It’s supercharging children’s imaginations and lighting up Instagram.
Affectionately called ‘the pav’ and described as a festive chess board, Santa’s kaleidoscope and a rainbow Parthenon, the Christmas pavilion now in place at the lower end of Queen Street – at Te Komititanga square - is turning heads and captivating hearts.
Sitting next to the historic Chief Post Office building which has seen 110 festive seasons, and at the centre of the whāriki (welcome mat) made from patterned paving stones by mana whenua artist Tessa Harris (Ngāi Tai Ki Tāmaki) and her team of weavers, this colourful temporary pavilion transcends generations and beckons all Aucklanders back to the city centre this festive season.
Co-created by award-winning designers Angus Muir, Matt Liggins, and Auckland Council city centre place activation principal Barbara Holloway, the pavilion is also a temporary stage for Christmas in Te Komititanga.
Music and free performances are filling the square at lunchtimes and evenings, counting down to Christmas like a super-sized advent calendar.
Bring the kids and see their eyes fill with wonder as roving stilt walkers defy gravity, jugglers send objects into the air, Christmas elves arrive early from the North Pole, and tinsel-covered friendly monsters surprise and delight.
Pavilion co-creator Barbara Holloway says: “We are lucky to have such talented artists working with us to create this pavilion. Colourful, evocative public art installations like this are important for our city’s renewed vibrancy and the feeling of celebration. Art never fails to lift hearts no matter how challenging the years have been.”
Queen Street shines
Once the pavilion has brought back the child in you, head further up the street and experience our new Queen Street design - Mayoral Drive to Shortland Street – which is all dressed up for its first Christmas.
Don’t miss our new Waihorotiu path, trees sparkling with festive lights, native plantings which tell a story, shops brimming with Christmas excitement and people dancing in the widened footpaths at Saturdays in the City. Read more here.
Cross to the western footpath (pedestrian crossings are shorter now as traffic lanes in Queen Street have been reduced from four to two) and marvel at more than 100 marionette puppets re-telling the story of ‘The Chaos before Christmas’ in the windows of iconic store Smith & Caughey’s.
And stand by as LEGO New Zealand, in partnership with Auckland Live, Heart of the City and Auckland Council, prepares to reveal yet more magic at Aotea Square.
Inspired by Kiwi kids across the country, Saturday 10 December will see families experience a giant LEGO build, community performances and food trucks, marking the southern bookend of this epic city centre festive programme. Read more here.
Auckland Council and Heart of the City, along with their city centre partners, are proud to bring the magic of Christmas to the city centre, right up until Christmas Eve, supported by the city centre targeted rate.
The schedule of free performances can be found at kiosks in Te Komititanga square and at heartofthecity.co.nz/christmas. This schedule may be subject to weather.