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Bay of Islands Events

June 7, 2023

Bay of Islands is home to several special events every year, if you are into food, wine and music through to sports events and Waitangi Day, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Russell Tall Ships

Held every January, the Russell Tall Ships event is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier Tall Ships race. Boats come from all over to the Bay of Islands to contest the race between classic vessels in a picturesque spot.

The event is followed by a prize giving and a traditional hāngi dinner at the Russell Boat Club with live music and dancing until late in the evening.

“it!” Festival

The “it!” Bay of Islands Food & Wine Festival is back in 2021 on 6 November at the Village Green on Paihia. Savour a range of tasty food and wine from local, award-winning wineries and restaurants while you are entertained by White Chapel Jak and local bands.

As if that isn’t enough, why don’t you try your hand at the Kina Sucking, Oyster Shucking and Eating or Pie Eating competitions – how quintessentially Kiwi can you get?

Bay of Islands Run/Walk Festival

Take your pick of a six-kilometre walk, an eight-kilometre run or a half marathon during the Bay of Islands Run/Walk Festival in May 2022.

The unique courses feature the Haruru Falls Track which meanders through native bush and wetlands and Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

It is also another chance to compete in the Sport Northland Run/Walk Series and gain those crucial points.

Make a weekend of it and stay in the Bay of Islands and enjoy an after run treat at one of the many local restaurants and cafes.

Waitangi Day

A fabulous family day out, Waitangi Day (6 February) is a great time to remember the historical event which has shaped much of New Zealand’s history while also supporting the large numbers of local food stalls, craft offerings and live entertainment.

The Day formally begins with a Dawn Ceremony at 5am at Te Whare Rūnanga and an Inter-Denominational Church Service at 10am. The Royal New Zealand Navy is also present – witness their 21 Gun Salute and the Navy Band performances.

A free cooked breakfast served by the Prime Minister, other Ministers and MPs is also a popular part of the Day – with plenty of people lining up, hoping to get served by Jacinda Ardern.