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NPDC Bringing You New Lights And Exciting Entertainment To Light Up Your Winter


A light installation destined for New Plymouth years ago before being stuck in transit is among nine installations making their way to Taranaki for NPDC’s TSB Winter Festival of Lights Pop Up next month.

Now in its third year, the festival is set to light up winter over the Mataraki long weekend, June 27-30, across several locations from Huatoki Plaza to the Coastal Walkway in New Plymouth’s city centre.

Octopoda is an interactive installation due to feature at the summer TSB Festival of Lights in 2020/2021, but the piece got delayed in Taiwan and never made it to our shores.

Designed by AMIGO and AMIGO of Australia, the piece features eight tentacle drums that invite audience participation to create a unique display of colour and light, animating the Octopoda’s musical mind.

NPDC Events Lead Lisa Ekdahl says Octopoda is just one of the many surprises in store for festival fans this year.

"The TSB Festival of Lights Winter Pop-Up has fast become a favourite on the local events calendar and the team has been working hard to pull together some stellar entertainment featuring country, blues, kapa haka and fire poi to electronica. All nine light installations have not been seen before in New Plymouth.

“The best part is it’s free and no matter what your interests, we’ve got something that is sure to light up your winter.”

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Included in the entertainment lineup are Dillastrate, known for its bilingual hit ‘Party In My Head’ (Tāwara Ana) and Waiata Anthems releases ‘Ko Tātou Te Ahi’ and ‘Taku Aroha’; country music artists Steffany Beck and Miranda Easten who are joining us as part of their national tour ‘Saddle Up Sisters’ and hometown favourites ‘Bush Buds’, back on the West Coast for the first time since recording their debut EP ‘Organic’.

As well as Kiwi artists, Australian band Checkerboard Lounge is bringing its brand of classic blues, soul and roots music to New Plymouth while Stop Go event is an interactive hip hop performance where the audience can get involved.

To make it easier for people to get around the various locations, Ariki Street will be closed while the festival is on, while Centre City is offering free parking for up to two hours via its St Aubyn Street entrance between 5pm – 10.30pm each night.

Te Puna Umanga Venture Taranaki GM Destination, Brylee Flutey has emphasised the economic and cultural significance of the event.

“We are proud to support the TSB Festival of the Lights Winter Pop-Up again this year through our administration of New Plymouth Major Events Fund.

“At a time that is traditionally quieter for visitors, this event presents a compelling reason to visit and experience our region like no other, generating vibrancy, fun, connection, and an opportunity for locals and manuhiri [visitors] to engage with Puanga/Matariki and build their understanding around this culturally significant time,” says Brylee.

The winter version of the festival has proven a hit since launching in 2022 with last year’s event attracting around 15,000 people with about 85 per cent hailing from Taranaki and the rest from outside the region. It also had a visitor satisfaction rating of 94 per cent.

For more information and the full line-up, visit festivaloflights.nz

Fast Facts:

· While the festival is held over Mataraki weekend, Taranaki and Whanganui iwi recognise [the star] Puanga when celebrating Māori New Year, which happens in June or July. Other iwi refer to this celebration as Matariki.

· The lighting and entertainment line-up will feature both local and national artists.

· This 2023/24 TSB Festival of Lights pumped GDP of $9.2 million into the Taranaki economy and attracted 175,000 people over summer, up 20 per cent on previous year.

© Scoop Media

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