Captain Cook Wharf:
It's summer in Auckland so that means there's bound to be a festival (or two) on. Start the weekend off with the Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival which, although much scaled down on its first two years, is back for 2020 with an innovative twist on digital storytelling. Stories honouring the region's Māori heritage will be projected onto millions of water droplets propelled into the air, creating an illusion of images floating on water. Displays on the water screen will accompany performances by Maisey Rika, Louis Baker, 7-piece reggae band Tomorrow People, Seth and Caleb Haapu from Sons of Zion, Modern Māori Quartet, Brotherhood Musiq and Hinera O'Rourke and Caleb Kingi. The entertainment starts around 9pm, after the arrival of waka, but there are displays, art installations and food stalls to check out beforehand.
Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, Captain Cook Wharf, Friday 6 – 11pm.
Speaking of festivals, one of Auckland's biggest kicks off this weekend. The 2020 Auckland Pride Festival, OurPride, starts on Saturday with the opening night gala set to be one of the highlights. Hosted by HugoGrrrl (winner of TVNZ's House of Drag), it's a one-night only extravaganza featuring special guests like Vogue masters Coven as well as a chance to sample the music, drag, cabaret, burlesque, comedy and cirque acts on during the 16-day long festival.
Auckland Pride Festival, Our Gala, Rangatira at Q Theatre, Saturday 8pm. For more, see today's TimeOut.
Difficult choices may have to be made about Saturday evening because a hop, skip and a jump from Q Theatre, Hannah Gadsby – one of Pride's headline acts – takes to the Civic stage with her new show, Douglas, named after a dog. You may have heard of Gadsby's 10th solo show, a little number called Nanette, which toured Australia and the UK for 18 months, won top prizes at various festivals, got picked up by Netflex and won her an Emmy award. It's a tough act to follow but, as the Australian comedian likes to say, with Nanette she found her voice and with Douglas, she's using it to turn out stand-up the likes of which you probably haven't seen before.
Hannah Gadsby, The Civic, Saturday 8pm; Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, Monday 8pm.
Aotea Square and the Auckland Town Hall:
Auckland is now an official UNESCO City of Music, which means there's plenty of that this weekend. Outside, visitors to Aotea Square can enjoy the new instrumental trio Love Square which features Nick Atkinson, of Supergroove and Hopetoun Brown, multi-instrumentalist Finn Scholes and drummer Karen Hu. They describe their sounds as "sunny day music" with Jamaican and African flavours thrown in. Later on Saturday, classical music afficinados will be out in force when pianist Yundi Li (63,000 followers on Facebook; 19 million on Weibo) comes to town to play Chopin, Schubert and Rachmaninov. In 2000, aged 18, Yundi was the youngest pianist to win the International Chopin Piano Competition and, 15 years later, the youngest juror.
Music in the Square, Love Square, Saturday 4 – 8pm; Yundi Li, Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall, Saturday 7.30pm.
Two decades on and indie rock outfit The Phoenix Foundation is still going strong. The Wellington-based six piece opens the first of the live music Silo Sessions for summer 2020 with a mix of much-loved favourites and new releases from their yet to be named seventh album. Support acts include Ha the Unclear and SKILAA.
The Phoenix Foundation, Silo Sessions, Sunday 12-6pm. For more, see today's TimeOut.