Event organisers grapple with Covid rules

Organisers of major events such as the Wanaka A&P Show want more guidance from the Government on...
Organisers of major events such as the Wanaka A&P Show want more guidance from the Government on how vaccine passports will work. PHOTO: KERRIE WATERWORTH

Event organisers in Central Otago and Wanaka are grappling with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and looming vaccine passports.

Events have already had to be cancelled due to the challenges of operating under Alert Level 2.

Organisers of large events such as Warbirds Over Wanaka and the Wanaka A&P Show are keeping a close eye on the development of a vaccine passport and want more guidance from the Government  on how it will work.

Warbirds Over Wanaka general manager Ed Taylor said he did not want to have to cancel the popular Easter event again next year.

Mr Taylor said his team was investigating a simple scan at the gate,  which he did not think would be a big deal.

He expected the Government to mandate how people would have to show they had been vaccinated.

‘‘We anticipate it will be via their mobile phones or a printed out vaccination certificate.’’

Alexandra Blossom Festival director Martin McPherson said what the  passports would look like was ‘‘the $64,000 question’’.

‘‘The noises I hear coming out of Wellington, there will be some sort of QR code on your phone or for those who don’t have a smartphone, there will be some sort of national ID.’’

Wanaka A&P Show event manager Jane Stalker said her committee had five months to ‘‘look and learn’’.

‘‘At this stage we are unsure what government standards will be in place  ... Vaccine passports could put our event in a difficult position both in terms of the practicalities of their use but also around human rights.  The Government needs to take the lead on this,’’ Mrs Stalker said.

The Wanaka Rotary Club has postponed its popular annual Labour Weekend duck race to a date to be advised. Tickets are still being sold.

Upper Clutha Sports Festival chairwoman Bronwyn Coers said the festival scheduled for Wanaka this weekend had been postponed until next year.
The postponement included the have-a-go, meet-and-greet day on Saturday,  which  had attracted hundreds of people in the past.

Two guest speaker presentations scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday were also affected.

‘‘We are sadly in the position of postponing the event due to the challenges of operating under Covid-19 conditions,’’ Mrs Coers said.

Olympic silver medal cyclist Ellesse Andrews (21), of Cambridge, was one of the planned guest speakers but  was locked down this week in the North Island.

She was disappointed she could not get south.

The Hawea Community Association decided last week to reschedule its annual meeting to November 6.

The association  will  introduce an online process to help keep physical attendance below 100 and manage how information will be shared with the community.

Wanaka Arts Society president Vicky Fulton said the annual Labour Weekend Art Exhibition would still  be going ahead  from October 21-23.

‘‘We will be able to have our opening night with wine and  canapes but just have to lay things out a little differently,’’ she said.

Toi Festival organiser Sophie Lane  confirmed the Wanaka creative community’s celebration of design and innovation  would go ahead this weekend with a programme of talks, panel discussions, shop demonstrations and studio visits.

The New Zealand Rodeo Cowboy Association has already decided all members over the age of 12 must be fully vaccinated before attending or competing on the national rodeo circuit this summer.

‘‘Proof of vaccinations at this stage is a Covid-19 vaccine record card, but we would welcome a nationwide vaccine document that can be installed on a mobile phone and/or a hard card like a driver’s licence,’’ national president Lyal Cocks, of Wanaka, said. 

‘‘With regard to spectators, we are waiting for direction from the Government on requirements for large events. At this stage, clubs may choose to impose conditions on entry for the public.’’



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