Run, dance, eat, sing - or just sit on your bum and take it all in, because Auckland is back.

After spending an unforgettable chunk of the first half of the year confined to our homes, collectively stamping out Covid-19, Kiwis have emerged from forced isolation ready to enjoy a stacked second half of the year events schedule.

A swag of events have been confirmed in our biggest city for the rest of the year, with major sporting fixtures, concerts and cultural celebrations expected to pump almost $10 million Into the economy and generate 95,900 visitors nights.

The upcoming season of events would further encourage Auckland's recovery following the Covid-19 lockdown, which confined Kiwis largely to their homes for almost seven weeks, head of major events for Auckland Council's tourism arm, Ateed, Richard Clarke said.

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That went beyond the economic recovery - a full calendar had a part to play in boosting our collective mental health.

"Events and activities really help. Just enjoying life ... it's been a tough few months for Auckland and the country."

Huskies' player Nathan Wilson, pictured during the NBL match between the Franklin Bulls and the Auckland Huskies on June 28. Photo / Shane Wenzlick / www.photosport.nz
Huskies' player Nathan Wilson, pictured during the NBL match between the Franklin Bulls and the Auckland Huskies on June 28. Photo / Shane Wenzlick / www.photosport.nz

Twenty-two people died and thousands lost their livelihoods after the Covid-19 virus, declared a pandemic in March, spread to New Zealand, but the virus has since been eliminated, beyond cases discovered - and quarantined - at the border.

Covid-19 remains out of control beyond our borders, which are closed to non-citizens and residents.

The events, including Elemental AKL - in its second year of offering a programme of "arts, eats and beats" across the city through October, and Diwali, at the end of the same month, would entice visitors and boost the city's economic recovery, Clarke said.

"In particular [for] the accommodation, hospitality and performing arts' sectors. It's exciting to see these programmes come together to not only support local business, but to get the events scene moving again."

Elemental AKL is returning for a second year. Photo / Supplied
Elemental AKL is returning for a second year. Photo / Supplied

Elemental AKL, which will see eateries, bars, theatres and public spaces transformed for more than 30 free and ticketed events, and Diwali, an ancient Indian festival also known as
The Festival of Lights, would be the first major arts and culture events on Auckland's calendar since lockdown.

But dozens more events catering to all tastes are planned through the rest of the year, which was originally expected to inject almost $38m in GDP into Auckland's economy in 2020, but was now looking like a total of around $20m.

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Major sport, with the Super Rugby Aotearoa clash at Eden Park last month, was among the first back, and that would continue through winter and into spring, with Sal's NBL showdown this month and Kiwi-only super rugby through winter before the North v South New Zealand Rugby match on August 29.

The All Blacks haven't played a game since last year - but that's set to change in September. File photo / Mark Mitchell
The All Blacks haven't played a game since last year - but that's set to change in September. File photo / Mark Mitchell

The All Blacks then take on South Africa, also at Eden Park, a week later.

Mitre 10 Cup games, along with the G9 Golf Experience, are planned at Eden Park in spring before the Eden Park Christmas event in December and, in the new year, Women's Cricket World Cup matches and national Māori performing arts festival Te Matatini.

Beyond the stadium, the Auckland Marathon was expected to attract thousands of runners and supporters on November 1.

The Auckland Marathon will take place on November 1. File photo / Michael Craig
The Auckland Marathon will take place on November 1. File photo / Michael Craig

Welcoming Kiwis back to Eden Park following the lockdown had been fantastic, the park's chief executive Nick Sautner said.

"The next 12 months at the park are set to be action packed and will deliver more memorable moments for patrons and athletes alike."

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Lovers of the arts could look forward to the New Zealand International Film Festival later this month, Royal New Zealand Ballet's Venus Rising in September and Russian Ballet the following month - which will also see Mary Poppins, the Broadway Musical become the first musical to return to New Zealand.

Kiwi singing sensation Benee, who will perform two shows at Spark Arena in October. Photo / Imogen Wilson
Kiwi singing sensation Benee, who will perform two shows at Spark Arena in October. Photo / Imogen Wilson

A busy October would also include Kiwi singer Benee, of the mega-hit Supalonely, performing at Spark Arena, while Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer are expected at Mt Smart Stadium in November.

The America's Cup World Series' Christmas Regatta was planned between December 17 and 20.

Sailing continues in the new year, with the Prada Cup Challenger Series in January and February, before the America's Cup in March, while other major early 2021 sporting events include the Women's Cricket World Cup and tennis' ASB Classic.

Mary Poppins, the Broadway Musical, will play a limited season at Auckland's Civic Theatre in October. Pictured in this file photo is actress Shaan Kloet. Photo / Lyndon Katene
Mary Poppins, the Broadway Musical, will play a limited season at Auckland's Civic Theatre in October. Pictured in this file photo is actress Shaan Kloet. Photo / Lyndon Katene

Enjoying the return of arts, sport, culture and live music to the city was good news for all, from promoters to suppliers and beyond to the wider economy, Clarke said.

"[During the lockdown it was said] Auckland is resting and will come back when the time is right. We've all sacrificed and now we all can all connect to be part of what happens next.

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"The more we connect, the stronger we'll be."

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