First Church new focus of carnival

The hugely popular Dunedin Midwinter Carnival will have a new look and be held over two nights in...
The hugely popular Dunedin Midwinter Carnival will have a new look and be held over two nights in July. PHOTO: SIMON LITTLE
Dunedin’s First Church will be ringing-in winter as part of a new look Dunedin Midwinter Carnival event, to be held over two nights on July 8 and 9.

The church bell-ringing group and Samoan congregation will feature in the event, along with giant lantern installations and projections on the side of the church.

Midwinter Carnival Trust chairman Paul Smith said it was exciting to be working with the First Church community this year.

"We know people loved the projection last year, so we wanted to build on that with two projections and multiple lantern installations that allow people to see these wonderful artworks up close — something that hasn’t been possible up till now," Mr Smith said.

As the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival coincides with the All Blacks v Ireland test match, July 8 and 9 will be a weekend bursting with activities.

A capacity crowd in 2021 and fluctuating Covid event regulations has prompted the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival Trust to rethink the event for this year.

This has resulted in a new location and new format, including multiple stages for performers along with the popular Night Market.

And, for the first time, the event will be ticketed to allow management of numbers and to help cover costs.

"By ticketing the event we are able to respond to any future scenario, avoid overcrowding and ensure the audience experience is a really positive one," Mr Smith said.

Lantern-making workshops will continue to be a feature prior to the main event, as well as a free lantern installation at the Meridian Mall in June.

During the event, roving performers and processions of children with their lanterns will add to the atmosphere.

In another first for the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival, organisers will promote the event to audiences throughout Otago and Southland, with support from Enterprise Dunedin’s Regional Events Fund.

"This funding has given us the confidence to move to a two-day event and to expand elements, such as the projections, which proved a crowd-favourite last year," Mr Smith said.

"More people attending from outside Dunedin will add to the vibrancy of the city at a time when many businesses have been doing it tough."

The Dunedin Midwinter Carnival is one of the most popular events on the city’s calendar, involving hundreds of volunteers and with an audience of more than 25,000.

"This is a unique homegrown celebration of winter in Dunedin and the lanterns and light projections provide a beautiful sense of hope at the darkest, coldest time of year," Mr Smith said.

Event tickets and lantern workshop bookings will be available online at

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