March 2019

Gala Opening - Mercury Bay Art Escape 2019

Friday 1st March 2019 - 6pm

Hot Waves Café, Hot Water Beach


The Gala Opening of the 2019 Mercury Bay Art Escape is a wonderful social evening of art not to be missed. With special guest speaker being artist Fatu Feu’u ONZM and an exclusive preview to Mercury Bay Art Escape 'Member's Showcase' exhibition that features one new artwork by each of our 46 artists and art group members. Click below for tickets or purchase tickets at Hot Waves Cafe in Hot Water Beach.

Mercury Bay Art Escpae - Open Artists Studio

2nd - 3rd March & 9th - 10th March 2019

Eastern Coromandel Peninsula

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Take a road trip where you can enjoy art to your heart’s content by exploring the creative nature of the Eastern Coromandel Peninsula.

The ever popular Open Studio weekends are held every year over the first 2 weekends in March and draw many art-loving visitors to the stunning coastal area of Mercury Bay on the Eastern Coromandel Peninsula. This stunning self-drive art tour includes Hikuai, Tairua, Hahei, Hot Water Beach, Cooks Beach, Whenuakite, Coroglen, Whitianga, Kuaotunu, Rings Beach and Opito Bay.

Pick up your FREE Art Guide at the artist studios or at I-sites and galleries on the Coromandel Peninsula or use our Google Artist Map to navigate from artist to artist. Stop at one of our supporting café, galleries or vineyards  between your studio visits and rest at comfortable accommodation to recharge your art appreciation batteries.

Want to be driven around the artists?

Contact local Tourist Operators here and here.

For more information, visit their website, or for a detailed map of the artists locations, click on the button below.

NZ Offshore Powerboat Series

Saturday 2nd March 2019



With speeds of up to 180KPH, park up with the family to view the thrill and excitement right from Buffalo Beach in Whitianga. Beginning at midday, this free spectator event willbe enjoyed by all. For more information, visit their website.

Mercury Bay Art Escape Showcase Exhibition

March 2nd - April 22nd 2019

Hot Waves Cafe - Hot Water Beach

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This art exhibition showcases exciting new art  by our artists and art groups on the Open Artists Studio Tour. See stunning art pieces and creations from some very talented artist. Entry is free and is open to view at Hot Waves Cafe at Hot Water Beach from 8.30am - 4pm, 7 days a week.

Collective Sculpture with Chris Charteris

Sunday 3rd March 2019

Kuaotunu Town Hall, 12 Black Jack Rd, Kuaotunu


Create a large scale sculpture with renowned Kuaotunu based sculptor Chris Charteris out of 1000’s of Ngā Tipa (scallop shells) collected by the artist. Sculpture making is from 11am - 1pm with viewing until 3pm - all at Kuaotunu Town Hall, 12 Black Jack Rd, Kuaotunu. Entry is free and kids are welcome with adult supervision.

Tuia 250 Whitianga Street Arts Festival

March 4th - 8th 2019


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To contribute to the national Tuia - Encounters 250 commemoration Mercury Bay Art Escape is holding community street art festival in central Whitianga. This exciting free event will allow visitors to see local and internationally recognised street artists create 12 murals on walls in the central business area.

 The theme of each mural will depict either navigation or relate to the First Encounters coming together of Maori and European in Te Whanganui a Hei (Mercury Bay). A free guide leaflet giving details of the art walk during the festival will be available from the Art Escape website, the Whitianga i-site and many retailers in Whitianga.

Chasing Mercury Art Workshops

March 4th - 8th 2019


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This brand new series of fun art workshops for the public is taking place in Whitianga from 4th to 8th March 2019, in between our ever popular Mercury Bay Art Escape Open Studio weekends. Featuring Mercury Bay Art Escape Artists and Guest Artists as tutors and organised by our very own artist member Wendy Walls.

Click here for the Chasing Mercury workshop programme and bookings.

Music Picnic @ the Point

Saturday 9th March 2019

Pleasant Point Resesve - Pauanui Beach


Music Picnic at the Point is on again - Saturday 9th March. 2.30pm - 7.00pm at Pleasant Point reserve, Pauanui.

2x great bands playing (Enigma and The Party Rockers). Bring your picnic rug and your family and friends and enjoy a relaxing afternoon out.

$5.00 p/p - under 14 years free.

Thames Heritage Festival

Friday 15th March - Sunday 17th March 2019



Thames Heritage Festival is a fantastic celebration of our heritage. Thames has a rich history dating back to the first contact between Pakeha and the Tangata whenua. During March we celebrate our district's history in this festival of events. Festival Programme can be found on our website.

Whangamata Multisport Challenge

Saturday 16th March 2019

Whangamata Harbour

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Whangmata Multisport Challenge is a 40km loop starting and finishing in Whangamata. This course is one of the most scenic in the country. 8km Paddle: you can paddle SUP, kayak or waka ama 9km Run: stunning coastal trail run 23km MTB: featuring awesome singletrack through the Whangamata Ridges MTB Park You can race the Multisport Challenge as an individual or in a team of 2-3 people. There are also duathlon, MTB, run and paddle races.

For more information, visit their website.

Te Wheke Challenge

Saturday 16th March 2019

Onemana Beach


Te Wheke Challenge is a 13km trail running event that starts and finishes in the small coastal settlement of Onemana.

Te Wheke means Octopus and race takes it’s name from a secluded beach known as Octopus Bay. In summer it is common to see octopus playing in the clear water there. The race route passes through Octopus Bay twice.

This area is a trail running paradise with stunning white sand beaches and steep, technical trails winding around the coast and headlands. Check out the website for more information or click the button below to register. 

A Lunch With Sir Graham Henry

Friday 22nd March 2019

Marina Bar & Grill Tairua


Join us for a very special lunch with the one and only Sir Graham Henry! Listen to him speak about life as the World Cup winning All Blacks coach and have your chance to meet the man himself, and enjoy a delicious lunch along with it.

Tickets are strictly limited, so it may pay to book in quickly so you don’t miss out! You can purchase your tickets from the Tairua Butchery or the Marina Bar & Grill. Tickets are $80.

Balloons over Thames

Friday 22nd March 2019

Thames Racecourse


The hot air balloons will be inflated and tethered, hovering over the Thames Racecouse. Plus for a gold coin donation, you can climb aboard the basket with a trained pilot for a tethered ride! Proceeds to Sunrise Rotary.There’s loads of entertainment, food stalls galore and FREE kite flying for all – don’t miss it!

Cathedral Cove Swim

Saturday 23rd March 2019

Cathedral Cove


This is an idyllic swim through a marine reserve to the famous New Zealand landmark of Cathedral Cove, and then back to stunning Hahei beach(4km). Or enjoy the scenic walk there and swim the two kilometres back. 4km - swim anticlockwise, run through archway and swim back 2km scenic walk there and swim 2km back.

Enter at

Or on the day before 9.30am (add $10)

$40 for 4km, $30 for 2km, u/20 $30 or $20.

Race briefing: 9.30am

4km start: 10am at Hahei Beach

2km start: 10.45am at Cathedral Cove Beach

Visit their website for more information or click on the button below to pre-register.

Repco Beachhop

Wednesday 27th March - Sunday 31st March 2019

Throughout Whangamata


A Rock’N’Roll Festival not to be missed!! Held in the popular seaside holiday resort of Whangamata, the 5 day festival celebrates the music, culture, fashion, music, hot rods, motorbikes, dancing, dragsters and scooters of this golden era.The festival has grown from 4,000 to about 100,000 people since its inception in 2001. This makes it one of the largest events of its kind in the world. All proceeds raised are donated to emergency services in the area. Come along and enjoy all the non stop action.

For more information, head to their website, or to register your vehicle, click on the button below!

Beach Hop Classic Cover Nostalgia Fair

Sunday 31st March 2019

Ford Reserve at Williamson Park, Ocean Road, Whangamata


Come along to Ford Reserve at Williamson Park, Ocean Road, Whangamata on the final day of the Repco Beachhop! Featuring:

** Classic Cover Insurance Nostalgia Fair & Auto Swapmeet
** Rock'n'Roll Church Service at the Baptist Church
** Nostalgia Surf Fest
** Top 10 Shoot Out
** Final Prize Giving
** Entrants Draw
** Live Music

We encourage you to buy a $5 Festival Programme to get all the details!