Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival


The Story then

The Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival faced an uncertain future after the sudden loss of $150,000 from multiple funding sources. 

A crowdfunding campaign was launched in October to help it bounce back from Covid-19 related setbacks.

Festival director Geoff Turkington said planning for the festival, was well underway when they found out about the drop in funding.

A last minute boost to the tune of $100,000 by WEL Energy Trust, Brian Perry Foundation, Grassroots Foundation and Hamilton City Council helped bring the festival back from the brink but a shortfall of $20,000 was needed to keep the 2022 festival on track.

As a charitable trust, the festival, Waikato’s premiere arts event for over 20 years, relies on the support of local businesses and funders each year.

Turkington was quick to point out the benefits of the festival to not only boost people’s spirits, especially in times of continual Covid upheavals, but it also contributes to the Hamilton economy.

“Research undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage in 2019 identified that the arts and creative sector contributes $10.8 billion to New Zealand’s GDP and creates over 92,00 jobs

“It’s a huge industry, but also you can’t put a price on the wellness of the community.”

The Story Now

The show will go on thanks to the success of the crowdfunding which raised over $25,000 in four weeks from nearly 250 donors.

Turkington says the team is thrilled to have such phenomenal support from people who recognise the value of the festival.

“The money is definitely important but I think at that stage in a very, very long year for myself and the team, the messages and encouragement from all the 247 donors meant a lot to us and that really give us the strength to keep going.”

While the rest of us might be getting ready to go on holiday, there’s still a lot of hard work for the HGAF team; from artist’s contracts, collating technical information and learning how to navigate the Covid traffic lights will keep them busy.

Being a larger event they will be operating under the vaccine pass system and that means they can go ahead at full capacity in green or orange.

“When you are dealing with the sheer number of staff, volunteers, audience and performers safety is paramount so we will be doing full contact tracing,” Turkington says.

The line-up

TEEKS, Ballet Noir, Haus of YOLO, Reb Fountain, Muroki, Soundtracks from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, Sunset Symphony are some of the biggest and boldest shows to ever hit the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2022.

Reb Fountain

Featuring everything from classical music to drag, ballet to theatre, comedy to children’s shows, the 2022 festival programme is positively brimming with world class arts experiences.

The musical programme showcases a diverse mix of musical stylings including flamenco, soul, folk, percussion and classical.

Experience Northland soul sensation TEEKS’ life affirming live show with support from rising Raglan star Muroki.

Also, on the Rhododendron Lawn – the spellbinding Reb Fountain will premiere her highly anticipated new album Iris alongside fan favourites from her Taite Prize-winning self-titled album, and The Auckland Jazz Orchestra team up with the fabulous Caitlin Smith for a night of big band jazz!


A star studded band of Kiwi music icons will rock’n roll through the soundtracks from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Performed live in concert – starring Tami Neilson, Laughton Kora, Milan Borich and Booga Beazley, backed by the phenomenal Big Band Royale.

Haus of YOLO is a party of a show, jam-packed with extraordinary circus skills and sewing chaos. Truly a feast for the senses, this multidisciplinary show from The Dust Palace (PULP, Top of the Heap) explores the modern middle class slavery of fast fashion.

Theatre lovers are spoiled for choice with five solo theatrical works exploring a diverse range of topics including conservation, the joys of reading, satire, and Aotearoa history.

Lovers of poetry and music can join some of the country’s best and brightest songwriters, including Anna Coddington, Lawrence Arabia and Julia Deans as they perform original music inspired by the poems of iconic writer Katherine Mansfield.

Mansfield in Her Own Words: Unplugged is an intimate coupling of poetry and music taking place in the charming Mansfield Garden.

There’ll also be world-class homegrown ballet! Contemporary but elegant, Ballet Noir is ballet seen through the stylish, cryptic lens of film noir.

Head to hgaf.co.nz to check out the full Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2022 programme. Early bird discounts are available on most ticketed events until Christmas eve.

The Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival is made possible by our generous funders: Hamilton City Council, WEL Energy Trust, Grassroots Festival Trust, Trust Waikato, Perry Foundation, Hamilton Gardens, King St Advertising, ACLX, University of Waikato, Harkness Henry, Ministry Culture & Heritage, Longveld, Norah Howell Charitable Trust, CBD Association, Waikato Times, The Hits, Go Media, Cleland Hancox and Friends of Hamilton Gardens.


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