Auckland Diwali Festival will not go ahead this year due to uncertainty about whether the region will be down to Alert Level 1 at the time of the festival on 30-31 October.
Organiser of the festival, Auckland Unlimited, says the decision follows the Government’s announcement on 20 September that Auckland will be in Alert Level 3 until at least 5 October.
The festival can only be delivered at Alert Level 1. A final decision about the delivery of the festival needed to be made by 1 October due to planning and financial implications.
However, Aucklanders will still be able to celebrate Diwali online and further details about online Diwali celebrations will be announced in mid-October.
Mayor Phil Goff says Aucklanders will be understandably disappointed that the festival will not be able to go ahead as planned.
“Diwali is one of the most popular festivals on our annual events calendar, with tens of thousands of Aucklanders taking part in the celebrations each year. Sadly, the significant uncertainty caused by COVID-19 means it is no longer feasible to host the event this year as we normally would.
“While the public festival can’t go ahead, I encourage Aucklanders to celebrate Diwali at home or with wider friends and family should alert level restrictions allow it. We will continue to light up our public landmarks in celebration of the Festival of Lights, and Auckland Unlimited will be providing a range of entertaining and educational content online at Aucklandnz.com/Diwali,” he says.
The festival’s COVID-19 contingency plans and timelines for decision making had been discussed in advance and had the support of the Diwali Advisory Group and key event stakeholders.
“In planning any major festival or event in the COVID-19 world, the need to postpone or even cancel is a risk that is planned for, along with alternatives such as celebrating online as we are,” says Richard Clarke, Head of Major and Business Events, Auckland Unlimited.
“We know everyone was really looking forward to this festival, with a high number of stallholder and performer applications. Right up to the most recent announcement, the Auckland Diwali Festival team have remained hopeful, and planning continued for the major event.”
“We want to thank everyone involved in the festival, from our planning team to performers and stallholders, sponsors, and the community for their support and understanding.”
“This year was set to be the 20th Auckland Diwali Festival, and this will be a much-anticipated event when we can finally come together to celebrate that special milestone,” says Clarke.
Auckland Diwali Festival is one of New Zealand’s largest cultural festivals and an important opportunity to celebrate traditional and contemporary Indian culture and Auckland’s Indian communities.
The Auckland Diwali Festival is delivered by Auckland Unlimited, on behalf of Auckland Council. Asia NZ Foundation is the founding partner of the festival.