BOP event organisers keeping tabs on COVID-19

The Tauranga Multicultural Festival is planned for next Sunday March 22. Photo: Supplied

Event organisers in the Bay of Plenty are keeping a very close eye on the coronavirus situation.

There are now six confirmed positive cases identified in NZ, although Tauranga, the Coromandel and wider Bay of Plenty continue to have no identified cases of COVID-19.

The organisers of the Tauranga Multicultural Festival, which is planned for next Sunday March 22, have posted an event update notice to their Facebook page today.

“The health ministry of New Zealand has permitted public events at this stage,” writes a Tauranga Multicultural Festival spokesperson.

“We are closely following the situation and working with authorities. All participants especially our food vendors have been advised about the additional hygiene expected.

“The advice is to stay at home if you are unwell.”

The organisers also plan to have sanitising stations at the festival.

“For those in our city who may be concerned about the festival going ahead during the coronavirus scare, please remember that those involved have been here for years and are part of our local society. None have arrived recently in the country,” says Multicultural Vice President Premila D’Mello.

Now in its 21st year, the festival is held annually around NZ Race Relations Day. This year, the festival is on Sunday March 22, running from 10am – 5pm at the Tauranga Historic Village.

Last year the festival was postponed one week, due to the Christmas mosque attack.

“If anyone has been overseas, the advice is that you self-isolate for 14 days and not to attend public events," says an event organiser.

“Once again, be assured that we will be following the direction of Ministry of Health. New Zealand has six identified cases of COVID-19 and they are all being treated. We wish them a quick recovery.”

Waipuna Hospice Superhero Walk/Run

Organisers of the Waipuna Hospice Superhero Walk/Run have made the decision yesterday to cancel their fundraising event at Coronation Park next weekend.

Previous Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless and BOP MP Todd Muller walked alongside many other super heroes in the Waipuna Hospice walk in 2019. Photo: Cameron Avery.

A notice was posted to their Facebook page on Friday.

“To all Waipuna Hospice Superhero supporters it is with great concern for your health and well-being that Waipuna Hospice management have decided to cancel the upcoming Superhero Walk/Run on Sunday 22 March at Coronation Park. With the recent events of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) it has been decided to take all precautions to ensure the safety of all supporters.

“Unfortunately the Waipuna Hospice Superhero Walk/Run will be cancelled this year, but will return again next year.

“Waipuna Hospice sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to seeing you all next year.”

The Waipuna Hospice fundraising team are will be returning registration fees to participants.

“If you have registered to be part of the Superhero Walk/Run, the Waipuna Hospice fundraising team will contact you directly in the following week to issue a full refund. However if you have any questions in the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact us at or phone Christine on (07) 552 6892.”

On Friday, the Ministry of Health reported that Aged Care facilities, which care for our oldest and most vulnerable New Zealanders, have been advised by the ministry to ramp up their communications with visiting friends and relatives to warn anyone sick with coughs, colds or flu to stay away.

“Our key advice, which is fundamental to our response, is not putting yourself or others at risk if you are unwell. This means not going to work or going to places where there are other people if you are sick. All of us have a role to play in stopping further spread. I need to emphasise how critical this is as New Zealand responds to COVID-19,” says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

“This is particularly important for concerts and other large gatherings we have coming up. Please stay home if you’re unwell.”

This weekend, the Pasifika event in Auckland was cancelled, as well as the WSL Piha Pro surfing event.

The two-day Pasifika event was cancelled over concerns it could spread the virus to the Pacific Islands. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff made the announcement on Friday morning, ahead of the festival, which was to set to open at Western Springs today. The festival was expected to attract 60,000 over two days.  Last year the festival was cancelled due to the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Repco Beach Hope 20

Organisers of the Repco Beach Hop 20 event next weekend in Whangamata have taken to Facebook to reassure their fans.

Whangamata Beach Hop event 2019. Photo: Chris Wilton-Jones

“There have been a lot of rumours about the risk of Repco Beach Hop 20 being cancelled due to Covid-19,” says an event spokesperson.

“You can rest assured we are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and having discussions with relevant authorities. At this stage it's business as usual as there has only been five reported cases in New Zealand over the past two weeks and thankfully no deaths.

“We have another important meeting next week with the DHB, however the message is fairly clear. If you have cold or flu symptoms, or feel unwell, then please stay home and look after yourself and call Healthline 08003585453. If you are worried - stay home.

“We'll have an update for you later next week.”

The Facebook post has attracted nearly 600 likes, over 300 comments and 80 shares, and the event itself attracts thousands of people from around NZ and overseas.

One person commented “Plenty of us traveling from Australia, have had flights etc all booked since last year, if its going to be cancelled, we would prefer to know sooner rather than later, hoping it won't be but also understand the spread of the virus needs to be constrained.”

Another took a more lighthearted approach posting the reply; “Only thing we all have is Car Owner Virus, mine is the Chevy style, and i don't want it cured.”

The organisers have continued to reply to questions over the last 24 hours, saying that at this stage the event will still be held.

“We are waiting on MoH, DHB etc as they are the ones that will make the call on the expert opinion they have, but the event is still on at this stage. We take the advice of the experts. If the Officials say we have to cancel then we have no choice,” says a Beach Hop spokesperson.

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