Dozens of events all over Auckland will be shining brightly and busily tonight for Auckland Arts Festival's White Night, which stretches from the CBD to all corners of the city.
Auckland Museum's exterior will be illuminated and inside the majestic building, Basil the Dinosaur Family Tours start on the hour from 6.30pm with craft activities for kids from 6-9pm. Auckland Library also caters for young ones, with storytime from 6-9pm, but ups the adult content with Tadpole@the library (live and recorded sound works) playing on each level from 8pm until midnight. Works by Elam students and graduates are also on display.
Festival Garden in Aotea Square is a vision of colour and sound, with Tiffany Singh's moving and lovely Fly Me Up to Where You Are dream flag display; Srinivas Singh's When the Gods Come Down to Earth installation shows from 6pm to midnight; the Parlour Complaints Choir, singing about anything that irks you, pops up across town (and in the square at 11.45pm); and something to make the heart swell - a Poi Spectacular features Auckland kapa haka school groups in full swing from 10.30pm.
Ten CBD galleries are open tonight, from Anna Miles' nocturnal display cabinet of jewels by Octavia Cook, to Gus Fisher's hosting of More Than We Know, an energetic showcase of contemporary Pacific performance, including Pukepuke o Tonga, the story of traditional village life through historic dance forms choreographed by Sesilia Pusiaki Tatuila (one performance only at 7.30pm). We also recommend Alex Monteith's exhilarating video work 2.5 Kilometre Mono Action for a Mirage and Toyota Hilux at Gow Langsford, and John Pusateri's light boxes along the Bledisloe Walkway.
There's plenty of action around Silo Park, with film, markets, music and food complementing 1000 Lovers, a site-responsive walk along the waterfront with "mythical-real men and women", choreographed by Carol Brown. Queens Wharf has Conversations in Mind, an exhibition of installations, photography, murals and moving images, plus the Blackbird Ensemble performing songs with sea themes by the waterside.
The Ponsonby/K' Rd programme features 13 venues, including the re-opening of Orexart, with its first exhibition since moving from Khartoum Place to 15 Putiki St in Arch Hill, opposite Two Rooms. To mark the opening, directors Rex Armstrong and Jennifer Buckley are showing ReGenerate, a group show that includes works by Richard McWhannell, Stephen Allwood and Peter James Smith (6pm-midnight).
Parnell's courtyards are active with performances and installations: see Sian Torrington's One abandoned uncontained movement that has opened a new room in me shimmering in an ancient tree and site-specific workshops and interactive projects all along the precinct. Eight Parnell galleries are also involved, and from there you can move to Remuera, which has outdoor installations in the village and events in Remuera Gallery; sculpture by Jeff Thomson in the library and new venues at Kellands Real Estate (ceramics celebrating the A&P Show by Corrina Hoseason), the BNZ forecourt (a nostalgic film about rural New Zealand in the 1950s) and, at 339 Remuera Rd, Resisting Africa, Victoria Bell's sculpture exhibition about the ethics of the colonial safari and animal representation.
Further afield, Devonport hosts a range of events, including a variety night at The Vic.
Tapac, in Western Springs, has a night of dance and music, including a show by the Prayas Theatre Indian Band, while along the road, Snowhite at Unitec hosts the Rosebank project, a community collaboration celebrating Avondale's Rosebank Rd.
Mangere Arts Centre is the place to be in South Auckland, with Srinivas Krishna's video tribute to the ancient god and demons (also at Aotea Square) playing alongside Bepen Bhana's hilarious The Curry Bunch. Te Tui Centre for the Arts, in Pakuranga, boasts the stunning video work Destroyed Word by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra, commissioned by the gallery and referencing the demise of the global economy.
The White Night message, which was so successful during the 2011 Auckland Arts Festival, is to get out of the house, wander around, soak it in. You will be thrilled, amazed, delighted.
• See aaf.co.nz for full details.