47th Kowhai Festival: Pirates of the Mahurangi

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The second-oldest community festival in New Zealand gets bigger and better every year. Set in and around Warkworth, it offers events for every age and runs from 2-16 October with the Huge Day Out on Saturday 8 October. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Pirates of the Mahurangi’ – you can expect a piratical assault from the Jane Gifford historical sailing ship, decorated shops, dressed-up people, themed bands, food and lots of fun. Festival food hub with extended garden bar

The ‘food strip’ along Warkworth’s Wharf Street by the river is always a highlight and with an extended garden bar offering local wines, beers and food, it’ll be the gastro-hub of the festival. It will have its own stage for smaller bands and local singer-songwriters, with the main stage located at the other end of the strip, so you won’t miss a beat.

Special events

The festival starts traditionally with the Open Day of the Warkworth and Districts Museum on Sunday 2 October, with all the vintage machinery up and running. On the same day, there’s a heritage walk through the township, part of the Auckland Heritage Festival, as is the cruise on the historic Jane Gifford on Sunday 9 October. On the same day is the raft race; a concert by the Warkworth Music Society and the fabulous ukulele festival. Book early as there are only a limited number of tickets available.

The Huge Day Out

Highlights here are the canoe showdown, a traditional canoe race down the river - with a special offer of a 2km time trial, where you can borrow a canoe so you don’t need to bring your own. There will be a dog show, heaps of stalls, street music and kid’s entertainment from 9am till 3pm.

Debate and Open Air Cinema

On Thursday 13 October, the Warkworth Great Debate, sponsored by Mike Pero Real Estate, is held at Ascension Vineyard in Matakana. This is a fun, lighthearted event that raises funds for the Warkworth/Wellsford Hospice. And on Saturday 15 October, the traditional Kowhai Festival Movie Night is set at Shoesmith Domain (Warkworth), with a free screening of ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson Real Estate. The popular movie is shown on the biggest outdoor screen in the country and will start at 8pm.

For more information, dates and times visit www.kowhaifestival.nz or facebook.com/kowhaifestival