February looks set to be another eventful month in Christchurch with events to commemorate Waitangi Day, an iconic beer festival and a season of an old favourite to celebrate the 150th birthday of Christchurch's Botanic Gardens.
ASB Classical Sparks returns to North Hagley Park tomorrow night for an evening of music, entertainment and fireworks that will be sure to have you rising to your feet in a standing ovation. The event has been postponed to Waitangi Day due to poor weather and ground conditions. Emceed by the charismatic Mark Hadlow, this ever-popular event on Christchurch’s events calendar will again feature a star-studded cast of musicians and singers including Rachel Doig and Robert Enari. The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Kenneth Young, will take to the stage from 7.30pm, performing well-known classics by Bizet, Mozart and Verdi. The New Zealand Army Band will also make an appearance, supporting the orchestra for the rousing finale of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture which will accompany the spectacular fireworks display. The sponsor ASB has chosen the charity St. Johns to benefit from the event, so keep an eye out for St. Johns collectors. Every year on February 6 New Zealand's national day Waitangi Day is celebrated with a public holiday and a number of events around the country.
The traditional Waitangi Day celebration at historic Okains Bay on the Banks Peninsula is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Okains Bay residents and visitors turn out to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by paddling a ceremonial waka on the river. The formalities are accompanied by a Maori hangi, speeches and traditional games and activities such as a mass tug of war.
Riccarton Bush Market
Head along to Riccarton Bush on Waitangi Day (February 5) to the combined artisan and farmers’ market, which will feature all your favourite stalls, great coffee and a special Waitangi Day BBQ.
The Wind in the Willows
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Botanic Gardens Christchurch residents are in for a real treat this month - a two-week season of The Wind in the Willows, the play loved by young and old. The stage will be set in the Gardens behind the childrens’ playground. Admission is free and the season runs from 15 February to 3 March, with shows Tuesday to Friday nights at 6pm. Over the weekend there will be two shows on Saturdays and Sundays, at 12.30 and 6pm. Note there are no performances on the 18th, 25th, 26th and 27th of February. Christchurch actor Mark Hadlow, fresh from his appearance as Dori in The Hobbit, returns to the role of the loveable Toad of Toad Hall. Pack a picnic and a rug and enjoy this heart-warming classic in the leafy venue of the Botanic Gardens.
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival
Another popular event making a comeback this year is The Great Kiwi Beer Festival, a celebration of New Zealand's brewing industry. Hosted by experts from the brewing industry, the festival will feature over 100 different varieties of beer from New Zealand and internationally. The festival runs from 11.30am until around 7pm on the 23rd of February in North Hagley Park, with an exciting line-up of performers including Supergroove, Soulsystem and Kong Fooey. The other important aspect of a beer festival is of course the food - there are over 30 vendors coming to feed the masses. Stay tuned to The Great Kiwi Beer Festival for information on the different food stalls that will be appearing at the event.