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  • Dunedin - Olveston House
  • Wellington- Symphony Orchestra
  • Queenstown- Kiwi Hakka

New Zealand has a very unique, rich and diverse culture. It is largely inherited from British and European custom, interwoven with Maori and Polynesian tradition.

Auckland : Arts & Cultural Festival

‘The Auckland Arts and Cultural festival is held in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. The Festival features works from New Zealand, the Pacific and Asia. It includes world premieres of new art 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. 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 on the uniqueness of Auckland. 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 2011 ‘Red Square’ was re- branded as the Festival Garden and a new program element, White Night, modelled on Europe’s ‘Nuit Blanche’ events, was introduced – the first such event in Australasia. Highlights of March 2011 included performances by the Lautten Compangney (Germany), the Manganiyar Seduction (India), U-Theatre (Taiwan) and a commissioned full-length work ‘RAPT’ by New Zealand choreographer Douglas Wright.

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Christchurch: The Christchurch Food and Wine Festival

The New World Wine & Food Festival is a celebration of the South Island region’s recent acceptance as New Zealand’s representative on the prestigious Great Wine Capitals Global Network. Fifty of the leading wineries from Central Otago, Canterbury, Waipara, Nelson, and Marlborough have been selected to showcase their wines to create a truly unique wine event. Wine seminars and cooking displays hosted by industry experts are a prominent part of the festival and more than 30 gourmet food vendors, representing some of the South Island’s leading chefs and restaurateurs complement the festival.

An estimated seventy thousand people filled the streets of Christchurch for the start of the towns Food & Wine Festival, marking the start of the annual Christchurch Food Festival. With live entertainment from some of New Zealand’s leading musicians, the Christchurch South Island Wine & Food Festival is a great way to start the summer festive season.

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Dunedin : Arts and Culture

Dunedin, a centre of learning, art and culture since early European days, has been home to many of New Zealand’s great poets, writers, artists and musicians. Victorian and Edwardian architecture dominates the cityscape, and many historic buildings have been reinvented for modern life, like the Dunedin railway station that’s now home to Speight’s brewery. Next door, the Chinese garden is a reminder of strong Chinese cultural ties.

Otago Settlers’ museum and Olveston House highlight the influence of Scottish and early settler heritage, while Taieri gorge railway provides a different perspective on the distinctive Otago landscape and history. Dunedin Public Art Gallery, established in 1884, has a major collection of local, national and international art. Otago Museum and the university have exhibitions and seminars on local culture and art. Dunedin also has a thriving theatre and music scene. Sport, particularly rugby, is firmly imbedded into Dunedin culture. The city is home to the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and Carisbrook rugby stadium – known locally as the ‘house of pain’.

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Queenstown : Kiwi Haka

Arrowtown is the much visited, historic, 4-season, southern hemisphere holiday destination, located only 20 minutes drive from Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. Arrowtown is a former gold-mining town built on the banks of the Arrow River, once a rich source of gold in the 1860’s and now a sophisticated, multi-cultural town catering to the refined tastes of its visitors from around the globe. Arrowtown offers an ambiance not found elsewhere with its shops, restaurants, cafes, offices and galleries located within a tight precinct.

Arrowtown is recognised as the walking and biking centre of the Wakatipu region and many walking trails and cycle tracks of the area either start or finish in the town. Enjoy the range of activities from gold-panning, visiting the Lakes District Museum, teeing off on Millbrook’s international golf-course, shopping, dining to quite simply just relaxing in one of the beautiful hotels, motels, bed & breakfast or resort style accommodation options. The council holds very strict by-laws on appearances and preservation orders protecting over 70 historic buildings, and it is now the only historic town in New Zealand functioning as normal.

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Rotorua : Te Puia

The Te Puia mission is to be the centre of knowledge and excellence for the preservation, presentation, education and growth of traditional expressions of Māori arts, crafts and culture. People have been living in the area for almost 700 years and Te Puia offers a chance to find out more about Maori, their culture and land. It’s an opportunity to learn about their knowledge and their history, handed down through stories and arts. The main entrance has 12 contemporary carvings, each representing a celestial guardian in Te Arawa culture.

There is a fully carved meeting house to explore and all its designs, carvings and woven features were created by tutors and students from Te Puia. The meeting house is the place to watch one of the three daytime cultural performances. Each 45 minute performance is a great way of enjoying Maori performing arts up close. One must not miss the Te Puia Evening Cultural Experience. It really is an enchanting place to be after the sun sets. A performance is depicted to visitors, they are offered traditional Maori food – ‘Hangi’ and also taken to visit the Pohutu geyser under the stars.

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Wellington : New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) is the the national orchestra of New Zealand and its leading professional orchestra. It is a crown entity owned by the Government of New Zealand, with 90 full-time players. The orchestra was founded in 1946 as the National Orchestra and administered by Radio New Zealand until 1989, under the name of the NZBC Symphony Orchestra (New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation). It is currently based in the Wellington Town Hall but frequently performs in the adjacent Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington.

For a number of years, the NZSO had no permanent conductor, but has had chief conductors. Franz-Paul Decker was chief conductor from 1991 to 1996, the last conductor to hold this title, and now has the title of Conductor Laureate. The first conductor to have the title of Music Director of the NZSO was James Judd, from 1999 to 2007. Judd is now the orchestra’s Music Director Emeritus. In May 2007, Pietari Inkinen was named the NZSO’s second Music Director,and he formally took up the post in January 2008.

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