Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival has postponed its two-week calendar of events in Rotorua next month due to restrictions on large gatherings under Covid-19 alert level 2.
At this alert level, mass gatherings are restricted to 100 people, with all events needing to follow strict physical distancing procedures.
The festival was to take place from September 8 to 20.
This years headline act, 'Taurite' by Hawaiki Tū, is currently on lock-down in Auckland under alert level 3 and their schedule has been affected which impacts the opening plans for the festival.
Rotorua is also on alert due to the visitation of a member from the Auckland cluster in early August.
Aronui Arts Festival trust chairwoman Mercia-Dawn Yates said it was imperative at this time that they ensured the health and well-being of their performers, community, iwi and koeke.
Aronui Festival Director Cian Elyse White led the difficult call, after careful consultation with the trust, funders, iwi leaders and the artists.
"I'm incredibly proud of the Aronui team's efforts this year and even though we are ready to press go on this inspiring calendar of events, the latest announcement of community transmission in Auckland has made us pause and carefully consider our next steps as a festival.
"When it comes down to it, the safety and well-being of our koeke, iwi, community and artists is paramount, and putting our people at risk is simply not an option."
With events like the Aronui Māori Market which has over 40 stalls, a team of 80 artists and an expected crowd of over 2000 people, in alignment with last year's market numbers, the trust endorsed the decision to hold off on the festival to avoid reducing numbers and lessening the impact of our kaupapa.
Te Arawa leader Sir Toby Curtis said Aronui was all about bringing people together to celebrate high-quality indigenous arts in Te Arawa.
"If we aren't able to be there safely and en masse to celebrate our people, we must
postpone to a later date when we are free to do so."
The postponement dates will be confirmed in the next month, however, Yates and the Aronui arts festival team remained hopeful.
"Aronui isn't Aronui without the people, and we are building a legacy in this space. This is not a cancellation, but rather a postponement.
"I look forward to us coming together at a later date to celebrate, uplift and inspire through indigenous arts, when it is safe to do so, without any restrictions."
Full refunds will be issued via Ticketmaster who will be in touch directly with all ticket holders. Postponement dates will be released via social media and on the Aronui website at a later date.