Clean the barbecue, shake out the awnings, check your summer wardrobe, expose that winter pallor for the beginning of a tan. Labour Weekend invites warm anticipation of another summer ahead. This one should be fun for Aucklanders in particular, and all who enjoy visiting the big city for special events. As we have outlined on pages 12-13 today, this summer has so many it could feel like one long festival.
From Lorde at Vector Arena on Saturday to the Eagles at Mt Smart in March, from the Auckland Marathon next Sunday to the Auckland Nines at the end of January and the Cricket World Cup in February-March, it is an itinerary that lets our largest city live up to the image it needs to project.
The whole country needs it to be a city of world class attractions and sophistication. The Auckland Council's agency promoting tourism, events and economic development (Ateed) is earning credit from private promoters for the work it is doing to make the most of their efforts. A fine example, recorded in our feature today, is to ensure visiting rock stars and the like are enticed to visit the city's attractions.This means that not only do they enjoy their stay but they are also liable to be seen around the world dining in the sun at Waiheke or lazing on a yacht with the Sky Tower in view.
That sort of public investment has incalculable returns. Whatever it is worth commercially to the hotels, restaurants and other services tourists use, it is worth even more in the sheer pleasure it can bring to those who live in a more exciting city and make the most of it.
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Many more of us could make the most of it. Proximity to major events can make us take them for granted. Many of those we feature today are cultural festivals that attract crowds every year, yet many Aucklanders may have never seen them.
Make a resolution to go to one new event this summer. Try the Taste of Auckland at Western Springs next month or the Pasifika Festival there in March. Attend a sport you have seen only on television. Live netball, tennis and cricket all have elements a camera cannot convey.
The 2011 Rugby World Cup was a revelation of the enthusiasm that can be summoned from Aucklanders when promoters make the effort. League's inaugural Nines last year also caught the city's imagination. Memories of the America's Cup and round the world yacht races could be revived by the Volvo stopover this summer.
Aucklanders are fortunate to have the attractions of Northland, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty nearby and they see long weekends as a change to escape. But this summer looks to be a treat right here.