Bright new features to shine at Festival of Lights

An international makeover, a floral soundtrack, and an exciting new installation on Poet’s Bridge will all be a part of Taranaki’s beloved Festival of Lights this year.

This year the award-winning TSB Festival of Lights will include a record number of 13 new light features, and will showcase work from artists as far flung as Russia, Chile, and Canada.

Poet’s Bridge will also undergo a revamp and will feature a new light installation by the original creators of the TSB Tunnel of Light.

The TSB Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park is an award winning part of Taranaki’s event calendar. PHOTO: Andy Jackson/SUPPLIED BY NPDC

Among the 13 new light features is Trumpet Flowers.

Hot on the heels of its success at Australian light festival Vivid, Trumpet Flowers continues the festival’s push to have more interactive displays.

Trumpet Flowers allows visitors to light up flowers and play sounds by pressing a button, creating a technicolour soundtrack.

The NPDC organised festival will see Pukekura Park light up from December 14 until February 1.

NPDC’s recreation and culture manager Teresa Turner says every year the team tries to top the previous season’s event and always succeeds. 

“I think we’ll continue that in 2019-2020, thanks to a record number of new light features which will delight and entertain all festival goers,” she says.

“We’re Building a lifestyle capital and the TSB Festival of Lights plays a huge part in making our district the place to be each summer.

“We’re looking forward to seeing thousands of visitors come to Pukekura Park to enjoy another fantastic season.”

It takes six weeks to install all of the lights for the TSB Festival of Lights.

Last summer the festival attracted more than 125,000 visitors, and New Plymouth residents made the most of the lights and 82 free events with 80 per cent attending the festival more than once.

Survey results also showed around 50,000 visitors came from outside of the region to enjoy the lights, with over half of those visitors paying for their accommodation during the trip. 

There was also a 50 per cent rise in volunteers stepping up to lend a hand which Turner says is a key part of the festival’s continued success. 

Support from key partners is also vital, and Turner thanked TSB for signing on as the event’s sponsor for another three years.

“The long-term partnership we have with the TSB is a fantastic fit with our vision to provide free and engaging events for our community.

“Without this long-term commitment from TSB, we wouldn’t have the freedom to try new things and continue to grow.”

TSB CEO Donna Cooper says the TSB Festival of Lights has numerous positive impacts for our region.

“It’s a world class event which brings people together from all over the country and really does have something for everyone. My family found it so captivating last year that we went along twice.

“We’re proud to partner with a Festival which mirrors what TSB is all about – putting people first, celebrating community and giving back to Taranaki and New Zealand,” she says.

TSB Festival of Lights fast facts:

  • The lighting route is 3.5 kilometres of walkways through Pukekura Park.
  • About 125,000 people enjoy the seven-week festival each summer.
  • The lights are on for about 50 nights.
  • More than 20 staff and volunteers work behind the scenes each night at the festival.
  • About 55 volunteers from the community help out at the festival each season.
  • It takes about six weeks to install all the lights and cabling through the park for the festival
  • The 2018/19 season saw the introduction of food trucks (Light Bites evenings) and a family-friendly New Year’s Eve event.