Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Unwrapping Christmas in the BIG little City

Jump into summer and the magic of Christmas early this year in Aotea Square.

THE EDGE presents
Unwrapping Christmas
in the BIG little City

7 – 21 December, Aotea Square, Auckland
Bandstand Under the Stars, Random Acts, Live at Lunch and Christmas Markets.

Kick start your holiday season with a heady mix of live music, dancing, Christmas markets and street theatre as THE EDGE and Heart of the City open Aotea Square to the excitement and anticipation that only December can bring.

Unwrapping Christmas in the BIG little City will put a spring in your step with a unique blend of free cultural and community experiences and entertainment over a two week period as we celebrate all that is vibrant and exciting about a Southern Hemisphere Christmas.

In its fourth year Random Acts returns to push the boundaries and expand the minds of our Big little City, while a new offer called Bandstand Under the Stars lets you dance the evening away under the stars. Mix that with Live at Lunch offering live music every lunch time, deck chairs, giant Connect Four and crafty markets to find all your Christmas treats and Aotea Square is your one stop shop for the perfect place to relax and ease yourself into the silly season.

“Unwrapping Christmas in the BIG little City brings all the joy and fun of summer to the heart of Auckland’s CBD” says Festival Producer Sally Barnett “Aotea Square will be humming with activities and we want everyone to feel part of it - this is Christmas Auckland style!”

Random Acts continues its tradition of taking theatre to the people with a fantastic line up of professional performers adding that extra touch of the unexpected to the Square. With Tango dancers, Pacific Barbie Dolls, Body painted dancers, physical theatre, storytelling and a Commedia dell’arte troupe you can pop down for half an hour or stay for the whole afternoon.

There’s something magical about dancing under the stars, something romantic in the moonlight and something joyous about live music, so on Friday and Saturday nights come down and dance into the night at Bandstand Under the Stars. With dance demonstrations a quick lesson and some live music you can groove on into the night and get a taste of Salsa, Swing, Ballroom, Bollywood and a traditional Celtic Ceilidh. The summer is here and the time is right for dancing!

Live at Lunch lets you get out of the office and warm into those lazy hazy summer days. Come down to the square, lax out in a deck chair and enjoy two hours of live music from 12 – 2pm, grab something tasty from the food stalls, play some table tennis or petanque in the sun.

For all those shopping nightmares the answer waits at the Christmas markets and the bi–annual Art and Craft market. There’s nothing more beautiful than an outdoor market full of Christmas treats to get you in the mood for St Nick.

Unwrapping Christmas is full of the romance of long summer days and nights, the magical lead up to Christmas and the beauty of all that Auckland has to offer. Join the dancing, the music and the art on our enchanted evenings in the Square. The excitement of summer has arrived.

For more information please contact Alex Ellis, publicist on or 021345784.


Bandstand Under the Stars
Friday and Saturday nights,
7 - 21 December, 7 – 10pm,
Aotea Square

Dance the night away at Bandstand Under the Stars on Friday and Saturday evenings. Learn some new moves or show off the ones you already have. Each weekend evening, whether it’s Salsa, Swing, Bollywood, a Celtic Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) or classic Ballroom, come and get your groove on with a live band.

Bring your friends and family or take the chance to meet someone new, everyone is welcome no matter what your ability and it’s free to join in. There will be dance instructors on hand to show everyone the moves as well as plenty of room to freestyle, or just listen to the music. Grab a drink, a bite to eat and dance the night away in Aotea Square.

Each bandstand evening will be hosted by Nick Rado - 2011 Winner of NZ Comedy’s Best MC. We even have stylists on site to help you glam it up in the style of the night.

SALSA UNDER THE STARS – Friday 7th December
Latinissimo Dance and Viva Latino with Matecito Latin Band
BOLLYWOOD UNDER THE STARS – Saturday 8th December
Monisha Kumar, Amber Balakrishna, The Garagewalas, DJ Desi & DJ Areeb
SWING UNDER THE STARS – Friday 14th December
Swing Out Central with Tuxedo Swing
Twisty Willow and the City of Auckland Pipe Band.
BALLROOM UNDER THE STARS – Friday 21st December
Candy Lane Dancers with Queen City Big Band

Salsa under the Stars
Featuring Latinissimo Dance and Viva Latino Dance Schools with Matecito Latin Band
Fri 7 December, 5.30pm – 10pm

Salsa under the stars is an exciting and sensual fiesta of dance and music! Start the evening at 5.30pm with five piece Tango band 4 x Tango from Wellington. Grab a drink, watch the dance and soak up the atmosphere as you experience the magic of Latin America. Get in the mood with hot Latin dance demonstrations from Viva Latino and The Latinissimo Latin Dance Studios and learn the moves yourself. Salsa under the Stars gets the party started in the Square and gives you the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and learn how to get your Groove on - Latin style!

Bollywood under the Stars
Featuring Monisha Kumar, Amber Balakrishna, The Garagewalas, DJ Desi and DJ Areeb
Sat 8 December, 7pm – 10pm

Come along with your family and friends and enjoy a night in Bollywood.
Learn the dazzling dance moves that Bollywood films are all about; see sequences performed by some of Auckland’s best performers and join in the Bollywood dance party!
Monisha Kumar, Amber Balakrishna, Bollywood sensations The Garagewalas, The Desi beats and Khote Sikke Nachda Punjab will help you dance the night away as DJ Desi and DJ Areeb play a fusion of Indian classical music, rock, pop and hip hop.

Swing under the Stars
Featuring Swing Out Central and live band Tuxedo Swing
Fri 14 December, 7pm – 10pm

Swing the night away at Swing under the Stars. If you’ve always wanted to give swing a try then get down to the Square on Friday 14 December. Swing Out Central are running a giant beginners swing lesson, kicking off an evening of big band music and swing dancing. Professional dancers will also be free styling to the rich sounds of the big band and finishing the night off with a group performance.
Kick back and listen to the sounds of Tuxedo Swing playing all the classics from 1920, 1930s and 1940’s big band era - a period when dancing was the world’s most popular form of entertainment and get into the Swing of it!

Celtic Ceilidh under the Stars
Featuring Twisty Willow Celtic Band
Sat 15 December, 7pm – 10pm

What’s the Craic? Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is Gaelic meaning an informal gathering for music and dancing, so grab your partner and fling them round the Square as you dance to the music of Twisty Willow Celtic Band. You don’t need any experience, just enthusiasm, as all of the moves are explained and “called” while you dance. Bring the family or a group of mates and learn the moves as you dance to the lively, infectious beat of Celtic music.
There will also be a special performance from the City of Auckland Pipe Band of traditional Scottish bagpipe tunes including Scotland the Brave and Marie’s Wedding.
Suitable for all ages and abilities.

Ballroom under the Stars
Featuring the Candy Lane dancers and Queen City Big Band
Fri 21 December, 7pm – 10pm

Join in the glitz and the glam of Ballroom with Candy Lane and the Queen City Big Band. If you have never danced Ballroom before but wanted to give it a go, come down and give it a whirl.
Ballroom under the Stars is a dance spectacular not to be missed. With lessons and demonstrations from some of the country’s best dancers including Candy Lane, Aaron Gilmore, Jonny Williams, Kristie Boyd and Loren de boeck.
Queen City Big Band is Auckland’s premier Big Band. Playing a huge repertoire of fantastic music from the great swing era to funk, rock and jazz, this band is one not to be missed.

Random Acts
Friday 7th and 21st, 3pm - 7pm,
Saturday 8th and 15th and Sunday 9th and 16th, 1pm - 5pm

Aotea Square

Quirky theatre on the street that makes Aotea Square just a little more adventurous with…
Comic Interludes
Tango De Construct
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
Pacific Me City
Unsung Heroes
Moving Canvas

Comic Interludes
LAB Theatre

LAB Theatre’s remarkable mobile stage is about to roll in to town. A mobile theatre with eight actors performing, singing and interacting with the public, Comic Interludes is thirty minutes of mayhem, live music and improvisation based on the techniques of Commedia dell’arte, Clowning and Physical Theatre - inspired by Renaissance European acting troupes and circus – with a Pacific flavour.
Comic Interludes brings theatre to the streets this Christmas in an exciting masked street theatre show performed on and off the back of a re-styled truck.
Comic Interludes is directed by LAB Theatre’s co-founder and master clown Pedro Ilgenfritz in partnership with UNITEC New Zealand. The show features actors Katie Burson, Jonny Moffatt and Kelly Nash, with support from Lynette Fesuluai, Joanna Toloa, Hans Masoe, Jeremy Hewett, and Nastassia Wolfgramm.

Tango De Construct
Beautiful Sake Productions

Discover the vibrant streets of Buenos Aires as the sensuous Tango De Construct unfolds before you.
Tango De Construct is a pop up dance which appears from the shadows and disappears back into them. Two tango dancers perform this graceful dance in Aotea Square. Geoff Gilson and Victoria Szerdi combine their contemporary dance and tango backgrounds into a fusion of dance styles. Sit back, relax and let your eyes feast on the luscious performance that will unfold before you. Subtle and sensual, swirling and dramatic Tango De Construct will bring art of tango to life.
Beautiful Sake Productions present new engaging work which marries traditional dance forms with a unique flavour and style. Director Geoff Gilson explores things out of the ordinary, surreal and subconscious, in the belief that in the presentation of the absurd, layers of deep truth can be woven into the fabric of the piece, allowing the audience a multi-layered encounter of performance.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
The People Who Play With Theatre

The People Who Play With Theatre bring you a new take on the famous poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. A giant book will open up a world of a pop-up story never explored on such a large scale! When the massive cover is lifted, the magical story ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas begins to unfold. Imagined and constructed by Auckland playwright, puppet-maker and performer Ben Anderson. Using exciting theatrical ideas of puppetry, visual imagery and the surprise and wonder of a new and explorative way of story-telling, this is a spectacle to be enjoyed by the whole family.
The People Who Play with Theatre is a group of theatre makers led by Auckland playwright/puppet-maker Ben Anderson.

Pacific Me City
Ura Tabu Pacific Dance

You are invited to journey through the Pacific and move to the beats of Pacific Me City with this vibrant dance performance by Ura Tabu Pacific Dance. Pacific Me City adds a touch of the pacific to the city through dance, injecting the city with colours, vibrancy, music and dancing for all to take part in and enjoy. They will present a mobile interweaving dance mob, interacting with the public and encouraging and enticing them to join in the dance. Check out this visual feast of extravagant costume that represents urban city life influenced by our vibrant Pacific cultures through music dance and movement.

Unsung Heroes
White Face Crew

From a fireman, who can’t find the fire to a courier trying not to be run over by Auckland pedestrians, celebrate our unsung heroes in this crack-you-up spontaneous physical theatre and dance street performance. See if you can spy the White Face Crew roaming Aotea Square as the unsung heroes of Auckland’s community. The doctor who can’t find the patient, the street-cleaner in search of the rubbish bin, the Surf Lifesaver miles from the Beach. Where would we be without them? With their distinctive White Faces, costumes and characters, the White Face Crew will interact with passers-by evoking, laughter, fun and connection in spontaneous moments. Drawing from improvisation, clowning, character, physical theatre and dance The White Face Crew will entertain Auckland with their unique performance style.

Moving Canvas
Rainbow Rascals and Zahra Killeen-Chance

Body Art is a fabulous moving art form that is dynamic and colourful. Watch what happens when the art comes alive on three talented dancers, Shanelle Lenhan, Maria Munkowits and Molly McDowall. The bodies are painted by body artists Jane Ellis, Amelia Hitchcock and Magdalena O'Connor who have been involved in many Body Art projects and the Body Art Awards. Working with Choreographer Zahra Killeen-Chance three moving artworks represent Auckland and its place in the Pacific. Combining dance and painting – this collision of art forms is a visual spectacular.

Live at Lunch
Monday 10th - Friday 21st December, 12 noon to 2pm

With a selection of great live music everyday there is no better place to sit back, relax and ease your way into summer. Every weekday the bandstand will be hosting a variety of Auckland bands and musicians so grab some friends or work mates and head down to Aotea Square. There will be giant games of connect four, pickup sticks, petanque or just lounge around on one of the deck chairs and be entertained.

Monday 10 December
Ruckus – Contemporary Jazz

Tuesday 11 December
Ariana Tikao – folk/pop style with a strong emphasis on Māori chant.

Wednesday 12 December
Soul samba circus - Fusion of eclectic soul, funk, reggae, samba and much more
Caribbean Southern Stars Steel Pan Band – Steel pan band

Thursday 13 December
Lucy Zeng – Classical Piano
Melody Deng – Classical Piano

Friday 14 December
Huia Hamon – Maori Gypsy Soul
Kirsten Te Rito - Eclectic and influenced by jazz, hip hop and soul

Monday 17 December
Spoilers of Utopia – Jazz/Brass

Tuesday 18 December
Valiant Boys - Pacific R&B/ hip hop

Wednesday 19 December
Malcolm Lakatani - traditional Niuean music with contemporary hip beats

Thursday 20 December
Show me Where it Hurts - smorgasbord of swingin’ sass and soul, and fingerpoppin’ rock-a-rolla!
Tattle tale Saints - blend of country/folk/pop

Friday 21 December
Tuba Christmas - 8 tubas playing carols linked to the worldwide Christmas Tube phenomenon


Auckland Art & Craft Fair
Saturday 8 December, 11am - 4pm
Aotea Centre

Celebrating creativity and craftiness the Auckland Art & Craft Fair is a one of a kind, special event that happens only twice a year. This market is designed to showcase a selection of New Zealand’s best independent and contemporary Designers, Artists & Crafters selling their products direct to the public for one day only. With 6 months between each event, you can be sure this is the best of the best.

Unwrapping Christmas Markets
14 – 16 December
Friday 5pm - 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am - 5pm

Aotea Square

If you need a stocking stuffer or a special gift, this market by Auckland’s crafty folk and local artisans could just be the place to add something unique to your Christmas shopping with local boutique designers, artists, vintage sellers and food outlets. A market full of handmade delights and Christmassy treats for the whole family. Each maker has been hand chosen for their unique products, careful execution and what we think a Christmas market should be all about. With a bright range of home wares, jewellery, clothing, prints and more, there will be something for everyone. Nestled amongst the market stalls will be some of Auckland’s most delicious gourmet street food vendors; be sure to bring your pocket money and an empty tummy!


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>


NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland