A supernova is an enormous star explosion. Summernova – Auckland's newest summer festival with an explosive line up of good times – is pretty much the same thing.
Over the next four months, Summernova is poised to attract visitors from all over New Zealand (as well as thousands of locals) with a galaxy of stars in the following fields: music, sport, arts and culture, food and wine.
Perhaps the biggest star of all is the 36th America's Cup presented by Prada, the axis around which many of Summernova's huge list of events and attractions will revolve – but Steve Armitage, General Manager Destination of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), says: "The driving force behind Summernova has been to develop something special for Aucklanders and visitors which extends beyond the spectacle of what's taking place on the water."
After all the restrictions and uncertainty that came with Covid-19, a region-wide festival series alongside an international sporting event like the America's Cup is no small feat after "an incredibly challenging time", he says.
The pandemic stopped the flow of international visitors cold. ATEED estimated it cost Auckland about $22m and over 115,000 visitor nights – but Summernova would hopefully help recoup some of that, he says.
"Aucklanders supported local tourism elsewhere in the country; we hope other regions would now reciprocate with a holiday here.
"It's a bit of a cliché to say that there is something for everyone in Auckland – but there is. I will be amazed if visitors here don't enjoy themselves with the strong line-up of events Summernova has to offer and everything else Auckland has as a destination."
The first America's Cup action occurs on December 17-20, with the Prada America's Cup World Series – where Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa, Ineos Team UK, and American Magic will race together for the first time in a warm-up for the Prada Cup (the event contested by the challengers from January 15-February 22 find the team who will take on ETNZ in the Cup match, starting March 6-21).
The first festival cab off the rank for Summernova will be the Satellite show of Toi Tū Toi Ora from December 3, transforming Britomart into an outdoor exhibit of Māori art from prominent artists.
The next key events and activations taking place in December are geared to helping spectators make the most of viewing the America's Cup, with special screenings of the sailing taking place or adding even more wow factor to key vantage spots, such as:
I Love Takapuna Beachside Grandstand (December 17 - 20)
Get a prime seat on Takapuna's natural hillside grandstand to enjoy live music and good vibes while watching the world's fastest yachts on the big screen.
Love your Maunga ki Maungauika North Head (key race days December - March)
Watch the boats fly by at one of the best vantage points, along with special cultural activations planned on busy race days.
Summer in the Square – Anchor Me. Aotea Square (11 Dec – 27 Feb)
Get ready to set sail with racing action on Auckland Live's giant outdoor screen as well as tasty libations, sweet beats, live music performances, blockbuster films, and chilled out summer fun.
From the Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series on, Armitage says, there will be an enormous line-up of events and activations throughout Auckland. They include:
Food & wine:
Sunsetter Food, Wine and Music Festival (February 13)
A one-day festival turning Smales Farm into an urban oasis of sights, sounds and flavours – with food and beverage partners including some of New Zealand's best-known and most-loved vendors, wineries and craft breweries.
Island Time on Motutapu (February 27)
Music, food, and a rare chance to experience a special event on one of the Hauraki Gulf's most precious taonga, Motutapu Island.
Louis Baker and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (February 11) at Auckland Town Hall
Louis Baker takes to the stage in Auckland for this one-off APO event in a fusion of modern soul and symphonic power.
Waterbourne Beach Festival (February 27– March 21)
This unique 23 days of festival fun will take place on the Takapuna Beach Reserve, including 11 music days and nights, 7 of which are free, with a line-up featuring SACHI, Tami Neilson, Hollie Smith, Ria Hall, Dave Dobbyn and more.
L. A. B at Mount Smart Stadium (March 27)
Catch these Kiwi legends in their biggest outdoor event of the summer, joined by Mako Road, Ladi6, Ria Hall and the Leers.
Arts & Culture:
Along with Toi Tū Toi Ora, the Young At Art event will run from February 21-March 21
A constellation of youth-powered art hubs across the city with hubs in the north, south east and west highlighting the work of Auckland's emerging stars.