The family fun quiz with Toby (right), Toby (centre) and the standout performer of the entire festival, A rocketship called Ronnie, singing You Are My Sunshine. Photo: Rebecca McMillan

The Garden Party 2021 – in pictures

Last weekend at the sun-drenched soundshell in the Botanic Gardens, Wellington, The Spinoff joined Verb Wellington to present the Garden Party and it was heaps of fun.

Photography by Rebecca McMillan 

On February 20 and 21, a brand new summer festival sprung into life. Held at Wellington Botanic Gardens ki Paekākā, The Garden Party was two busy days of live talks, live music, theatre, a family quiz, delectable food and more.

On the Saturday evening, at the Garden Party After Party, the Wellington Underground Arts Awards were launched by Verb, The Spinoff and Eleven. The idea: shine the spotlight on the unsung legends who make the capital city such a cultural wellspring.

The inaugural gongs (the “Buckets”, we’re calling them) were awarded in the group category to Vincents Art Workshop, a free art studio and exhibition space, providing access to arts and craft facilities, skilled tuition, and materials. Vincents was set up in 1985 in response to the deinstitutionalisation of psychiatric hospitals – many people with disabilities or mental health challenges were now struggling to integrate into communities.

And in the individuals category, to Jenny Neligan and Penney Moir. Jenny set up Bowen Galleries in 1981 and this year it turns 40 – no easy task in the up and down world of the arts and business. Penney Moir joined Jenny in 2003 and together they are  a constant source of strength for artists and producers in the city, providing space and support.

The Garden Party was supported by Wellington City Council, Creative New Zealand, Ocular, Eleven, Taki Rua, Naumi Hotels, Four Winds Foundation, and Vic Books. Heroes all.

The soundshell from above. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Beth and Annabelle. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Lucy, Eli, Duncan and Leonie at the Spinoff tent. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

MC Tessa. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Witi as the sun in the Taki Rua tour de force. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Claire, on brand. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Church, AP and Leonie. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Tom and Noelle. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Toby and another star singer. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Toby draws Toby and Toby. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Witi and Kim make up after a fight. Elizabeth watches on. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Tom and Noelle. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Claire at the garden party after party. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Claire, Toby, Toby and team Eleven. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Taki Rua on fire. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Mark is totes adorb. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Lucy and Emily. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Jennifer from Ponylane. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Bubble hunting. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Anna and Linda. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography-GardenParty-06261S


Lakos aka Andrew. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography


Mighty Mish. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Also Toby and Toby, possibly. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography

Nom. RebeccaMcMillanPhotography


The Garden Party is a new summer festival celebrating talks, food and music in Pōneke. Brought to you by The Spinoff and Verb Wellington. February 20-21 2021, entrance free or by koha. More information.

The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.