Weekend Herald

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.

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 ?? Photos / Michael Craig, Supplied ?? From top: The Snugs; Angus Muir’s Mountain of Light; Takarua — Battle of the Brothers; lights on the bridge.
Photos / Michael Craig, Supplied From top: The Snugs; Angus Muir’s Mountain of Light; Takarua — Battle of the Brothers; lights on the bridge.

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