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New Zealand - Winter 2014 events highlights

Snow is gathering on New Zealand’s high country and mountain resorts are grooming their fields as the country says goodbye to autumn and welcomes visitors for another season of uniquely Kiwi winter events.

Food shows and wine festivals, music, arts, fashion, sport and family fun events, plus some Kiwi-only cultural experiences are all part of New Zealand’s year-round experiences.

Matariki - the traditional Māori celebration of the winter solstice - is marked by the arrival of the Matariki / Pleiades star constellation in the southern skies.

This ancient festival plays out across the country with a huge variety of community and family events to celebrate and give thanks for the end of the season’s harvests and anticipate the lengthening days of the approaching summer.

Whether it’s more gentle outdoor action and adventure, or cosy fireside relaxation that whets the appetite, there’s a varied menu of New Zealand event highlights this winter.

Steampunk New Zealand Festival - Oamaru
30 May - June 2, 2014
The Steampunk NZ festival is one of the most unusual and creative on the winter calendar. The Steampunk NZ festival is an annual event that sees Steampunkers from all over the country head to Oamaru for four days of fun. The festival itself is comprised of 18 events, and a fringe festival that runs alongside. But the festival is not only for Steampunk fans, it is a wonderful family event with cupcake decorating, dancing and writing workshops.
Steampunk New Zealand Festival

All Blacks v England - Auckland, Dunedin, Hamilton
7, 14, 21 June, 2014
The world-beating New Zealand All Blacks take on Northern Hemisphere rivals England in a three match-test series. Games are set to take place at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr, Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium and the mighty fortress of Eden Park.
All Blacks v England Test Series

Nude Blacks v England Invitational, Dunedin
14 June, 2014
Dunedin’s iconic Nude Rugby game is back for 2014. The event, which sees locals play New Zealand’s national game in nothing but their birthday suit, serves as the unofficial curtain raiser to the All Blacks Test Match in Dunedin. Each year this cheeky event gets bigger and better with side-line events and charity fundraisers planned.
Nude Blacks v England Invitational

Polar Plunge - Dunedin
15 June, 2014
Winter in Dunedin would not be complete without the iconic St Clair Surf Life Saving Club Polar Plunge. Each year thousands come to St Clair Esplanade to watch, or take an annual dip in the icy water. The 2014 Polar Plunge takes places after the All Blacks test against England and participants are being told to Go Black or Union Jack.
Polar Plunge

Wellington Jazz Festival on Cuba
5 - 8 June, 2014
New Zealand's hottest little jazz festival puts the groove in the world's coolest little capital. As the season cools, hundreds of musicians turn up the heat in the capital's famous Cuba Quarter at the 2014 Wellington Jazz Festival. The three-day programme includes major international acts, home-grown super groups, relaxed afternoon sessions and riotous late-night jams - all crammed into some of Wellington’s best loved music venues, bars and eateries.
Wellington Jazz Festival

Fieldays in Hamilton - Waikato
11 - 14 June, 2014
New Zealand’s iconic rural trade event, now in its 46th year, displays the latest technology and innovation to the national and international agricultural community. The annual four-day event attracts 125,000-plus visitors, and more than 1000 exhibitors are signed up for the 2014 show. 2014 also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Ag Art Awards, a chance for creative New Zealanders to mix design and art with an agricultural flavour.

Winter F.A.W.C! - Hawke's Bay Food & Wine Classic
06 - 29 June, 2014
Following on from yet another successful Summer F.A.W.C, the best place for winter food lovers in 2014 is Winter F.A.W.C! The iconic Hawke’s Bay winter festival wraps around intimate and authentic foodie events featuring food and wine personalities, roaring fires, glasses of rich full bodied Hawke’s Bay Syrah and lashings of local lamb and venison prepared in warming ways. Locales range from spectacular settings in vineyards and underground cellars to al fresco and Art Deco delights - setting the scene for great food, wine, and music.
Winter F.A.W.C.

American Express Queenstown Winter Festival
20 - 29 June, 2014
Winter gets underway with a bang in the SouthIslandalpineresort of Queenstown with a 10-day celebration that is billed as the southern hemisphere's most legendary winter festival - and gets bigger, better, more fun and slightly wackier each year. In 2014 the iconic festival will celebrate its 40th year with a series of new and exciting events, combined with some old favourites. The 2014 programme includes; music, arts, comedy, food and wine and plenty of fireworks to light the snowy night ski.
Winter Festival

Dunedin Midwinter Carnival
21 June, 2014
Dunedin - in southern New Zealand - celebrates midwinter with a colourful Midwinter Carnival held on the Saturday nearest to the Winter Solstice. The 2014 theme is ‘A Winter Dreamland’ and will include new giant lanterns, dazzling costumes and entertainment, fireworks, wonderful food stalls, music and a fire performance. Locals can attend pre-carnival night there will be a series of lantern making workshops.
Dunedin Midwinter Carnival

Matariki - Māori New Year
28 June - 28 July, 2014
New Zealand celebrates Māori New Year or Matariki during winter. The month long event is associated with the first sighting of Matariki - the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters star group. Matariki is the most important date on the Māori calendar, and each year celebrations become more widespread as families and local communities pay greater attention to the traditional significance of the festival. It is a time to farewell the past year and welcome new life and new beginnings with festivities centred on kai / food sharing, hospitality, art and crafts, cultural workshops, traditional Māori games, concerts and performancesThe Auckland Matariki Festival is a month-long celebration that puts a modern take on this ancient tradition.

Waipu in Tartan - Northland
27 June - 26 July, 2014
The Celtic heritage of this favourite Kiwi holiday destination at Waipu - north of Auckland - comes to the fore during a series of Tartan themed events that features a local Highland band, whisky tasting at the jail museum, wearable art awards, clan dinners, Highland dancing competitions, a mid-winter swim and a men in kilts rugby challenge. The local butcher offers a taste of haggis, and shops give tartan-wearing customers free shortbread.
Waipu in Tartan

Russell Birdman Festival - Northland
11 - 13 July, 2014
The Russell Birdman Festival in the beautiful Bay of Islands is one not to be missed. The free and fun three day event sees people partake in various fun-filled activities. From a unique take on the classic Drag Race (men in dresses) a mini iron man, fancy dress, spaghetti eating, saucy pirates and a street party. The most anticipated event of the weekend is the Famous Birdman jump off the jetty and into the pristine (and cold) Northland water.
Russell Birdman Festival

Cadbury Chocolate Carnival - Dunedin
12 - 18 July, 2014
Dunedin promises a chocolate dipped programme for the 2014 carnival with lots of family-friendly events that entice visitors with sweet rewards. Otago’s legendary nature and wildlife attractions plan special events and there are chocolate related arts and crafts, chocolate factory tours, food classes and competitions, chocolate facials, a Gold Rush train ride and treasure hunt, and the Cadbury fun run to tempt visitors. A highlight is the annual Jaffa Race down Baldwin Street - the world's steepest street.
Cadbury Carnival website

Football United Tour - Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington
22, 23, 26 July, 2014
New Zealand football club, the Wellington Phoenix, are set to make history when they host two English Premier League teams for the first time. English Premier League clubs West Ham United and Newcastle United will play pre-season fixtures against A-League clubs the Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC in a football event never before seen in New Zealand.
Football United Tour

Māori Language Week - National
21 - 27 July, 2014
Kiwis across New Zealand get to talk up their Māori language skills as they join in the annual Māori Language Week. Organised by New Zealand’s Māori Language Commission, Māori Language Week is a national event encouraging all Kiwis to have a go at increasing their knowledge and use of te reo Māori in everyday life. The 2014 the theme is ‘Te Kupu o te Wiki', The Word of the Week’ and activities during the week will highlight Māori place-names meanings and encourage use and good pronunciation.
Māori Language Week

The Food Show - Auckland
31 July - 3 August, 2014
The Food Show is a culinary mid-winter feast of the latest trends and treats, freshest flavours and new ideas brought together in a food, wine and beer expo. Celebrity chefs give live demonstrations and share hot tips and special recipes to thousands of hungry fans.
The Food Show

Visa Wellington on a Plate
15 - 31 August, 2014
New Zealand’s largest and tastiest food festival, Visa Wellington On a Plate returns for the sixth season with a massive menu of great food-themed events inspired by some of the country’s renowned chefs. The festival is based around DINE Wellington, a fortnight where 110 of the region's finest eateries offer lunchtime set menus and delectable dinner deals, and the Beervana beer fest. Wellington's best also take part in the battle of the burger with Burger Wellington, bakeoff honours in the Wellington Bake Club or the supreme award for the menu best reflecting the culinary capital’s flavour.
Visa Wellington on a Plate

North Face Freeski Open of NZ- Southern Lakes
28 - 31 August, 2014 (Dates: TBC)
Halfpipe, slopestyle and big mountain skiers compete in the largest multi-discipline open freeski event in the southern hemisphere. Attracting skiers from across the globe, the event is internationally recognised alongside the world’s biggest freeski events.
Freeski Open of NZ

DNA Gay Ski Week QT - Queenstown
30 August - 6 September, 2014
The southern hemisphere’s largest winter ‘Pride’ event attracts hundreds of colourful international visitors for a week-long party that sizzles with events on and off-piste including cabaret, Bingay, karaoke, a festival dance party - the ‘Queens on the Lake‘ party held aboard TSS Earnslaw - Queenstown’s iconic Lady of the Lake steamship.
DNA Gay Ski Week

2014 King of Speed Boogie - Canterbury
30 August - 16 September, 2014
The Canterbury snow-covered mountains of Broken River the perfect landscape for extreme sport lovers looking for their next adventure. Now into its fourth year the King of Speed Boogie brings together ski and fly enthusiasts who are keen to experience some of the most untouched winter terrain New Zealand has to offer.
King of Speed Boogie

More information

New Zealand Events

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Cadbury Chocolate Carnival
Cadbury Chocolate Carnival

Polar Plunge - Dunedin  - click for more.
Polar Plunge - Dunedin

Queenstown Winter Festival - click for more.
Queenstown Winter Festival

Football United Tour  - click for more.
Football United Tour

Maori Language Week  - click for more.
Maori Language Week


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