The highly-anticipated British and Irish Lions tour kicks off on Queen's Birthday Weekend, with the visitors taking on the NZ Provincial Lions in Whangarei. Players from throughout the country are included in the Kiwi squad, including Blues player Bryn Gatland, whose father Warren is coach of the Lions squad.

DETAILS: Saturday, 7.35pm, Toll Stadium, Whangarei. General admission tickets are still available, from $10 for children 3-16 years; $39 for adults.

Petrolheads should burn rubber to Lake Taupo for the New Zealand 2017 Winter Drift Matsuri, one of the biggest drift events in the country. You can expect to see NZ's best drift drivers in action, as well as beginner and amateur events for those who want to give it a try themselves. There's also live music, DJs, food, streetwear stands and a Saturday night after-party.


DETAILS: Friday, June 2-Sunday, June 4, Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo. Tickets range from $15.99 for a general admission day pass to $129.99 for a VIP weekend pass.

Queens Wharf will have a distinctly English vibe, with a free three-day family-friendly event incorporating music, culture, food and history. Shed 10 will host the Great Queen's Birthday Market, with artisan, craft and vintage goodies available, there will be a carnival funfair on the wharf outside, as well as kids workshops, classic cars and more.

DETAILS: Saturday, June 3-Monday, June 5, 10am-4pm, Queens Wharf.

Gisborne and Hawke's Bay

Celebrate Matariki and the best in Maori and indigenous film arts with the Wairoa Maori Film Festival 2017, held at the Kahungunu Marae in the village of Nuhaka, famous for its fish and chips. There will be a variety of international and local short and feature films, as well as a gala reception and awards night.

DETAILS: From 3pm, Friday, June 2 to 9am, Monday, June 5. Nuhuka is 40 minutes' drive from Gisborne and two hours from Napier. A full festival pass costs $140 and includes all films, a marae stay and meals. Door sales available for individual films. The Wairoa Maori Film Awards take place at Wairoa's Gaiety Theatre on Saturday; admission $40.

Grab a bargain at the annual Founders Book Fair, a nine-day market with second-hand books, magazines, DVDs, vinyl and games on sale at the charming Founders Heritage Park.

DETAILS: Saturday, June 3-June 11, 10am-4.30pm at the Energy Centre and Granary Hall, Founders Park. Daily entry is $2 or you can get a nine-day pass for $5.

New Plymouth

The NZ Craft and Design Show celebrates Kiwi-made creations. With a theme of "Repurpose, Recreate, Renew", visitors will be able to trade crafts, listen to expert talks, browse and buy a range of craft and designwares.

DETAILS: Friday, June 2-Sunday, June 4, 10am-4.30pm, TSB Stadium, New Plymouth. General admissions tickets are $7.50 for adults, $2 for children.


SJD, Miho's Jazz Orchestra, Caitlin Smith and the Louie Shelton Band join a packed programme for the Mercury Music Festival, which aims to transform Whitianga into a "Village of Music". As well as live performances, there will be workshops, plenty to eat and drink and a Young Musician Award Competition.

DETAILS: Saturday, June 3-Sunday, June 4, 11am-11pm. Day passes cost from $29 for under 16s, $49 for adults, or $139 for a family pass (2 adults and 2 children). An adults' two-day pass costs $79. Tickets still available from See the official website for a full line-up.


The 2017 New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards attract artists from around the world, about 700 competitors and audiences of more than 5000 to the little ol' town of Gore. This is the competition's 44th year and the festival wraps up a week of country music celebrations (make it an extra long weekend and head to the NZ Country Music Awards on Thursday, June 1). The Gold Guitar Awards winner will be announced at the senior finals on Sunday.

DETAILS: Friday, June 2-Sunday, June 4. Tickets from


You're definitely too late to start training but there'll be a great atmosphere in the Garden City for the ASB Christchurch Marathon so line the streets and cheer the competitors.

DETAILS: Sunday, June 4, 8am-2pm. The race starts and ends in Cathedral Square.


The capital will become "geek central" with NZ ComicCon and Armageddon hitting town. NZ ComicCon includes scavenger hunts, art exhibitions, board-game conventions, parties and cosplay photoshoots. Armageddon has guest appearances from sci-fi TV and movie stars, including Mark Sheppard and Alaina Huffman from Supernatural.

DETAILS: Both events take place from Saturday, June 3-Monday, June 5. NZ ComicCon is at venues around the city; Armageddon is at Westpac Stadium.

Central Otago

Come and watch some of the world's best young violinists perform in rounds one and two of The 2017 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, which has one of the most sought-after violin prizes, a package valued at more than $100,000.

DETAILS: Friday, June 2-Monday, June 5, Queenstown Memorial Centre. A range of ticket options are available, from $35 for an adult single session, to $235 for all sessions' entry.

North Otago

Oamaru is not only home to Steampunk HQ, New Zealand's premiere steampunk attraction, it's also home to the four-day Steampunk NZ festival, which last year set a Guinness world record for the largest such gathering. The packed programme has markets, talent quests, art exhibitions, a gala ball and off-the-wall sounding events, such as Splendid Teapot Racing, Tea Duelling and a Bellydance Steampunk Fusion Workshop . . . whatever that may be.

DETAILS: Thursday, June 1-Sunday, June 4, various locations around Oamaru. Free and ticketed events.