New Zealand

Auckland amps up event offering to stimulate tourism recovery

Summer is calling for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, and while the world’s best sailors compete on the stunning Waitematā Harbour, a stellar line-up of activity will be taking place on-land and on-water.

Summernova, is Auckland’s newest summer highlight, designed to wrap around Auckland’s hosting of the 36th America’s Cup presented by PRADA and ensure everyone can get in on the action. 

Throughout the event period from December 2020 to March 2021, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), on behalf of Auckland Council, has curated a packed programme of Summernova events and activations across the region, from food and wine festivals to sporting spectaculars, arts and cultural showcases, musical performances and more.

Mayor Phil Goff says: “Summernova will complement the 36th America’s Cup, marking the start of summer and helping to make Auckland an attractive place for New Zealanders to visit in the absence of international tourists while the borders are still closed—it will be a boost to Auckland’s tourism and hospitality industries.

“The city has partnered with some of Auckland’s leading event organisers and organisations to bring together Summernova and design a vibrant festival series to encourage more people to explore our beautiful region.

“While the COVID-19 crisis has been challenging for everyone, the 36th America’s Cup—one of the first international sporting events since the start of the pandemic—will be a milestone for Auckland, New Zealand, and the world.

“Along with Summernova, it will be an opportunity to come together and celebrate all the things that make Auckland a fantastic place to live and visit, as well as a vibrant, world-class city.”

There are more than 10 events taking place as part of the Summernova festival series, with further event announcements planned in the coming weeks.

First up, confirmed under the Summernova banner, is Sunsetter Food, Wine and Music Festival (13 February 2021), a one-day festival of live music, food and beverages, which will transform Smales Farm (Takapuna) into a unique and unforgettable urban oasis.

Also, on the line-up is Waterbourne (27 February – 21 March), a sustainable beach festival at the Takapuna Beach Reserve, offering live music, professional sports, cultural experiences, premium food and beverages and much more.

For the art lovers, there will be several outdoor artworks on display at Britomart as part of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki’s upcoming exhibition of contemporary Māori art, Toi tū Toi ora from December.  

An exciting array of activity is also planned along Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s stunning Eastern Bays. Tāmaki Drive and beyond will come alive with local business communities and cultural associations hosting a series of long lunches, themed to align with the countries of the competing sailing teams, as well as cultural activities, market days, and ‘have a go’ opportunities at a range of sporting clubs in Orakei and the Eastern Bays and more.  

ATEED General Manager – Destination, Steve Armitage says : “A driving force behind Summernova has always been to create unique opportunities for people to participate in and enjoy the festive atmosphere, whether they can make it to the Cup Village or not.  As such, we’ve worked with our event partners to curate a programme with great regional spread, including events in the north, south, east, and west, as well as right in the city centre,” says Armitage.

“We’ve all been through an incredibly challenging time and we’re looking forward to a summer of activity that allows Aucklanders and visitors to get out and about once again,” he says. “While we may no longer have the international visitor numbers we once expected, the opportunity to come together and celebrate this world-class sailing event and the supporting activity taking place around it, is more important than ever.” 

Events in the Summernova line up have been selected to reflect the guiding principles of the 36th America’s Cup, which include Manaakitanga (a warm welcome), Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and Kotahitanga (collaboration and participation), and to reflect Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s vibrant indigenous culture. 

ATEED and event partners are also working with Be. Lab, New Zealand’s leading accessibility innovation provider to ensure Summernova events are inclusive and inviting to people of all ages and abilities. This includes providing critical training to Summernova event organisers and City Skipper volunteers and undertaking place-based assessments of Summernova festival sites.  

To learn more about Summernova and how you can get in on the action, head to and check back for updates as more events are added.


AccomNews is not affiliated with any government agency, body or political party. We are an independently owned, family-operated magazine.

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