Get ready for an action-packed weekend of live music, dance, craft and mouthwatering Indian treats as the BNZ Auckland Diwali Festival sets to wow crowds at Aotea Square and Queen Street this weekend.
Diwali – also known as Deepavali (meaning row of lights) – is an important and ancient Indian festival celebrated throughout India and in Indian communities around the world. It symbolises the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life.
The BNZ Auckland Diwali Festival is one of New Zealand’s largest cultural festivals and draws up to 100,000 attendees.
From midday to 9pm on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November, the festival will showcase a record number of 150 performances across three stages, delicious sweet and savoury vegetarian delicacies, vibrant arts and crafts, fashion, henna, yoga workshops and a fireworks finale on the last night.
The BNZ Auckland Diwali Festival is free, family-friendly, smoke-free, alcohol-free, and vegetarian.
The festival is delivered by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited on behalf of Auckland Council and in partnership with naming rights partner BNZ and founding partner Asia New Zealand Foundation.
Be moved at the stage
- From Bollywood to Kathak, there are a range of styles to wow and inspire. Be sure to check out the hotly anticipated Bollywood dance competition on both the Saturday and Sunday and catch the New Zealand Police performance which will take place on the Sunday evening.
Tantalise the tastebuds
- With more than 30 food stalls, festivalgoers will be able to sample sweet and savoury delicacies that will tantalise tastebuds and transport you across the various regions of India.
Jazz up your wardrobe
- From modern silk sari items, kaftans and Himalayan shawls to authentic jewellery, handbags and shoes, you can find something for everyone at the various retail stores. A variety of henna will also be on offer, including small and intricate designs for all ages.
Relax and restore with yoga
- Learn the history of the ancient Indian practice, be guided through breathwork and gentle yoga flows in a culturally appropriate setting. Indigenous yoga teacher, Reha Kumar, will be leading nine yoga workshops and a sampler class throughout the weekend. The workshops are new to the festival this year and are open to all ages and abilities, with no bookings necessary.
Be inspired by Indian folk art
- Try your hand at Rangoli, an Indian folk art which is thought to bring good luck and prosperity. Learn how to make colourful patterns, which are passed on generationally, using a mix of materials such as flour, rice, sand, and flower petals. Alternatively, participate in the Chalk it up Rangoli competition open to amateur and professional artists between 1-2pm on the Sunday.
Get festive with BNZ
- Get in the festival mode and catch a complimentary rickshaw up Queen Street from the Britomart transport hub. Just look for the BNZ Rickshaw pick-up point and hop on for a free ride straight to the heart of the festivities.
- For those looking to capture the moment, the BNZ 360 photo booth in Aotea Square offers an immersive experience; visit the BNZ marquee lounge and take a unique 360-degree photo to remember the day.
- BNZ has collaborated with Indian muralist Neethi to create stunning artwork that will be showcased throughout the festival.
Top tips to enjoy the BNZ Auckland Diwali Festival 2023
Plan your travel in advance:
- Parking restrictions and road closures will be in place and, with thousands expected to attend, the surrounding area will be busy with both vehicle traffic and pedestrians. Use AT Mobile or Journey Planner to plan your journey.
- Taking the bus, ferry or train to Britomart and dreading the walk up Queen Street? Catch a complimentary rickshaw from the Britomart transport hub. Just look for the BNZ Rickshaw pick-up point and hop on for a free ride.
- Work up an appetite and then work off the calories by joining a guided bike tour with Nextbike. There are two guided bike rides to and from the festival each day. For all the details click here
- To get around the festival, there are wayfinding towers and large-scale fixed maps at Aotea Square. You can also view the festival map online here
Know what’s on:
- To make the most of your festival experience, check out the BNZ Auckland Diwali Festival website for performance schedules, yoga workshops, signature menus, maps and more.
Bring with you:
- Cash – while some stalls have eftpos, some only take cash. Be prepared and take cash with you to the festival.
- Sunblock and layers – Auckland’s weather can be unpredictable – bring sunblock, warm layers and a raincoat.
- Your friends and family – it’s a great group outing, and a family-friendly event with something for all ages.
- Alcohol, cigarettes or vapes. The festival is smoke-free, alcohol-free and family friendly.
- While accessibility dogs are welcome, we advise that other pets be left at home.
Imagery can be found here