ELEMENTAL, my dear Auckland
With events to chase away the winter blues, festival turns the city into a playground of light, writes Cherie Howie
It’s time to emerge from your winter hibernation, Auckland. Elemental AKL has returned for a third year, bringing a mixture of more than 50 free and paid events and experiences across the city.
The mid-winter festival began on Wednesday and continues till August 1.
The hub of the activity is the winter playground at Aotea Square, where an ice rink and ice slide are already attracting hundreds of skaters every day, according to Auckland Live.
The Snugs, five domes where up to eight people can dine privately, have also returned.
“Kitted out with comfy furniture, blankets, and heaters, the five eyecatching geodesic domes are the perfect spots for rugging up and relaxing at the snuggest winter catch ups with friends, team lunches, birthday parties or pre-show meals.”
Bookings can be made at heartofthecity.co.nz/aucklandevents/snugs
The world is still off-limits for most of us, but thankfully its tastes remain in reach with the Auckland Night Markets offering authentic international cuisine from Hungarian flat bread to churros.
Dining is possible takeaway, al fresco in the square, or inside a booked Snug.
And if people-watching doesn’t provide enough entertainment, Auckland Live’s Digital Stage has screenings of Southern Ocean adventure, Go Further South, with penguins, orca and icebergs on offer as cameras take you on a virtual journey through the landscapes of the chilly sub-Antarctic.
Orchestral rave Synthony — where a full orchestra, DJs and live vocalists mix the magic of lights and lasers with some of the best-loved dance tracks of the last 30 years — has a onenight only show at Spark Arena tonight.
Meanwhile, metro trains and buses will be free after 9pm, until the end of that day’s service, throughout the festival, Auckland Transport said.
Face coverings must be worn on public transport.
The free services were a great way to get home safe after enjoying their night out at an Elemental event, Inspector Siaosi (George) Fanamanu, Auckland City District road policing manager, said. “We don’t want people drinking and then making a bad decision to drive, putting them, their passengers and other road users at risk.
“There’s always an alternative to drink driving so plan your ride home ahead of time.”
Back in Aotea Square, Takurua — Battle of the Brothers dinner theatre offers a banquet of neo-Pasifika cuisine from a team of the city’s best Pasifika chefs, led by Wallace Mua Frost from Euro Bar and Restaurant, and accompanied by displays of Māori martial arts and Pasifika contemporary dance.
For those wanting to enjoy the sunshine, Winter Forage at the end of the month starts with a guided city walk which includes learning which plants, leaves and berries can be eaten, as well as about Māori food gathering traditions.
Exhibitions, degustation dining, live music, art trails and harbour cruises are also planned over the next two weeks, with more information on the festival at www.aucklandnz.com/elementalfestival
Auckland Harbour Bridge is also lighting up for Vector lights for Elemental AKL, with light and sound shows continuing every half hour between 6pm and midnight until July 31.
The soundtrack is available at www.vector.co.nz/about-us/sponsorship/lights , with Little Shoal Bay in Northcote, Bayswater Marina, Bastion Point, Mt Eden, Harbour View Beach Reserve at Te Atatu¯ and Auckland’s waterfront among places where the light show can best be seen.