Gearing up for midwinter carnival

Elements of the whimsical Alice in Wonderland installation from last year’s Dunedin Midwinter...
Elements of the whimsical Alice in Wonderland installation from last year’s Dunedin Midwinter Carnival were set up inside the Meridian Mall last night, as part of preparations for next month’s event. Photo: supplied
Dunedin’s Meridian Mall was transformed overnight into a twinkling wonderland, as the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival team prepare for next month’s event.

Several lantern displays were set up last night, giving the public their first chance to take a closer look before the carnival, which will be held on June 21 and 22 at First Church, with the theme "Creatures of the Deep".

The Meridian lantern installations focus on last year’s carnival theme of "The Enchanted Forest", and include whimsical displays from the popular Alice in Wonderland installation — some of which took 100 hours to complete. It will remain at the mall until June 26.

The Meridian Mall has been in a long standing partnership with the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival, hosting both the community lantern displays and the public lantern workshops.

Meridian Mall marketing manager Stacey Johnston said the annual giant lantern installation "brings a magical vibrancy to the centre and we love being able to share this with the community".

 • Lantern workshops 

Public lantern workshops being held in preparation for the Midwinter Carnival will give people the chance to make small lanterns on the "Creatures of the Deep" theme, including jellyfish, fish, penguins, and a boat.

The weekend workshops will be held on May 25-26, June 1-2, 8-9, and 15-16, at the Meridian Mall.

Each workshop participant and their lanterns will get free entry to the carnival and be invited to take part in the new look processions — multiple smaller processions where the focus is on the lanterns created.

Workshop bookings can be found online at

 • Volunteers needed

With the not-for-profit Dunedin Midwinter Carnival set to be held in four weeks, the call has gone out for dozens of volunteers to help with the event — from workshop assistants to information stand crew. Volunteers must be 15 years or older.

Event co-manager, lantern workshop co-ordinator and lantern artist Xanthe Naylor started out as a volunteer herself more than a decade ago.

"Volunteers are the backbone of the lantern workshops, without the full team effort we wouldn’t be able to share this experience with as many families as we do," she said.

Register as a volunteer online at or email

 • Tickets

Tickets for the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival are on sale now, at the slightly increased price of $10 for adults, $5 for children, with under 3s free. Family passes (2 adults, 2 children) cost $25.

Dunedin Midwinter Carnival Trust chairman Paul Smith said the price offset a significant loss of funding for the carnival.

"Some major funding avenues have closed and costs have increased and we can’t ignore that.

"This is a big, beautiful event and I’m confident people will feel it is very good value," he said.

The successful pay-it-forward initiative will continue this year, as the carnival partners with local charities to distribute these tickets to the community.