About the Festival

The Urban Walking Festival is an Auckland-wide festival of urban walking that revolves around local people celebrating their place, sharing what makes it special and advocating for what they love about it through walking and conversation.

At the heart of the festival each year are walks hosted by artists, local historians and community activators.

The festival was inspired by the annual international festival of free, citizen-led walking conversations Jane’s Walks. Jane’s Walks encourage people to share stories about their neighbourhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours.

The Urban Walking Festival is packed with walks all around Tāmaki Makaurau. City-loving guides and local hosts will share the stories, beloved experiences and hidden gems of their local neighbourhood.

Urban Walking Festival 2022

Mā te kimi ka kite, Mā te kite ka mōhio, Mā te mōhio ka mārama
Seek and discover. Discover and know. Know and become enlightened.

The Urban Walking Festival is building its present and future in reference to the whakataukī “Mā te kimi ka kite. Mā te kite ka mōhio. Mā te mōhio ka mārama.” In te reo Pākehā the whakataukī can be understood to mean “Seek and discover. Discover and know. Know and become enlightened.”

The core endeavour of the Urban Walking Festival is to support people to seek out knowledge and to have kete filling experiences of Tāmaki. Through enabling the process of discovery we grow a deeper understanding of and engagement with the city – its land, histories and peoples. Through seeking, discovering and understanding – kimi, kite, mōhio – mārama, or clarity around the future potentials of our people and city will emerge. Once we can see the potentials we can act on them.

In addition to describing an underlying purpose for the festival the whakataukī is also a guide for our programming, allowing us to commission and communicate our walks through the principles of kimi, kite, mōhio and mārama. We’ve aligned those principles to guiding elements including wai, which speaks to seeking and journeying; maunga and whenua which evoke the arrival of discovery; aroha which links understanding an empathy that underpins the human and non-human relationships the walks build; and maramataka, the mātauranga that pertains to seasonality and time.

The Team

The festival was established in 2019 and is directed by Melissa Laing. In 2022 Grayson Goffe of Whakamanatia, a kaupapa Māori social enterprise that looks to nurture identity that nourishes community, worked with the festival to strengthen its foundations. They kau-laborated to develop approaches informed by te ao Māori to enhance the mana and participation of Māori and support the commissioning of Māori led hīkoi.

The Urban Walking Festival is presented with the support of Panuku, Development Auckland and Auckland Transport.

If you want to explore our previous walks click here