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Gardens Magic Ready To Hit All The Right Notes In 2024

Gardens Magic, presented by Wellington City Council, is back for its 44th year in January with Pōneke’s iconic free Concert Series, Light Display, and Kids Garden Trail in the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā.

Set amongst the natural beauty of the Botanic Garden, this much-loved summer event will colour the gardens with original lighting from MJF Lighting, entertain kids with fun activities, and herald the return of the always popular Gardens Magic Concert Series.

The free concert series set in the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā Soundshell will once again fill our summer nights with the sounds of some of the capital’s most vibrant and varied talent.

Happening over three weeks, and with 36 performances on the schedule, there’ll be a mixture of musical styles ranging from folk to synthpop, jazz to Latin, Māori music and blues to classical – in fact, there’ll be something for everyone.

Here’s what some of the artists have to say about their upcoming Gardens Magic Concert Series experience.

LOST BiRD | Saturday 13 January

LOST BiRD is the musical pseudonym of singer-songwriter Ali Whitton. His songs of struggle, hope, rootlessness and giving over to abandon will charm you, unsettle you a bit, and make you laugh at your own shared humanity.

Performing at Gardens Magic is super-special to Ali as he used to work at the Botanic Gardens.

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“I love the communities here in Welly and it'll just be a privilege to play my songs in the gardens that I love, in the city that I love, to wonderful Wellingtonians. If the weather plays ball... it will be a special night!

“Most of my memories are prepping the gardens for Gardens Magic, or cleaning up the morning after! But it was always special seeing so many people come together and enjoy the space, especially on those warm sunny days when it's absolutely crammed and there are people up on the hills under 150-year-old pines on a beautiful summer's evening.”

The Warratahs | Sunday 14 January

The Warratahs have been at the forefront of homegrown roots/country music in Aotearoa/New Zealand for the last 37 years.

Playing a blend of country/folk with a sense of fire and passion of 50's Rock n' Roll, the talented five-piece band still regularly take to the road to share the music.

One of the OG, fiddle/mandolin player Nik Brown, says The Warratahs started in Wellington so Gardens Magic is a great opportunity for them to entertain Wellingtonians again at a concert where families can picnic and enjoy their music.

“The last time we played (Gardens Magic) was 2014 when we had a packed evening with an estimated 2500 audience. It was a magic time to have a big crowd singing along to our hits. Great fun for all. So it will be 10 years in January since that memorable day.

“Festivals in New Zealand are very important for our music industry. The Warratahs play at annual summer festivals in New Zealand and Australia which bring our songs, new and old, to large audiences.

“This year has been a time of change for The Warratahs. Sadly, our long-time drummer Michael Knapp passed away in 2022. We now have a new drummer Caroline Easther (formerly of The Chills) who has brought her own magic to the band’s sound and is a big part of our recently recorded new songs – and she’s better looking than we are!”

Tui | Thursday 18 January

Tui-Eilish Tahere-Katene (Ngapuhi & Nga Rauru) is a 17-year-old soul singer from Kapiti who will be performing a journey through the ages of women in soul.

She has released two singles under the name ‘Tuisoul’ but this will be one of her first major live gigs, and she’s very excited to perform in front of a large crowd in such an iconic setting.

“Gardens Magic is super important for young people like me to get a good start into the music industry – and get heard by a wide range of listeners.

“This year has been a great year for me as a singer, and 2024 will kick-off with Gardens Magic and see the release of my new single in te Reo Māori, and I’m performing at a big gig in Kapiti for local Waitangi celebrations.”

Gardens Magic Concert Series

Āhea | When: 7pm-9:15pm, Tuesday 9 - Sunday 28 January 2024

Ki hea | Where: Botanic Garden Ki Paekākā

Te utu | Cost: Free

The iconic Gardens Magic Concert Series is back in 2024 and will fill our summer nights with the sounds of some of the capital’s best talent, set in the Botanic Gardens ki Paekākā Soundshell.

The free concerts start earlier in the evenings this year, with a warm-up solo act from 7pm before the main act at 8pm. Concerts are on Tuesday - Sunday each week, with Monday kept as a rain-day.

Light Display

Āhea | When: 9pm-11pm daily, Tuesday 9 - Sunday 28 January 2024

Ki hea | Where: Botanic Garden Ki Paekākā

Te utu | Cost: Free

After the sun sets see the gardens transform with a magical light display by MJF Lighting.

Self-explore the Light Display after enjoying your Gardens Magic concert.

Kids Garden Trail

Āhea | When: 9am-5pm daily, Tuesday 9 - Sunday 28 January 2024

Ki hea | Where: Botanic Garden Ki Paekākā

Te utu | Cost: Free

Enjoy a free, fun summer’s day out with the kids, exploring the Kids Garden Trail in the beautiful Botanic Garden ki Paekākā.

Go on a self-led journey to discover the flora and fauna of the gardens and explore the ecosystem of a meadow with Clio the artist. Print out Clio’s Art Journal Activity Sheet on the Council Gardens Magic web page, or pick up a copy near the Soundshell, at the Tree House, at the main entrance, or the Cable Car ticket office.

Kids Explorer Days

Āhea | When: 10am-2pm, Wednesdays 10, 17 and 24 January 2024

Ki hea | Where: Discovery Garden, Botanic Garden Ki Paekākā

Te utu | Cost: Free

Running alongside the Kids Garden Trail, the Council, in partnership with the Wellington Botanic Garden, is proud to present Kids Explorer Days. These will run on three Wednesdays in January, in the Discovery Garden, Botanic Garden ki Paekākā. Come and explore the plants and animals of the Botanic Garden and join us in rock painting.

Accessibility

All our venues are accessible. Toilets, including an accessible toilet, are available at or near all events.

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