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New Plymouth Taranaki, Events and Activities

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1. Puke Ariki

The treasure trove of Taranaki’s history and culture, Puke Ariki is a world-class knowledge centre where library, museum and visitor information are combined to tell the stories of Taranaki - past, present and future. Setting an international benchmark in the delivery of information and heritage services, Puke Ariki has a number of exhibitions on throughout the year, and has a variety of displays, collections, and interactive technology on permanent display. A combined museum, library and information centre, Puke Ariki sets out to inspire creativity by showing stunning exhibitions that highlight Taranaki’s past, present and future. Taranaki is a region steeped in history and Puke Ariki (Hill of Chiefs) stands on an original pa site of the great Maori Chief, Te Rangi Apiti Rua around 1700. The pa was deserted and approximately 100 years later it became the landing place for colonial settlers. Puke Ariki is located opposite Len Lye’s Wind Wand in central New Plymouth. There are a number of galleries featuring contemporary exhibitions, Taranaki past life, Taranaki geology, flora and fauna, Maori collections (Taonga) and theatre featuring short films on Taranaki life. Puke Ariki is a must see for your Taranaki experience.

2. Taranaki Garden Festivals

The Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival invite you to experience the most stunning range of gardens and events in New Zealand – a festival like no other. The hospitality of Taranaki’s garden owners is what makes this event so unique. Every year visitors flock from all over New Zealand and overseas to the festival where they are encouraged to take the time to wander through the beautiful gardens and take part in many of the festival’s events. Festival gardeners show the care and dedication that only those who love growing things can provide. In 2007 the festival boasted an amazing 49 gardens, of which 17 were gardens of national or regional significance, which is the most of any region in New Zealand and something that the festival is very proud of! The events programme included the innovative Landscape Design Project by French design company L’Atelier, a glamorous twilight Garden Party, the Garden Speaker Series, Jazz & Wine in gardens, the popular Two for One day, Trees For Babies plus many more events, some of which are created especially for children and families. The Taranaki Rhododendron & Garden Festival is happening from 30th October - 8th November 2015.

3. Pukekura Park

This 52ha inner-city park is a jewel. Stretching along a river valley from the centre of New Plymouth to near the city’s southern boundary, Pukekura Park is a Garden of National Significance that combines formal gardens with walks through native bush. Visitors to the park can enjoy the internationally regarded Fernery and Display Houses, visit Brooklands Zoo, check out the Japanese Hillside and Kunming Garden, and take a row boat onto the main lake. The park’s beautiful sportsground has been named one of the top small cricket grounds in the world by Wisden, while the natural outdoor amphitheatre of the TSB Bowl of Brooklands has attracted well-known performers over the years. And from mid-December to early February every year, Pukekura Park is transformed into an illuminated wonderland each night with the TSB Bank Festival of Lights. This free event includes nighttime entertainment and daytime activities for all ages, and is so popular that it has been voted onto the coveted Mayfair spot of New Zealand Monopoly!

4. New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

This award-winning walkway stretches almost the entire length of New Plymouth, and gives visitors a close-up experience of the Tasman Sea. Walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters can travel its 7km length from the mouth of the Waiwhakaiho River in the east to Ngamotu Beach in the west, passing in front of the city’s CBD along the way. The eastern end takes walkers through a series of sand dunes, then on to Fitzroy Beach then East End Beach with its adjacent reserve and skate park. The central section of the walkway is the site of the biennial Te Kupenga Stone Symposium, with artists carving their sculptures in full public view. Adjacent to this is the central deck which features the 45m-high Len Lye kinetic sculpture, Wind Wand. On its way westward the Coastal Walkway travels in front of the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre and down to the Lee Breakwater before ending at the family-friendly Ngamotu Beach. Mobility scooters are available for hire (for free) from the aquatic centre – just call New Plymouth District Council on 06-759 6060 to book. Refreshments and ‘Wind Wanderer’ pedal carts are available at the central deck, next to the Wind Wand.

5. TSB Bank Festival of Lights

Since 1993 the TSB Bank Festival of Lights has been wowing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with an awesome mix of events, entertainment and of course a spectacular lighting display set against the backdrop of Pukekura Park. At night, fluorescent pebble paths sparkle beneath excited feet, majestic trees and plants glow, and waterfalls and lakes shimmer and shine beneath thousands of lighting displays. But it's the features such as the talking giant, fire poi dancers or the parades that captivate the young and the not so young. Structures such as the park's water wheel, fountains and historic band rotunda are flooded with lights, while illuminated wooden rowboats offer a romantic boating opportunity like no other. So if you're looking for fun entertainment in the summer then visit Pukekura Park and immerse yourself in the magical and mystical wonderland of the TSB Bank Festival of Lights.


What's On in New Plymouth, Taranaki?

New Plymouth Festival of Lights

14 Dec 2013 (Sat) - 25 Jan 2014 (Sat)

Pukekura Park

his year’s TSB Bank Festival of Lights is underway and the dates for the Festival have been confirmed as Sunday 15 December 2013 to Saturday 25 January 2014. This year the entertainment programme starts on the evening of Boxing Day and finishes on Saturday 25 January 2014.
The Festival is one of the most highly anticipated family events in New Plymouth year on year and what we have planned for this season will make you smile and laugh no matter how young or old.

The On Stage night entertainment is back this season and with 38 performances on two stages over five weeks there are many exciting acts lined up which will please all ears with a large range of music genres.

Summer Scene is the daytime activities programme that takes place throughout the New Plymouth district for children and families. Activities will include the much loved Big Dig, Teddy Bears Picnic and plenty of new activities to fill hot summer days.

The Lighting Features are the jewels in the park that capture Festival visitors with visual imagination. There will be a display of new lighting features from local and national acclaimed artists.

Summer of Cricket

30 Dec 2013 (Mon) - 19 Mar 2014 (Wed)

Pukekura Park

From HRV Twenty20 to the ICC One Day Cricket World Cup to Ford Trophy One-Day matches, there's a lot of top level cricket coming to Taranaki this summer.
Cricket for everyone! Taranaki will be hosting a variety of games this summer including the ICC Cricket World cup qualifying games.

Taranaki Cycle Challenge

26 Jan 2014 (Sun)

The Taranaki Cycle Challenge has become one of New Zealand's premier road cycle events with over 1100, competitive and recreational cyclists enjoying the day. This event is always held on the Auckland/Bay of Plenty Anniversary weekend and is Taranaki's longest running Around The Mountain recreational cycling ride.
An undulating cruise around the iconic Mount Taranaki makes the Taranaki Cycle Challenge a popular event on the BikeNZ Summer Series calendar.

The 148km course starts in the heart of New Plymouth, where riders head anti-clockwise around the mystic volcano, as it shadows the surf beaches to the west. Upon reaching the halfway point at Te Kiri, riders head inland towards Inglewood and finish with a brisk climb back up to the starting point.

Dame Malvina Major Diamond Jubilee

14 Feb 2014 (Fri)

TSB Bowl of Brooklands

Treat your loved one on valentines day to a night with world renowned soprano Dame Malvina Major. This outdoor summer show is a night to remember
World–renowned soprano Dame Malvina Major joins special guests, Geoff Sewell, the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, Hogsnort Rupert and the RNZ Air Force & Navy Bands for six outdoor summer shows in February / March 2014.

In 2014 Dame Malvina Major (ONZ, GNZM, DBE) celebrates 60 years as one of the world’s top opera singers. Her role developing artists like Hayley Westenra via her Foundation (launched in 1991) has seen her come full circle from the early days where the Hamilton-born singer received classical lessons from Dame Sister Mary Leo (who also taught Dame Kiri Te Kanawa!) and later, Ruth Packer from the Royal College of Music.

Americarna 2014

26 Feb 2014 (Wed) - 1 Mar 2014 (Sat)

Pukekura Raceway

Americarna head back to Taranaki! This is a great way to celebrate the American classics. Brougham Heights is happy to be an accommodation sponsor and looks forward to seeing many of the cool cars around town!
Taranaki's favourite celebration of American muscle cars has been fine-tuned and is geared up to make a return next year.

The organisers are keen to make it an annual event.

Americarna was held in New Plymouth between 2007 and 2010, before travelling south in 2011 to Hutt City in February and then Invercargill in March. It returned to Taranaki in 2012.

It is estimated the event will inject $3 million into the region's economy.

Next year's festival will run from February 26 to March 1. Event founder, New Plymouth businessman John Rae, says there has been great interest in Americarna's return.

Upcoming Events in New Plymouth

Check out all upcoming events in New Plymouth at the Eventfinda website.
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