Robyn Munro, Tara Beleski, Savanna Adams, Georgia Trathen, Haidee van Zoelen, Mishka Tootell, Ashleigh Monopoli and Tessa Wright soak up Cider Fest 2018. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Events planning pivots in Covid times


Nelson’s event planners will be holding their breath to see if the region moves to Level 1 next week.

However, the uncertain nature of the business has not stopped them from trying to carry on the best they can.

Organisers of the Nelson Home & Garden Show have made the call to press ahead with large expo at Saxton Stadium next weekend.

The event usually draws hundreds of people all eager to learn about the latest trends and innovations.

However, the Nelson Arts Festival team made the early call to cancel the festival and then part of the event that replaced it, despite it running in October.

“These are very uncertain times and we are doing our best to respond from day to day,” says Nelson Festivals Trust chair, Brent Thawley.

Oncue managing director and co-director of Nelson Venues & Events Lea Boodee says, they have been badly hit by Covid-19.

“The conference and event industry were first to get hit, and it continues to be impacted every day with the different alert levels.”

Lea says 90 per cent of conferences they had planned have been postponed until 2021.

However, she says they have adapted to survive.

“We saw it as an opportunity to explore new ways to serve our clients.”

Lea says their biggest adaption has been to virtual conferences.

“Shortly into lockdown, we set up a new business ‘virtualteam,’ offering virtual administration and marketing services to all industries.

We are just really fortunate that our staff have multiple skills.”

Lea says the lockdowns have illustrated just how important events are to the region.

“With virtual conferences you don’t get economic boost and it hits everyone from taxi drivers, to hospitality and accommodation.”

She says one of the positives to emerge from the pandemic has been the community collaboration.

“Having Tourism NZ, the Nelson Tasman Regional Development Agency and others working with us has been amazing, everyone has been so supportive.”

She says they are still on track to deliver the popular Ciderfest event in November.

“It will be one hell of a party if we can pull it off, it’s been a hard year for everyone, so I hope we can still do it.”