Queenstown Memorial Centre, Queenstown
Intermediate and high-school band comp Smokefreerockquest has an impressive track record: hometown heroes Kimbra, Cairo Knife Fight and The Naked And Famous have all cut their teeth there. With the comp heating up ahead of the September 11 final, all eyes will be on the last regional heat of 2015: the Central Otago round. Keep an ear out for the next wave of Kiwi musos.
Saxton Oval Pavilion, Nelson
Basketball is on the up Down Under, and the rising fortunes of the four-time championship-winning Breakers is putting the sport securely on the map. NBL scouts would do well to have bums on seats at the Under 19 National Championships in Nelson this month, when the next generation of ballers will be going head-to-head in a bid to claim the national title.
The Power Station, Auckland
To say that Mancunian musician Johnny Marr is a guitar legend is far from overstating the case: as a member of The Smiths, collaborator with Oasis and Modest Mouse and a gifted solo musician, Marr has a formidable track record.
He’s also got a solid connection to Auckland, having being involved in both of Neil Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide shows at the St James Theatre and The Powerstation. He’ll deliver the oomph of that backstory when he brings his beautifully restrained guitar heroics back to The Powerstation – and don’t be surprised if one of the Finns joins him on stage.
Speed of sound
ASB Showgrounds, Auckland
The ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, Auckland, is a mecca for petrolheads, and the CRC Speedshow is guaranteed to pull in a legion of speed freaks. The ninth annual event features a smorgasbord of cars, motorcycles, racing cars and classics of all eras, makes and models, not to mention custom-built creations and some top sports celebrities. The NZ off-road radio-controlled car racing championship is also in the mix, and special-feature vehicles will be the star attraction of the Meguiar’s Crazy Car Zone. Karting also gets a look-in at the Ideal Wheels live-action arena.
Season of cinema
Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin & Christchurch
Having started out in Auckland in 1969, the now-nationwide New Zealand International Film Festival, is stacked with movies from every corner of the globe. This year’s programme covers horror flicks, music documentaries, sporting selections and more.