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2020 Aon Maadi announcement

  Printer Friendly Version 18 March 2020  

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Maad cancellation 2020 Aon Maadi regatta

NZSSRA is sad to inform it has now cancelled the 2020 Aon Maadi regatta.

On 16 March 2020 the NZ Government recommended the cancellation of all gatherings of more than 500 people. Later that evening NZSSSC announced it had suspended all events on its calendar.

Both of these decisions had an immediate impact on the 2020 Aon Maadi regatta. The regatta has sanctioning from NZSSSC. It involves more than 2000 students participating. And it enjoys crowds estimated at around 10,000 on finals days.

NZSSRA immediately updated the rowing community. Informing them the regatta would not be able to proceed as planned for the week of 30 March to 4 April 2020. The Board of NZSSRA then met to review policy and assess the available options.

The policy of NZSSRA is to go to great lengths to pursue completion of key events. And there is provision for regattas to be shortened, rescheduled, and relocated.

Only once in its 72-year history has Maadi been postponed. That was in 1948, due the polio epidemic. And it has never before been cancelled. So the decision to cancel was not an easy one.

The Board explored options for postponing the regatta. Both to the near future, which would need the regatta to be down-sized. And to Term 4, when Summer sports should next be taking place again. Opportunities to re-purpose other upcoming regattas were also looked at.

The Board investigated possible ways to down-size the regatta. But it soon became clear major reductions would be needed. Even removing all age-groups other than U18 would still leave more than 500 students participating. Paring the regatta back to its smallest means A Finals for Boys and Girls Under-18 Fours and Quads. (Using NISSC and SISSC as qualifying regattas). And that still leaves at least 169 students from 18 schools who would need to be there.

The possibility, however slim, of holding a shortened postponed regatta could not be immediately ruled out. So the Board still had to consider all those other factors that led to the need for change in the first place. The uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic make planning difficult. And the current atmosphere calls for an overabundance of caution.

The Board took into account the fact participants would be coming from, and returning to, communities all across New Zealand. And that the risk of transmission is reportedly materially higher in situations involving airports, air travel and temporary accommodation. And that NZSSRA also has to be mindful of New Zealand's rowing volunteer base. A large proportion of whom is from an age-group more vulnerable to COVID-19. They are indispensable to our sport, valued, and need protecting.

Another consideration was that any postponement would always still be contingent on future decisions made by others. Such as the outcome NZSSSC's next review of the suspension of the events on its calendar. This would provide no certainty to Members.

So the Board of NZSSRA has reluctantly decided to move the 2020 Aon Maadi regatta's status from suspended to cancelled. This decision has the backing of NZRA, the regatta's supporting partner, and the Organising Committee from South Island Rowing Inc.

The President