From New Zealand Festival of the Arts to a school camp, a slew of public events nationwide have been cancelled amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

The New Zealand Festival of the Arts, held in Wellington, was the latest in a string of cancellations, axing its last three performances on Sunday.

The Slapstick, Strasbourg 1518 and Dimanche performances were all canned "due to the rapidly changing situation around Covid-19 and public events in Wellington", a statement said.

Festival executive director Meg Williams said the cancellations were "hugely disappointing".


"Two artists involved in the festival had been in contact with a person who has been confirmed as Covid-19 positive on Saturday morning," she said.

"Both were cast members of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts show Strasbourg 1518.

"The cancellation of last night's performance of Strasbourg 1518 was also Covid-19 related, but that was for casting reasons, not due to fears of transmission."

As soon as that person was confirmed to have Covid-19, the artists in the show were informed and self-isolated, Williams said.

On advice from the Ministry of Health, one artist is to remain self-isolated for 14 days, but the other was not required to "because they were in very brief casual contact".

No one who came into contact with the two artists in the few hours between were at risk of contracting Covid-19, nor did they need to self-isolate, she said.

"The festival and our artists are hugely disappointed and we are sorry that some audiences will miss out on seeing these fantastic works," she said.

"However, we feel that extreme caution is the right approach in a situation that is changing so rapidly."


Ticket holders who missed out on the shows have been informed and will receive information about refunds from Ticketmaster.

Organisers were getting in touch with those who had been in contact with the two artists and advising them to contact Healthline if they felt the need to.

Meanwhile, Auckland Arts Festival organisers were assessing the impacts of the Government's requirement for all arrivals in New Zealand to self-isolate, a spokeswoman said.

"All Auckland Arts Festival shows and performances for today, including Ballet Preljocaj's Snow White, Limbo Unhinged and BLACK TIES, are going ahead as scheduled."

The festival was in discussion with all international companies and venues.

Warbirds over Wanaka, expected to pull in 55,000 people over three days, has also been cancelled.

Ticket holders to the Southern Hemisphere's largest Warbirds airshow, scheduled for Easter Weekend, will be fully refunded, a statement said.

General manager Ed Taylor said it wasn't an easy call to make.

"We have a small but dedicated team, many of them volunteers, who have spent the past two years building up to this event and to have it ripped out from under us at the last minute is tough.

A P51 Mustang, flown by Graham Bethell takes off at the 2012 Warbirds over Wanaka. Photo / Otago Daily Times
A P51 Mustang, flown by Graham Bethell takes off at the 2012 Warbirds over Wanaka. Photo / Otago Daily Times

"But, at all times we have the safety of our participants and visitors at heart and so have to accept we won't have an airshow this year."

The Government's current travel restrictions and the "impending restrictions on large public gatherings" influenced the decision, Taylor said.

"Warbirds over Wanaka is a bucket-list event for many international airshow fans and they are just gutted that their trip of a lifetime to come to New Zealand has been called off so late in the piece."

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Taylor said the next airshow is set for Easter 2022, with the team working to make it the biggest one yet.

"Warbirds is a major contributor to the Wanaka economy with an estimated $20 million economic benefit every airshow and so the effects will be felt well beyond the airshow gates with accommodation, hospitality and other activity providers expected to take a hit this Easter."

St Mary's Catholic School has also announced it will cancel the Emmaus camp, scheduled to run from tomorrow until Friday, March 17-20.

"Given the present health risks and yesterday's directives from the Prime Minister, we feel that it is in the best interest of our children that we withdraw them from the camp and any other members of the public who may be on the campsite with them," a statement to parents said.

Addressing parents' concerns about school attendance, acting principal Audrey Kippen and board chair George Khoury said if children are unwell, they should stay home.

"We would like to confirm that St Mary's Catholic School will remain open until we receive further information from the Ministry of Education and the Catholic Schools' Office.

"If you have any concerns about your child/children's safety or you feel they are at risk, please contact us."

Meanwhile, the Polyfest board will meet tomorrow to decide whether this year's event should go ahead on Wednesday.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff announced on Friday that the Pasifika Festival, set to run at Western springs at the weekend, was cancelled.

"We were simply not prepared to take the risk," he said.

It follows multiple cancellations across the entertainment industry in response to the virus outbreak, including James Bond film No Time To Die, and the ninth Fast and Furious film.

American band My Chemical Romance have said their March 25 show at The Outerfields, Western Springs will not go ahead, due to "current global situation".

Heavy rock band Deftones postponed their New Zealand show scheduled for yesterday at Auckland's Trusts Arena, after the festival they were appearing at in Australia was canned.