Ultimate culture guide: 18 things worth doing in February

Are you back with us? Good. Because there is a lot going on. Between the excitement of the Volvo Ocean Race and the pinnacle of the polo season, Auckland’s sporting and cultural events are culminating in a month to remember. Here are 18 events you simply cannot miss.

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Under The Mountain

Under The Mountain

Under The Mountain

Under The Mountain

Families and fans can look forward to Pip Hall’s stage adaptation of Maurice Gee’s much-loved children’s book. The Wilberforces are back, and twins Rachel and Theo must learn to use their psychic powers before Auckland is destroyed. This world premiere production will be directed by Sara Brodie, whose spectacular stage skills were last seen in Auckland Theatre Company’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and will ensure a magical, mysterious and thrilling event for audiences of eight years and older.

7th-21st February at ASB Waterfront Theatre

David Duchovny (in concert)

David Duchovny (in concert)

David Duchovny (in concert)

David Duchovny (in concert)

Better known for his lothario ways in cult TV show Californication (not to mention The X-Files, Aquarius and Twin Peaks), what many people aren’t aware of is that David Duchovny is about as good at pulling the ladies as he is at singing and songwriting — i.e. very good. Bringing his musical talents to Auckland, his debut album Hell or High Water introduces the world to his music by way of a homage to Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen and R.E.M.

Tuesday, 20th February at The Powerstation

The Piano

The Piano

The Piano

The Piano

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is kicking off its 2018 season with a bang using this unmissable rendition of an acclaimed local film as its calling card. The work has been fully reimagined by Jiří Bubeníček and will be presented in association with the Auckland Arts Festival as well as the New Zealand Festival. Ada’s story will be duly told with music from Michael Nyman’s iconic original score as well as compositions by the classical masters. Lock her in here.

From 23rd February at ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

Molly's Game

Molly's Game

Molly's Game

Molly's Game

Ex-Olympic-class skier Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) has everything going for her. Young and beautiful, an unlikely choice of career sees her running the world’s most exclusive, high-stakes poker game where players comprise a rotation of Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, the Russian mob. Written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Moneyball and A Few Good Men), Molly’s Game is set to be a racy silver screen affair.

In cinemas 1st February (win tickets here).

Flamingo Pier

Flamingo Pier

Flamingo Pier

Flamingo Pier

Our favourite party of summer is back and with an exceptional line-up to boot. Here you’ll be able to groove the afternoon away to the infectious sounds of Auntie Flo, CC:Disco! and Leisure. Flamingo Pier founder Luke Walker is touting a new and improved setup with an additional bar, even more delicious food and an exceptional lineup. Taking place at Waiheke Island’s Rangihoua Estate on Saturday 3rd February, be sure to secure your tickets before they sell out.

The National

The National

The National

The National

After releasing their seventh studio album in September, this Grammy-nominated Ohio troupe embarked on a world tour that sees them returning to New Zealand to the joy of an enthusiastic audience. While their last visit saw them co-headlining the inaugural Auckland City Limits Festival, this time around, the five-piece band will be gracing the incomparable open-air venue that is Villa Maria Estate Winery’s natural amphitheatre.

Sunday 25th February, purchase tickets here

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars

The superstar sold out Auckland when he was here in 2014 and fans have been gagging for a dose of ‘Uptown Funk’ ever since. With countless accolades including five Grammy Awards, being named number one on Forbes’ list of top 30 people under 30 and an ARIA #1, it is with much ado that the pop/soul/ funk maestro is back for his 24K Magic World Tour.

27th, 28th February (& 2nd, 3rd March) at Spark Arena. Purchase tickets here

American Express Open Air Cinema

American Express Open Air Cinema

American Express Open Air Cinema

American Express Open Air Cinema

Kicking off on Thursday 1st February with Thor Ragnarok, American Express’ new open-air cinema is inviting you, your mates, and your four-legged fur pals to enjoy a series of great films al fresco, taking place at Auckland’s Western Springs Park.

Check out the line-up and purchase tickets here

Heineken Urban Polo

Heineken Urban Polo

Heineken Urban Polo

Heineken Urban Polo

Taking place for the second year at Auckland’s Shore Road Reserve, this city-side polo tournament is played on a smaller, boarded field with simplified rules that cater to the more compact setting. No less exciting, the competition has been compared to a Twenty20 version of regular polo. Preferred by city folk who are there for a party as much as they are for the sportsmanship, this fast-paced game gives spectators an unprecedented chance to get up close and personal with the action.

The Heineken Urban Polo Open will be held at Auckland’s Shore Road Reserve on Saturday 24th February.

Julien Rosefeldt's 'Manifesto'

Julien Rosefeldt's 'Manifesto'

Julien Rosefeldt's 'Manifesto'

Julien Rosefeldt's 'Manifesto'

Auckland Art Gallery in collaboration with Auckland Arts Festival will present the New Zealand premiere of Julian Rosefeldt’s immersive 13-channel film installation Manifesto. Here, Rosefeldt pays homage to the tradition of artist manifestos, exploring declarations from different time periods and art movements. In meshing these with contemporary scenarios and characters, Rosefeldt ultimately questions the role of the artist in society today.

From Saturday 24 February 2018 at Auckland Art Gallery.

Lady Bird

Lady Bird

Lady Bird

Lady Bird

Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

In cinemas, 15th February. 

Connan Mockasin

Connan Mockasin

Connan Mockasin

Connan Mockasin

Splitting his time between Los Angeles, Paris, and New York, this is a rare opportunity to see hometown hero Connan Mockasin under the Antipodean moon and get a sneak peek of what he’s been working on.

8th & 9th February at Hollywood Avondale, Get tickets here

Splore

Splore

Splore

Splore

Evolving from its underground ‘salt of the earth’ status to a modern day Glastonbury by-the-sea, at Splore you can expect the unexpected. Progressive parents might take their kids for early induction into festival life while others do so for educational purposes. However, most of the crowd will be preoccupied with rolling around on the beach, swimming from boat to boat in the bay, and spending their hard-earned cash on flower crowns — the new dreamcatchers.

23rd-25th February at Tapapakanga Regional Park

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent

The film brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life to tell his remarkable story. Every frame of the film, totalling around 65,000, is an oil-painting hand-painted by 125 professional oil-painters who travelled from around the world to the Loving Vincent studios in Poland and Greece to be a part of the production. As remarkable as Vincent’s brilliant paintings, is his passionate and ill-fated life, and mysterious death.

In cinemas 8th February

Land Rover NZ Polo Open

Land Rover NZ Polo Open

Land Rover NZ Polo Open

Land Rover NZ Polo Open

Forever etched into our summer calendars, the pinnacle of the Polo Season is marked by the Land Rover NZ Polo Open, held this year on Sunday 18th February. The family-friendly event is the Southern Hemisphere’s most prestigious polo championship, held in the idyllic rural surrounds of the Auckland Polo Club in Clevedon. The heart-racing tournament has been going for more than 40 years and draws in some of the world’s best players.

Ross Noble

Ross Noble

Ross Noble

Ross Noble

Off the back of six-week sellout runs at the Hammersmith Apollo, the incorrigible  Ross Noble is bringing his brand new show to Auckland’s intimate Classic Comedy Club for four nights only. Globally awarded for his sheer improvising brilliance, Ross’s comedy changes night-to-night depending on what, or more likely, who sparks his fertile imagination.

From 21st-24th February, Get tickets here.

Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race

This exhilarating yacht race is sailing into town at the end of the month. With plenty of waterfront activations set to coincide, you’ll no doubt find us bobbing about harbour-side on a daily basis.

Grace Bader

Grace Bader

Grace Bader

Grace Bader

What can we say? We love a good still life. Grace Bader is an Auckland-based oil painter whose new body of work questions the presence of everyday objects in contemporary art. Her compelling pieces will be on show at Studio One — Toi Tū from 15th February to 15th March. 

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