Plans for Auckland's very own Moon Festival are up in the air as Covid-19 measures spell potential restrictions on social gatherings at the heart of the Chinese cultural celebration.
The event is Auckland's spin on the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on October 1 this year.
Widely seen as the second most important event on the Chinese cultural calendar after the Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated across East Asia in countries like China, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.
Plans to dress up Dominion Rd with flags and lanterns for the month of September are still on, but organisers are waiting for Government advice on what the upcoming level 2 restrictions mean for the food and beverage elements of the event, says Cheng Goh, who co-ordinates the Dominion Rd Moon Festival.
"Community is the most important part of the festival," she said, "People need to feel safe and engaged to participate."
The Dominion Rd Moon Festival made its first appearance in Auckland last year, a collaboration between the Balmoral Chinese Business Association, Dominion Rd Business Association and Auckland Council.
Casino and hotel group SkyCity also made its first public Mid-Autumn celebration last year, baking a 1.5-metre wide mooncake that weighed 400kg - New Zealand's largest, according to its makers.
Plans for this year also centre around mooncakes but the details are in flux, says Skycity marketing specialist Chang Chen.
Home and online is the way to go for some, like the Korean Consulate's social media campaign to give away cook-at-home food kits to celebrate Chuseok or "autumn eve", the Korean incarnation of the festival.
Korean favourites like kimchi fried rice, fried cauliflower, and tofu and shitake mandu, or dumplings are in the food boxes. Forty of them will be given away in a contest.
It's an opportunity for people to cook and share a Korean meal together with loved ones or their bubble, says Youngji Lee, Senior Executive Officer at the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Auckland.
Call it Moon, Mid-Autumn or Chuseok, event organisers are hoping to enter the festival into multicultural Auckland's cultural consciousness, even as Covid-19 is putting a damper on efforts.
"It's a bit difficult for an autumn festival in springtime New Zealand," says Auckland University Professor of Asian Studies Manying Ip.
But she is optimistic.
"You have the cherry blossoms and magnolias blooming, and Auckland's increasing diversity especially in the city means there's a broad base to promote a new festival," she told the Herald.
"The pandemic will pass, and once it's over it'll be a time of reunion, of getting together, and that's really what's key to the festival," she added.