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Wellington's bumper summer season

10 May 2017

From Guns N' Roses, to Jim Beam Homegrown, to the eccentric Cuba Dupa festival, and sports games covering cricket, rugby and football; there was something for everyone in Wellington's jam-packed event calendar earlier this year.

$21.5 million injected in the Capital

For the last three months of Summer this year, all major events injected an estimated $21.5 million into the Wellington economy, with an estimated total attendance of over a quarter of a million.

Major events attract large numbers from outside the region and contribute significantly to our city's vibrancy. Below, is a round up of these major events, and what they brought into the city.

Homegrown 2017
Jim Beam Homegrown music festival

The concerts

The concert schedule in particular delivered outstanding results for the city:

  • In February, Guns N' Roses arrived to begin the Australasian leg of their 'Not in this Lifetime...Tour' in Wellington ahead of Auckland. The streets were noticeably busy with fans wearing black GnR t-shirts enjoying their time in the capital. Over 31,000 people attended their one-night show at Westpac Stadium; with over 12,500 (40%) coming from outside the region.
  • In March, the waterfront was transformed into an urban music festival for Jim Beam Homegrown. This event celebrated its tenth anniversary and featured some of our most iconic kiwi bands. Tickets sold out to over 18,000 festival-goers, with over 11,253 (63%) coming from outside of the region.
Hurricanes resized large
Hurricanes 2017

On the sport front

Attendance across all major sport activities sponsored by the city exceeded 86,000 fans this quarter, which is a good result! Cricket, rugby and football all featured with mixed results for the Black Caps, All Whites, All Black Sevens and Hurricanes, all playing at Westpac Stadium:

  • The Hurricanes exhibited convincing wins over the Rebels and Highlanders reflecting their strength as defending champs on home soil at the start of the season.
  • The FIFA Oceania Qualifier Pool match for the All Whites against Fiji also saw a positive outcome for NZ with the intercontinental playoff in November a key match to look forward to.
  • The Black Caps campaign scored a win against Bangladesh at the Basin Reserve in January but they weren’t as successful against South Africa for either the ODI or Test. Similarly, the All Blacks Sevens finished in the middle of the pack missing out on a win.
Cuba Dupa resized large
Cuba Dupa 2017

The Arts

Our arts activities this summer included: 

  • The Cindy Sherman exhibition at the City Gallery Wellington; although relatively unknown in New Zealand, Cindy Sherman is a leading contemporary photographer and social commentator. Her works took over the entire gallery in a unique exhibition that was enjoyed by many visitors and locals alike.
  • The third annual Cuba Dupa festival invigorated the Cuba Street district with over 1,300 artists delivering 250 performances throughout the two-day event. Although difficult to assess attendance due to the layout of the festival site, organisers are confident numbers exceeded the 2016 turnout.

An exciting array of major events have kicked off the year, and there's even more to come.

What's next?

  • From the 12-21 May, LUX Light Festival will illuminate the city waterfront and laneways. Five precincts will feature a broad range of outstanding nationally and internationally recognised artists, designers and architects, alongside an array of activities and performance. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
  • From the 7-11 June, the Wellington Jazz Festival returns. With Bill Frisell, one of the most innovative and influential jazz guitarists from the past 25 years, set to headline at the Opera House.
  • To round out the first half of the year the DHL NZ Lions Series 2017 will roar through Wellington with a match against the Hurricanes on Tuesday 27 June , and then the second test against the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium on 1 July.

It's going to be a great year of events in the Capital; for more information and all the latest event highlights, check out our the events section of

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