No matter the alert level, the virtual city centre has so much going on! Check out these epic arts and culture events that are adapting in 2020 to go virtual, from the Auckland Writers Festival to the NZ International Film Festival to live-streamed concerts and more.  


Auckland Writers Festival | From May 3 for 13 weeks 

The Auckland Writers Festival 2020 Winter Online Series is live now! Continuing once a week for 13 weeks, three writers will chat with series host Paula Morris who will read from their work and answer audience questions. Each episode will feature live and free to view on the Festival's YouTube and Facebook channels, and will then be uploaded to their website, where you can also see the programme now. Authors appearing in the series include Bernardine Evaristo, Ann Patchett, Neil Gaiman, Barbara Ewing, Richard Ford, Elizabeth Knox, Robert Macfarlane, Philippe Sands, Lisa Taddeo, Alan Bollard, Chanel Miller, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Simon Armitage, Maggie O’Farrell, Deborah Eisenberg, Wallace Shawn, Caroline Barron, Amy McDaid, Anthony Byrt and more.


New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) 2020 Screening Online | 24 July - 2 August 

The NZIFF have adapted their programme this year to bring their world class films straight to your home.  The New Zealand International Film Festival At Home – Online is set to take place from 24 July to 2 August with a world-class curated programme of world and New Zealand premiere films, some exclusive to the festival, for audiences to screen at home. Full information on the programme and details on viewing films via the online platform will be announced on Monday 22 June, but for now, see more details here


 Classical Music in the Virtual Concert Hall | Throughout May 

This is your chance to sit back, relax and listen to Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra musicians playing a much-loved piece of music especially for you – performed in their homes and streamed into yours. Every Thursday they will be going live with a selection of favourite past performances handpicked by APO musicians and staff. Check them out! 


Image not from actual event, indicative only. 

Tempo Dance Festival Online | On now 

The much-loved annual dance festival of Tāmaki Makaurau, Tempo Dance Festival presents a new digital kaupapa this year and is on now! The digital season runs from May to July and will take place on their website, Facebook and Instagram platforms, with the programme including experimental film, creative workshops, photography exhibitions, dance classes, critical discussions, artist interviews, live-stream performance, archival screenings, reading and dance battles!


Auckland Festival of Photography | May 27 - June 15 

The Auckland Festival of Photography aims to support and encourage local emerging photographers to develop and exhibit their work to the public in Auckland. This year, fans can enjoy the festival on Pop Up TV (Freeview Channel 200) or via the festival's website. The digital platform experience will showcase outstanding national and international photography and provides activities that audiences can engage and interact with. Highlights of 2020’s festival include UnseenCore and Satellite exhibitions, the Annual Commission 2020 artists and Alex Mao Youth Photography award, and Nikon Auckland Photo Day on June 6.

Enchanted Worlds virtual tour

Explore online collections with Auckland Art Gallery and curate your own exhibition 

While Auckland Art Gallery prepare to open its physical doors in late June, it is now open to all Aucklanders, New Zealanders and, in fact, anyone in the world, via a new digital exhibition platform that it has just launched. It invites all art lovers to access the Gallery's once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan, as an interactive virtual tour.  Enchanted Worlds is the first exhibition of original paintings by the leading artists and schools of Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868) to be held in New Zealand. But, just two weeks after its opening, Auckland Art Gallery was required to close the exhibition’s doors as part of New Zealand’s response to the global outbreak of COVID-19. This new virtual tour platform transforms the Gallery’s exhibition into an engaging digital experience with in-depth interpretation, high-resolution digital reproductions and immersive soundtrack - check it out now via web browser on computer, tablet or smartphone devices. There are three different tour experiences to choose from: a family tour with fun facts and art-making activities; a curator’s highlight tour that covers insights and stories on Edo-period poetry, music, theatre, fashion and visual arts; or an in-depth exhibition experience with extended artwork labels.

The Gallery also invites you to take on the role of curator and put together a mini exhibition with five artworks from their collection. Simply select the works you want to view using a search tool, give your exhibition a title and explain your curatorial creative process! Curate your exhibition now by clicking here. You can also view some of the Gallery's other exhibitions online now too, click here for more


American Factory, winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary 2019

Doc Edge Festival 2020 | 12 June - 5 July 2020

To connect kiwi communities and give audiences a chance to experience a multi-faceted expression of life outside the bubble, Doc Edge is moving the full 2020 festival and industry event programme online, translating the physical festival to an innovative digital environment this June. A record number of films were submitted this year and Doc Edge wishes to honour the filmmakers for all the effort, time and love they and their film crews have poured into each and every one of those titles.For the full programme announcement keep watching the Doc Edge website here

Comedy - unsplash

2019 Best Foods Comedy Gala revisited | Available now

It might be a while still until we can go to a comedy gig in person again, and unfortunately due to the COVID-19 outbreak the New Zealand International Comedy Festival was unable to go ahead in 2020. The good news however is that if you're in need of a laugh, last year's 2019 Best Foods Comedy Gala as part of the Festival is available online now to rewatch, or watch for the first time if you didn't attend. It will guarantee laughs and further validate why we need to support our local comedy scene as much as possible now, and when it is safe again to support in person. 

Empty movie theatre

Academy Cinemas OnDemand | Available now

The Academy is Auckland's only dedicated art-house cinema with a range of the best local and international films, documentaries, romantic comedies, dramas and thrillers. To accommodate you while they're unable to open physically, they've launched an OnDemand service so you're able to rent new released or classic titles from them to watch in the comfort of your home. So next time you're keen for a movie, check out their website! 

Exterior signage

The Great Comedy Classic Comeback 

The Classic, New Zealand’s home of live comedy in Auckland has been doing it tough during these times of COVID-19 in New Zealand and now more than ever needs our support.  Every dollar you can donate today will help them survive and open ‘tomorrow’ - with our leading comedians chomping at the bit to get back on stage and entertain the crowds. If you're able to 'save a seat' at The Classic, for as little as $10, this can be exchanged for a Ticket to Laugh once things can return to funny business as usual. See here for more information and to make a donation

If you are a city centre business we would love to hear from you about what you are currently offering at Alert Level 3. Please email us at so we can support you by spreading the word and including you in relevant wrap ups. 

Last updated: 19 May 2020