The orchestra is continually on the road, performing as many as 100 symphonic concerts as well as dozens of concerts for children and small communities each year. While it presents all of its main programmes in Auckland and Wellington, the orchestra also tours its native New Zealand extensively.
The orchestra performs in concert halls, schools, marae, hospitals, parks, rest homes and even on railway platforms and can be heard on radio, television, in movies and also on disc. The orchestra also makes extensive use of social media, providing downloadable music online and maintaining both a Facebook and Twitter account. Its Community and Education programmes bring awareness of music to children and young people up and down New Zealand, giving them a chance to get up close and personal with its players and helps to inspire young people towards a life-long love of music.
In November 2010 the orchestra returned from the most prestigious and successful international tour in its history. Beginning in Shanghai at the World Expo, the orchestra continued on to Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria, where it played in Vienna's hallowed Musikverein. For three weeks the orchestra played sold-out concerts, often to standing ovations, and drew critical acclaim from the European press. Performances included Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Berlioz and flew the flag for New Zealand music, including Douglas Lilburn's Aotearoa and specially-commissioned pieces by Ross Harris.