New lights and rock in the New Year with TSB Festival of Lights

14 December 2018

NPDC’s TSB Festival of Lights will shine even brighter this season with 10 brand new light installations and family fun and live music till midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

Another first for the free summer festival in New Plymouth’s iconic Pukekura Park is great news for foodies, with local food trucks in a new festival hub on ‘Light Bites’ evenings.
The summer of festival fun starts on 16 December when the lights are turned on during the popular Christmas at the Bowl. The lights will be shining every night including Christmas Day until February 3.

This season’s packed programme includes more than 50 performances including international, national and local performers, daytime activities for kids and families with the Summer Scene team and the return of Summer Seniors featuring a range of events for older folk.

NPDC Recreation and Culture Manager Teresa Turner said this season’s festival promises to be one of the best yet with something for all residents and visitors to the district.
“Our Events team listened to feedback from recent festivals and have pulled out all the stops to put on more lights and entertainment and the Light Bites evenings will help pull in even more visitors,” she said.

“NPDC has had requests for something on New Year’s Eve so we’ve put together a fantastic night with events for kids and adults and a chance to see in the New Year in style in our wonderful Pukekura Park. This festival is a key part of how we are Building a Lifestyle Capital.”

The Lights All Night New Year’s Eve event will see the lights kept on until midnight, a storybook character evening for kids with a 9pm countdown, glow lawn bowls and a silent disco for adults and music from Dtomp, Ed Pool and The Slacks.

There are 17 light installations spread across the park including 10 new light features. These include interactive displays such as Light Bells where festival-goers pull ropes to move lights to the sound of church bells and Fountain of Colour, a kiosk where visitors control a light show on Fountain Lake.

The new festival hub will be the venue for Light Bites as well as the information point for festival-goers. Also new in 2018/19 is Tiny Town, a 10-foot shipping container which has been converted into a small theatre.

NPDC’s Parks team has also given Pukekura Park a spruce-up with a revamped and extended area outside the Tea House, new shade sails over the main playground to keep kids sun-safe and new pipes and lights to rejuvenate the QEII fountain.

Last season the TSB Festival of Lights brought in more than 125,000 visitors over seven weeks and saw a 20% rise in visitors from outside the region. Figures from Venture Taranaki revealed the value added to the Taranaki economy from the festival was nearly $5million in 2017/18.

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10 new light installations

  • Seed, co-designed by New Plymouth’s Jasmine Grace and fellow Massey University students Rachel Neser and Molly Brankin. This design has featured at LUX Light Festival Wellington and was inspired by a Kendrick Lamar lyric.
  • Alpha Beta Gamma, by Wellington artist Trish Campbell features giant colourful totem poles which light up the Main Lake island.
  • Strung Out, designed by Carmen Rogers, reimagined by Che Rogers. This is the first time this has been installed above ground. 
  •  Nebula Now, designed and created by Arielle Walker and Liam Mullins. Nebula Now was inspired by Arielle’s childhood memories of walking through the festival and looking up at the beautiful lights. It is made of Perspex and has more than 100 keychain links.
  • Seasons, designed and created by Toulouse Group and MJF Lighting with a composition by Jeremy Cullen. This installation combines music and light to give audiences an experience of the four seasons.
  • Iro, designed and created by Toulouse Group. Glowing balls of light enhance the Japanese Hillside.
  • Eelectric, designed and created by Adam Walker from Toulouse Group. This design features LED eels swimming through the Main Lake.
  • Wisteria, designed and created by Shannon Novak. Shannon’s design transforms the Tea House on the Lake into a giant lantern.
  • Fountain of Colour, designed and created by Toulouse Group. This interactive installation with a kiosk allows festival-goers to control the light show on Fountain Lake.
  • Light Bells, created by Thomas Press and brought to life by Toulouse Group. Another interactive installation, festival-goers get to pull suspended ropes to create different church bell sounds with lights moving up and down.

Festival facts

  • The lighting route is 3.5 kilometres of walkways through Pukekura Park.
  • The lights are on for 49 nights.
  •  More than 22 staff and volunteers work behind the scenes each night at the festival.
  •  It takes five weeks to install route lighting, speciality light installations and cabling through the park for the festival.
  • Last season’s festival added nearly $5 million in value to the Taranaki economy and brought in 9,600 visitors to New Plymouth. 
  • More than 55 members of the community have volunteered their time to help festival visitors find their way around the event.
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