Check out North & South's picks of what's on this March.
February 23-March 17
HAPPY 70TH, NZSO!
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra – one of the world’s oldest national orchestras – celebrates its 70th year with NZSO: Summer Pops with the Modern Maori Quartet melding the foursome’s fresh take on the magic of Maori showbands with all the colour of an orchestra. On March 6, there’s a free NZSO 70th Birthday Concert at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre, with music chosen by the orchestra members themselves, and music director Edo de Waart’s Masterworks series continues with Elgar & Strauss (Town Hall, Auckland, March 24; Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, March 25) and Mozart & Beethoven (nationwide, March 30-April 7).
March 1-April 12
OH LÀ LÀ, LE CINÉMA!
The best of recent French flicks screen in the Alliance Française French Film Festival, including The Odyssey, based on the life of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau; It’s Only The End of the World, in which a young man confronts his family with the news of his terminal illness; 150 Milligrams, the true story of a whistle-blowing lung specialist who takes on Big Pharma in the wake of suspicious patient deaths, and A Journey Through French Cinema, an epic doco from acclaimed director Bertrand Tavernier.
AUCKLAND ARTS FESTIVAL
A night light show in the Domain; cabaret and circus in the Speigeltent... yes, it’s another fabulous Auckland Arts Festival, the last directed by retiring arts-fest veteran Carla van Zon. Highlights include Horror, a hilarious stage show that pays homage to the splatter film genre; The Encounter, the true tale of a National Geographic photographer who got lost in a remote valley of the Brazilian Amazon; consummate showman Rufus Wainright performing a concert of two halves (an opera about a fictional diva in 1970s Paris, and a tribute to show business legend Judy Garland); and Auckland Theatre Company’s Peer Gynt [recycled], a bold, raucous and contemporary response to Henrik Ibsen’s classic play-in-verse from Kiwi playwright Eli Kent.
AUCKLAND BRIT & EURO CLASSIC CAR SHOW
Back on land, more than 500 vintage vehicles, – from Bentleys, Ferraris and Mercedes to Ford Escorts and Morris Minors – are on display at the free-entry. Lloyd Elsmore Park
If you don’t have one of your own, it’s worth borrowing a child to see the creative capers in the Capital E National Arts Festival. This year, there’s the hilarious tale of a lonely pianist who buys a puppet to keep him company (La Vie dans une Marionette); shadow puppetry magic in Sticks Stones Broken Bones; a farmyard frolic as dancing milkmaids and yodelling goatherds make Cheese; the story of King Arthur reimagined by eight wayward musicians (Un Roi Arthur) and a dance performance inspired by the computer game Tetris. Various venues
Murals... in a gallery? That’s why the inaugural Tauranga Street Art Festival is called Paradox. It features the most extensive collection of works in the Southern Hemisphere by British street artist Banksy, on display for the first time in the North Island, as well as new pieces created by local and international artists. Tauranga Art Gallery and various outdoor venues.
Five female Maori artists with a reputation for pushing boundaries respond to the impact of the Treaty and its effect on Maori today in Waitangi Wahine. Developed by Upper Hutt’s Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre and featuring works by Robyn Kahukiwa, Linda Munn, Suzanne Tamaki, Tracey Tawhiao (pictured above) and Andrea Hopkins, the exhibition was curated in 2015 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Te Kongahu Museum of Waitangi.
Until March 19
Meanwhile, renowned Sicilian artist and sculptor Alex Caminiti takes up a residency at Kerikeri’s Kaan Zamaan Gallery.
BLUES BABY BLUES
Following the success of the inaugural 2015 event, this year’s Portobello Blues Festival extends beyond the harbourside township, across the Otago Peninsula. It features local and national bands, an open-mic session, a youth talent quest and Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute concert.
Nelson Lakes National Park
The likes of sleek cedar kayaks, 60s jet boats, classy clinkers and replica steamboats sail along the stunning backdrop of Lake Rotoiti at the NZ Antique & Classic Boatshow. Every morning, boat owners from all over the country will display their craft on the foreshore for a meet and greet. In the afternoon, watch them battle it out in the races; the Le Mans-style start to the dinghy race is always lively.
Pack your picnic basket for a free night of music and entertainment on the Rotorua lakefront. EPIC features international opera star Simon O’Neill, Kiwi favourites Annie Crummer and Jason Kerrison, acrobatic troupe Dust Palace and a fireworks finale, with music from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It’s the 21st lakeside concert, and artistic director Tim Beveridge says the programme will reflect on past luminaries, such as Sir Howard Morrison, The Drifters and Ray Columbus.