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Summer's over but the fun 'never stops' in Wellington

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Summer may have ended but the fun hasn’t with Wellington’s hot line-up of music, comedy and festivals set to continue thrilling locals and visitors alike.

March is Wellington’s month of outdoor festivals. The Wellington Pride Festival is set to unlock its rainbow of activities from 8-24 March including the Gay Parade on the evening of Saturday 16 March. The Homegrown music festival will rock the waterfront on 23-24 March, while CubaDupa brings the Cuba St precinct to a bubbling crescendo on 30-31 March.

The chance of the weather Gods’ smiling on Wellington’s outdoor events is good. Niwa’s Seasonal Climate Outlook for March-May says temperatures are very likely to be above average, with rainfall totals predicted to be at normal or below normal levels.

Indoor gigs over the coming weeks include Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, Kiwi songsmith Connan Mockasin, perennial British ‘60s popsters The Manfreds, and Irish boy band Boyzone. If laughs are more your style then comedians Rob Brydon, Tim Minchin and Danny Bhoy are among those set to perform at the Michael Fowler Centre in April.

Music and comedy tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

The Black Caps penultimate home test of the summer against Bangladesh starts at the Basin Reserve on Friday 8 March, Wellington Phoenix home crowds are well up on last season as they hunt down a playoff place, while the Hurricanes have just started their quest for a second Super Rugby title.

There’s plenty happening in the wider Wellington region too including the French Country Fair at Tauherenikau Racecourse on 6-7 April and the 6th annual Māoriland Film Festival in Otaki from 20-24 March.

WREDA General Manager David Perks says the summer started with a roar when the Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality opened in December at Te Papa.

"The Terracotta Warriors have attracted bumper crowds all summer, Beers at the Basin was a triumph of hops and happiness, and Eminem set a new crowd record at Westpac Stadium of 46,474. Around 25,000 of those came from outside the Wellington region which contributed to the city having one of its busiest weekends on record.

"We now have much loved festivals such as the Gay Pride Festival, Homegrown and CubaDupa ready to be enjoyed by tens of thousands of people. Top artists such as Bryan Adams, Rob Brydon and Boyzone will take the stage in Wellington, and sports fans are spoilt for choice with both summer and winter codes still in action.

"While some say you can’t beat Wellington on a good day, we like to think you can’t beat Wellington in autumn… or in summer, winter and spring for that matter," Mr Perks says.

MBIE’s Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates show 2019 started with a bang with spending by international visitors in the Wellington region (excluding Wairarapa) for January increasing 14.48 per cent (to $93.06 million). The Australian visitor spend rose by 5.46% ($23.8m), and the domestic tourism spend by 1.11% ($126.6m).

Wairarapa saw the international visitor spend jump by 5.49% (to $5.51m), the Australian visitor spend by 4.32% ($1.45m), and the domestic tourism spend by 0.05% ($16.5m).

Those figures are backed by Westpac’s Regional Roundup report for March which stated "the Wellington region is an emerging tourist destination, which is increasingly being included on touring itineraries of foreign tourists".

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