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Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival

19 February – 1 March, 2020

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival is upping the ante and expanding its footprint to present its most diverse and compelling programme yet.

With over 50 performances, from opera to avant-garde, immersive theatre to K-pop, and pretty much everything in between, there’s something to suit all tastes, and wow factor aplenty.

One of the biggest acts ever to be brought to the festival, headliners Fly My Pretties will be playing both as a 15-piece on the Rhododendron Lawn and as a 3-piece in the intimate environs of the Mansfield Gardens for a special VIP performance.

Other musical highlights include two of New Zealand’s finest South Island troubadours, the globe-trotting Nadia Reid, whose album Preservation was lauded as “one of the year’s landmark releases” by MOJO, and Delaney Davidson who continues his work collaborating with other notable musicians for a one-off performance with The Warratah’s Barry Saunders of their album Word Gets Around.

The programme also features notable reunions, with cult ‘70s funk band Collision, and local legends Waikato Rocker’s Reunion both making rare live appearances.

Classical music is well represented with local composer Dr. Janet Jenning’s showcasing work celebrating the Hamilton Gardens, and The Aroha Quartet performing a special programme designed for the Chinese New Year.

Theatre enthusiasts are spoilt for choice in 2020...

An Iliad is a solo tour-de-force performance by one of NZ’s elder statesmen of acting, Michael Hurst, with a live music accompaniment by none other than Shayne P. Carter (Dimmer / Straitjacket Fits). The Multi-award winning Wild Dogs Under My Skirt tells the stories of Pacific women; both in NZ and at “home”, while Whetu Silver’s Hine is a weaving together of sacred rites and stories, celebrating the human tendency to dance between the spiritual and the everyday.

For those who love to boogie, there’ll be ample opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the best dancers in the country, with the New Zealand Dance Company performing This Fragile Planet on the ground of the Rhododendron Lawn. And for something completely different, a K-pop Party featuring K-pop legend Rina Chae, who has danced with Beyoncé and Justin Bieber.

We’re Expanding!

Our city is growing and so are we. With the iconic Hamilton Gardens long established as the heart of the Festival, HGAF festivities will now include The Meteor, Clarence Street Theatre, Garden Place, and Victoria On The River.

Also new to the festival is a brand new premier venue, Harkness Henry's Emporium of Scintillating Wonders.

The Grassroots Hub is where you'll be able to mingle with artists, while enjoying Gourmet in the Gardens food trucks and the Good George Garden Bar open every evening from 5pm. It’s the perfect place to take in the sights and sounds of the University of Waikato sponsored Stage of Enlightenment.

HGAF 2020 kicks off with a bang on 15 February, 2020 with our usual closing event Sunset Symphony instead opening the celebrations accompanied by fireworks. Don’t miss the chance to take part in ten days of arts and frivolity this summer!

Full programme available online at

HGAF Highlights

Fly My Pretties

When: Saturday February 29, 7 pm.

Where: Rhododendron Lawn

Tickets: GA Tickets: $62.50 VIP Tickets: $195

Details: A one of a kind sunset show featuring a 15 strong cast. VIP tickets also include entry to an intimate, exclusive pre-show performance.

Nadia Reid & Her Band

When: Friday 28 February, 7 pm.

Where: The Pavilion

Tickets: $39-42

Details: Nadia Reid has claimed her place as one of New Zealand's most evocative singer-songwriters, she is joined for this special performance in the beautiful landscape of the Hamilton Gardens by her band Sam Taylor, Richard Pickard, Joe McCallum and Anita Clark.

Word Gets Around

When: Wednesday 26 February, 8:30 pm.

Where: The Pavilion

Tickets: $42-47.50

Details: The rocking strength and dark power of Delaney Davidson's previous work naturally paired with the heartfelt, straight dealing and traditionalism of Barry Saunders’ past.


When: Saturday 22 February, 8:30 pm.

Where: The Pavillion

Tickets: $29-32

Details: Aotearoa's funk is back! Collision, pioneers of the New Zealand funk scene, are getting back into the groove after 40 years for a very special performance.

A Walk in Hamilton Gardens

When: Thursday 20 February, 7:00 pm.

Where: Medici Court

Tickets: $35-37

Details: Acclaimed pianist Katherine Austin take us on a musical journey around our iconic gardens.

Opera Botanica

When: Wednesday 19 February & Thursday 20 February, 8 pm.

Where: The Pavilion

Tickets: $42-47

Details: Enjoy a night of opera in the gardens. The programme will include many of your favourite arias by Mozart, Puccini and Verdi, sung by some of this country's most talented young singers.

Sunset Symphony

When: Saturday 15 February, 8 pm.

Where: Rhododendron Lawn

Tickets: Gold coin donation.

Details: All the music you know and love, fab food options and... fireworks!

Poema Armónico

When: Thursday 27 February, 7 pm.

Where: The Pavilion

Tickets: $35-37

Details: An inspiring musical journey through short gorgeous compositions originally written for vihuela and baroque guitar.

An Iliad

When: Wednesday 19 February, 7:30 pm.

Where: Clarence Street Theatre

Tickets: $44.50-47.50

Details: Master storyteller Michael Hurst and rock maestro Shane P Carter take you to epic heights.

Wild Dogs Under My Skirt

When: Saturday 22 February & Sunday 23 February, 7:30 pm.

Where: The Meteor

Tickets: $42.50-47.50

Details: Vivid, passionate and compelling, Wild Dogs Under My Skirt is also flush with humour and pure entertainment.


When: Thursday 20 February & Friday 21 February, 7:30 pm.

Where: The Meteor

Tickets: $29-32

Details: ‘Once upon a time I was told that I was divine. Once upon a time I believed I was divine. Now I'm not so sure’. Hine dances the veil between our divinity and our human reality.

The Reality of Imagination

When: Thursday 20 February, 8:30 pm.

Where: Surrealist Garden

Tickets: 24-27$

Details: A surreal abstract live multimedia experience for all ages.

This Fragile Planet

When: Sunday 1 March, 11 am & 2 pm.

Where: Rhododendron Lawn

Tickets: $42-47.50

Details: Inspired by the delicacy of our ecosystems, our effect on mother earth, and the beauty of art and nature intertwining, This Fragile Planet explores the strength of intergenerational democracy and the power of regeneration across the natural world.

K-pop Party

When: Friday 21 February, 7 pm.

Where: Rhododendron Lawn

Tickets: $11

Details: An eclectic night of neon flavored K-POP hits.

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