NZ Festival of the Arts events that are sure to inspire
Join in a celebration of creativity as the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts returns to the capital in 2022
The biennial festival is Aotearoa’s largest celebration of cutting-edge culture, inviting audiences to connect with themselves, friends and whānau through the arts.
Running for four weeks in early 2022 (21 February – 20 March), the Festival programme includes everything from the small to the spectacular, featuring innovative Aotearoa-based and internationally acclaimed artists and storytellers. Audiences can enjoy a wide range of free and ticketed events and immersive experiences, including music, opera, theatre, dance, visual arts, and literature, all in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
To make the most of the country's biggest creative celebration, the season for many events have been extended across summer, and showcases the wide breadth of local talent with more large-scale Aotearoa New Zealand-made experiences than ever before. 2022 also brings a new Artist in Focus, Lisa Reihana, who has created the headline exhibit - in Pursuit of Venus [infected].
While the full programme isn’t out until October, we’ve got the scoop on a few early releases. Get in quick for your chance to take a trip to Mars, revisit history, journey to the future, or fall in love.
Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [infected]
The 2022 Festival’s Artist in Focus, Lisa Reihana, is bringing her incredible work to Wellington for the first time after a blockbuster tour around the globe.
Open for a special extended season, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] is a retort to Joseph Dufour’s French scenic wallpaper, Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, depicting the Pacific voyages of early European settlers.
Utilising modern technologies, Reihana subverts the original work’s imperial gaze and reimagines the scenes, shining a light on the absent narratives of people and culture from across Aotearoa, Australia, the Pacific and Europe.
The exhibition is free and a must-do at the Festival.
15 October 2021 – 25 April 2022, Te Papa
Take the whole family on a trip to Mars in this high-tech, adrenaline-filled immersive experience.
You’re the engineer on an international space station in the year 2034, and it’s up to you to save the day from a potentially disastrous solar flare. Attend to your console and follow crew instructions as the action unfolds around you. Suit up, strap in, and get ready for 45 minutes of an out of this world adventure.
11 December 2021 – 20 March 2022, Te Papa
BELLE – a performance of air
A Wellington exclusive event, BELLE is an exploration of light and air featuring performances from aerialists, live musicians and dance artists.
Featuring an all-female cast, BELLE will immerse audiences in a world of magical transformation. Be guided through shimmering light and entrancing sound as performers are concealed and revealed around you.
Numbers are strictly limited for this enthralling performance, so get your tickets now.
26 February – 6 March 2022, TSB Arena
The Haka Party Incident
Witness the must-see theatre event of 2021, The Haka Party Incident, which resurrects the eventful day in 1979 when a group of University of Auckland engineering students rehearsing their annual tradition of a mock haka were challenged by the activist group, He Taua. The incident sent ripples through the nation and changed race relations forever.
Described by a New Zealand Herald reviewer during its two week sell-out season in Auckland as “an innovative, brilliant piece of theatre all New Zealanders need to see”.
16-20 March 2022, Wellington Opera House
Mariana Mazzucato: The Future of the World live from London
Mariana Mazzucato is one of the most influential economists in the world, and for one night only she is bringing her innovative thinking and ground-breaking ideas to Wellington via a digital conversation with Aotearoa economist Shamubeel Eaqub.
Join this intellectual duo for a conversation about the future of economics as they discuss global pandemics, climate change and wealth inequality, and how a radical new approach to capitalism can tackle such challenges to humanity.
Thursday 3 March 2022, 7.30pm, Hannah Playhouse
Clementine Ford, Emily Writes and special guests: The Big Love In
Feminist writer and speaker Clementine Ford and Kiwi wordsmith Emily Writes are joined by a stellar line-up of speakers to discuss the topsy turvy, crazy, scary, thrilling rollercoaster – love. Speakers include famed microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles, and deaf poet and essayist Fiona Murphy, with more to be announced.
If you’re in love, out of love or looking for love, this is a night not to be missed.
Tuesday 8 March 2022, 6.00pm, TSB Arena
N.K. Jemisin: Out of this World live from New York
Acclaimed science fiction writer N.K. Jemisin is (virtually) coming to Hannah Playhouse to discuss her life and work as a pre-eminent sci-fi and fantasy writer. Jemisin is joined in conversation by New Zealand writer Elizabeth Knox as they discuss the humanitarian themes at the core of the science-fiction genre, as well as Jemisin’s latest book The City We Become.
Saturday 12 March 2022, 10.00am, Hannah Playhouse