News | 20 October 2021

Christmas festivities reined in for COVID

A Very Welly Christmas festival is taking a year off due to COVID uncertainty, but in its place there’ll be lots of events and activities celebrating the festive season – and supporting local businesses.

Oriental Bay at night with Christmas decorations.

In what would’ve been its 6th year, organisers have regrettably made the difficult decision to put this year’s event on ice as unpredictable COVID restrictions impact the planning of major festivals.

Organisers and stakeholders are now working through logistics and opportunities to ensure a different kind of Christmas cheer will ring around the capital come December.

Mayor Andy Foster says: “I am very proud of the Council team who are busy reimagining this year’s Christmas festivities with a priority on the city’s safety and well-being given COVID is still very much a threat to our lives.

“I have every confidence that early in the new year given the determined success of Super Shot Saturday, coupled with high rates of vaccinations, we will see the return of our favourite events.

“Right now, our focus is on loving local and if you haven’t already, Take Two for the Team as Wellington spends Christmas in our stellar shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars, and supporting the city’s arts sector,” adds the Mayor.

Plans for December festivities are yet to be confirmed, but will resemble 2020’s Love Local campaign with pop-up shops, banners, dressed up storefronts, and incentives to encourage Christmas shopping and activities in the city.

City Events Manager Suzanne Tamaki says events and venues have taken a bit of a battering this year with cancellations, postponements and capacity restrictions, but adapting and adjusting to the conditions is part of the job.

“In Wellington we’re used to having to think fast on our feet and come up with creative solutions for every eventuality, but the global pandemic has provided its own set of challenges.

“Health and safety is key, and also supporting the many organisations and industries that are struggling around the city. But we also want to provide fun and entertainment for the whole whānau to enjoy – and we are aiming to deliver an experience that ticks all those boxes.”

More information will be announced when plans are confirmed next month.