One thing is for sure - you never know what Wellington will serve up next. Last weekend these free-styling zebras were out doing their thing, as cool as cucumbers on Cuba Street.
The zebra crew were a roaming feature of the event-packed Cuba Dupa festival. Even the rain could do little to dampen the vibrant party atmosphere around the 'Cuba Quarter'. With many of the 250 performers wandering amongst the crowd between shows, kookiness was everywhere.
And food???!! The choice from street food stalls was amazing. The Whittaker's chocolate and plum doughnut was to die for (hmmmm, perhaps one shouldn't have too many of those...)
A couple of weeks earlier the colourful Wellington International Pride Parade filled the city streets to the sensational beats of Wellington Batucuda. It was impossible not to get caught up in the rhythm and vibe of the celebration.
Summer brought with it Wellington's neighbourhood festivities as well, with market stalls and family-focused entertainment events. The kids dancing at the Island Bay Festival in February were a highlight for me, and it was pretty special to see that the Fred Dagg's Kiwi gumboot legacy lives on.
Events compete for attention in a jam-packed buzz of cultural activity in Wellington. Pigs in muck we are. I haven't even mentioned the annual Gardens Magic concerts, Waitangi Day events, the Pasefika Festival, Readers and Writers Week, the Fringe Festival, the opening of Te Auaha, the New Zealand Festival, or Chinese New Year celebrations.
Several years ago Wellingtonians were chuffed when the Lonely Planet travel guide described our city as the "coolest little capital in the world". Size aside, I reckon we're possibly the coolest capital, full stop.
I enjoyed two very different community events over Labour weekend. The first was the inaugural Paekakariki Pride parade - part of a weekend festival of celebrations for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities. It was great fun and an important event. Bravo Paekakariki!
The second was the Indian and South East Asian Diwali festival of light on the waterfront. It was full of dance, beautiful garments, henna tattoos and aromatic Indian foods.
Both events were bursting with vibrancy and a sense of community. It made me think how fortunate Wellingtonians are to have the chance to soak up the rich cultural flavours at events such as these.
I am a self-confessed diversity geek. I can rave on about it for hours! Not surprisingly, diversity is one of Welcome Tours’ core values. For us, this means that we value individuality - we respect and appreciate that our guests bring with them a treasure trove of life experiences and perspectives that add richness to a tour.
Sometimes, through valuing diversity, we adapt our itineraries to the customs or requirements of a particular group. We are always happy to work with a group to deliver a tour in a way that suits them.
'Welcome Tours' aims to be inclusive of all people. Our name is no accident – it is intended to evoke warmth and a sense of belonging – for everyone.
We also seek out diverse activities and perspectives to build into our itineraries. For example, this afternoon I have completed a proposal for an overseas wedding party that includes a waka experience on Wellington harbour – it’s a great way to experience kiwi culture and build friendships at the same time.
Welcome Tours isn’t afraid to step away from the mainstream, in fact we believe it’s where much of the magic happens. Come and join us on an adventure.
Sue is the Director and Chief Explorer at Welcome Tours. Sue blogs about new discoveries and the things that matter to Welcome Tours.