Laverita NZ Festival 2016 Image by Vivian Acangialosi.

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Exciting Australasian exclusives, an avian-inspired light and sound experience in the midst of native bush, 150 international musicians playing a ‘love letter to peace’, and a free junkyard fairground are just some of the experiences on offer during the 2016 New Zealand Festival in Wellington.


Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency chief executive Chris Whelan says the New Zealand Festival has been a much anticipated highlight of Wellington’s cultural calendar for 30 years.

“Once again Wellington will be abuzz with some of the most exciting contemporary art and performance on the planet, and the whole region will feel the festival spirit.”

In true Wellington fashion, the festival programme features something for everyone – with a full schedule of contemporary, classical and family-friendly experiences.

One of Wellington’s most feted musical sons, composer John Psathas, has gathered together 150 musicians from across the world for his monumental “love letter to peace”,No Man’s Land, while the Royal New Zealand Ballet return to the programme for the first time in 12 years with an explosive mixed bill, Speed of Light.

The free-to-attend Contact Festival Playground in Frank Kitts Park is also sure to delight, hosting the parent-powered junkyard fairground Arquitecutra de Feria. The playground features vintage motorbikes seats on a merry-go-round and toilet bowl seats on a Ferris wheel, among many other amazing creations..

The artists behind 2014 festival favourite Power Planet return to the city again, this time bringing the Wellington Airport Season of For the Birds, which will see an immersive avian-inspired light and sound experience take over Otari Wilton’s Bush  reserve from 3-19 March.

Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks says the city’s collection of year-round attractions would also be turning it on for locals and cultural tourists alike.

“From Gallipoli: the scale of our war and The Great War Exhibition, to Nga Toi at Te Papa, a tribute to an artist who changed the way we think about New Zealand art historyat City Gallery, and the recently upgraded and visitor favourite Wellington Museum, there will be a phenomenal programme on offer throughout the city.”

Visitors are advised to book early, Mr Perks says.

“With such a fantastic line-up in the midst of peak international visitor season, we’re encouraging arts fans to make their plans and travel bookings nice and early.”

Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.