Katikati Festival of Arts Lighting Up the Town

Katikati, an arty town half an hour north of Tauranga, is celebrating the Arts with its month-long Festival of Arts in October – albeit on a reduced scale due to Alert Level restrictions.

Since 2006, the New Zealand Mural Contest and Festival of Arts has been a biennial event on the town’s calendar. This year’s event originally promised over 50 art-related events, workshops, competitions and displays encapsulating the theme ‘Lighting Up the Town’.

“Unfortunately due to lockdown and Alert Level restrictions, which have impacted on artists and our community organisations in various ways, several events have been postponed or cancelled,” says Steve Graveson, President of Katikati Open Air Art, hosts of the Festival. “But the show goes on and there’s still something for everyone and an opportunity to enjoy art in its many different forms.

“The month’s calendar still offers a range of events; including movies, theatre and concert performances, as well as a range of light and art displays, workshops for the whole family and artistic competitions with prizes up for grabs.”

Various community groups are involved in bringing the festival to fruition by producing concert, art, and theatre performances and even pre-schools are painting giant sunflowers for display. “The Katikati Festival of Arts is an opportunity for our artistic community to highlight their talents and endeavours for the delight and enjoyment of the community and visitors during the month of October,” says Steve.

The New Zealand Mural Contest, with the theme of “Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of 2020”, and $12,000 in prize-money for the winning artists, has been has been postponed until April next year. “Two of our competing artists are stranded in Australia and along with other logistical issues it made sense to wait until next year,” says Steve. Once the competition murals are painted they will be installed in Katikati as a reminder of this challenging time in modern history.

The Festival line-up, along with any event changes, is online at the Katikati Festival of Arts website and Facebook Page with many events free to attend, or at very reasonable ticket prices.

Highlights of the Festival include the many free displays on show during the month, including the illumination of giant ‘Shrooms’, creating a colourful mushroom-shaped light spectacle night and day at Diggelmann Park on the Main Road of Katikati.

Prize money is up for grabs in haiku, photographic and artistic mailbox display competitions. A variety of workshops throughout the month will cater for all ages from skateboard art to creative writing and rock painting. The boutique Junction Theatre, nestled within The Arts Junction, is screening a range of movies including the Show Me Shorts Film Festival and 3D movies for the family.

Steve along with Jacqui Knight, the Promotions Manager for event organisation Katch Katikati, acknowledge the amazing support from funders and sponsors. “Our supporters enable us to bring this celebration of arts to Katikati. The Arts are an integral element of our community and its well-being and hosting the Festival here on our doorstep makes them accessible to everyone.”

Visit the Katikati Festival of Arts website at

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