Live entertainment options available to Kiwis continue to dwindle with more local events being postponed and cancelled today due to concerns about coronavirus.

It comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday afternoon that gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Wellington's Homegrown music festival will not go ahead this weekend as scheduled, with organisers confirming it has been postponed until later this year, while the Auckland Arts Festival has been forced to cancel four shows.

Whangamata's Beach Hop is also postponing its 20th year celebrations from March 25-29 until November this year and the organisers of the Polyfest have also canned the event that was due to take place this week in Auckland.


The promoter of the US folk-punk band Violent Femmes' upcoming New Zealand tour confirmed their Wellington (March 24) and Auckland (March 25) shows have been postponed until November 16 and 17, adding a Christchurch show on November 14.

Tickets will remain valid with full details about new dates to be announced later this week. Refunds will be available to any ticket holders who won't be able to attend the new dates.

Alanis Morissette has announced that her Auckland concert will be postponed. Photo / NZ Herald.
Alanis Morissette has announced that her Auckland concert will be postponed. Photo / NZ Herald.

Grammy award-winning Canadian singer Alanis Morissette was among the other big names scheduled to tour New Zealand in the coming weeks, but has also been forced to postpone her concert.

A statement read: "We thank you for your understanding as we work to reschedule the tour for later this year, an announcement about new show dates will be made in due course."

The Auckland Writers' Festival scheduled for May 12-17 has also been cancelled.

"We are extremely sad not to have the opportunity to deliver it to our writing and reading community, but the health and well-being of all must be our paramount concern at this difficult time," organisers said.

The 12th World Symposium on Choral Music, due to take place in Auckland in July, has also been cancelled.

Focus Live: Pasifika Festival has been cancelled because of concerns about coronavirus, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff announced this morning.

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Polyfest will no longer go ahead. Photo / Supplied.
Polyfest will no longer go ahead. Photo / Supplied.

Auckland Council announced today that a number of major events would be cancelled, including the Auckland International Cultural Festival and the Music and Movies in Parks series, as well as other community events.

Mayor Phil Goff said it was disappointing for Aucklanders who had worked so hard to prepare for the events.

"But keeping people safe has to come first—protecting our communities by limiting the spread of COVID-19 is our primary consideration."

Wellington's Homegrown festival will not go ahead this weekend. Photo / Instagram.
Wellington's Homegrown festival will not go ahead this weekend. Photo / Instagram.

Homegrown organiser Andrew Tuck said his team were "devastated" by the decision to postpone the festival but understand it is the common-sense approach at this time.

"Unfortunately we are not able to run this weekend," he said. "We are devastated, as the Waterfront build was looking awesome but we completely agree with the advice we have been given and we need to look at the bigger picture and what is best for the health of New Zealanders."

Homegrown organisers said in a statement that they are exploring all ticket refund and resale options but warned that "until we get through the next 10-14 days to see how the Government responds we can't confirm a new date".

Summing up the uncertainty facing fans, event promoters, and artists, the statement adds that Homegrown organisers "need clarity regarding our insurance which we don't yet have because Covid-19 has tipped the world on its head and the reality is nobody really knows how to respond."

The Auckland Arts Festival will continue throughout this month, however four shows - Circolombia – Acéléré, Wolfgang's Magical Musical Circus, Watt by Samuel Beckett, and Soweto Gospel Choir - have been cancelled as a direct result of the Government's new border control measures requiring all arrivals into the country to self-isolate for 14 days.

Watt by Samuel Beckett is among the four Auckland Arts Festival shows to be cancelled. Photo / Supplied.
Watt by Samuel Beckett is among the four Auckland Arts Festival shows to be cancelled. Photo / Supplied.

"It was not possible for us to get the performers into the country before the midnight deadline, so we have are left with no option but to cancel these performances," Auckland Arts Festival chief executive David Inns said in a statement.

Information regarding refunds will be communicated to ticketholders through Ticketmaster and ASB Waterfront Theatre (Watt by Samuel Beckett).

Two other international theatre shows scheduled to open at the Auckland Arts Festival this week will go ahead as planned. The cast for Mouthpiece arrived in Auckland ahead of midnight on Sunday, and the cast and crew of Dimanche were already in New Zealand. All other Auckland Arts Festival shows are going ahead as planned.

At Te Papa museum in Wellington, all tours, public programmes and events had been postponed until further notice.

Wellington's CubaDupa street festival has also been cancelled.

The status of several other major upcoming concerts and events featuring international artists and performers remain up in the air as promoters await further advice from the Ministry of Health on how public gatherings will be managed.

The New Zealand International Comedy Festival is another that could be further affected, after Australian comedian Becky Lucas cancelled her shows (May 20-23) at Auckland's Q Theatre.

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is set to play a four-concert series of all nine Beethoven Symphonies from Saturday onwards at Auckland Town Hall.

It has been contacted for comment on whether these shows will still go ahead.