A beautiful thing

The Huffington Post (Italian edition) named Waiheke Island's Onetangi Beach races as the best event at the most beautiful place in the world to be. Along with the popular races involving horses, tractors and Sealegs amphibious boats, there's also much more. Children's activities start tomorrow at 10am, beach races from 10.30am. There's entertainment in the shade, too, and Waiheke's fine produce and wine will be available. And, of course, no race event is complete without a Fashion in the Field competition - which attracts a mix of serious and not-so-serious beach-day and race-day fashion. Fullers is offering raceday travel packages, including ferry tickets and a bus to the beach, plus a package that includes the raceday programme and tickets for the tote. Bronze sponsor Sealink offers travel from Half Moon Bay for both car and foot passengers.

Sunday February 21, Waiheke Island.

Family favourite

The Smales Farm Outdoor Movie Season is a community event for families, friends and neighbours. Get there early to settle into a spot on the grass. Smales Farm has plenty of carparks, ready access to public transport and walkways designed with people - not traffic - in mind. There'll be a diverse a range of food and drink options from Food Space and also from Smales Farm hospitality outlets, before the film starts. In case of inclement weather, all films will screen the next day (Sunday).

Today, 3pm: Finding Nemo.
Feb 20: Frozen. Feb 27: Despicable Me.
Smales Farm, 72 Taharoto Rd, Takapuna.


Art of surfing

Artist and former surf champion Alex Monteith, presents Surface Movements, a collaborative project, culminating in a free surf lesson at Te Piha; Piha Beach. The event is open to people of all ages (over 6) and all abilities. Tomorrow, Piha Beach, from 11am. Email info@teuru.org.nz or phone (09) 817 8087 for more details and to confirm your place in the surf lesson.

Free love

Grab your lover and a takeout feast from Chinoiserie, 4 Owairaka Ave, head up Mt Albert/Owairaka and watch the sunset over Auckland and the Waitakere Ranges. Gaze at all the pretty lights below. Traffic actually looks spectacular from this distance. You'll fall in love with the city - and whoever you're with - all over again. If you're north-side, pack a picnic and head to a grassy knoll on Devonport's North Head/Maungauika, taking in panoramic vistas of Rangitoto and the city skyline. Explore the old relics and tunnels, and finish off with a dip in the sea at the foot of the hill.

Chinoiserie, 4 Owairaka Ave. Ph. (09) 971 3836

Bridal party

, bless its cotton socks, is showing

The Princess Bride

on Valentine's Day.

Tomorrow, 9pm, Silo Park.

Wild about you

Auckland Zoo, with its beautiful grounds, is a wonderful setting for tonight's Fly My Pretties gig. If you're in quick you might get lucky. See below for other Auckland Zoo concerts coming up. A range of vendors will be selling food on the day, however, attendees are welcome to bring a picnic. Liquids are prohibited from being brought into the venue.

Fly My Pretties, tonight, doors open 5pm, showtime 6.30pm. General admission: $72 + booking fee, children (6-12) $32 + booking fee; under-5s free with parent or legal guardian.
Feb 20: Bic Runga and Tiny Ruins; Feb 27: Hear Them Roar.

Hug a tree

There's more to our native trees than kowhai and kauri.

At the Botanic Gardens, there is an entire section devoted to rare and extremely endangered native plants (not nearly as attention-grabbing as a kiwi or a kakapo but just as important). Many are only found in one or two places in Auckland. It's not the flashiest part of the garden, but it's arguably the most significant. There are other native tree
trails dotted through the region.

Let's dance

Get your Latin lover on and head along to listen to live music at the free Latin Fiesta at Aotea Square.

Today, it's Latin Sabor (or flavour) and tomorrow, it's Latin Amor. Which shouldn't need translating.

The fiesta is part of the Summer in the Square series, and includes a performance from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Young Achievers.

Today and tomorrow 12.30pm-11.30pm.

Classical treat

Featuring two excellent soloists, mezzo soprano Kayla Collingwood and tenor
Derek Hill, with conductor Rita Paczian, Bach Musica NZ will be opening their
2016 concert season on Valentine's Day with a compilation of the most famous music written about love by Mozart, Bizet, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Lehar, Lloyd Webber, and more.

Tomorrow, 5pm, Town Hall. Call 0800 111 999. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

Adrenalin seekers

Thrill seekers - or those who just want to watch thrillseekers from a safe distance - should head to the Gravity Festival for the ultimate downhill longboarding race. Riders from all over the world will be taking part and entrants of any skill level are encouraged to sign up for the freeride day. With the professionals reaching speeds of up to 72km, its guaranteed to be a nail-biting weekend for participants and spectators.

Feb 18-20. Riders must be IDF members registered through the official site.
For more information or to register see online.