The only way for Northlanders to enjoy summer concerts and music festivals is to get vaccinated for Covid-19.
Jacman Entertainment runs the Bay of Islands Music Festival at Waitangi and director Jackie Sanders says they will follow the Government mandate which will allow only those who are vaccinated to attend.
The festivals attracts around 4000 people every year.
"It is not me, or the festivals, but it is the Government mandate and we will follow it. They are doing it for a reason; to keep us all safe and we will absolutely abide by it."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in an announcement earlier this month, announced a new vaccine certificate was to be introduced in New Zealand from as early as next month.
The PM said the certificate - a physical document or digital copy - would be used to lessen the rate of transmission in high-risk settings such as hospitality, as well as large gatherings and events like music festivals.
Sanders said there was still no clarity about how the Covid passports would be implemented or whether the free events had the infrastructure to be able to do the scanning.
"We are really worried about the vaccination rate in Northland, which is very much behind the national average.
"We have events lined up for November, December and early January, and those may have to be cancelled because people are not fully vaccinated yet.
"If they want to enjoy concerts over the Christmas-New Year period, they really do need to get vaccinated by the Labour weekend."
The Ministry of Health revealed there were no restrictions at alert level 2 on the number of people who could attend an event at a venue, as long as everyone stood 1 metre apart.
This included indoor and outdoor event facilities, and both ticketed and non-ticketed events.
However, if an event was held outdoors but not at a dedicated event facility — for example, a concert at a park or a parade — it is limited to 100 people.
Sanders said the next big concern was the free events.
"We do not know what would happen to the Santa Parade, Kerikeri Street Party, Waitangi Day celebrations, and so on. We might not have the infrastructure to include scanning or the budget to be able to afford to put the necessary framework in place.
"I am very concerned that unless we get some clarity on the matter or some support, whether it is with the infrastructure or financially, we are going to see a lot of events cancelled."
The events company had already cancelled two events in September and a Children's festival in October.
There were several big music festivals planned across the region over the first week of January and the BOI Music Festival would be held at the end of January at Waitangi.
"At this stage, we are very concerned if that could go ahead."
The organisation had joined forces with all the other New Zealand festival providers and would be launching a campaign called 'Vax for Life' soon, said Sanders.
"There is a lot of procrastination among the 18 to 30 years age group. They do not have a sense of urgency to get vaccinated.
"We are also partnering with 'Take 2 for the Team' Northland initiative and encouraging people to get the vaccine."
In a New Zealand first, Northland's rugby community teamed up with eight Māori health providers and other sporting codes to boost the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccinations.
The Take 2 for the Team initiative was launched in September with participating sporting groups earning $10 per vaccination for every person they could encourage to be vaccinated and $20 per head for the full course of two Pfizer jabs.
Sanders said through some of their campaigns, they would mainly target the 16- to 30-year-olds age group, as that seemed to be the age group lagging behind.
"The message for Northlanders is definitely to get out there, get vaccinated if you want to enjoy some freedom and fun this summer."
Sanders pressed that until the vaccination rates were up, admitting only vaccinated people was the safest option.
"I absolutely realise that we have to do our best and be safe, we do not want to be responsible for an event which becomes a virus super spreader event.
"Health and safety are almost utmost in our minds for any events. We will abide by the government rules, but we don't want to be in a position to restrict the event to only a certain population.
"For that to happen, everyone needs to get vaccinated."
The Far North's largest annual event, the 90 Mile Beach Snapper Bonanza, could also be affected.
The event runs for five days in March on the famous Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (90 Mile Beach).
Each year the event attracts up to 3000 people per day for the duration of the competition and co-founder John Stuart said despite the Government's announcement, there was still uncertainty around what the certificate would look like for his event.
"If the Government announces that it will be mandatory for all events with more than 1000 people then, of course, we will apply that rule to our event."
Mangonui Waterfront Festival is another large-scale annual event and extremely popular among locals and people from beyond the Doubtless Bay area.
This year's Mangonui Waterfront Festival was cancelled a week out from being held and was meant to mark the 10th anniversary of the popular festival.
The event is rescheduled to April 2022 and is expected to draw anywhere from 4-5000 people.
Doubtless Bay Promotions Inc (as part of Somersault Event Management) runs the event and spokeswoman Jodi Betts said it was almost certain the event would now require additional funding to accommodate new logistical challenges.
"As a committee group made up of volunteers, we are the community, and it is going to take a lot of work to ensure we provide the best and safest event we can, within the directive we're given," she said.
"Straight away we know we'll have to source more funding because we'll require a lot more extra security and support for our volunteers needing to check certificates and to ensure everything is closed off appropriately."
The definition of a mass event was still unclear but large-scale concerts were considered under this title.
Ardern said a final decision hadn't been made whether people would need to be fully vaccinated or fully immunised to go to a festival or concert this summer and she encouraged people to bring their vaccination forward as soon as possible.
Jacman Entertainment director Jackie Sanders and her team will be taking part in the Vaxathon on Saturday.
Sanders said she would be talking about why she got vaccinated and share her personal story to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
"We will talk about the role of event organisers in the Far North and what future implications would look like with current Covid-19 vaccination numbers in Northland.
"I think there are so many amazing people who are trying to push the vaccination number, especially in Northland. It is really great to be a part of Vaxathon and see those numbers jump as a result of it. We are hoping for the best."
Sanders will also announce the line-up for the BOI festival 2022 at the mass vaccination drive.