Midtown erupts into song this May for New Zealand Music Month

Last Updated : 07 May 2024
Caru Resize
Poppa Jax
Poppa Jax.
Brandn Shiraz Resize
Brandn Shiraz.
Musical duo named FOBS.

New Zealand Music Month is spilling into the streets, squares and laneways of Tāmaki Makaurau this autumn. As the calendar flicks over into May, let the music play.

DJs will emerge from new street art on Victoria Street, latest sounds will play in Karangahape Road, hip hop stars will take to the pavements in Elliott Street, people of all ages will get the latest paintwork applied to their sneakers, and lots more.

Check out our map and plan your midtown music feast (from 16 to 18 May) by viewing more information here.   

16 May 6–9pm - Midtown Street Party

Victoria Street mural.

This street party kicks off 3 days of streetside music. Imagine acoustic performances in Elliott Stables and DJs and local hip hop stars on the pavements, with backing vocals from Real Groovy, Daikoku, Nahm Thai Street Food, Atrium on Elliott, Howlin’ Wolf, Lyricist Lane (aka Strand Arcade), and the blends of DJ TESI at Darby Street’s Recycle Boutique.

Artists featuring in the Elliott Street festivities are Erin G, Lijah Mavaega, Summer Vee, Crystal Chen; hip hop crews are From Outside, Brandn Shiraz, Lucky Lance and Christoph El Truento; DJ Poppa Jax, Caru, FOBS curated by Thomas Rose (NewSampleWhoDis) who will be wandering among the crowd with a music trivia quiz.

Erin G.

Erin G.

17 May 7–9pm - Fetu Creative Forum

This forum will inspire New Zealand music kōrero in the Strand Arcade and a live podcast will feature prominent Tangata Moana songwriters Teremoana Rapley and Rubi Du, facilitated by Lucky Lance of Team Dynamite and Sky Pirates fame alongside DJ and Auckland Council arts programmer Gene Rivers.

18 May 11am-3pm The Mids

The Mids will be a highlight of this 3-day street-level festival of music in midtown, with giveaways worth $2000. The Mids pop-up marketplace will delight Strand Arcade with music, street culture, DJs and a street art exhibition. Bring the kids to Gystforkickz where we’re giving Aucklanders a chance to customise their kicks free or pick up a new pair at the BigFoot NZ sneaker swap meet.

Don’t miss Sky Pirates Streetwear adorned with the artistry of GBAK and Tāmaki street artist Deus, M&A Streetwear, and Howlin’ Wolf’s old-school hot towel shaves. Dusty Crate Record Fair and Real Groovy will curate a celebration of New Zealand music with a collection of second-hand vinyl. From Outside will be producing an album instore in real time. 

Other city centre stores bringing their vibe to The Mids are: JB Hi Fi, Marbecks, Holiday Records, Pat Menzies, Trainers Skateboarding, Guitar Gallery, Dangerfield, Odd Even, Hype and Stirling Sports.   

Colourful flower designed baby shoes.

Customise your sneakers at The Mids.

30 May 6-9pm Opera in the Strand

Voices of angels will sing from the bridges high above this ornately decorated arcade, built a century ago. Learn more here.

Back in time, new music talent would find its roots in underground bars, streetside busking spots or speakeasies with entrances hidden from view. Gene Rivers explains that this New Zealand Music Month you’ll find it in the streets, laneways and squares of midtown, erupting into song.

From 2 May until 31 May the Auckland Live Digital Stage will showcase 14 new artists from the Auckland Council programme Ka Mua Ka Muri Te Iho Auaha, now in its third year. Named after a Māori proverb meaning walking backwards into the future, the premise of Ka Mua Ka Muri Te Iho Auaha is knowing where you came from can help you know where you’re going.

Crystal Chen.

Crystal Chen.

The young artists have been recorded playing their music and chatting about their journey, the sounds that inspired them and the people who came before them. This year the council team has recorded and filmed the performances and commentary of: En Passant, SUSO alumni and 2023 winner of best artist bringing a fusion of classical / jazz piano musical beds under rap and singing; Juga, SUSO alumni and 2023 winner solo vocal with folky pop soul; Crystal Chen with soul / jazz fusion; Brandn Shiraz with hip hop / dancehall / island vibes; and Sam V with a smooth RnB / soul sound.

Recording took place in the basement of the Central City Library, led by Gene Rivers who says Ka Mua Ka Muri reveals the depth of musical talent in Tāmaki. He says it helps build the Auckland region’s music ecosystem, and deliver on the commitment made to young talent by Auckland as a UNESCO City of Music.

"So much of Tāmaki music is inspired by the energy of the city centre. The streets themselves have a pulse and vibe that resonates in so many of the stories told by the many diverse artists that call this city home. Therefore it’s only fitting that we provide them a platform in the heart of this city to showcase their music.
“The offer for audiences this year is super enticing, with this genre spectrum a true reflection of the multi-cultural city that Tāmaki is,” Gene Rivers says.

New Zealand Music Month activations in midtown are supported by Auckland Council and the city centre targeted rate.

Learn more about the Midtown Street Party here and The Mids market here.

Auckland Live brings lunch-time gigs, kid-friendly moves and screen-time jams to Aotea Square from 2 May until 31 May.

Fresh for New Zealand Music Month

Discover what makes Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland a UNESCO designated City of Music. Check out the stories of some of our world-class artists, venues, and events.

The 'Auckland City of Music Stories' series have been created by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited – the region’s cultural and economic agency.

This month: 

  • Shepherds Reign ( Pasifika heavy metal band)
  • Paige  (award-winning singer-songwriter)
  • Te Ohorere Williams (NZ Opera Singer)
  • Jonathan Cohen (Section Principal, Woodwind (Clarinet)
  • Begonia Chan (Tutti Cello), Auckland Philharmonia


About Auckland UNESCO City of Music

The UNESCO designation acknowledges Auckland’s long and rich musical history and its commitment to being a music-friendly city, promoting local creativity, and strengthening Aucklanders’ participation in cultural life.

For a list of Auckland based events as part of NZ Music Month, check out - https://www.aucklandnz.com/collections/new-zealand-music-month-in-auckland

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