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Your top ten events for the weekend of 24 and 25 November

This weekly feature lists a selection of Wellington events accessible this weekend for $20.00 or less (and ideally free). You may want to check previous high five posts for recurring events. And there are many more options in the What’s On, Active/To Do, and Community sections of The Wellington App.

Lambton Quay is closed to all traffic for two days as A Very Welly Christmas welcomes Santa and friends to Lambton Quay (from 12.00pm Saturday) during two days of family-friendly fun that give you the unique opportunity to rove the streets freely enjoying the shopping, hospitality and special Christmas activities. A Very Welly Christmas runs from The Old Bank Arcade, junction of Willis St and all the way to the Supreme Court on the junction with Whitmore Street, with the area transformed into a festive wonderland of ice skating, circus acts, a snow dome, face painting, kids’ crafts, bubbles, dancers, and carols in Midland Park (from 6.00pm Saturday). Christmas is also a time for giving, so dig deep and support the Wellington Children’s Hospital with a donation. Keep an eye out for collectors, who’ll be there with Hospi the Hospital Lion on both days (you can also bring your favourite cuddly toy to get repaired at the Hospi Clinic). To get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy the festivities over both days, visit for what’s on and check the WCC Facebook Page. Lambton Quay and surrounding streets will be closed to vehicles during the event, with public transport and parking changes – see the separate story on The Wellington App for details.

Not far away on Saturday, there’s something for everyone at the sixth biennial Japan Festival Wellington, at TSB Arena on Queens Wharf from 11.00am to 6.30pm. Sample the flavours, sights and sounds of Japan, from taiko drums to the gracious tea ceremony, during the free family-friendly festival – the first to be organised by the newly formed Wellington Japan Festival Trust, with support from the Wellington City Council, the Embassy of Japan and the Kansai Osaka 21st Century Association Expo ’70 Fund. Two Sydney visitors, shamisen sensation Noriko Tadano and taiko trio YuNiOn, will be supported by Wellington’s talented local community, including martial arts performances, song and dance. There will be stalls offering information for people keen to travel to Japan for the Rugby World Cup next year and the Tokyo Olympics 2020, and opportunities to learn about Japanese culture including taiko workshops and craft demonstrations, with lots of Japanese snacks – including wasabi icecream.

The RailEx Model Train Show (above) is New Zealand’s largest model train show, and it comes to the Walter Nash Centre, 22 Taine Street in Taita, from 10.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday and Sunday. RailEx features between 30 and 40 layouts of various sizes, with movement, animation and life-like presentation. You can also expect to see train related displays from local train societies and some new traders and hobby suppliers to tempt you, or perhaps just great timing in finding that awesome model train set or toy before Christmas. And if you share a RailEx 2018 related post, review, video and photo with friends and the RailEx Facebook page, you go in to the draw to win a Lego City train set.

Wellington Volunteer Coastguard was formed in 1968 in response to the Wahine disaster. Support one of Wellington’s vital emergency services at the Coastguard Wellington 50th Anniversary Open Day on Saturday from 10.00am to 3.00pm at 461 Evans Bay Parade. Talk to the Coastguard volunteer crew, meet Coastguard’s supportive sponsors and learn how you can be safe at sea and look after those boating with you. There will be displays from LifeFlight (with virtual reality goggles to see what it is like in their helicopter), the Harbourmaster’s Office (with harbour safety information and the lifejacket testing unit – bring your own to make sure they are safe), LINZ Hydrographic Office (the makers of New Zealand’s nautical charts), Metservice (two of their meteorologists will have cloud posters to give away), Maritime Radio (with one of their portable Maritime Operating Centres), and Coastguard Boating Education, with details of their courses such as Day Skipper, Boatmaster, Maritime VHF Radio Operator Certificate, and many more. Marine organisations from around the region will have their rescue vessels on show, including the Coastguard’s main 12.6m rescue boat Spirit of Wellington and 6.8m auxiliary rescue boat Phoenix Rescue, the Lady Elizabeth IV Police Boat, Te Haa Pilot Boat, Airport Fire Rescue Boat, Mana Coastguard auxiliary rescue boat – and the fire engine from Kilbirnie Fire Station. There’ll be rides for a small charge on main rescue vessel Spirit of Wellington, and children will also enjoy a liferaft bouncy castle (including children’s lifejacket demonstration), a colouring competition and a line throwing/life ring game. There’s a sausage sizzle, baking sale, raffles and more.

The Great Annual Car Boot Sale at Cardinal McKeefry School, from 10.00am to 2.00pm on Saturday, is the perfect place to have a clear out and sell your unwanted clutter, or share crafty goods with the local community. Grab amazing bargains, unearth buried treasures and find some goodies to stash away for Christmas, with good coffee, cakes, sweets and slices to nibble on whilst you peruse the stall. This year, the school (on the corner of Wilton Road and Albemarle Road, Wilton) is raising money to upgrade the school playground, to make it a fantastic community asset.

On Saturday from 11.00am to 3.00pm, the International Christmas Fair at Homewood gives you the opportunity to support Save the Children New Zealand, with entry by gold coin donation. Children will have the chance to meet Peppa Pig and enjoy multicultural performances, Devonshire teas, a bouncy castle and face painting, alongside artisan foods and craft stalls. Inside the beautiful setting of Homewood, you’ll find delicious treats and a number of activities to keep the family entertained through the day. Homewood is at 50 Homewood Street, Karori.

Photo by Rosie Remmerswaal, courtesy of Barbarian Productions

Te Papa and Barbarian Productions are holding The Kids’ Election, celebrating 125 years of women’s suffrage all weekend from 11.00am to 3.00pm at Te Marae on Level 4. For two days only, children get to speak up about what they want, dress up, and do politics their way. This free event lets kids rock up to the pop-up polling booth especially for tamariki and cast a vote on issues chosen by other kids. Add your own suggestions for voting topics, write a protest placard about it, and bring attention to the things that matter most to you. Dress up in costumes – become an activist, a suffragette a politician or something completely different!

Over the last few months, the Wellington City Council has been developing possible routes and assessing options to make it easier and safer for more people to ride bikes in Newtown, Berhampore and Mt Cook. At the latest Newtown Connections Drop-in Session, from 12.00 to 3.00pm at 199 Riddiford St, Newtown you can see the proposed routes and changes to streets, and tell the Council what you think of the options. The options are also online for perusal and feedback on this web page.

Regenerate Magazine is celebrating its first birthday with a free party celebration at The Grand in Coutenay Place from 4.00pm on Saturday. The magazine provides work opportunities for people affected by homelessness and poverty; get along to meet the team of sellers and show your support to this awesome initiative. The event will be feature live music, performance poetry and surprise entertainment. It’s child-friendly, with a dry bar; the only requirement for entrance is a friendly persona and goodwill for others.

The influenza pandemic that started in 1918 killed 757 people in Wellington. Most of those people were buried in Karori Cemetery, and the centenary of this momentous event in the capital’s history will be acknowledged again on Sunday. From 11.00am, project volunteers will be conducting tours around the main burial sites at Karori Cemetery, with guides in each of the five areas where people were buried – Anglican, Catholic, Public, Jewish and Services – available to talk about the people who were buried, and the work the 1918 Influenza Project has undertaken to clean and tidy their graves. There will be an information kiosk located in the Historic (Mortuary) Chapel. The event runs until 4.00pm.