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What to do on Waitangi Day in Auckland in 2020

From festivals to live entertainment, find out what'd going on in the City of Sails this Waitangi Day.

Updated

Waitangi Day is one public holiday that we look forward to every year. Not only do most people get time off work to enjoy a summer day, but it’s a chance to celebrate and reflect back on our nation’s history.

If you’re looking for something to do on 6 February this year, we’ve got some ideas on how to spend New Zealand’s national day with friends, your partner or the whole family. Best of all? Most of them are free.

Top Waitangi Day events and celebrations in Auckland

New Zealand

1. Vector Lights for Waitangi

From 2–6 February, Auckland Bridge will be lit up with a stellar light show to celebrate 180 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The light show will feature a story of Māori history and run at 30-minute intervals from 9pm until midnight.

More info: Our Auckland


Waitangi @ Waititi

2. Waitangi @ Waititi

Spend the day listening to some of New Zealand’s most well-known artists including Che Fu, Ardijah, Katchafire and Kora at this family-friendly Waitangi festival in Glen Eden.

As well as free fruit and water, you’ll find plenty of food stalls, cooling mist tents and rides for the kids.

More info: Our Auckland


Waitangi ki Manukau

3. Waitangi ki Manukau

Learn about the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi at this free event in Hayman Park.

You can partake in a free Te Reo lesson, watch a live hāngi demonstration, feast on Māori and Pacific dishes or sit back and enjoy the live entertainment.

More info: Music in Parks


Auckland Live Summer In the Square

4. Auckland Live Summer In the Square

Aotea Square is hosting a festival throughout the summer with entertainment, outdoor movies and comfy seating areas.

On Waitangi Day you can listen to the sounds of NOA Records presents: Pacific Mystery from 12–4pm and then catch the Poi E movie from 7–9pm on the big screen.

More info: Our Auckland


Sundown Sessions

5. Sundown Sessions

On Waitangi Day, ASB Showgrounds is being transformed to make Auckland’s biggest beach party with 100 tonnes of sand.

As well as international DJs Armand van Helden and Erick Morillo, there’s a local DJ line-up for you to dance the day away.

More info: Sundown Sessions


Waitangi Day activities for kids and preschoolers

Summer Vibes

6. Summer Vibes

Summer Vibes is a free family event taking place at Awataha on the North Shore this Waitangi Day.

There’s a dedicated kids’ zone as well as entertainment, arts and crafts and educational stalls for the whole family to enjoy.

More info: Our Auckland


Waitangi ki Okahu

7. Waitangi ki Ōkahu

Head to Orakei Bay for this free family event put on by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Auckland Council.

There’ll be live music performances, games and activities, food stalls and arts and crafts, plus special educational exhibitions for the young ones.

More info: Our Auckland


Are shops open on Waitangi Day?

Some suburban shops will be closed on Waitangi Day, but here are the major shopping centres that will be open. Please note that these trading hours are subject to change.

  • Sylvia Park: 9am–9pm
  • Westfield St Lukes: 9am–9pm
  • Westfield Albany: 9am–9pm
  • Westfield Newmarket: 9am–9pm
  • Westfield Manukau: 9am–9pm
  • Royal Oak Shopping Mall: 9am–7pm
  • Shore City: 10am–5pm
  • Glenfield Mall: 9am–9pm
  • Northwest Shopping Centre: 10am–5:30pm
  • Botany Town Centre: 9am–9pm

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Waitangi Day?

Waitangi Day is observed on 6 February every year. It is known as New Zealand’s national day as it marks the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Since it is a public holiday, many people are off work and schools are closed, but the holiday moves to the following Monday if the date falls on a weekend.

Why do we celebrate Waitangi Day?

The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between British Crown representatives and over 500 Māori chiefs back in 1840 was a significant day for New Zealand. This founding document represents the union between native Māori and British settlers and the formation of the nation.

When was Waitangi Day first celebrated?

While the Treaty of Waitangi was signed 180 years ago, it wasn’t until 1934 that the day was first officially commemorated. It wasn’t until 1974 that Waitangi Day became a public holiday for New Zealanders.

Waitangi tours you can book now:

Hole in the Rock Cruise and Waitangi Day Tour

Hole in the Rock Cruise and Waitangi Day Tour from Viator

Highlights:

  • Go on a full-day tour cruise to Bay of Islands departing from Auckland.
  • Price from $315

View details
Bay of Islands Day Tour

Bay of Islands Day Tour from Viator

Highlights:

  • A full-day tour from Auckland to Bay of Islands.
  • Includes lunch, round trip ferry between Paihia and Russell and more.
  • Price from $251

View details
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