What's happening in Christchurch Winter 2018?

  • Matariki in the Zone Christchurch
  • winter solstice bike ride christchurch
  • light up matariki workshop christchurch
  • Botanic D'Lights Christchurch
  • Littlest Ninja court theatre Christchurch

What's coming up in Christchurch over the next month or two as we head right into winter 2018? One of the highlights as the days shorten and the weather gets just a little depressing, is the celebration of Matariki in June and July - and of course there are people all over the place enjoying "mid-winter Christmas" type get togethers at home and out and about.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. The cluster rises in mid-winter and heralds the start of a new year. The stars represent a time of seasonal change, the opportunity to reflect over the passing year, prepare ground for new growth and is a time for the community to celebrate.

As always, Lyttelton hosts their Festival of Lights - one of those events not to be missed, no matter what the weather is doing. Wrap up warm, get your hat and gloves on, maybe take along an umbrella and be prepared to enjoy the beauty of the lights and the wonderful vibe of people having a great time together. 

What's in the Next Room or The Vibrator Play, Court Theatre, Barnard Street, May 12 - June 2, 2018

This play has been getting rave reviews - and it covers a topic that will keep you engaged throughout! Catherine Givings tends to her baby under the electric glow of a floor lamp. In the next room, a low buzz can be heard. It is an unfamiliar sound to those witnessing the dawn of the electrical age. Catherine’s husband, a brilliant and overly analytical scientist is using a new device to relieve “hysteria”. At his home-based clinic he tests this invention, a Chattanooga vibrator, on patients who quickly become advocates of his treatment.

Beautifully written, intelligent and classy, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play is a stunning comedy about repression, liberation and what takes place behind closed doors. Book online, tickets range from $30 (for people 30 and under) to $62. Check the website for prices and concessions.

Matariki in the Zone, Sunday 17 June, Avebury House, 9 Evelyn Couzins Avenue, Admission Free

Matariki is the Maori New Year to farewell the old and welcome in the new season, and usually comes very close to the Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year. The highlight of the festivities will be a shared feast including a traditional hangi prepared by mana whenua and nourishing hot soups created by well known local chef, Richard Till.

Activities include Maori crafts such as wood carving and flax weaving, live music and fun things to do for kids. Guests are encouraged to bring along produce from their own garden or pantry, dropping off at Avebury House at 11am to contribute to the shared meal from 12 noon to 2pm.

There will also be the blessing and opening of the Native Edible Garden in the Richmond Community Garden, as well as the completion of the Stormwater Exemplar by Avon-Ōtākaro Network.

The Backyard Skiffle Band Family Show, Blue Smoke, The Tannery Sunday, June 17, 4pm - 6pm

Something fun and a little different for the whole family to enjoy. An interactive music show giving little kids and and big kids the chance to form a band and play live on stage.  Blue Smoke will be open from 3pm with the show kicking off at 4pm. Sunday AGA roast served from 5pm. 

Plus regular Blue Smoke menu available all afternoon and evening. Check the FB event page for more info

Winter Solstice Bike Light Ride, 21 June 2018, Hagley Park, 5pm

The 7th annual solstice night light bike ride organised by the Christchurch City Council celebrates the start of longer cycling days and  brightly supports safe cycling in Christchurch, for commuters, kids riding to school and for all recreational cyclists. This is a family-friendly event but organisers urge that you ride with your children as it is pretty dark after 5:30pm. Meet at 5pm.

Decorate your bike, helmet and yourself with as many lights as you can. Prizes for various categories including the brightest bike. And new this year, thanks to Bikewise, swag!

The bike light ride starts at the Hagley Park Mickle Gates (where Armagh St meets Park Terrace) and will ride counter clockwise around the park on the footpath or road - your choice. Afterwards you can join others at Fiddlesticks bar and other local eateries for a beer or hot chocolate and discuss how to help make Christchurch a world class safe cycling city!

Event will be held come rain, snow, wind, hail or a nice warm evening. In case of really severe weather, an announcement will be posted on the Facebook page by 4pm on Thursday 21 June.

Light up Matariki Lantern making Workshop, Christchurch Botanical Gardens, Sunday 24 June, 10am - midday, $5.00 entry

Create nature-inspired lanterns this Matariki at the Botanic Gardens. Learn how to combine twigs, leaves and paper to design LED candle lanterns and light up the chilly nights of Matariki.

This lantern workshop has limited places and parents/guardians will be required to help with construction. Note that we will be using hot glue. This workshop is most suitable for 7-12 year olds but any ages are welcome. Find out more and book your tickets online here.

Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights, 29th June 2018, 6:30 - 10:30pm

This year the much anticipated Lyttelton Harbour Festival of Lights will be on the 29th June. As always, there will be a wide range of food stalls, a parade kicking off at 7pm, live music onstage and at 8pm the Lyttelton Port fireworks display. There will also be lit up art installations all around the town.

Get yourself over there nice and early to enjoy the celebrations and be prepared for all weathers!

Matariki Celebrations, Arts Centre of Christchurch, June 15 - July 22

The Arts Centre invites you to come together as a community/whānau to celebrate Matariki 2018 with a variety of activities from June 15 – July 22.

For the first time the Arts Centre will be hosting Matariki Night Markets on July 6 and 7. from 4-10pm each day.

The Matariki Night Markets will include:

  • Kapa Haka performances and NZ music from singer songwriters
  • Traditional kai and New Zealand favourites such as Fish and Chips and Pavlova
  • Art, crafts, jewellery all with a New Zealand feel/twist

Keep an eye out for the festival guide with Te Reo kupu and phrases via the Arts Centre website and the Facebook event page

Botanic D'Lights, 8-12 August, Arts Centre North and South Quads and Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Avenue. Free entry 

This hugely popular, now biennial event, is back this year and for the first time, Botanic D’Lights will blaze a dazzling new trail that includes the Arts Centre. The spectacular lighting show will extend to the Arts Centre’s North and South quadrangles – the first time the biennial event has reached beyond the grounds of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Last held in 2016, the event attracted nearly 80,000 visitors over the four days it was open to the public. Entry is free as in previous years but a gold coin donation can be contributed with funds going to the Nurse Maude Hospice.

Once again, wrap up warm and bring the kids - they will love it! Keep an eye on the Arts Centre website for more details closer to the date. 

Kidsfest 2018, Various Locations, July 7 - July 21st

One of the highlights of the winter school holidays in Christchurch is the Kidsfest calendar of events. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for the release of this year's schedule, and make a point of booking in early for the events with limited numbers - they fill up fast!

The Littlest Ninja, Court Theatre, Barnard Street, 7 - 21 July, tickets $10 each

This year's winter school holiday show from the Court Theatre is perfect for those children (and parents) who love a little ninja action! All kids shows are recommended for children aged 3-7 and all tickets are just $10 for children and adults.

Ninjas are cunning! Ninjas are clever! Ninjas know cool moves! Miki is little and everyone always seems to forget she’s there. But when the villainous Hanzo comes to steal the Temple’s ancient scroll, Miki learns that maybe there is something good about being a ninja who can be invisible.

Relaxed performances are special shows for those with sensory needs. Lighting and sound are adjusted, capacity is reduced to allow for freer movement and there is a “chill-out” area in the foyer.

There will be a relaxed performance of The Littlest Ninja on Saturday 21st July. Book your tickets online here.