First published in Ponsonby News November 2023

City Vision celebrates arts and events this Spring in Ponsonby and beyond.

Arts and Events make up a tiny fraction of council budgets but they can be the most joyful and memorable. You might even argue they are necessary. If you are living close up next to each other it is these events that demonstrate how diversity does not mean conflict but a myriad different ways to see the world, and to make life a good deal more interesting. 

Last month saw the Heritage Festival (shout out to Richard Northey for his guided walk on Peace and Protest) and Art Week. Art Week in downtown Auckland was a glorious mix of illuminations by night and mellow activities by day. In Freyberg Square, kids could level up their cardboard tower building with the aid of a group of young architects and tools. While on the edge of Mount Eden the Uptown Business Association’s Branch Out festival (7 October) brought Nikau Street to life with live art, games, food, and music and circus performances from local artists.’ The Urban Sketchers were there too, capturing the day in pencil, ink and watercolour. The Street Art Bike Challenge has been asking cyclists to capture the best of Auckland’s street art. Closing date 31st October, but one can hunt down Auckland’s street art any time.

If you missed these, not to worry, on 2 November  ( First Thursdays – next on 7 December) there will be “Art Late” in Karangahape and Ponsonby. As the business associations (and sponsor Soho Wines) put it: tour 26 galleries, explore an array of exhibitions, take part in live drawing installations, listen to artist talks, and discuss the meaning behind your favourite pieces, all while enjoying a complementary glass of Soho Wines. Many of the galleries are private, but some are maintained or supported by council. Studio One Toi Tū, at 1 Ponsonby Road, (which has recently been seismically restrengthened) offers art courses for kids and adults to support the development of current and future generations of artists. 

Also, coming up is the Parnell Rose Festival on Sunday 5th November from 11am, a longstanding family festival with lots of plant giveaways, live music and dance performance. The Grey Lynn Park Festival will be back (fingers crossed the weather obliges) on Saturday 18th November with live music, stalls, food trucks, and fun for the kids, both proudly supported by the Waitemata Local Board. Both offer opportunities for small scale artists and artisans to exhibit and sell their work – I believe all my best pottery comes from the Grey Lynn Park Festival.

A little further afield, the Kiwi Art Trail is on until 9th Nov between Britomart and Silo Park and the Maritime Museum explores the oceanic environment of Aotearoa and the Pacific. The sea holds many wonders and seems to provide limitless inspiration for the numerous artists involved. Admission is free for Aucklanders. 

For more inspiration on council-supported events across the whole of Auckland (many of which are free), have a look on Our Auckland -events and start planning a great summer. You can also follow Our Auckland on Facebook, and for kids’ events follow Out and About Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau.

Please do get in touch with your local City Vision reps for any assistance or information on local issues. You can message us on most social media platforms (search “City Vision NZ”), or for specific enquiries please email Alexandra Bonham ([email protected]), Anahera Rawiri ([email protected]) or Richard Northey ([email protected]) in Waitematā or you can contact Councillor Julie Fairey on [email protected] or text directly on 0279113030.