It hasn't been done before. There are other festival options. No one sticks around in the city for New Year's. The weather. Auckland's fickle bloody weather.

Reuben Bonner knew the risks but he and his festival partner Simon van Praag did it anyway. And it worked.

"It went really well," says the director for Auckland's fledgling New Year's festival Wondergarden.

"We had great weather, we had a great turnout, we had a really special lineup ... it had a nice vibe, nice energy. We were really happy with how it went."


Last year's debut of Wondergarden went so well that Bonner today confirms the festival's return, once again being held on December 31 on a waterfront site at Silo Park offering Aucklanders a laidback, family-friendly opportunity to see in the new year.

He has a great line-up to announce too. The event, which will have a slightly larger capacity than last year's more than 2000 punters, will feature performances by indie gods Unknown Mortal Orchestra, laidback cruisers Leisure, Kiwi singer-songwriters Chelsea Jade and Nadi Reid, and hip-hop newcomers SWIDT.

Wondergarden 2017

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Posted by Wondergarden on Wednesday, 30 August 2017

But Bonner is confirming something virtually unheard of in Auckland - the return of a New Year's event for a second year.

And he knows it.

"There have been elements of entertainment but nothing of this scale that's stuck around for very long," Bonner says.

"The key thing for us was learning that there are people in Auckland City who kick around for New Year's and want something fun to do. That's what we're offering.

"We're not trying to stop people from going away on their holiday or their New Year's trips. We want to offer something for people who stick around."

As well as 10 acts playing on a main stage, those offerings also include a family zone with children's performers, plenty of food-truck options and thanks, to its location, a mighty fine fireworks display.

"You've got views of the Harbour Bridge on one side, and when those fireworks go off at midnight, an epic soundtrack."

If year two does as well as year one, Bonner says he and van Praag have even bigger plans for Wondergarden.

"Our aim is to be build this slowly but surely into a destination event for Aucklanders and for people who are going to be visiting Auckland," he says.

"We're New Zealand's biggest and most vibrant city. There should be something that's world class for New Year's Eve."

What: New Year's festival Wondergarden
Line-up: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Leisure, Chelsea Jade, SWIDT, Maala, Nadia Reid, Remi, The Ruby Suns, Bailey Wiley, Boyboy
Where: Silo Park, Auckland
When: New Year's Eve