At the New Zealand Festival, we’ve been creating extraordinary encounters between artists and audiences since 1986. The New Zealanders who established the Festival were pioneers, achieving their highly ambitious goal of bringing the best live arts experiences from across the world to audiences in New Zealand. And we’ve been doing it on every even year ever since.
Now 31 years young, we continue to realise our founders’ vision, and to take it in ground-breaking new directions, inspired by our commitment to originality, excellence, and to make the world a better place through that most vital, life-giving force – art.
But as you’ll see if you look around this website (and please do – there’s lots to discover), we’re no longer about a single event only.
Hand-in-hand with our belief that art and culture are crucial to society go all the other things we do to champion them, from presenting the annual Wellington Jazz Festival and biennial Lexus Song Quest to one-off occasions such as Shakespeare’s Globe touring production of Hamlet in 2015 and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2016. As a producer of incredible art experiences, New Zealand Festival has been recognised with a raft of awards, including a public vote for New Zealand's most popular event in 2016 (for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo), and the 2017 Vibrant Wellington Gold Award.
In 2016 we launched The Culture Club, where arts lovers can mix with each other at their own programme of events, receive specially commissioned content, and enjoy early access to tickets – all the while seeing their financial donations support one of our most important credos: keeping show prices affordable for as many people as possible.
And alongside The Culture Club, we have ARTicle, our digital arts magazine, telling Festival and other New Zealand and international arts stories, while also guiding you to the best arts coverage on the web. The magazine, like everything we do, is built on one simple principle: the arts matter – and we know plenty of you agree.
No longer alone, our biennial Festival nevertheless remains at the heart of our family, as bold and ambitious now as it was in 1986. It’s one of the top five largest festivals in Australasia and one of the key major events in the New Zealand cultural calendar, injecting $105 million into the capital’s economy in 2015–2016.
Collaborating with, and commissioning new work by, international and New Zealand artists, companies and co-producers, we continue to stretch boundaries and imaginations wherever possible. We’re funded by Creative New Zealand to develop work by New Zealand artists – and regularly collaborate with other national companies such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Opera, Chamber Music New Zealand and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.