Auckland Festival

The Auckland Festival is an annual arts and cultural festival held in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. The Festival features works from New Zealand, the Pacific, Asia and beyond, including world premieres of new works and international performing arts events.


Auckland was the first city in the Asia Pacific to have a large festival, which it hosted from 1948 to 1982. Almost 20 years later, in 2000, Auckland City Council reinvented the festival, based on the premise that Auckland is a rich, dynamic, and diverse city. Auckland City Council voted to support the establishment of a unique arts and cultural festival for Auckland celebrating its position in the Pacific.[1] AK03, the inaugural event of the “new” Auckland Festival, opened on 20 September 2003. Subsequently the dates were moved to March and festivals were held in 2005(AK05), 2007 (AK07), 2009 (Auckland Festival 2009), 2011 (Auckland Arts Festival 2011) and 2013 (Auckland Arts Festival 2013).

The festival celebrates the distinct and unique characteristics of Auckland and its particular Pacific style. Its main objectives are to engage Aucklanders in the arts, to support New Zealand art and artists, and to reflect what is unique about Auckland.[2] Its program features more than 100 events including dance, music, cabaret, burlesque, theatre, ballet, visual arts, film, and public forums, occupying most of Auckland's theatres, galleries and concert halls. In 2007 a dedicated music and cabaret environment (“Red Square”) was created, which serves as a hub where artists and public gather during the festival, day and night. In 2011 'Red Square' was re-branded as the Festival Garden and a new program element, White Night, modeled on Europe's 'Nuit Blanche' events, was introduced - the first such event in Australasia.

The 2013 Auckland Arts Festival was the most successful festival to date achieving record attendances and more than doubling the box office income. It featured more than 300 events and over 1000 artists participated including three national theatre companies. There were 63 sold out performances. Highlights included Group F's Breath of the Volcano, Urban (Circolumbia), Everything is Ka Pai, War Requiem (with the APO), One Man, Two Guvnors (National Theatre of Great Britain), The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (National Theatre of Scotland) and Rhinoceros in Love (National Theatre Company of China). A new Maori work HUI by Mitch Tawhi Thomas premiered alongside the re-staging of the Pacific musical The Factory by Kila Kokonut Krew. Audiences were again welcomed over 19 days to the Festival Garden in Aotea Square, including the Festival Club (Spiegeltent), Tiffany Singh's Fly Me Up to Where You Are which she created with 4,000 Auckland children, and Srinivas Krishna's video artwork When the Gods Came Down to Earth, as well as free music, family days and the opportunity to relax and meet friends over food and drink. White Night took place throughout Auckland City with 83 galleries, museums and other locations opening their doors to more than 20,000 attendees.

The Festival is run by an independent not for profit trust, the Auckland Festival Trust. It is principally funded by Auckland City .[3]

Festival Directors

Year Director
2002 Mike Mizrahi & Marie Adams
2003-2004 Simon Prast
2005-2011 David Malacari
2011- Carla van Zon


  1. "Without art, what is your city?". Interview with David Malacari. The Big Idea Web. 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  2. "About Us". Auckland Festival 2007. 2007. Archived from the original on July 20, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
  3. "Auckland Festival". Auckland City. 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
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