Wellington set for $50m summer scorcher

Wellington is set to light up this summer with one of its largest events schedules ever, with just four of the region’s biggest musical gigs and cultural experiences estimated to pump $51 million into the economy.

Rap superstar Eminem, New Zealand music festival Homegrown, the ‘world cup’ of kapa haka Te Matatini and Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality exhibition are expected to attract more than 150,000 out-of-region visitors.

The Terracotta Warriors, accidently discovered by Chinese farmers in 1974, haven’t been seen in New Zealand for more than 30 years.

Accompanying the iconic sculptures will be artist Xia Nan’s international renowned Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, which will be on the Te Papa forecourt for three weeks from 5-24 February.

The brightly coloured lanterns, which stand more than two metres tall, are accurate replicas of the warriors. Commissioned for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the acclaimed exhibition has appeared in iconic locations across the globe including Sydney Harbour, Prague, and Edinburgh.

Opening on Chinese New Year Day, the exhibition will be free to enjoy through a partnership between the Wellington City Council, Te Papa and WREDA.

Aside from these four headliners, the summer calendar is also packed with numerous other highlights.

Sporting fans can enjoy the Black Caps, White Ferns and Breakers alongside regular Wellington Hurricanes and Phoenix home games, while events at WREDA-managed venues include Nick Cave, Nigella Lawson, Calexico, Bryan Ferry, The Hollies, Bryan Adams, Eddie Izard and country legend John Prine.

Fat Freddy’s Drop will also play in Day’s Bay while Jimmy Barnes and The Living End will rock the Hutt Recreation Ground in February, Trinity Roots headline the Kāpiti Coastella festival and the ever-popular CubaDupa festival will once more take over the famous street.

WREDA General Manager Events and Experiences Warrick Dent said he was particularly pleased with the diverse range of events on offer this summer.

“Whether you’re into concerts, arts or sport there’s something for everyone. Aside from the huge events there’s also a great line-up at WREDA-operated venues such as the Michael Fowler Centre and the St James, including Nick Cave and Bryan Adams.

“It’s also fantastic to have secured the Terracotta Lanterns exhibition, which looks amazing and has proved extremely popular wherever they have been installed.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester was also thrilled at the line-up, describing the approaching summer as “one for the record books”.

“The biggest concert Westpac Stadium has ever seen and the Terracotta Warriors, plus all our regular festivals will mean Wellingtonians and visitors will be spoiled for choice. The country’s biggest kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, will also be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to make all this happen and the reward is that the city will be buzzing for the entire summer.”

A range of events, including two of the biggest – Eminem and Te Matatini – are happening at Westpac Stadium, with chief executive Shane Harmon looking forward to the busy summer ahead.

“In the first three months of the year, our venue alone will be hosting 16 event days including A-League football, international cricket, Te Matatini, Eminem, Super Rugby and Nitro Circus.

“There really is something for everyone to enjoy this summer. We know these events will create a great vibe and of course a positive economic return throughout the Wellington region.”