Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Arts Festival champions change-making, the environment, ambitious ideas, courageous voices and unique experiences that open our eyes, hearts and minds.

Taking place each March in New Zealand’s largest city and reflecting its contemporary, multicultural nature, the Festival challenges its community to be bold and adventurous, and through the arts, explore new ways of thinking and feeling about the world around us. Empowered by the incredible work of artists here in Aotearoa and across the globe, we aim to unify, uplift and inspire our audiences – the people of Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa and all who visit.

What is AKLFEST, and where and when does it happen?

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Angélique Kidjo with Angitu, Auckland Town Hall, 2024. Image by Andi Crown.

The Festival, also known as AKLFEST, is a major celebration of the arts, culture and creative expression. We invite both international and local artists to perform over 18 days of events. Upholding the mana of te ao Māori and rooted in the people and communities of New Zealand’s largest city, it’s a festival for everyone, every March.

We can be found all over Tāmaki Makaurau. Many of our events are based in central Auckland, at venues and outdoor spaces surrounding a Festival hub in the heart the city, Aotea Square. More events tour regionally, from Manurewa to Matakana, across the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island, to as far west as Henderson and Piha. We aim to reach as many areas of Auckland as possible.

AKLFEST will be back in March 2025. 

Learn more about our past Festivals and events:

What events are at the Festival?

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Flavio Villani plays the Undergrand piano, Mission Bay, 2024. Image by John Rata.

The Festival presents a wide range of theatre, dance, music, circus, cabaret and visual arts events. Other activities incorporate spoken word, film, food, public spaces, kōrero, wānanga, art making and more. New work and work of scale that would otherwise not be seen on Aotearoa stages can be seen at the Festival, in both ticketed and free settings.

Free live performances, exhibitions, installations, and family and community-friendly gatherings are a big part of the Festival’s presence around Auckland, many of which are tailored to the summer climate and the rejuvenation of the central city.

Events for the coming Festival are usually revealed in September, October and November. To be the first to know about next year’s lineup and more, sign up for the latest announcements:

Who curates the Festival?

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Bernie Haldane, Kaitohu Toi · Artistic Director, Ataahua Papa, Kaihautū Māori, and an experienced programming team lead the curation of new, commissioned and existing works for the Festival. Robbie Macrae oversees the running of the Festival as Kaiwhakahaere Matua · Chief Executive.

The wider team expands every year to produce the Festival across the key areas of technical, marketing, partnerships, and business and finance. Collectively we work together to grow initiatives such as Access & Inclusion, Creative Learning and Toitū Te Reo, which is part of Tuia Te Muka Kōrero, the Festival’s Māori strategy.

We also actively support Aotearoa artists in the making and presenting of new works, big and small, in partnership with producers, creators and performers across the arts and culture sector.

Want to join the Festival team? We recruit throughout the year and post job opportunities as they come to hand:

How do I participate as an artist?

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The Savage Coloniser Show, Rangatria, Q Theatre, 2023. Image by Raymond Sagapolutele.

Planning for the Festival’s annual lineup of events is an ongoing process and we’re often working on multiple years at the same time. Participation as an artist or artistic company – whether local or international, emerging or established – is by invitation and we are always on the lookout for new projects that push the boundaries of possibility.

We welcome artists and companies with exciting ideas to get in touch with information about their work at artisticdirector@aaf.co.nz

For works and ideas of kaupapa Māori, kaupapa Pasifika and Indigenous origin, please contact kaihautumaori@aaf.co.nz

If you are an artist or arts professional, we encourage you to sign up for relevant updates, exclusive discounts and more:

How can I become a Patron or Partner?

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Outside The Spiegeltent, Aotea Square, 2024, featuring AKLFEST Experience Partner G.H. Mumm Champagne. Image by Jinki Cambronero.

A group of passionate individuals and organisations proudly call themselves supporters of the Festival, and help us show that art is alive and well in our wonderful city.

To find out more about supporting us as a Festival Patron or becoming a Festival Partner, please contact vanessa.morgan@aaf.co.nz

How do I make a donation?

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Schools performance of Afrique en Cirque, The Civic, 2024. Image by Jinki Cambronero.

While the Festival receives core funding from Auckland Council and Creative New Zealand, and major funding from Foundation North, philanthropic support from Patrons, Donors, Partners and other Funders is vital to the mahi and aspirations of our organisation – and by extension, the artists, audiences and communities we serve.

The Auckland Festival Trust, which runs the Festival, has been a registered charity since 2008 (CC22145). Donations are tax deductible.

We are always striving to do more, and accept donations towards our mission of taking the arts to people all over Tāmaki Makaurau

There are simple ways to assist with direct, tangible results – read more about the ways your support makes it happen, or make a donation today in just a few clicks:

Main image: TIRA, Aotea Square, 2019. Image by Eu-Lee Teh.


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