Festival going ahead with modifications

The Otago University Students' Association has disaffiliated with the Elohim Bible Academy. Photo...
The Otago University Students' Association has disaffiliated with the Elohim Bible Academy. Photo: ODT files
The importance of an international cultural carnival at the University of Otago may well have been reinforced by this year’s coronavirus challenges.

Today’s festival will go ahead, though adjustments had to be made to run the event in Alert Level 2.

Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) international representative Arina Aizal, the carnival’s main organiser, was highly motivated to stage the event.

"Cancelling it should not be an option, especially this year," she said.

"International students have missed their homes, and people in general have missed travelling."

Covid-19 has been calamitous for the international travel industry, but students will be able to have a travelling experience of sorts at the university tomorrow.

They can travel to up to 10 "countries" in one day.

Malaysian, Samoan, Taiwan, Filipino, Korean, Indonesian, Muslim, Chinese, Cambodian and Tamil cultural clubs are participating.

Listed activities include weaving, Tamil and Chinese calligraphy, a cultural hand-puppet display and an invitation to try on a hijab.

Operating under Level 2 forced some changes to the event.

Cultural food offerings had to be cancelled.

The clubs will be 2m apart and hand sanitisers will be located at entrances and exits. The number of guests at the carnival will be monitored.

The festival will have its own QR code from the Ministry of Health.

"We are looking at 100-200 people coming, but spread out at different times, to ensure we meet the 100-person limit for social gatherings."

The event, at the Link from 11am until 3pm, is part of the OUSA’s Diversity Week.

Other events through the week have included a diversity quiz, an interfaith peace project, neuro-diversity awareness and danceability workshops, and the The Queerest Tea Party.

A "Queerytales" rainbow ball is due to go ahead from 7pm tonight.


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