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Event Sector Voluntary Code October 2020

Update 14 April 2022

Firstly, apologies to everyone who has been waiting for an update – much has happened over the past months.  

As of midnight 14 April 2022, New Zealand has moved into the Orange setting of the COVID Protection Framework (CPF) and this is excellent news for events to proceed with planning and delivery, (offering a sense of relative normality).

When the decision was made in 2021 to postpone the 66th year of the race, it was the correct decision.  All our funders approved a repurpose of funds towards a rescheduled race in 2022.  Replicating 1992 where two races took place in one single year.  However, with the outbreak of the Omicron variant, it has been impossible to plan an event – again, this was the right decision to make, as the health of people comes first.

When the New Zealand government indicated that the nation was coming out of the peak from the Omicron variant in early April and the CPF was adapted to reflect the changing environment, a window of opportunity was created and a  request was submitted to the landowners to consider a June 4 race be granted approval. 

Unfortunately, this has been declined.  Therefore, there will be no race on June 4 2022.

Correspondence from the landowners has provided the following, “The future of this event will be discussed further at our next Board Meeting on Wednesday 20 April”.

After the landowner’s decision has been provided, please expect another update.  From there, provisions will be made for those who have entered the 2021 race and are yet to request a transfer or refund.


Lee Barton

Economic and Community Development Manager (Acting)

Kawerau District Council


Update 5 November 2021

It is with great regret that we must announce that the 66th Kawerau King of the Mountain race will NOT take place in 2021.  With two weeks remaining until the intended postponement date, we have simply run out of time to be in a position to host the race under the current COVID-19 situation.

To summarise:

  • The Kawerau District and BOP region is currently at Alert Level 2 and we are unable to hold an event with over 100 people at AL2, additionally, the landowners of Pūtauaki have not granted access while at AL2
  • It is highly unlikely that the BOP region will ever return to AL1, and it is now a waiting game to see when the 90% vaccine target is met, and therefore the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) will come into force
  • Current forecast models for the BOP region on vaccine uptake are indicating the BOP will not meet 90% until 31 December, and based on the daily rolling data for vaccine roll-out, this target date is being pushed out on average each day by a further 2 days.
  • The unknown element around events opting into the vaccine certificate policy leaves event organisers in the dark around what to plan for.  Once the government has indicated how the vaccine certificate will work, we will need time to understand what measures are needed.  However, anyone wishing to participate in any future mountain race will need to be vaccinated and provide evidence to us as the organisers of their vaccination.
  • Moving forward, the current race organisers Kawerau District Council will consider an option to host the race on June 5 2022.  This will be discussed and finalised on the 16 November.  Factors to consider will be land access, vaccine certification measures, availability of contractors and safety services etc.  

This decision has been a difficult one but should be no surprise to anyone based on the current situation especially as similar races and events all over the country are being forced into a similar position.

On a positive note, our weekly training sessions have been attended well in the local community and we host the final session as a ‘fun run’ with spot prizes, this will take place on Wednesday 17 November.

For existing entrants into the main race, you will be communicated to separately regarding options for your entry fees.  This will take place once a decision is made regarding another postponement date.

Finally, this will be the first year since 1977 that the race will not take place.  A very sad chapter in the history of this iconic event.

I thank everyone for their patience and understanding, however, this decision was very much out of our control.

KOTM Race Director

Lee Barton


Update 11 October 2021

On Monday 11 October, the government have extended Alert Level 3 for the Northland and Waikato regions until 11:59 pm on 14 October, at which point the government has indicated these regions will return to AL2 assuming no further community cases occur.  Auckland will remain in AL3 as previously reported with a staged AL3 approach.  The rest of New Zealand remains at AL2 for the foreseeable future.

The following circumstances apply to a decision:

  1. We have received advice from the landowners of Pūtauaki that under Alert Level 2 the event may not access Pūtauaki.
  2. The government has provided clarity to the New Zealand Events Association (NZEA) regarding gatherings and updated the guidelines, a limit of 100 applies to outdoor events not held in a venue, citing marathons as an example:
  3. Entries are relatively low (for obvious reasons) and therefore reduces the community benefits with low numbers attending – in summary, to make the event worthwhile a target of 100 entries makes the event more beneficial.  Currently, we have around 60 entries with a number of them unable to attend while at AL3.

Therefore, a decision has been made to postpone the race scheduled for 30 October 2021 until 20 November 2021, and this can only proceed at Alert Level 1.  A decision on the race proceeding on this postponement date will be made by Saturday 6 November.  If we are still at AL2 by 6 November, we will consider postponing to a 2022 date or a cancellation.

We will communicate directly with any current entries via email regarding their entry status and options.

Please accept our apologies during these challenging times we are currently facing.  Further updates will be provided as the situation develops.


KOTM Race Director

Lee Barton


Update 7 October 2021

At 11.59 pm on Tuesday 5 October, the Auckland region remained at Alert Level 3 with a staged approach to gradually return to Alert Level 1.  Parts of the Waikato remain in a snap AL3 lockdown and the rest of New Zealand remains at AL2 – this includes the Kawerau District.  This is a fast-moving and developing situation.

The government has indicated that the COVID elimination strategy is no longer the plan and reaching a 90% vaccinated population is how New Zealand will return to life with greater freedoms.  Part of this vaccination plan will eventually see the use of a vaccine passport for large scale events and festivals.  At this stage, it is uncertain if the Kawerau King of the Mountain race will be required to implement a vaccine passport regime – on face value our event is a smaller scale to other major events.  We are still fully supportive of the Event Sector Voluntary Code, which we implemented in 2020, we will continue to do so in the future and monitor new changes in the event sector and embrace the changes which are ahead.

We are in discussion with landowners to determine access to Pūtauaki and will fully work alongside them with their wishes.  There are a number of variables around this and the government is changing guidelines for gatherings at a pace that is challenging for event organisers and landowners to plan around.  The government’s guidelines are that there are no limits on gatherings at Alert level 2, although other social distancing and hygiene requirements are in place.

The current situation is such that we are now facing a decision to cancel or postpone the event for 2021.  This will be the first time since 1977 that we may not see the event take place.

A final decision will be made by 16 October and this will be communicated to all our stakeholders and entrants, we are considering a number of options:

  1. Postpone to a later date in 2021 – in reality, this is a long shot as time is short leading into Christmas.  The date we are currently proposing is 20 November, but we require the Alert levels to be at AL1 – unless access to Pūtauaki is granted otherwise
  2. Postpone to dates in 2021 – We are working on two options, early March or early June.  There are many factors for us to consider with either of these options, however, it is plausible to hold two races in one year.  Potentially the 66th and 67th races could take place in 2022.  This last occurred (and for the only time ever) in 1992 – a year shrouded with controversy with Neil Jones and Barry Prosser earning a title each that year.
  3. If a race takes place in hotter months, we need to consider the welfare of everyone involved.  Kawerau is often the hottest place in New Zealand and this will create significant challenges.  We will avoid the hottest months and may need to adjust race day start times to allow for this.  Expect a race day to have earlier starts and be over shortly after midday.
  4. Cancel the 66th race and plan for an October race in 2022 – the 67th.

We have the full backing of our funders to ensure we meet our community development outcomes, and we know that this event sits with the heart of many people – young and old.  Our greatest intention is to still hold a race but at this stage, we are uncertain exactly when it can happen.

We will work with all of our entrants regarding refunds or rolling your entry over to a postponement date.

In the meantime, our Prince and Princess training (as per our previous update) continue and we are seeing good numbers attending each week.  These sessions will continue until further notice.  Meet at the Ron Hardie Rec Centre at 4.15 pm for a 4.30 pm start, each Wednesday.

We will continue to provide updates and thank you for your patience.


KOTM Race Director

Lee Barton


Update 27 September 2021

At 11.59 pm on 21 September the Auckland region moved to COVID Alert Level (AL) 3, while the rest of New Zealand continue to be at AL2.  This is being reviewed weekly and we are adjusting our planning for the race and other associated activities in line with alert level decisions.

Race day can only proceed at Alert Level 1, if this is not possible we will implement a postponement date.  We will do our best to keep you up to speed as much as possible, as we understand how difficult it is for people to plan ahead.  

At this stage we fully intend and are still aiming for race day on Saturday 30 October, entries are open online and will remain open until midnight Wednesday 27 October.  After which race day entries will be the only way to enter the event.  Unless we are forced to postpone, in which case online entries will stay live.

For now, this is what we can confirm:

Permits for Pūtauaki (Mt. Edgecumbe)

At AL2 you can still obtain a permit to climb the maunga.  Some things you need to know about this:

  • Permits are only issued online – 
  • You will need to submit your online application between Mon-Thurs during work hours to be certain the permit is issued
  • You need a minimum of three in your party
  • Carry cell phones with you in case of emergency
  • Avoid climbing during the working week, and go for your hikoi at the weekend (minimum forestry vehicles at the weekend)
  • Do not attempt in severe weather and in particular strong winds 

Prince & Princess weekly training sessions

While the region remains at AL2, we are unable to deliver our Prince & Princess training on Pūtauaki.  However, we are still delivering a training session on Wednesdays but from a different location. 

Entries for the P&P race are online and free to enter

Where: Ron Hardie Rec Centre, Kawerau

When:   Every Wednesday at 4 pm for a 4.30 pm start

What:    A 3km loop that starts at the Rec Centre, a run-up Glasgow Street, a climb up the Monika Lanham Reserve steps, along a trail at the top of the Reserve, decent the other side to rejoin    Glasgow Street and back to the Rec Centre

Who:      Anyone can join in, it’s aimed at tamariki aged between 8-13 years but parents, older siblings, dog walkers (on leads only and clean your poops please) – can all join in.

We have an awesome group of local young people helping with marshalling the training sessions, so please make it worth their while and come along for training.  As soon as we can get back to Pūtauaki, we will relocate.

Any training is better than no training – that is our mantra.

COVID restrictions during training are quite simple:

  • If you’re sick, stay home, contact Healthline and get a test if told to
  • Wear a mask and sign in on arrival (for contact tracing), maintain your bubble and keep 2m distance from others
  • You can remove your mask for the physical exercise
  • Under 12’s are not required to wear a mask
  • Dogs are not required to wear a mask – but please keep them on a lead and clean up after them!
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided (especially if cleaning up after your dog) 

Fingers crossed we get to AL1 soon.

Stay Safe – Kia kaha

Race Directors

Lee Barton – KOTM

Amy Hayes – P&P



Previous updates

Update 5 October 2020

I am pleased to announce that land access for the 65th Kawerau King of the Mountain race has been approved.  We would like to thank Maori Investments Ltd. and Nga Maunga Kaitiaki Trust for this approval to proceed.

Prince & Princess training will commence on Wednesday 7 October, meeting at 4 pm for a 4.30 pm start. 

If you’re attending training or race day, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Scan your phone on the QR codes on-site at Firmin Field, this is to assist with contact tracing if required
  • If you are unable to scan the QR code, we request that you provide your details and phone number on arrival
  • If you’re sick, please do not attend training

Race day is set for Saturday 31 October and will only proceed if the region is at COVID-19 Alert Level 1.

Entries are now open:

We are keeping our fingers crossed that there is no escalation of the Alert Levels.

If you are looking to train outside of official training, please obtain a permit from Maori Investments Ltd.  You will need a minimum of three in a training party and carry cell phones.

We look forward to seeing you in Kawerau on Saturday 31 October.

Further updates will be posted on this page if required.

Race Director

Lee Barton


Update 25 September 2020

On Monday 21 September (Midnight) the Auckland region maintained COVID-19 AL 2 (to be reviewed on 5 October with possible de-escalation midnight 7 October) – the rest of NZ moved into AL 1.

While this is fantastic news for events, which can now proceed with no limits on attendees, however, there are still a number of challenges which have emerged for this event.  This is why online entries have been frozen temporarily. 

The landowners of Pūtauaki and the surrounding Tarawera Forest have indicated that land access is on hold for Prince & Princess training and race day. A final decision will be made by the landowners on Thursday 1 October, after which we will be in a position to inform you of that decision.

We hope that we receive the blessing of the landowners to proceed.

If we receive the blessing of the landowners, we will look to commence P&P training sessions on Wednesday 7 October at 4 pm from Firmin Field. 

Race day on Saturday 31 October will only proceed if:

  1. Land access has been granted
  2. We are at Alert Level 1
  3. All our essential personnel can provide safety services

If we are able to proceed with training and ultimately the 65th year of this iconic event, we will be applying the principles of the Events Sector ‘COVID Code’.  Essentially what this means is that you must not attend training or race day if you’re sick STAY HOME (refunds will be provided to anyone who withdraws their entry) or if you have been into contact with sick people prior to attending, irrespective of whether they have been tested positive for COVID-19 or not STAY HOME.

By sick, we mean all the classic symptoms of flu, mild or major.

We will ask you to check-in using the Ministry of Health Contact Tracing App, which will be printed in multiple locations at the event site, additionally, we will ask any attendees to provide contact details and we will record car registrations, all for contact tracing purposes. 

Please be responsible with following this, it is extremely important for maintaining health/government guidelines, the reputation of this event, giving confidence to our stakeholders and the entire NZ events sectors, which has been working harder than ever to keep the sector alive.

We may also need to apply additional sanctions on entrants who may be in a region at an Alert Level higher than our region.  This is something which our neighbours in Rotorua have applied on Auckland based entries, who are not permitted to enter the Rotorua Marathon.  We understand that this is a difficult decision to make, and we hope to not be in the same position to apply the same sanctions, but we will do this if necessary.  

On good news, we have received extremely positive responses from New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) and The Horizon Trust (previously EBET), who have approved funding grants to assist with the delivery of the race.  This was an enormous uncertainty for us to be sure we could safely deliver the race, therefore to receive this valuable support and confidence from our funders is a significant positive, I would like to personally thank them for this support. It will allow us to inject critical finance back into the event sector suppliers and local volunteer groups.

Finally, for those of you that attended the prize giving at last years event, I promised a special occasion this year.  Little did I know that we would be fighting to even deliver the race.  We have a number of critical factors that all need to work in harmony with each other, therefore, if we have a race on 31 October, it will undoubtedly be the most special race ever, purely because it takes place.  I am unable to provide a guarantee of any major prizes-safety comes first. 

We are receiving lots of enquiries from people wishing to either enter or have entered.  I thank you for your patience in waiting for our responses.  I’d like to encourage you to continue training and staying physically and mentally well.  Please be aware that we do not sanction people training on Pūtauaki without permission, you must acquire a permit from Māori Investments Limited.

Stay Safe everyone and by 2 October I will have another update for you.

Race Director

Lee Barton



Update 9 September 2020

The NZ government will announce on 14 September which COVID-19 Alert Level the nation will be in as of midnight 16 September.

Training for the Prince and Princess race will NOT be commencing on 16 September and until further notice.

Race Director

Lee Barton



Update 1 September 2020

At 23:59 hrs on Sunday 30 August the Auckland region returned to AL2 with the rest of the nation.  A further update by the NZ government on the future of Alert Levels is on September 6.

Entries are currently open and we will continue to monitor the situation to determine whether the race will be able to proceed or need to be postponed.

Race Director

Lee Barton



Update 14 August 2020

On Wednesday 12 August 2020 the Auckland region returned to COVID-19 Alert Level (AL) 3 and the rest of New Zealand (including Kawerau) to Alert Level 2.

Entries into the race have been frozen until further information becomes available.  We have received a number of entries already and if you are one of those, you will understandably be wondering what happens next.

If the event is cancelled, full refunds will be offered to those already entered.  If the race proceeds and you are unable to attend, a full refund will be offered.

At AL2, the race can still proceed within government guidelines of less than 100 people attending.  Our preference is to proceed with the event and this may mean a postponement date. 

Thank you for your patience and we will keep you updated.

Race Director

Lee Barton


Lee Barton – KOTMYou will need a minimum of three in a training party and carry cell phonesPrince and Princess Training sessions

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Race Day Schedule

Kawerau Adventure Hub | Firmin Lodge, Kawerau

(Waterhouse St.)

8.15 am | School relays briefing at Firmin Lodge

8.30 am | School relay teams to Waterhouse Street Reserve

9.00 am | Radio 1XX School Relays Start | Waterhouse Street Reserve (Years 1 & 2, following by years 3 & 4)

9.30 am | Registrations Open | Registration Tent

9.45 am | Safety Services Brief | Firmin Lodge

10.00 am | Safety Services to positions

10.10 am | Radio 1XX School Relays Prize Giving | On Stage

10.45 am | P&P Race Competitors | To Start Line

10.50 am | P&P Race Brief | Start Line

11.00 am | P&P Race Start | Live on Screen

11.30 am | Registrations Close

11.45 am | Main Race Competitors | To Start Line

11.50 am | Main Race Brief | Start Line

Midday | Main Race Start | Live on Screen

3.30 pm | Prize Giving | On Stage


News Release 31 July 2020

Entries open for 65th Kawerau Mountain Race

Planning is rapidly underway to deliver the 65th Kawerau King of the Mountain on Saturday 31 October. 

2020 has been a year that most people will want to wipe away from their memories and despite the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread disruption experienced across many sectors, the aim is to preserve the long history of the Kawerau mountain race.

Online entries are now available here for anyone aged 14 upwards who would like to enter this year’s event.

Adult entries are $70 and Junior’s $50.

Kawerau Residents Rate

Entries are also available for any Kawerau residents who would like to take advantage of the discounted entry fee. 

Kawerau residents can enter the race by visiting the Kawerau Visitor Information Centre on Plunket Street in Kawerau.  Residents will need to provide two forms of I.D. to confirm their Kawerau residency – 1) proof of identity and 2) proof of address. 

Adult entries are $40 and Junior’s $30.

Anniversary Year

This year is an anniversary race (65 years) and the tradition of the main event is that all finishers receive a medal at the finish line.  Considering the pandemic situation, a finishers medal will be even more special to treasure.

Pūtauaki Prince & Princess race

Training sessions for the Pūtauaki Prince & Princess of the Mountain (P&P) will start on Wednesday 16 September.  There will be six training sessions, each Wednesday meeting at Firmin Lodge at 4 pm for a 4:30 pm start. 

The training sessions use the actual race day course (4km) on the lower foothills on Pūtauaki,  this is to help the young runners become familiar with the course and gradually improve their times each week.  Adults are more than welcome to join the aspiring young runners at training each week.

Entries for the P&P race are free and available online here.

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