Looking for ideas beyond breakfast in bed, to mark Mother's Day? Here's some great ways to spend time together, writes Sarah Ell.

Let's face it: none of us would be here if it wasn't for our mothers, so it seems only fair that at least one day of the year is dedicated to thanking her for bringing you into the world, endlessly wiping your nose and your bottom, making under-appreciated school lunches and acting as your personal taxi driver.

Though the British celebrate Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday in Lent, based on an earlier Christian festival, we New Zealanders get the American version, instigated in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson. Whatever its origins, it's still a good opportunity to show your mum some love.

It can also be a chance for some mother-daughter bonding or multi-generational matriarchal celebration. Here are some ideas for outings, either on Mother's Day or just for the fun of it.

Dancing -- and space

Ponsonby's Fairy Shop now has a Sunday fairy session for working mums who want to sprinkle a bit of magic into their little girls' lives, plus cafe sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and fairy dancing on Wednesdays. It is impossible to not be enchanted by the sight of small girls dancing with the highly capable and patient "fairy", plus mums get a chance to sit down and have a snack (unless you feel like joining in).


If you want to create a tradition of keeping fit together, sign up for one of the Jennian Homes Mother's Day Fun Run/Walks around the country -- there are events at Long Bay, Western Springs, Ellerslie and Pukekohe in greater Auckland, as well as further afield. It's a 5km walk or run, raising funds for the Heart Foundation. Heart disease is the single biggest killer of Kiwi women, so you're doing yourself a favour, really.

And if your kids are interested in space -- and what kid isn't? -- mothers go free at Stardome next Sunday. There are six different planetarium shows during the afternoon and early evening, or the autumn night sky show at 8pm.

Get cooking

If you enjoy cooking, why not brush up on your skills and get your teen up to speed at the same time? Auckland Seafood School on the waterfront is holding a special Mother's Day Ultimate Brunch class on May 10, where mums and teens can cook together -- or Mum can sit back, drink bubbles and watch the young people doing the work.

The school also runs regular weekend and weeknight classes by chefs such as Marco Edwardes of Waiheke's Te Whau vineyard.

Main Course, nearby in Beaumont St, also runs a range of practical, easy, yet delicious classes suitable for mother-daughter enjoyment. Chef and tutor Sonya Oyston says though the school isn't running a class on Mother's Day itself -- to give families time to spend together -- you can buy a voucher or make a date for a basic skills course or explore French, Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Thai or other cuisines.

Walk of art

If an arty day out is more to your mum's taste, the Auckland Art Gallery's latest exhibition, Space to Dream, opens next Saturday.

The specially assembled collection, co-curated by Chilean curator Beatriz Bustos Oyanedel and Auckland Art Gallery's principal curator, Dr Zara Stanhope, showcases modern South American art from the 1960s to today, from photographs, drawings and paintings to video artworks and large-scale installations.

The exhibition is complemented by an interactive visitor programme, including, on Mother's Day, a film screening, panel discussion and performance art by Brazilian Lenora De Barros.

Plus there's the perfectly situated cafe with its outlook on Albert Park and, if you have to take the children as well, there's the interactive Hole of the Yellow Archipelago exhibition in the Todd Foundation Creative Learning Centre.

Further out on the city fringes is the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, better known as Pah Homestead.

Worth a visit just for the building and grounds itself -- and the excellent cafe -- the gallery is now exhibiting Parlour Games, featuring works from the Wallace Arts Trust Collection and site-specific installations by four contemporary New Zealand artists, combining responses to modern life with resonances of past lives echoing in the Victorian domestic period of the historic homestead.

And up in the hills in Titirangi, the revamped Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, adjacent to the old Lopdell House, has a range of exhibitions of modern art, photography and installations.

Opening on May 7 is an exhibition by female artists collective, Uniform, exploring the sister city relationship between Auckland and Dunedin.

Need to know

The Fairy Shop, 79 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
Jennian Homes Mother's Day Fun Walk/Run, various locations, Sunday, May 8
Stardome, 670 Manukau Rd, One Tree Hill
Auckland Seafood School, Level 1, Auckland Fish Markets, 22 Jellicoe St, Freemans Bay
Main Course, 20 Beaumont St, Freemans Bay
Kako Chocolates, 161 Apirana Ave, Glen Innes
Auckland Art Gallery, Kitchener St, Auckland; Space to Dream, May 7-September 18 (admission fee applies)
Pah Homestead/TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, 72 Hillsborough Rd, Hillsborough
Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, 420 Titirangi Rd, Titirangi