are diagnosed with it every year. Thanks to advances in diagnosis and treatments, the 10-year survival rate is 95% if the cancer is detected by a regular mammogram, which is due to incredible breakthroughs in breast cancer research, a.k.a. the best (and only) way to defeat this far-too-common disease once and for all. There are a bunch of ways you can help this month from volunteering your time to fundraising.
Climb That Wall
If you’re a bouldering stan or are keen to try it out, head over to Northern Rocks for their Boulder Women morning workshop. The three-hour session is open to girls and women and will include Kinstrech and mobility with Personal Trainer Kate Montgomery as well as climbing technique tips and coaching. Entry is free if you happen to be a Northern Rocks member, or it’s $20 for non-members.
Dig Into Deliciousness
The Ōtāhuhu Food Festival is all about celebrating Tāmaki Makaurau’s ethnic diversity through food and we’re here for it. From 10am to 4pm over 100 ethnic food stalls and trucks will be lining Ōtāhuhu’s Great South Road. Delish. The lineup includes Ghanaian cuisine by Elohim Kitchen, seafood boil by Kaycee’s Treats, brownies by Just Baked NZ, everything from chop suey to taro, otai and raw fish by Delicious Submarine, twisted Korean donuts by The Kkwabaegi, and more. Keep an eye out for an Art Ache activation where 100 gorgeous art-plates each worth $250 will be given away for free. The art-plates are handprinted enamel camping plates showcasing artwork by talented South Auckland artists Andy Leleisi’uao, Ioka Peta, Lissy Robinson-Cole, Loa Toetu’u and Rudi Robinson-Cole.
Get Your Hop On
Quench your thirst at Brewfest—an Octoberfest-inspired beer festival where you can sample a variety of brewskies and mingle with the local brewers to learn the secrets to a good pint. Commercial Bay’s famous food hall, Harbour Eats will be transformed into an Oktoberfest extravaganza, where some top-notch craft breweries including Parrotdog and Sawmill will be setting up shop for you to sample their best brews. Not into beer? Morningcider will be on hand to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun, plus there’ll be plenty of kai to line your stomach—think Good Dog Bad Dog frankfurts and schnitzel bites from South American Oven.
Sunday 2 October
Learn The Art Of Foraging
For a grounding, gorgeous experience like no other, grab a friend and book into Art Of Foraging with Forest Tea. Set in a tiny nature forest called Velskov, during this three-hour immersion you’ll be treated to a 16-course tasting feast created with native flowers, fruits, leaves and seeds. You’ll learn to identify them in nature through a Nordic-style perspective on Aotearoa’s edible flora led by Danish botanical artist, Mamakan. Part art installation, part cooking lesson, part nature gathering, proceeds will go towards the protection of the biodiversity of the Velskov Forest.
*Update: The Art Of Foraging has been postponed to 22/23 October due to bad weather. *
Fork Yourself Some Pasta, Puff Bread And More At Esther’s New Golden Hour
Sorry, cutting carbs ain't gonna work for us—not when we have Esther's pasta-fuelled Golden Hour to get amongst. This special menu is available at 5.30 pm or 6.00 pm sittings, Sunday to Wednesday (that would be around sunset, aka the golden hour) as well as at 12.00 pm Wednesday to Friday, and features an ever-changing menu of the freshest, most flavoursome pasta imaginable (think farfalle, tortellini, spaghetti and penne) paired with the eatery's signature puff bread, cooked in their huge woodfired pizza oven and served alongside taramasalata, and an apple tarte to finish. And best of all, it'll set you back just $45—now that's what we call golden.
Treat Yourself To Something Nice
Ethical shopping bags at the ready, cool concept store This Is Nice is back until 9 October. A local indie brand collective, This Is Nice is a showcase of high-end NZ-made products from local women-led businesses like Velvet Heartbeat, Alyssa Lloyd Design, Clay Moderne, Hey Val Ceramics, Husk and Honey, Kia ora Yulip, Reca, Two Dudes and Words By Wilde Road. Swing by their set-up at Ponsonby Central or do a spot of online shopping here.
Okay, so this is in Pōneke not Tāmaki Makaurau but if you were waiting for an excuse to visit the capital, this is definitely it. Renowned international design competition World of WearableArt™ (WOW) Awards Show is taking place from now until 16 October and it’s sure to be a vibe with over 100 designers from 20 countries. Each night the stage will come alive with incredible works of wearable art, dancers, aerialists, foot-tapping beats, and insane AV creations created by Executive Creative Director Brian Burke (creative producer of America’s Got Talent, and co-executive producer of American Idol)—alongside Show Director New Zealand’s Malia Johnston.
Raise Some Funds For The Love Of Floofs
It’s SPCA Treat Week and a great opportunity to throw a morning tea, cook-off or bake sale to raise money to help the SPCA continue rehabilitating animals to give them a second chance at life. Along with the warm fuzzies of knowing you’ve done your part to help at-risk animals all over Aotearoa, you could also nab yourself a Craig & Russell air fryer, a Craig & Russell cake mixer, an SPCA edition Frank Green ceramic reusable cup, a NutriBullet blender or three cake mixes and a cookbook by The Caker. Rad. The top school, workplace and team will also win a morning tea and the chance to name a litter of kittens, and the top individual fundraiser will score morning tea and get to name a puppy for adoption. Precious.
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. With the highly-anticipated festival having kicked off last weekend, you can catch the second half this weekend from 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.
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.
Image credit: Studio Rūma.