Hawaiian dancers at Pasifika Festival 2014. (Photo: Jessica Rowland)
Hawaiian dancers at Pasifika Festival 2014. (Photo: Jessica Rowland)

SocietyMarch 13, 2020

As Pasifika is cancelled, what does Covid-19 mean for other public events in NZ?

Hawaiian dancers at Pasifika Festival 2014. (Photo: Jessica Rowland)
Hawaiian dancers at Pasifika Festival 2014. (Photo: Jessica Rowland)

Today marks the sixth consecutive day of no new confirmed cases of Covid-19, but as the severity grows overseas, numerous large-scale public events hang in the balance. Here’s what we know.

UPDATE, 14/3: The Christchurch Remembrance Service has been cancelled.

UPDATE 15/3: The new self-isolation rules announced yesterday mean that it is likely all events with international participants due to arrive from Monday are likely to be cancelled or postponed.

The Ministry of Health advice is that as long as there remains no community transmission, “large scale public events can proceed”. But: “It’s up to organisers to ensure people can practise good hygiene at the event, and up to everyone who attends to ensure they don’t put others at risk by attending if they are unwell.”

But some cancellations and postponements have been announced nevertheless.


Status: Cancelled

Auckland’s Pasifika Festival has been cancelled, amid fears about the virus being transmitted back to the Pacific Islands. The first case in the Pacific, in Tahiti, was reported on March 12. Still reeling from the measles outbreak, Mayor Phil Goff announced the decision on Friday morning. It was made, he told media, in consultation with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Samoan High Commissioner. This is the second year in a row that Pasifika has been cancelled; last year following the March 15 shootings it was deemed unsafe to go ahead due to a lack of available police.

March 15 memorials

Status: cancelled (UPDATED)

The prime minister has announced that national commemorations for the March 15 shootings will still go ahead, after consulting the Ministry of Health regarding best practice and pending any advice to the contrary from police over the weekend.

Eden Park, Auckland – Auckland’s ‘Stronger Together’ remembrance event for Christchurch will be hosted at Eden Park’s No. 2 ground from 2pm.

Horncastle Arena, Christchurch – a memorial jointly hosted by the local Muslim community, Christchurch City Council, Ngāi Tūāhuriri and the government. This starts at 3pm.

TSB Auditorium, Wellington – A remembrance day event in Wellington organised by FIANZ in association with Wellington City Council includes an exhibition to help New Zealanders understand the culture and values of Islam. The event will be held from 10 am – 4 pm at TSB Auditorium, Shed six on 4 Queens Wharf, Te Aro.


Status: Not cancelled

The annual three-day world music festival in New Plymouth is still going ahead. The event brings together hundreds of international performers and is attended by upwards of 15,000 people a day. Organisers say they’re taking extreme precautions.


Status: Cancelled (UPDATED)

Polyfest is the highlight of the school calendar for many students and is set to run March 18-21. There has been no announcement yet on whether the annual cultural arts competition will go ahead. It was cancelled last year as organisers weighed up fears around safety and lack of police after the March 15 shootings.

New Zealand Festival of the Arts (Wellington)

Status: Not cancelled

The programme, which began February 21, finishes on March 15 and will end with no shows cancelled.

Auckland Arts Festival

Status: Not cancelled

The annual arts and music festival launched this week and runs to March 29. The performance of Place des Anges was cancelled last month owing to Covid-19-related cargo issues, but the remainder of the programme continues as scheduled.

St Patrick’s Day Parade, Auckland

Status: Not cancelled

To go ahead on March 14 as planned.

My Chemical Romance

Status: Postponed

My Chemical Romance have postponed all Japan, Australia and New Zealand dates on their upcoming reunion tour. The band were slated to play at Western Springs Stadium in Auckland on March 25. No new date has been announced.

Alt-metal band Deftones have also postponed due to the cancellation of the Download Festival in Australia. Other international artists playing in March and April, Lenny Kravitz, Tame Impala and Alanis Morrisette, are still scheduled to go ahead as planned.

Amanda Palmer has announced she’ll be doing a webcast in lieu of her March 16 Wellington show, which will include a reading by author husband Neil Gaiman.

Beacon Festival

Status: Not cancelled

As yet there have been no announcements about the open-air, electronic music festival on Auckland’s waterfront on March 14.

Corona Piha Pro

Status: Postponed

The surfing event will not take place as scheduled (March 16-22) after the World Surf League decided to postpone all of its events. There is no information as yet on when it might take place.

Spinoff Politics in Pubs

Status: Not cancelled

Hope we don’t have to because it looks really good.

Super Rugby

Status: Not cancelled

The fate of the Super Rugby season is in question due to the amount of travel involved in the tournament. The March 15 Jaguares versus Highlanders match in Buenos Aires is to be played behind closed doors in accordance with the city’s measures regarding mass events.

Scheduled games in New Zealand will go ahead as planned, although commentators are predicting severely reduced crowd numbers.

This article will be updated should anything change. For additions and amendments please contact info@thespinoff.co.nz

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