Another popular Northland event has fallen victim to the Covid pandemic.
Mangonui's Waterfront Festival — which was to have taken place on April 2 — has been cancelled due to red ''traffic light'' restrictions and concerns about the risk posed by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
Organiser Jodi Betts said the Doubtless Bay Promotions Committee decided at a meeting on Tuesday evening to pull the plug, after a government announcement on Sunday that all of New Zealand would return to the red setting.
The decision did not come as a great surprise.
''I had a glimmer of hope we'd be able to hold the event but as time went on there was a feeling it really was at risk. Then Sunday's announcement pretty much sealed it for us,'' Betts said.
''We have to follow government regulations but we also have to make sure we're doing it at the right time for our community. We need to make sure we're keeping people safe as well.''
The annual end-of-summer festival is billed as showcasing the best of Far North wine, food and entertainment.
Arts and crafts also feature strongly, as do water sports such as sailing, paddleboarding and waka.
It takes place on Mangonui waterfront, which is closed to traffic for the day, and attracts about 4500 people.
Under the red setting events are limited to 100 people even when vaccine passes are used.
Betts said the event could have gone ahead in orange.
''Some people were a bit surprised we made the call now, but it takes about 10 months of organising and we were about to move into a time when there's an outlay of dollars and we have to start booking people. The risk was too high, and not just financially.''
Three main stages were planned and many stallholders, new and returning, had already registered.
''A lot people wanted to be involved. They're really ready for some celebratory time and some socialising.''
Betts said feedback about the decision from stallholders and funders had been supportive.
It was to have been the 10th anniversary of the festival, which was also cancelled in 2021.
''This time has been easier because we had time to consider all the elements. Last time it was taken out of our hands a week out from the festival.''
The organising committee got lucky in 2020, however, with the ninth festival going ahead just days before the Covid alert level system was introduced and less than two weeks before the first nationwide lockdown.
Betts said a tentative date of March 11 had been set for the 2023 event.
The date had been chosen, among other reasons, so it didn't clash with the Ninety Mile Beach Snapper Bonanza.
Future festivals would be able to make use of the new boardwalk which has just been completed around the Mangonui waterfront.