1 To dance.

Where else can you watch 150 hand-picked amateur dancers, aged 10-75 and trained by a French-Canadian choreographer, bust a move in public?

Even better, after their official performance you can join in and dance the night away at the International Festival's Le Grand Continental opening night event.

2 To be a kid again and marvel at For the Birds, a celebration of light, flight and birdsong in Otari-Wilton's Bush, or to play on a merry goround made of motorbikes and a ferris wheel where you're propelled around on toilet bowls. The latter are part of Antigua I Barbuda's Catalonian-style fairground, Arquitectura De Feria.


3 To listen to jazz powerhouse Wynton Marsalis, who leads the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra which is here for an extended stay to help the Festival celebrate its 30th birthday. They're joining the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for an all-American programme, Swing Symphony No 3, which provides a rare chance for these world-class orchestras to join forces.

4 To witness a rare appearance by soul singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist D'Angelo. His third studio album, Black Messiah, released a little more than a year ago, was a decade in the making and fans and critics loved it. Here's a chance to see what he's cooking up next.

5 To see cutting edge contemporary theatre from home and around the globe. Theatre companies from the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Canada and, of course, New Zealand bring to the stage work as varied as an updated version of The Beggar's Opera to a two-tier staged filmic drama.

6 To hear some of the world'smost esteemed writers and thinkers talk about their work, their lives and the world around them.

The depth and breadth of events is truly remarkable: literary, graphic, sci-fi and fantasy novelists; children's authors and illustrators; poets; historians, scientists and journalists gathered together to entertain and elucidate.

Why we want to go to the The New Zealand Festival in Wellington.

• For more on the festival line-up, go to festival.co.nz