Celebrating masks and creativity

Celebrating mask culture and creating your own mask are a huge part of cultural celebrations all around the world and have been a wonderful part of the Nelson Arts Festival since its inception. 

We are thrilled to announce the return of our much-loved community event for the 2023 Festival: The MASK CARNIVALE will transform our inner-city streets into a colourful explosion of joy, community and creativity on Friday 27 October!
In 2023, as we journey together around the sun, we find ourselves 8 billion strong and 8 billion divided. And so we look to be part of the momentum - rewilding, regenerating, rebalancing, reinvigorating.

Let's embrace and celebrate this momentum, with our theme for this year's Mask Carnivale:


From reusing waste materials, using natural processes, Where the Wild Things Are or generat(ions) – interpret the theme however speaks to you and help us bring vigour, creativity and wonder
to our newly (re)born Mask Carnivale.

We can't wait to see what creative masks and costumes you will come up with!

If you're keen to be part of the Parade or perform during the Carnivale, please register via the button below by 30 September 2023.
Let’s paint the streets of Whakatū in bright colours, showcase our community’s diversity and creative superpowers - and come together to celebrate!
Enrol now!

Be part of the fun! 

Keen to perform in the Parade or be part of the Carnivale?

Please register via the button below - we cannot wait to hear all about your ideas and then to see your creations come spring!
Enrol now!

Keen to create with others?

Our friends at Community Artworks are true mask making masters - you will likely have seen some of their amazing creations in one of our parades or at other events and activations here in Whakatū. 

Join them for a free mask making workshop on Sat 8 Oct or Tues 11 Oct, 10am - 12pm, to create your own mask inspired by an Aotearoa native animal. There'll be lots of options, from the shy ruru to the inquisitive Hector dolphin.

These workshops are free to attend but we kindly ask you to register so we know numbers and can prepare materials.
All workshops fully booked!

Share your creation!

Let's paint the streets of Whakatū in the brightest colours! 

Put on your mask, strike a pose and send us your favourite photo of your creation - we'd love to share your mask far and wide, and showcase it as part of our Masks About Town installation during the Festival.

Submit your mask

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