Auckland is heating up this winter with an impressive line-up of events taking place across the region, including The Lion King International Tour starting in June, a host of shows and festivals, and a whopping four All Blacks fixtures through to October.

A further 10 events have also been confirmed as part of the third Elemental AKL festival that will light up Auckland’s food, art and gig scene this July.

Auckland’s winter programme of major events will support local businesses through a traditionally quieter time by attracting visitors from around New Zealand and encouraging locals to enjoy experiences on offer across the region.

Steve Armitage, General Manager Destination for Auckland Unlimited – the region’s economic and cultural agency – says the line-up is exciting to see.

Alongside all the exciting parts of Elemental AKL festival, Auckland’s winter event calendar is stacked with experiences to look forward to.

“There’s something for everyone, from free and family friendly to high-end luxury. From special food and wine-focused events to live music and stage shows – and of course key sporting fixtures.

“It’s a great time to visit Auckland, stay in one of our world-class hotels, head to an event, eat amazing food – I recommend trying to tick off a few of the Iconic Auckland Eats too."

Expanding Elemental AKL festival line-up

Elemental AKL festival is a collection of more than 30 events and experiences taking place across Auckland from 14 July – 1 August celebrating the culture, cuisine, and creativity of Auckland.

Steve Armitage says:

“There are some brand new exciting events joining the line-up. These include Takurua, a dinner theatre show inspired by Māori and Pasifika performance and hospitality, an underground concert in the Fort Stony Batter Tunnels on Waiheke Island, and a seafood festival at the Te Hana marae sharing culture and Kaipara kaimoana.”

Other new events in the line-up are: Ballet Noir, a contemporary ballet by Mary Jane O'Reilly Dance; Street Eats that will see Shed 10 come to life with delicious food from top chefs, pop-up bars and live music over the final weekend of July; and the East Auckland Art Trail, a series of imaginative and inspiring events where people can peruse galleries, watch artists in action or attend imaginative workshops.

The Matakana Coast region will again be hosting multiple events showcasing the region’s abundance of ingredients that lends itself to all types of cuisine, produce, wine and beer.

Live Nation also recently announced the first four shows of the Elemental Nights 2021 concert series, delivered in partnership with Auckland Unlimited as part of Elemental AKL. The impressive line-up of local and international artists includes a dedicated evening in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of record label Flying Nun.

Interest in the festival’s events has already been strong, with the popular Culinary Crawl in Onehunga selling out in just eight days and other events including the Butchery and Beer Progressive Dinner selling fast.

Steve Armitage says he’s proud of how the festival has developed to such a strong cultural highlight in just three years.

“Elemental AKL draws together an exciting programme of events that attracts visitors and engages Aucklanders during the traditionally quieter months, and this year we are thrilled with the range of high-quality experiences that our partners across the industry have created.

It’s a great showcase of Auckland’s creativity, culinary prowess, rich culture, and beautiful venues.

Auckland’s winter events line-up:

Steve Armitage says that this year he is seeing much more stability in the events industry, with strong public support.

“We’re seeing really strong interest from the public to get out and enjoy events. Fans welcomed the trans-Tasman fixtures last weekend with big crowds at the Phoenix and Breakers games in particular – and it’s incredible to have seen New Zealand bands Six60 and L.A.B both selling out their stadium concerts.

“And with trans-Tasman travel now an option, we’re now also seeing strong interest from Australia. This includes for business events, and we are excited to see venues such as ASB Showgrounds with full schedules of trade shows and conferences – including hosting the Business Events Aotearoa showcase event MEETINGS this past week.”

THE LION KING International Tour has seen overwhelming demand, and now holds the New Zealand record for the fastest-selling musical theatre show, with more than 84,000 tickets sold in the first five weeks and an additional show added to the schedule.

All Blacks fans will be spoilt for choice, with Auckland hosting the opening match of the Bledisloe Cup on 7 August as one of four games in Auckland – the most Auckland games in an All Blacks season outside of a world cup.

One month earlier, the All Blacks will be playing at Mt Smart Stadium in what will be an historic test against Tonga in the Steinlager Series Double Header on 3 July 2021, followed by Rugby Championship games against South Africa and Argentina at Eden Park.

Last year’s Bledisloe fixture in Auckland saw nearly 50,000 fans head to Eden Park – which at the time was the biggest sports crowd since the start of the pandemic.

Key Auckland events, winter 2021 (June – August 2021)

  • The Pacific Dance Festival, various locations, 1-29 June
  • Doc Edge Festival 2021, SkyCity theatre and The Civic, 3–13 June
  • Super Rugby Aotearoa Blues v Western Force, Eden Park, 12 June
  • Winetopia, Shed 10, Queens Wharf, 18–19 June
  • Auckland Live Cabaret Season, The Civic, 19 June – 4 July
  • Matariki Festival, various events and locations, 19 June – 11 July
  • Aotea Square Ice Rink, Auckland Live, 17 June – 1 August
  • THE LION KING International Tour, Spark Arena, from 24 June
  • Steinlager Series Double Header - All Blacks v Tonga, Mt Smart Stadium, 3 July
  • The Iceberg, Oneroa Beach, Waiheke Island, 3 July
  • Madagascar The Musical, Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre, 8–18 July
  • Elemental AKL festival, various events and locations, 14 July – 1 August
  • The Food Show, ASB Showgrounds, 29 July – 1 August
  • How to Train Your Dragon, Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre, 6–7 August
  • All Blacks vs Australia, Bledisloe Cup, Eden Park, 7 August
  • Baby Show Auckland 2021, ASB Showgrounds, 20-22 August
  • New Zealand Fashion Weekend, Auckland Town Hall, 23–29 August

Elemental AKL festival, event highlights:

More than 30 events taking place across Auckland from 14 July to 1 August. Full line-up at

  • Elemental Nights concert series by Live Nation throughout Elemental AKL including:
    • Elemental Nights Courtney Barnett
    • Elemental Nights Julia Jacklin
    • Elemental Nights The Chats
    • Elemental Nights Flying Nun
  • East Auckland Art Trail, East Auckland, 14 July – 1 August
  • All Things Mushroom, Good from Scratch, 16 July
  • Takurua - Battle of the Brothers, Aotea Centre, 16, 17, 23, 24 July
  • Ballet Noir, Bruce Mason Centre, 23-24 July
  • Art in the Park, Eden Park, 23-25 July
  • An Auckland Food Story, Ahi, Commercial Bay, 20 & 27 July
  • Taniwha, Kaitiakitanga & Kaipara Kaimoana, Te Hana Te Ao Marama, Te Hana, 31 July
  • Sound Bites, Park Hyatt, 29 July
  • Takapuna Winter Lights, Hurstmere Road, 30-31 July
  • Street Eats, Shed 10, 30-31 July
  • Winter Forage, Auckland City, 31 July