Without wanting to bombard you with too much information, or too many updates, we felt it was pertinent to keep the bulletins coming based on your requests for more, and regular feedback.
With so much uncertainty globally, we do understand that it is difficult to make decisions around whether to commit to participating in the festival. We are working incredibly hard to make this festival a reality and for us, it’s all systems go.
You might be interested to know that we have 90 teams registered from 12 countries. Those countries include Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United States. Teams are coming from all six continents that the IBCPC represents. We are also aware that there are teams from other countries ready to register before the close-off date of 30th June 2022.
To give you an idea as to where people are staying, the accommodation numbers below are approximate. The final numbers are still being finalised by our partner Orbit World Travel.
On Sunday 9th April 2023 we will have registration desks open at all four accommodation locations. Along with your registration package, the goody bags will also be available for pick up at these locations. You will need to ensure that you pick up your registration pack which contains your festival ID, before you can access any of the festival transport options or gain access to festival events. No ID, no entry.
Registration desk locations:
Hamilton: Novotel Tainui
Cambridge: Hidden Lakes
Tauranga: Trinity Wharf
Rotorua: Millennium Hotel
Some of you may think that Tauranga and Rotorua are a long distance from Lake Karapiro, but there are real bonuses in being in these locations as they are bigger than Cambridge with a lot more facilities.
You will find some of the best beaches in the Bay of Plenty, lots of amazing walks to go on.
Rotorua is of course the cultural capital of New Zealand with a very strong connection to Maori and the heritage of the Maori people. You can visit Te Puia, or walk the Redwood Forest.
Both cities have lots of great restaurants. There are freshwater swimming spots (although it may be just a little too cool for that in Rotorua). The geothermal activities in Rotorua are a must see, even travelling further afield to Taupo you will find even more amazing geothermal activity.
In Tauranga you have the iconic dormant volcano Mauao or the Mount as it is more commonly known. A walk up the Mount offers unbeatable panoramic views across Tauranga and the Pacific Ocean and is steeped in Maori history and ancient myths. You could seek out adventures and make the most of your day by hiring a kayak to explore the scenic inlets at Ohope’s estuary or Ohiwa Harbour. If you are lucky enough you could even swim with the dolphins in the wild of the warm coastal waters in the Bay of Plenty. Not only that but there are about 150 Orcas in New Zealand waters and many of these magnificent mammals enjoy the Bay of Plenty's marine life for feeding and the warm waters for breeding. There are many Orca wild adventures you can join.
Back in Rotorua, a visit to the Blue and Green natural deep-water lakes is a must and for the fun lover the luge is also exciting, or rolling down a hill in an orb is not to be missed.
There are endless things to see and do in both locations, you will be spoilt for choice.
Festival venues have been booked since we won the rights to this festival. Nothing has changed-in fact we are adding even more content to make this such a meaningful and exciting festival.
Teams have been asking about booking dinner reservations for their own teams on the nights where there is nothing else planned. Please keep Thursday 13th April 2023 free, as this is the festival launch night. This is a meet and greet evening for all paddlers and paid-up supporters. Nibbles and an alcoholic drink (or other) available. This is included in your registration package. There will be a number of bars open so that you can purchase alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. We will have some items in the goody bags that we would like you to wear at the festival launch event - more about that later.
On Sunday 16th April 2023, late afternoon/early evening (closing ceremony) we will have food vendors on site. You can choose what you would like to eat, we have included a nominal $ amount in your registration package which will go towards covering your food option. Additional items may also be purchased.
A question that has come up is “what if you have to cancel?”.
We have made it clear from the outset that we would have a cancellation date if we had to cancel due to Covid. We have also been very clear about the refund policy if the festival committee chose to cancel the festival. To help make it easier when considering your travel bookings, we will move the "go/no go" date to 24th August 2022. We do however reserve the right to cancel at a later date should there be a global event that prevents people from being able to travel. If that were the case, the refund policy as previously stated would apply.
Another question that we have been asked is "what are the requirements with regards to vaccines, mask wearing etc?".
As we said in Bulletin #4, all vaccine related mandates have been removed in New Zealand, but we made it clear that you needed to check with the airline you are using. It is also pertinent to check with your travel agent what the rules are for entry into New Zealand, e.g., if a PCR or RAT pre-departure test is required and the time frame within which this is required.
We do know that if you book with Emirates, they do not require vaccines but if you are then offloaded onto Qantas, they do require vaccines. We reiterate that it is up to you to check with your travel agent what any requirements may be.
You can check the NZ Government websites regarding travel requirements, but do please bear in mind that these updates change weekly after each caucus session of the Cabinet Ministers. We can tell you that the government is currently being pressured to remove all need for PCR or RAT testing prior to entry into New Zeland. Our friends at the travel agencies are telling us they expect all tests to be removed within the next six months. Again, we reiterate you need to check but this is changing all the time.
We have had several people approach us wishing to be ambassadors. We will be starting to allocate ambassadors to teams once registrations have closed and all accommodation is finalised. Ambassadors are a critical part of the festival in that they can offer you all sorts of weird and wonderful advice and hopefully help to make your visit to New Zealand just that little bit more special.
We hope this bulletin adds to the many useful pieces of information that we wish to share with you. Please feel free to keep those questions coming.
Festival Organising Committee.