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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Here we go again: Numerous Adventure Events Cancelled!

Gary on MTB

I've written this article for the adventure sports industry. However, what I have got to say here applies to other sectors such as adventure tourism.


I began racing a new sport called duathlon from about 1978, then competed in what might have been the first multisports race a few years later, coming second behind a surf lifesaver by the name of Paul MacDonald. I'm still seriously competitive in these sports but I am no longer able to compete for two reasons: I refuse to carry a vaccine passport and the events I would have entered, if permitted, are being cancelled left, right and centre for the second year in a row.

Here is an excerpt from an email I received yesterday:

"We are super disappointed that we have had to cancel this year's event and know you will be to.

We looked very hard at how we could deliver an event that was safe for everyone, but its a complicated beast joining event logistics, volunteers, contractors, with health regulations, community and rider safety etc.

In the end the health and well-being of everyone won out."

That email followed an earlier announcement:

"With the continued Covid 19 environment, and with recent announcements and with recent announcements that New Zealand is now in a Red Traffic Light as part of the Covid-19 Protection Framework, making it clear that large scale events will not be able to proceed in red, combined with no clear direction as to when we will come out of red, the team at BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge have made the tough decision to cancel its planned 19 February 2022 event."

I've received several similar emails in the last week.

These cancellations are due to the Government's pandemic response policy (It's not the virus making up these rules). I understand some event organisers spent up to an additional one hundred thousand dollars on pandemic preparedness before this latest cancellation.

These additional costs followed by cancellation causes untold stress on everyone, including the jilted participants and, ultimately, financial ruin for the organisers, including those who still manage to go ahead with their event.

Government policy is gutting the events industry. By meekly cooperating with the Government, the events industry is slowly slitting its wrists.

Let's be very clear about this: Healthy people who run and ride bikes in outdoors events are not a health risk to anyone regarding the pandemic. So please show me the science that justifies cancelling these events because they are a health risk to anybody other than themselves.

Healthy people who run and ride bikes in outdoors events are not a health risk to anyone regarding the pandemic.

Let's be sensible and realistic about this: If the plan now allows Omricon to slowly waft its way throughout New Zealand in a semi-controlled manner, then the best people to infect first are the healthy ones. So let us infect healthy people while protecting the unhealthy, and the safest way is to give them a small initial viral loading. Read my article here:

So, it seems obvious to me: Let's stop stuffing around and encourage healthy people to congregate and compete in the Great Outdoors, thus enthusiastically sharing Omricon in such a way that the viral loadings are manageable as per my article.

Once the healthy people have had Omricon, we achieve broad and lasting herd immunity, and everyone can return to everyday life. I've written many articles about this. Seventy billion wasted dollars, plus untold destruction later, by its feeble actions in the right direction, the Government is reluctantly beginning to accept I have it right, and they have been wrong. However, they are far from admitting it and may never do so unless forced. But that is another matter.

Here is my message and challenge to the events industry:

Get organised, grow some and get angry!

In the late 70s, I was with ACC setting up its sports and recreation safety programmes. Around 1978 new sporting events, such as multisport racing, emerged. Rather than sports clubs, entrepreneurs like John Jackson and Robin Judkins organised and ran these events. These events had particular health and safety challenges. I contacted several of the pioneering adventure sports event managers, during the early 1980s, with the proposal to develop health and safety guidelines for the industry. Some were highly cooperative and sharing, whereas others were fiercely independent, and there was no way they were going to share any of their intellectual property with anyone else! While we made some progress, the events industry was best described as fragmented and probably still is. If the events industry is to survive, things have to change. Here is what I propose:

  • Get together, pool your resources and challenge the mandates that threaten to destroy your businesses.

  • Ask the Government to prove that science is on its side when enacting these mandates.

  • If the evidence is in any way contentious for these mandates as they affect your industry, mount a legal challenge to demand the immediate lifting of restrictions and go the extra step of seeking compensation for financial losses and suffering.

You might have better ideas but, whatever you do, don't sit on your hands thinking things are going to get any better: An expert who advises the Government quietly told me that we could expect at least two more years of restrictions before this is over. For me, this kind of thinking is unacceptable; how about you: Do you think you can survive another couple of years of this mayhem?

I fear that if this is allowed to go on any longer we will not have any events left to enter, so please, please act now and act decisively. Thousands of healthy adventurers are counting on you, so get on with it - now!

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