Auckland Diwali Festival is set to light up communities across Auckland from 27 October to 14 November, with more than 100 activities and experiences taking place at numerous local venues across the region.
Seven venues – from Warkworth to Papatoetoe – will have full programming featuring a mix of cooking, dance and music workshops, panel discussions, film nights, and activations from sponsors.
A further 20 community venues region-wide will host local workshops and events, facilitated by Auckland Council Community Venues.
The full line-up of free, family-friendly events and experiences at each venue can be viewed at aucklandnz.com/auckland-diwali-festival/festival-programmes
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he was looking forward to Diwali, one of Auckland’s most popular cultural festivals.
“The Diwali Festival is much loved by Aucklanders and important to our diverse communities,” he said.
“While COVID-19 precautions mean that this year the festival won’t feature the traditional gathering in Aotea Square, the more than 100 events across the region will provide ample opportunity to celebrate the Festival of Lights with friends and family, while ensuring that everyone stays safe.”
The Auckland Diwali Festival is delivered by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) in collaboration with Auckland Council, with founding partner Asia New Zealand Foundation and major partner Harcourts.
ATEED Head of Major Events Richard Clarke says this year’s festival provide more ways for Aucklanders to enjoy this age-old Indian celebration.
“While this year’s festival will be different, it offers exciting new ways to enjoy Diwali Festival and showcase Auckland’s vibrant Indian communities.
"This year the programme is much more focused on sharing knowledge through cooking, dance and craft workshops and engaging in important discussions, as well as simply enjoying films, dance and music,” says Clarke.
Highlights of the programme include a spice market, art and light installations, competitions, a special Evening of Classical Indian Music, and a Radio Tarana Bollywood Dance Competition online. Auckland’s landmarks will also be lighting up in celebration of Diwali, including a rangoli-inspired show by Vector Lights on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Seven much-loved films will be played across key venues including Bride and the Prejudice, Lion, Yesterday, and Life of Pi, presented by ASB.
Three free-entry panel discussions will explore women empowerment (Ellen Melville Centre, 30 October), modern-day arranged marriages (Te Oro, Glen Innes, 31 October), and being comfortable being Indian (Auckland War Memorial Museum, 8 November).
Shining a light on traditional arts and crafts will also be a key aspect of the daytime programming, with workshops on making diya lamps, colouring rangoli, DIY henna, classical music, Bollywood and belly dance as well as more contemporary Bollyrobix classes. Free cooking classes and opportunities to enjoy chai tea and Diwali sweets will also be on the menu.
In early September it was announced the festival would change this year from the usual format of a two-day event held in central Auckland. This decision was made following consultation between ATEED and the Diwali Advisory Group, which is comprised of representatives from Auckland’s Indian communities.
ATEED and the Advisory Group agreed that it was best to deliver a festival that could meet the guidelines of Alert Level 2 or higher, if required.