This year’s Armageddon Expo saw strangers from all walks of life united in fandom. From herds of teenagers taking endless selfies to grandparents spending time with their families, the love of pop culture erased the differences and brought thousands of people together in an energetic day of laughter and celebration.

With six different halls each offering something unique, the ASB Showgrounds were transformed into a pop culture heaven. Outside, the tempting aroma of freshly baked pizza, donuts and Indian cuisine, to name a few, lingered in the air. Indoors, the walls were plastered with colourful posters, and you just had to stop and gawk at them in admiration.

Fan merchandise such as K-Pop jumpers and Marvel shirts dangled from above, the stunning array of logos capturing the eyes of fangirls and fanboys alike. With the thousands in attendance out for the shopping trip of the year, overjoyed children and exhausted parents walked out of the gates with several shopping bags containing games, gadgets, posters and props weighing them down. Interestingly enough, the most popular items seemed to be the plush toys; the epitome of cute, fluffy and adorable. Who could resist?

Over the years, the Armageddon Expo has gained a reputation for having the best cosplayers and this year proved to be exactly that. The cosplay this year was mind-blowing and the characters portrayed were variegated. Popular ones included Disney princesses Moana and Belle, Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy and Pennywise from It. As some cosplayers stopped to chat with strangers about their costume and the process of creating it, others remained in character, such as the Grim Reaper, drifting through the crowd in his black cloak with an enormous scythe, stopping for nobody.  

A group dressed as gladiators delighted those around them with their charisma and energy. Their procession and chants had everyone pulling out their devices to capture the incredible moments! I couldn’t help but wonder how much time and effort had been invested by all these cosplayers into their outfits. Their dedication is definitely admirable!

Photo by Faga Tuigamala.

As one side of the venue saw gamers focused intently on the screens before them with other gamers serving as spectators, the other end of the ASB Showgrounds saw overzealous fans waiting in long lines to meet their favourite celebrity, either to get their autograph or a photo with them. This year’s spectacular guest panel included Harry Potter’s Tom Felton, Teen Wolf’s Holland Roden, Castle’s Nathan Fillion and John Barrowman from Arrow. I watched the eager fans rapidly talking to those surrounding them about how excited they were, while others stayed quiet, fixing their hair, determined to look perfect for when they met their idols.

My experience with meeting Tom Felton was unforgettable! “Come on Griffs!” he said when he noticed my Gryffindor jumper. As a lifelong Harry Potter fangirl, who had watched the movies and read the series countless times, it was surreal meeting someone who, in a sense, I had grown up with. I remember being so engrossed with each installment and gushing about it to my classmates. Aside from Severus Snape, Draco Malfoy was one of my favourite characters, so to say that meeting Tom Felton in real life was incredible would be a huge understatement! So far, it’s sounding like I need to get rid of those Gryffindor jumpers I have, as I seem more attracted to Slytherin House.

I also got to meet Holland Roden, whom I later interviewed (watch this space!). What a gorgeous, down-to-earth person she is! It was refreshing to see such a famous celebrity interacting happily with their fans and making them feel on top of the world. I for one, definitely felt that way after meeting the real life Lydia Martin. And I went home still feeling that way.

So, was this year’s Armageddon Expo a success? Of course! Everyone was having the time of their lives, the guests seemed to be loving New Zealand and there was something there for everyone! The best way to describe it would be a gigantic party.

 In summary, the Armageddon Expo is one of the happiest days of the year. With the thousands in attendance beaming, laughing, dancing and making new friends, it’s not hard to see why so many would do this all again next time!

Photo by Faga Tuigamala.


FAGA TUIGAMALA,  simply known as ‘Fang’, is a short-sighted music nerd who laughs too much. Keep up with the eccentric pianist on Instagram: @fangtuigamala

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