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Wellington and the Millennium? It’s sorted!

Why leave town to go celebrating the new millennium? The advice to Wellingtonians is STICK AROUND – because the Capital is shaping up to be the hottest spot in New Zealand to celebrate the big event.

The Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky today released a stunning programme of events for the millennium holiday period.

“Rather than just concentrating on New Year’s Eve, we’ve developed a series of events covering the whole festive season,” says Mayor Blumsky.

“The idea is to avoid the potential ‘day-after’ feeling on New Year’s Day but also give Wellingtonians a millennium party experience they won’t forget.

“Our New Year’s Eve waterfront party will be a fantastic event. Rather then importing big name overseas performers at huge cost, our show will celebrate the fact that the Wellington region has talent to equal any in the world.”

The celebrations will be branded W2K (Wellington 2000) and are being funded by the City Council ($200,000), Lotteries Grants Board ($150,000) and corporate sponsorship (more than $100,000 thus far). Events planned include:

 The Big Night Out (New Year’s Eve) – the waterfront will be transformed into a stage for a massive celebration of the new millennium – and it’s free! The Big Night Out will combine stunning special effects, multiple performance stages, fireworks, street performance and an all-night dance party. Artists already confirmed include Frankie Stevens, Ainslie Allen, Liz Fa’alogo, Sarah Lineham, Brian Childs, the Loungerillo Orchestra, Slam, Gina Mills, top opera talents Deborah Wai Kapohe and Roger Wilson, the Shaft Showband and the sensational Rachel Dunham. Details of other top acts will be released at a later date. The central focus for the night’s activities will be Taranaki Street Wharf – the whole area, including surrounding buildings, will be included in the action. A spectacular midnight fireworks display by Syd Howard Fireworks will help welcome in the new millennium.

 Dawn Ceremony – a spiritually uplifting experience to embrace all those present and an opportunity to celebrate our past and embark positively on our future. A co-production between the Wellington Tenths Trust – Te Atiawa Mana Whenua (Te Upoko o Te Ika) –and the Wellington City Council. The vision of the mana whenua for this occasion is one of a spiritually uplifting experience to embrace all those present and an opportunity to celebrate our past and embark positively on our future. The ceremony will centre around the creation legend of Te Upoko o Te Ika and will unfold on the harbour and surrounds.

 The W2K (Wellington 2000) Waterfront Season – a new festival for the millennium, by the producers of Summer City festival, W2K brings you 10 days of lively entertainment down on the waterfront, starting on Boxing Day.

 The Endeavour – This stunning replica of Captain James Cook’s famous ship makes a spectacular return to Wellington on Boxing Day, ending a circumnavigation of the globe. Endeavour is in port until 4 January and will be open to the public.

 The Starlight Cabaret – Frank Kitts Park will be transformed into Wellington’s newest entertainment venue, the Starlight Cabaret. Sensational lighting, stunning waterfront surroundings and top talent will combine for eight nights of sheer magic.

Confirmed acts include the Drifters, the Mermaids and Martin Winch, Pink Floyd Experience, the Roger Fox Big Band, Tommy and the Loungerillos, Rachel Dunham and the Shaft Showband and a tribute show featuring the music of the James Bond movies.

 WestpacTrust Stadium Open Day – On Sunday 2 January the public will have the opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes look at this fabulous new asset.

 Summer City – A huge programme is planned for Summer City 2000. Top acts have already been booked and the line-up of talent looks to be the best yet. Popular favourites like Gardens Magic, Dell Sundays, Teddy Bears Picnic, Celtic Day, Big Monday and Waitangi Day will be back along with the children’s pantomime season at the Soundshell

 Wellington Mardi Gras – February of the new millennium will see the launch of the Wellington Mardi Gras, an evening event featuring a spectacular street parade followed by a large celebration incorporating music, performance, lighting, special effects and great food.

 The Jimmy Cook Band – This lively bunch plays rollicking music daily down at Queens Wharf from 26 December till 4 January.


In addition to the many events produced directly by the City Council, a number of other exciting events are planned during the millennium/holiday period :

 Millennium Festival of Children – an eight-day festival bringing together children from throughout the world. Highlights include the Gathering of the Children where 2000+ youngsters celebrate the new millennium in a dawn ceremony on the top of Mt Victoria, The Big Breakfast on the morning of New Year’s Day, The Parade of the Children, The Children’s World Parliament, and the Great Picnic Extravaganza.

 WestpacTrust Stadium Official Opening – The official opening of the new stadium will take place in early January (full details to be announced soon).

 International Cricket – Top class cricket comes to town in throughout summer;

December 26–30 NZ vs West Indies test at the Basin Reserve
January 8 NZ vs West Indies one-dayer at the WestpacTrust Stadium
February 16 NZ vs Australia one-dayer at the WestpacTrust Stadium
March 24–28 NZ vs Australia test at the Basin Reserve

 Te Papa – The City’s favourite visitor destination continues on with some great new exhibitions and attractions.


The list carries on with plans for an AFL (Aussie Rules game) in late January, Super 12 rugby, rugby league and concerts.

Don’t forget the Fringe Festival in February and the International Festival of the Arts in March including the Edinburgh Tattoo.

April sees some great events for Easter, the Harbour Festival and the Wellington Offshore Powerboat Race.

The list goes on and on and throughout the next few months details of some exciting additions to the events calendar will be released.

© Scoop Media

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