Tuesday 30 November 2021
Popular local New Year’s events ‘Wave’ and the ‘Walter Findlay Family Fire in the Sky’ have been cancelled due to the region’s vaccination level and yesterday’s announcement that Tairāwhiti will be classified as red in the new COVID-19 traffic light framework.
Both events are Council funded and coordinated with a ‘by local, for local’ ethos, attracting up to 20,000 people.
Council Chief Executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said the safety of the community was the highest priority.
“While it’s very disappointing for everyone, we can’t absolutely guarantee the safety of those attending,” she said.
“With so many visitors to our region at this time and our vaccination rates moving slower than expected, we have no other option but to cancel these events.”
Local company Walter Findlay Ltd has sponsored Fire in the Sky for the last 19 years and this is the first time it’s been cancelled.
Alyx Findlay said while disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe their emotions, safety must come first.
“We were very much looking forward to what was supposed to be our 20th anniversary of sponsoring the Fire in the sky – it was supposed to be a very special display of world-class fireworks to inspire and celebrate the Gisborne community.
“Please go out and get vaccinated - do it for your whānau, do it for the community. We hope to bring back Fire in the Sky in 2023.”
Rob Coe-Tipene has been Council’s event contractor for the last 8 years, and he had hoped to see out the final year of his contract on a high note.
“Over the years both Wave and Fire in the Sky have grown into special events not just for the region, but for myself, my team and everyone involved in the delivery. Both events have nurtured local talent, supported local business, and entertained our local community,” he said.
“We had planned to deliver two amazing events and end our 8 years on a high note. We support this decision, keeping the community safe is definitely the main priority.”