Festivals and celebrations (New Zealand)

Where can I find information about festivals and celebrations in New Zealand?

Senior Primary

(Years 5-8)

Lantern Festival by Bronwen Knowles on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 16/03/22

Introduction

New Zealand observes many different festivals and celebrations throughout the year. These include arts, music and film festivals, as well as traditional celebrations like Easter and Christmas. Some of these special days are also public holidays.

Festivals

The Chinese Lantern Festival, Festival of Lights, Pasifika Festival, and Te Matatini (kapa haka) festival are just some of the festivals we celebrate in New Zealand. The websites below have information about these and more.

Te Ara

Owned by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Te Ara answers all questions about the people, environment, history, culture and society of New Zealand. Information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Go to Stories A-Z and select the alphabet 'A'.
  • Choose the story Arts festivals to find out about the different festivals celebrated in New Zealand and how they began.

Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses in the results that include .govt or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from overseas government or educational organisations.

NZ History

NZHistory is a great website for information about events, people and places in New Zealand's history. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

It has some great information about music festivals with lots of images:

  • choose the tab Events
  • go to 'Events A-Z'
  • look down the page to 'M
  • select Music Festivals.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It contains a wide range of quality resources for students on a variety of topics. These resources have been selected from reliable national and international sources.

  • Look down the All topics page to find the tab Festivals and Celebrations.
  • Here you will find lots of links to information about New Zealand festivals and celebrations.
  • You can also choose from a range of formats like articles, books, images, videos, primary sources, sets, websites.

Religious festivals

In New Zealand we recognise many of the traditional festivals held in other parts of the world. Christmas and Easter, although traditionally religious festivals are now firmly part of in New Zealand culture.

Te Ara

Te Ara has an excellent section on Easter, Christmas and New Year.

NZHistory

NZHistory has an excellent page that covers the history and special features of Christmas in New Zealand.

  • Enter 'Christmas' in the search box at the top of the page to find the article Christmas in New Zealand.
  • You will find here a range of unique stories from the past and present on Christmas in New Zealand.

Topic Explorer

  • Revisit this website and choose Christmas from the All topics page.

Celebrations

Guy Fawkes, Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day and Halloween are celebrated each year in New Zealand. The websites below have information about these and more.

Wicked

This website has learning resources and activities on themes and hot topics in English and te reo Māori.

  • Type the search words 'celebrations' into the search box to find the page Celebrations and festivals.
  • Choose stories like Halloween and Guy Fawkes Day.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g [celebrations]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About wickED link on this website. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Christchurch City Libraries

This website belongs to Christchurch City Libraries, a group of public libraries that come under Christchurch City Council.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on this website. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

New Year observances

Different cultures celebrate the beginning of a new year at different times in the year. Revisit the websites below to find out about them.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara also has information about New Year celebrations in New Zealand.

From the homepage:

Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer has information on different New Year celebrations.

Christchurch City Libraries

  • Christchurch City Libraries has a page When is New Year?
  • From here you can find links to all the different New Year celebrations that take place in New Zealand.

Events calendars

The websites below will help you find out when festivals and celebrations are taking place around New Zealand.

Eventfinda

Eventfinda is an online calendar that features events held all over New Zealand.

  • Go to Find Events at the top of the page and select Festivals and Lifestyles.
  • Select your area to find out what is happening there.
  • Under All events, choose Festivals for a list of the festivals that are on or coming up.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

Christchurch City Libraries

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on this website. This can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Books

Your school library or local public library may have books about festivals and celebrations. Here are some suggested titles:

SCIS no: 1924494

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