Next Wave: A Waitematā Youth Week Festival

Next Wave: A Waitematā Youth Week Festival sweeps across Auckland Central this May. The inaugural outing for the new festival is part of Aotearoa’s Youth Week festivities for 2021, celebrating the nationwide theme of “We’re Stronger Together”. Happening from 8 – 16 May 2021, the Next Wave team have programmed a series of events from talks to workshops to live performances, that connect and celebrate the diverse communities of youth who call the Waitematā home.

2021 is the first arrival of Next Wave, which is set to become an annual highlight on the youth calendar for the Waitematā area. Next Wave is youth-led, with support from the Waitematā Local Board and Waitematā Youth Action Wellbeing Network, a collective of youth-oriented organisations in the Waitematā area focused on uplifting and supporting youth.

Spanning the full festival is Interactive Mapping at Ellen Melville Centre. Next Wave has partnered with The Open Fort and Rainbow Youth to create an interactive map of what Auckland City looks like for youth. For the duration of Youth Week, attendees will be invited to feed in information about the Waitematā. Covering everything from safe spaces, travel routes, cheap eats and untapped gems, all contributions are welcomed. At the conclusion of Youth Week, The Open Fort will take this information to produce an interactive online map that shows the Waitematā from a youth perspective.

On Saturday 8 May, Next Wave kicks off activities at TAPAC with Loud & Proud Songwriting Workshop for Rainbow Youth. This empowering songwriting workshop for Rainbow Youth offers practical skills for writing, performing and recording original music. Tutor Bray Jeffrey (they/them) shows participants how to explore and celebrate queer identities through song at TAPAC.

Next WaveThe Next Wave programme continues at Ellen Melville Centre throughout the following week, starting with Big Talks on Thursday 13 May. With so many ‘big issues’ affecting young people in Aotearoa – from the mundane, to the complex and the personal – it’s important that they are given the skills to be able to find a way to dialogue about them. Big Talks is a workshop all about having good conversations about the big issues that affect youth. Youth are invited to contribute to the event’s talking points via SurveyMonkey ahead of the event.

On Saturday 15 May, Next Wave takes over Ellen Melville Centre for The Next Wave Gala. A celebration of the awesome things young people are doing in and around the Waitematā, including performances, workshops and talks, The Next Wave Gala goes from 2 PM ‘til late, with a diverse lineup including:

  • Next Wave
    Audrey Apollo

    Performances from independent musicians Amelia, Audrey Apollo, DJ Daddylonglegs, Kovan Eskerie and 2019’s Smokefree Rockquest winner Marianne Leigh

  • Workshops, including a circus workshop with Circability and a K-Pop dance workshop with tutor Yeajin Im
  • A discussion with Matthew Goldsworthy, CEO of Youth Arts speaking about the work Youth Arts does with young people
  • A drop in Session with local political representatives, including Councillor Pippa Coom, providing an opportunity for young people to directly ask questions about issues affecting them.

Next Wave’s 2021 programme is the first outing for this new festival, and is made possible thanks to support from the Waitematā Local Board. The team hopes to continue to build a platform for rangatahi in central Tāmaki Makaurau to create, question, and respond to the city they call home.

For more information, visit Next Wave on Facebook & Instagram

Next Wave

Next Wave: A Waitematā Youth Week Festival

8 – 16 May 2021
Waitematā, Tāmaki Makaurau
Auckland Central City


Installation from The Open Fort and Rainbow Youth
Saturday 8 May – Sunday 16 May, 9AM – 5PM,
Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, Auckland Central


Songwriting Workshop for Rainbow Youth, Co-hosted by TAPAC
Saturday 8 May 12PM – 4PM,
TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Western Springs


How to have good chats about big issues
Thursday 13 May , 6.30 PM,
Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, Auckland Central


Jam-packed day of performances and events
Saturday 15 May, 2-10 PM,
Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, Auckland Central