Celebrate the Kiwi way with 5 New Zealand festivals

New Zealand Festivals

New Zealand has a rich cultural history with influences from many different groups of people. This diversity has led to celebrations of all kinds.

Here are 5 of the most exciting New Zealand festivals.


Maori dancers
© Our Aukland

Matariki Festivals

On June 24, Matariki, the Māori new year, was recognised for the first time as a public holiday. Matariki is a cluster of stars that is said to have led early Māori settlers to New Zealand, and now the rising of the cluster indicates a new year. Festivals all over New Zealand will celebrate the new year with attendees from all over the world. These festivals typically include lighting a candle to remember those who have passed during the year and planning for the year ahead. One of the largest celebrations happens at the Te Papa museum in Wellington with singing, dancing, storytelling, and more.


Busker performing for a cloud
© Deon Swiggs

World Buskers Festival

For about two weeks each year, Christchurch brings together some of the most talented street performers from all over the world at the World Buskers Festival. Over 60 performers come out to showcase a vast array of talents, from singing and dancing to magic tricks and juggling fire, all hoping to win the Iron Chickens award and 25 thousand dollars. With this many incredible acts, every attendee will surely find something to have a wonderful time. Food and entertainment are readily available, so make a day out of it and see as many acts as possible!


People at a festival
© Snow Machine NZ

Snow Machine

Combining a ski trip with a music festival, Snow Machine is the perfect event for ski lovers. New Zealand has some of the most incredible slopes in the southern hemisphere. Over the course of four fun-filled days, attendees can ski The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, then stop by the stages to hear local and international musicians. When booking tickets, accommodations are included, so you won’t have to worry about anything but having a great time!


Festival grounds sign
© Queenstown Winter Festival

Queenstown Winter Festival

Welcome to Winter is a four-day festival celebrating winter and Queenstown with fireworks, markets, live music, and countless events. Stay in one of Queenstown’s cozy accommodations and hit up as much of the festival as you can. Some of the more unique events they’ve hosted include the “Chilly Legend” swim on Lake Whakatipu, a fireworks zipline tour, and a dog barking competition. Participate in as many events as you want and see all that Queenstown has to offer.


Women eating food in festival get up

Hokitika’s wild food festival

If you’ve ever wanted to try a worm or wasp larvae ice cream, stop over at Hokititka’s Wild Food Festival in early March. Celebrating the most unique west coast foods, this festival allows visitors to sample local delicacies, from the wildest to the fanciest. The festival features over fifty stalls as well as a market where you can buy from local vendors and stallholders. Get out of your comfort zone and try some wild foods at this fun festival.


People in victorian clothing

Network Waitaki Victorian Fete

The Victorian Fete is held in Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct. Visit to be immersed in the Victorian era and, if you have English heritage, gain some knowledge of your ancestors. Witness Victorian costumes, historical talks, penny-farthing races, and more. Join in heritage celebrations with the locals and explore Victorian times. For a transforming day, make sure to check out this festival held every year in November.


Unfortunately, many of these festivals have been postponed or canceled until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will undoubtedly appreciate your support when they are able to put on their festivities again!


Want more adventure in New Zealand? Check out these fun things to do in Queenstown.

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