Ladies in Colourful Art Deco Dress and Vintage Cars at the Hawkes Bay Art Deco Festival

Events, festivals, fairs and shows

In New Zealand, especially in the warmer months, there are so many exciting events for all of us to enjoy: festivals; shows; concerts; fairs and more. It seems like there are special events and celebrations going on almost every weekend in some corner of New Zealand. Which is great news if you’re like us and  love nothing more than exploring our beautiful countryside and meeting the wonderful people who call themselves Kiwis.

In this article we’re going to highlight some of our favourite New Zealand events, provide some handy background information such as where, when, ticket and travel info and of course the best way to visit.

We’re MoaTours, and we’ve been running small group tours to New Zealand’s best events for decades and we’ve figured which events make people smile the most. So here are our picks for the best events, festivals, fairs and shows included in our tours.

Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow

Warbirds over Wanaka is a biennial airshow held in Wanaka, in the Southern Lakes region of the South Island of New Zealand, held in even numbered years (2024, 2026) during Easter weekend.

Warbirds is the creation of Sir Tim Wallis and has grown from a small display of WWII aircraft through to a major display featuring a large collection of both historic and contemporary aircraft and aviation personalities from all over New Zealand and the world. The Royal New Zealand Airforce traditionally attend and perform aerial displays over the cities of Christchurch and Dunedin on their way to the show. Recent years have seen visits from the Australian, French and American Air Forces.

As well as formation flying and acrobatic displays, there is also skydiving, mock dogfights, military enactments, flypasts and vintage car displays.

We’ve been visitors to Warbirds since 2016 and it’s always one of the most popular trips on our calendar, here are some of our own images from Warbirds over Wanaka in 2018.

Pictures from our last Warbirds over Wanaka tour

Scroll or swiple through to see some of our favourite photos from our visit to Warbirds in 2018

Travel info for the Warbirds over Wanaka International Airshow

Wanaka Airport, South Island, New Zealand. Close to the towns of Wanaka and Queenstown.

Every second year over Easter: 2022, 2024

Warbirds over Wanaka 2024 dates:
Friday 29 March (practice day, no airshow), Saturday 30  & Sunday 31 March, flying programme from 10am to 4pm.

Warbirds over Wanaka Travel Packages from Auckland

Our all inclusive 7 day Wanaka Warbirds and Southern Wheels small group guided tour, with 3 nights in Wanaka with Gold Pass access to Warbirds, plus stays in Te Anau and Invercargill to continue the “Wings & Wheels” theme with visits to the Mandeville Airfield & Croydon Aviation Heritage Museum, Highlands Motorsport Park and the vintage motor collections of E Hayes & Sons and Bill Richardson’s Transport World in Invercargill.

Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka Airshow

The South Island’s “other” airshow, held every second year in Easter on the odd numbered years, when Warbirds over Wanaka is not running. The theme is classic fighters and the event serves as a major fundraising event for the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

Combining with the aviation theme is ground theatre, vehicles, pyrotechnics and set pieces for visitors to enjoy. Past shows have included reenactment of battle scenes, famous aviation scenes from movies and even a full scale V2 rocket. With things like a best dressed competition it’s family friendly and showcases the wonderful Marlborough region and it’s fantastic food and wine offerings.

On site at the Omaka airfield in Blenheim is the Omaka Aviation and Heritage centre, creation of Sir Peter Jackson and home to his collection of aircraft and artefacts and the Knights of the Sky and Dangerous Skies exhibitions.

See a quick highlights reel of the Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka here:

Travel info for the Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow

Omaka Aerodrome, Blenheim.

Every second year over Easter  2023, 2025

Classic Fighters 2023 dates:
Friday 7 April, Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 April, flying programme from 1000 to 1600.

Ticket Info:
Ticket prices for 2021 From NZD $45 for evening passes (Friday only), NZD $85 for daily general admission to NZD $425 for a 3 day Gold Pass. “Platinum Pass” VIP packages also available.
See the Classic Fighters Website for ticket info here.

Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka Travel Packages from Auckland

Our all inclusive 5 day Kaikoura and Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow small group guided tour combines with 3 nights in Picton with Gold Pass access to the Classic Fighters with a visit to Kaikoura and a cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound.

Hawke’s Bay Art Deco Festival

Travel back in time to revel in the glitz and glamour of the 1930s, hosted by the proud citizens of Napier, New Zealand’s Art Deco capital. Every year in February the city celebrates this heritage with over 200 events making up the Art Deco Festival. Fox furs, boaters and beads are the order of the day, the streets are reclaimed by vintage vehicles and jazz tunes serenade from every corner.

Over 40,000 people from all over the world descend on Napier to enjoy the outdoor concerts, vintage car parades, fashion shows, exhibitions, dining experiences, picnics, films, competitions, races, talks, tours and more.

Here’s a quick 1 minute video highlight of the Art Deco Festival:

Travel info for the Hawke’s Bay Art Deco Festival

In and around Napier City, in the Hawke’s Bay. The Festival Marquee and “Deco City” are right down on Marine Parade in the City centre, events are held all across and around the city.

15 – 19 February 2023
14 – 18 February 2024

Ticket Info:
There are lots of free events and also those which are ticketed.
See the Art Deco Trust website for more info.

Hawkes Bay Art Deco Festival Travel Packages from Auckland

Our all inclusive 6 day Hawke’s Bay Art Deco Festival small group guided tour spends 4 nights in Napier to enjoy the festival, plus lunch in the Mission Estate Winery and a night in Taupo on the way home.

World of WearableArt Show (WOW)

The World of WearableArt Show is an international design competition which started in 1987. As the name suggests, WOW features “wearable art” created by designers and presented to the audience during a live show drawing from the creative worlds of fashion, art, design, music, costume and theatre. The show runs for three weeks and this year 60,000 people will attend.

As well as being a theatrical spectacular, it’s also a competition, with winners in different categories and the overall winner being selected by a panel of judges, including the WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff and guest judges from the worlds of art and fashion.

Described as a “Glorious rebellion against the mundane, entry into a magical world where anything is possible”, WOW is very visual, here’s a video of ten years of WOW from the WOW website:

Travel info for the World of WearableArt Awards Show

Hosted in Wellington, at the TSB Arena.

Every year in the New Zealand spring, with daily shows for 3 weeks from late September to mid October.
The 2023 show runs from 20 September to 8 October.

Ticket Info:
See the WOW website for show ticket prices and info.

WOW Travel Packages from Auckland

Our all inclusive 6 day / 5 night World of WearableArt Show tour departing in 2023 for two nights in Wellington, Platinum Seats at the WOW Show, home hosted garden lunches plus stays in Taupo and Napier.

Country Events to Visit

The four events above have been firm favourites with New Zealanders and guests on our tours for years, which is why we’ve created guided tours especially for you to visit and enjoy these one of a kind iconic events.

But there are also many outstanding local country events which are always so popular with our guests, so whenever possible, we schedule our tours to include local fetes, fairs and celebrations. For the coming 2021/22 season, guests on our tours will enjoy these local favourites.

Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations

A collection of music, food and street performance in Oamaru’s historic Victorian precinct, in November every year, see the Victorian Heritage Celebrations website for details. A favourite on our Otago Farmhouse Gardens & Victorian Fete tour.

Hanmer Springs Fete in North Canterbury

The Hanmer Springs Fete is bursting with hundreds of remarkable gift ideas, fresh locally grown food and wine. For many years our guests have enjoyed attending the Fete on our Canterbury Springtime Gardens tour.

Festival of Lights New Plymouth

An annual event held every year from December to February, Christmas in Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. With both a daytime and nighttime programme for everyone to enjoy, the highlight being the transformation of the park into an illuminated wonderland every evening. For more information visit the Festival of Lights website and for travel packages take a look at our Christmas in Taranaki tour.

Cross Hills Country Fair near Kimbolton, Manawatu

Hosted at one of the leading private gardens in the Manawatu, Cross Hills Country Fair is a showcase of over 180 local food producers and artisans amongst the beautiful rhododendrons and azaleas in this award winning garden. A new event for us, see all the fun guests had last year on our Country Roads and Cross Hills Gardens tour.

Here at MoaTours we’ve been hosting guests on our small group tours all over New Zealand since 1971 and whenever our tours include a special local event guests always tell us they absolutely love them! All our event tours include tickets to events, as well as all accommodation, transport and meals, removing all the hassle of organizing and leaving you free to enjoy the events with your fellow travellers and Kiwi guide.

For more information on any of our small group tours to events, gardens or summer holiday escapes get in touch now.

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Hawke's Bay Art Deco Festival 6 Day Tour

Iconic Hawke’s Bay experiences – the Art Deco festival, lunch at Mission Estate vineyard, the Farmers’ market and Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony.

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