Event cancellations and temporary closures have flowed thick and fast in Wellington, following the news the city was to move to alert level 2 at 6pm on Wednesday.

Summer in Wellington, Cuba Street. A man seeks shelter from the sun.Wellington’s central Cuba Street. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Among the significant casualties, is the government apology for the 1970s Dawn Raids. The prime minister was to make the formal apology at a commemoration event at the Auckland Town Hall on Saturday 26 June, but it will be rescheduled for a later date.

However Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says government MPs and ministers – who were largely in Wellington during the time the Covid-19 positive traveller was, will not participate in any large gatherings over 100 people anywhere in the country.

Long list of sports events affected

The glitzy Wellington Sport and Recreation Awards were to have entertained about 1000 people at the TSB Arena in the central city on Wednesday.

But the award announcements will now be made online. Among the gongs is one for Former All Black captain Tana Umaga who will be inducted as a Wellington Sporting Legend.

Organisers of The Wellington Marathon, which was scheduled for this weekend, have announced it has been postponed until spring. All entries will be rolled over to the new date.

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The Māori All Blacks match against Manu Samoa in Wellington on Saturday is set to be played, but without spectators.

And fans have been asked not to come to football matches in its central region. New Zealand Football says Central League fixture games will go ahead, but has asked spectators not to come to those games under alert level 2.

The organisation is looking into livestreaming options.

Te Papa and Whitby Collegiate close

Te Papa closed its doors until at least the end of Thursday, and said prospects of reopening would be updated later this week.

The museum was visited by the NSW traveller on Saturday 19 June, and chief executive Courtney Johnston says there were thousands of people in the museum at the same time.

The Sydney man attended the Surrealist Art exhibition between 4pm and 5.45pm on 19 June. About 600 people at the exhibition at that time have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days. Johnston told Checkpoint she is among those who are now isolating.

People with tickets for the surrealist exhibition holders can get refunds or re-book through Ticketek.

Cities such as Wellington are home to growing numbers of high rise apartment buildings.The Wellington city skyline at night. Photo: CC BY 2.0 Simeon W/Flickr



The Te Papa alert also led to the closure today of Whitby Collegiate school, north of Wellington, after eight staff confirmed they were at Te Papa during the period of concern.

The staff were setting up for the senior school ball which was then held on Saturday night. They are considered casual plus contacts and will be tested on Thursday.

The school isn’t required to close but has chosen to because of the reduced staffing numbers.

Adaptations being made in some Wellington courts

Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann has issued a reminder to anyone who will be in law courts in the Wellington region to check the rules that apply to them under alert level 2.

The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal will continue as scheduled. But Wellington High Court matters and jury trials in the Wellington, Lower Hutt, Masterton and Porirua District Courts will only continue if they can go ahead safely under the level 2 restrictions.

The rules also include different arrangements for public access, and for some matters to be carried out remotely.

Anyone who visits the courts is asked to wear a masks, use QR tracing, and stay physically distanced.

More arts and entertainment closures

Opera New Zealand has cancelled the Wellington season of The Marriage of Figaro.

No captionThe Marriage of Figaro opera is among events who have had to be put on hold. Photo: Supplied


An Opera spokesperson says it is very disappointing for the cast and everyone involved in the production, which was due to open Wednesday night.

She says Opera New Zealand is working through options such as postponing or livestreaming the event. Ticketholders will be contacted directly.

Performances of “Red!” with Orchestra Wellington and local school children are also cancelled.

Wellington Libraries have cancelled all in-person events and programmes during alert level 2.

Victoria University of Wellington has confirmed the infected traveller visited its Adam Art Gallery on its Kelburn campus in Wellington on Sunday 20 June for about 40 minutes.

The gallery is closed until further notice while it is cleaned, and the sole staff member who was working at the time is isolating at home.

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra has postponed two concerts due to the alert level 2 precautions in Wellington.

Baroque and Beyond: Joie de Vivre and Community Classics: Ao Tūroa were scheduled for this week in Parnell and Manukau.

“Several members of the orchestra, who were set to appear in these concerts, were in Wellington rehearsing as guest artists with the NZSO over the weekend,” the orchestra said in a statement.

“These musicians are therefore required to take the appropriate action, operating as if still in Wellington at level 2. This includes restrictions on participation in any gatherings of over 100, as directed by the Ministry of Health.”

The Wellington Community Choir has also postponed its Saturday concert, with another date still to be organised.

Organisers of a documentary film festival in Wellington are relieved the show can go on with rigorous social distancing to be maintained.

Doc Edge festival director Dan Shanan says rigorous social distancing will be maintained.

“There are films that have sold out, or are close to selling out, and what we are looking at [doing ]at the Roxy Cinema is to open Cinema 2, so some people will be moved into that space,” Shanan said.

A Sydney-based filmmaker who was due to do a question and answer session on Wednesday night had made it to New Zealand, but can’t fly to Wellington, so that event will probably take place online.