Must-see entertainment in New Zealand

  • Embassy Theatre

    Wellington

    Wellywood’s cinema mother ship is an art-deco darling, built in the 1920s. Today she screens mainly mainstream films with state-of-the-art sound and…

  • Tamaki Māori Village

    Rotorua

    Modestly proclaiming itself one of the 10 best experiences in the world, Tamaki offers a 3½-hour twilight Māori cultural experience in its recreated…

  • Dorothy Browns

    Queenstown & Wanaka

    This is what a cinema should be like: wide, ultra-comfortable seating with fine local wine, cheese boards and olives available to accompany the mostly art…

  • Isaac Theatre Royal

    Christchurch

    This century-old dear survived the quakes and emerged restored to full glory in 2014. Its heritage features are enjoyed by patrons venturing inside for…

  • Globe Theatrette

    Napier

    A vision in purple, this boutique 45-seat cinema screens art-house flicks in a sumptuous lounge, with ready access to pizza and dumpling snacks from a…

  • Whoa! Studios

    Auckland

    Exciting and educational kids' shows are performed at this innovative theatre in Henderson – expect extreme fun and irreverence – and the whole shebang…

  • Ruby's

    Wanaka

    How very Wānaka that an art-house cinema should adjoin an indoor climbing wall. Channelling a lush New York or Shanghai vibe, Ruby's has a whiff of cinema…

  • Mitai Māori Village

    Rotorua

    This family-run outfit offers a popular three-hour evening event with a concert, hāngi and glowworm bush walk. The experience starts with the arrival of a…

  • Blue Smoke

    Christchurch

    Adjacent to the Brewery in Woolston, Blue Smoke is Christchurch's best small live-music venue. There's often a folk, roots music or Americana vibe to the…

  • Oamaru Opera House

    Dunedin & Otago

    First opened in 1907 and now beautifully restored to its original glory, Ōamaru's opera house hosts a variety of shows, including music, dance, theatre…

  • Paradiso

    Wanaka

    Sprawl on a comfy couch, or recline in a dentist's chair or an old Morris Minor at this Wānaka institution, screening the best Hollywood and art-house…

  • Meow

    Wellington

    Truly the cat’s pyjamas, Meow goes out on a limb to host a diverse range of gigs and performances: country, ragtime, DJs, acoustic rock, jazz, poetry… At…

  • Court Theatre

    Christchurch

    Christchurch's original Court Theatre was an integral part of the city's Arts Centre, but it was forced to relocate to this warehouse after the…

  • Sherwood

    Queenstown

    The faux-Tudor motel architecture might have you expecting lutes and folk ballads, but the Sherwood is Queenstown's go-to spot for visiting musos. Many of…

  • Michael Fowler Centre

    Wellington

    The city's major concert hall stages regular performances by the NZ Symphony Orchestra (www.nzso.co.nz), Orchestra Wellington (www.orchestrawellington.co…

  • Napier Municipal Theatre

    Napier

    Not only the city’s largest venue for the likes of rock concerts, dance and drama (1000 seats), but also one of the world’s few working art-deco theatres…

  • Matariki

    Rotorua

    The Novotel's 2½-hour Māori cultural experience includes a performance of traditional song and dance followed by a hāngi. It's held in a separate building…

  • Light House Cinema

    Wellington

    Tucked away near the top end of Cuba St, this small, stylish cinema throws a range of mainstream, art-house and foreign films up onto the screens in three…

  • St James Theatre

    Wellington

    This grand old heritage theatre hosts big-ticket productions such as the Royal NZ Ballet (www.rnzb.org.nz) and NZ Opera (www.nzopera.com), plus the odd…

  • Neck of the Woods

    Ponsonby & Karangahape Rd

    New Zealand's best indie bands, emerging overseas acts, drum-and-bass DJs and the occasional burlesque show all feature at this versatile upstairs venue…

  • San Fran

    Wellington

    This much-loved, midsize music venue wheels out craft beer and smoky, meaty food to go along with the rock. Dancing is near mandatory, and the balcony…

  • ASB Waterfront Theatre

    Viaduct Harbour & Wynyard Quarter

    The ASB Waterfront Theatre is used by the Auckland Theatre Company and also for occasional one-off shows and concerts. A good selection of bars and…

  • Darkroom

    Christchurch

    A hip combination of live-music venue and bar, Darkroom has lots of Kiwi beers and great cocktails. Live gigs are frequent – and frequently free.

  • Alice Cinema

    Christchurch

    This delightful two-screen art-house cinema can be found within the long-standing and excellent Alice In Videoland DVD library.

  • Whammy Bar

    Ponsonby & Karangahape Rd

    Small, but a stalwart on the live indie-music scene nonetheless.

  • Forsyth Barr Stadium

    Dunedin

    Constructed for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, this is the only major stadium in NZ with a fully covered roof, and it holds 30,000 spectators. It's the home…

  • Orangetheory Stadium

    Christchurch

    After Lancaster Park was irreparably damaged during the 2011 earthquake, Canterbury Rugby Union shifted its home games to this smaller ground in Addington…

  • Penguin Club

    Dunedin & Otago

    Tucked down an atmospheric alley off a 19th-century street, the Penguin’s unusual location matches its acts: everything from touring Kiwi bands to punky…

  • Fortune Theatre

    Dunedin

    The world’s southernmost professional theatre company has been staging dramas, comedies, pantomimes, classics and contemporary NZ productions for over 40…

  • Cabana

    Napier

    This legendary live-music room started in 1958 then died in 1997. But thanks to some forward-thinking rock fans, it’s risen from the grave to save the day…

  • Great Lake Centre

    Taupo

    Hosts performances, exhibitions and conventions. Ask at the Taupo i-SITE for the current program. Look for the intricate red waharoa (entranceway) carved…

  • Sammy’s

    Dunedin

    Dunedin’s premier live-music venue draws an eclectic mix of genres from noisy-as-hell punk to chilled reggae and gritty dubstep. It’s the venue of choice…

  • Mt Smart Stadium

    Auckland

    Home ground for the Warriors rugby league team (www.warriors.kiwi), Auckland Football Federation (www.aucklandfootball.org.nz) and Athletics Auckland (www…

  • Opera House

    Wellington

    This grand old heritage theatre hosts big-ticket productions such as the Royal NZ Ballet (www.rnzb.org.nz) and NZ Opera (www.nzopera.com), plus the odd…

  • Bunkhouse Theatre

    Fiordland & Southland

    Oban's comfy little theatre screens the quirky, cute 40-minute film A Local's Tail, which provides an entertaining overview of Stewart Island/Rakiura…

  • North Shore Events Centre

    Auckland

    One of the two home courts of the NZ Breakers basketball team (www.nzbreakers.co.nz) and an occasional concert venue. The other home court is at Spark…

  • Geraldine Cinema

    Christchurch & Canterbury

    Snuggle into an old sofa to watch a Hollywood favourite or an art-house surprise at this ageing dame, built in 1924. There's also occasional live music,…

  • Rialto Cinemas

    Tauranga

    The Rialto is the best spot in town to catch a flick – classic, offbeat, art-house or international. And you can sip a coffee or a glass of wine in the…

  • Circa Theatre

    Wellington

    This black-and-white waterfront theatre, built onto the side of a historic facade, has two auditoriums in which it shows everything from edgy new works to…

  • Copthorne Hotel Māori Concert & Feast

    Rotorua

    One of Rotorua's less expensive Māori concert and hāngi options. It only operates when booked by a tour group; call ahead and see whether one is scheduled…