By HAZEL REID

Auckland Arts Festival 2021 is just around the corner, featuring over 70 events across the city in March. There is a variety of entertaining activities to immerse yourself in, and lots of shows featuring local talent on offer, including world premieres and the special Civic Club experience. We round up a few picks to see during the 2021 festivities. 

Taku Tau Kahurangi: An Aotearoa Love StoryInfo & Tickets
Ria Hall will take the stage alongside local favourites The Levites, in a special performance on the opening night of the festival (4th March) at Auckland Town Hall. Taku Tau Kahurangi is a celebration of aroha and music – some of Aotearoa’s favourites will be covered on the night including Split Enz, Shihad, Bic Runga, Kora, and Emma Paki.

Chelsea Jade & derykInfo & Tickets
Catch Los Angeles-based songwriter Chelsea Jade on her return to New Zealand for a unique performance at The Civic Club on the 17th. It will be a great opportunity to see the tunes from her multi-award nominated album. She will also be joined on this double-bill show by local up-and-comer musician deryk.

The Air Between Us / A Figure ExhalesInfo (Free Event)
Head along to Coyle Park on the 5th, 6th or 7th to experience a special show that will be sure to wow. The Air Between Us features an aerial dance which is captivatingly performed between trees, crossing the ‘boundaries of culture, creativity, and play.’ Joining the spectacle is the other half of the double-bill, A Figure Exhales showcases the talents of choreographer and artist Zahra Killeen-Chance. The 6pm show is free (gold donation suggested) to attend.

The Air Between Us – Image Supplied

#TĀMAKIBEATSInfo (Free Event)
#TĀMAKIBEATS is heating up the stage at Auckland Arts Festival and giving young people (18 years and younger) an opportunity to flex their talents. Singers and dance groups will perform in public at the Festival Garden in Aotea Square across two heats (on the 6th & 13th), before jumping into finals at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre on the 20th. The finals will also include award winning local artist Rei and hip-hop dance champions Prestige – the prize includes professional time with creatives in the industry, so it’s sure to be a great battle.

The Tom Sainsbury Love HourInfo & Tickets  
You’ll likely recognise Tom Sainsbury for his hilarious impressions, and now he will be taking centre stage for evenings of stand-up and quizzing some Kiwi favourites about their love lives at the Civic Club during the 4th to the 20th. The guests being put in the hot seat include Hilary Barry, Chlöe Swarbrick, and Anika Moa.

Hine!Info & Tickets
Ardijah’s Betty-Anne Monga leads a talented line-up of young wāhine in this one-off 19th of March Civic Club show. HINA, Disciple Pati, Jhasmyne, and Emily Muli will showcase their powerful vocals alongside Betty-Anne to give the audience at Hine! a night to remember.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in ConcertInfo & Tickets
The talented Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra will take on a Steven Spielberg favourite, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. They will be performing John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score of the film to the delight of the locals in this Australasian premiere. Tickets are available now for the 13th March event at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre.

Te Iti Kahurangi – Image Supplied

Pūmanawa Info & Tickets  
Pūmanawa, hosted by Wī & Wā of Taringa Huruhuru, will round out the festival on the 21st with an incredible showcase, featuring four Māori cultural groups who ‘embody the idea of legacy, talent, and dedication to a centuries-old way of celebration’. Te Rōpū Manutaki, Te Iti Kahurangi, Tūwhitia kia Angitu, and 2019 Te Matatini winners Ngā Tūmanako will take the stage. It will be extra special as the annual Te Matatini kapa haka competition has been postponed until 2022, so it will be a great opportunity to see them shine.

The full 2021 programme for the Auckland Arts Festival is online now and we also recommend you get amongst their special ‘under 30’ ticket price which is available across a number of events. Keep an eye out for the ‘Student Rush’ deal on their social media channels daily during the festival. 


From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.

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