Less than a month after the Auckland Arts Festival ended, the region is set to get another 10-day arts and cultural festival.

But it's a one-off to coincide with the World Masters Games and while it's open to the public, it focuses on ensuring the Games 27,000 participants have a good time.

Based at Queens Wharf, highlights of the festival programme include Maori arts and culture demonstrations, music from performers such as the Hipstamatics, Tami Neilson and Will Crummer and the Rarotongans, and shows featuring local comedians and street artists.

Tama Waipara, senior programmer manager for the Auckland Arts Festival, has put together the entertainment and says he wanted to ensure "quite a specific target audience" would be catered for. The average age of athletes and supporters is 54 but the youngest participant is 25 and the oldest, who's coming with her 74-year-old son, is 101.


Waipara also felt it was important to make sure visitors had a unique New Zealand experience. It means The Cloud will become a living gallery, Toi Ora, where visitors can see first-hand Maori arts and culture. They'll even be able to make an appointment to get traditional Ta Moko or kirituhi tattooing - that is, Maori-style body artwork for non-Maori.

"I'm really confident and proud about the artists who will be performing - we've got emerging artists as well as those who are well known on the Auckland arts scene," says Waipara. "It's a massive opportunity for us to show the great range of artists we have in our country.

"Even though we don't have an endless budget, it wasn't difficult to pull a programme together or to find people. I think we're really lucky in New Zealand, especially Auckland, with having great work and great people who make it."

The Games open on Friday, April 21 with a ceremony at Eden Park which includes the biggest laser light show Auckland has ever seen. Both the festival and the opening ceremony will be paid for out of an overall games budget which totals $35.85 million.

The Government has contributed $11m while Auckland Council, through Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development, has provided $11.75m. The rest comes from registration fees and commercial sponsorship.

The festival starts on Saturday, April 22 and goes until Sunday, April 30. It includes a special Anzac Day commemoration service.