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COVID-19 Management & Refund Policies


The purpose of this document is to collate information regarding how Kiwiburn will act to mitigate and manage COVID at the 2023 event. 


COVID-19 cases have been climbing throughout the holiday season and there is a new dominant COVID-19 variant in NZ (BA.2.75) for the first time since July 2022. Although there is no indication that it causes more severe illness there is some early evidence that it may be slightly more transmissible than BA.2.

Any mass-gathering event poses a risk of spreading COVID-19. However, there are a number of public health precautions that can reduce spread, including vaccination, early detection of cases and isolation, wearing a mask, hand washing and sanitising, improving ventilation (encouraging outdoor gatherings) and physical distancing.

This document outlines Kiwiburn’s policies and procedures to prevent the spread of the virus, both pre-event (during the build) and during the event.


New Zealand’s COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) has ended. With case numbers low, most COVID-19 regulations and guidelines were removed on 13th September 2022. Isolation and mitigation is the main tool to manage the spread of the virus. Isolating for 7 days remains a requirement for everyone who tests positive. This document assumes that this will be the government’s response during the event. Kiwiburn is obligated and will follow any and all required government health advice and regulations that will mitigate and ultimately eradicate any spread/transmission of the virus.

Relevant guidance:

The Event Sector Voluntary Code

Have a safe-as summer | Unite against COVID-19

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will be available at Medics (or Site Office if you are not displaying symptoms). RATs can also be collected from the nearest collection site before arriving on site. The closest are MidCentral COVID-19 Community Testing Centre and RATs Collection Sites:

  • Fielding Health Care. 7 Duke Street, Fielding. Phone: 06 323 9696
  • Central Energy Trust Arena. 72-81 Cuba Street, Palmerston North (Drive in Gate 3 or Walk in Gate 2)
  • He Puna Hauora. Unit 5. 160 Grey Street Palmerston North
  • Allied Petrol Station.5 Douglas Square, Rongotea, Manawatu-Wanganui
  • Berdeck Village, 152 Taupo Quay, Whanganui
  • 38 Seddon Street, Raetihi
  • 3 Hospital Road, Taihape
  • 71 High Street, Bulls
  • Whanganui Hospital Gate One, 100 Heads Road, Whanganui

Before the event

There are a number of people on site pre-event ensuring the infrastructure is built. Although numbers are much smaller than during the event, there is a risk that COVID-19 could spread. This would impact the number of volunteers available to help with the build, the planning surrounding getting those volunteers home to isolate and the chance that attendees are exposed to the virus when they arrive. Because of these potential risks we are requiring pre-event testing for volunteers.


Pre-event testing for volunteers:
  • Volunteers are required to confirm a negative RAT result within the 24 hours before entering the site.
  • This can be done before arriving and providing a photo
  • If anyone is displaying symptoms at gate they will be required complete a RAT
  • Everyone is expected to have a travel plan in case they contract COVID-19 while on site[1]. For those whose travel would require air or ferry travel, this plan would require isolation on site. This is just going to be the last option as we are expecting everyone to take responsibility for themselves (radical self-reliance).
  • RATs will be available for volunteers in case they develop symptoms on site. RATs will be available for collection at Medics, Site Office or off-site at collection sites.
  • If showing symptoms and requiring a RAT, mask up, minimise contact with others and report to medics if mobile. Or send a similarly protected person to obtain a RAT. If Medics are yet to be established on site then RATs can be obtained from Site Office.
  • Volunteers that test positive must inform medics. If there are no medics on site then the Site Management or event delivery team with as much effort as possible to minimise physical contact.
  • Any positive cases that occur on site before the event will be posted at gate and the site office.

During the event – attendees

1. Testing before arrival

Attendees are encouraged to test before arriving at the gate. Especially if displaying symptoms. In a study of two music festivals in Spain, the identification of a large number of asymptomatic COVID-19 individuals with pre-testing was close to the number of absolute excess cases [2]. This shows that pre-testing works in reducing overall cases. Pre-testing also resulted in a lower risk of experiencing COVID-19 within the first 3 days following the event. With between 30-40% of infections asymptomatic, pre-testing is expected to identify individuals that would have unknowingly attended while infected.

Attendees that contract COVID-19 before arriving at the event can on-sell their tickets or return them to the STEP queue. If there are issues with tickets being resold or returned to STEP this will be reviewed by the Event Delivery Team on a case-by-case basis.

2. Self-monitoring during event

Attendees and Theme Camps are expected to be radically self-reliant with their approach to planning around COVID-19. This means we encourage testing before the event, bringing RATs and having a travel plan for leaving the site and isolating if you test positive.

Pre-event testing will not pick up all cases. There is a sharp increase in the number of false negative results in rapid testing with increasing local prevalence. It is expected some people will become symptomatic while on-site Attendees will need to bring RATs with them as part of the COVID-19 kit on the Unite Against Covid website: (includes RATs, hand sanitiser, face masks, and medications). RATs will also be available at the medic tent.

Attendees will be required to wear a mask at the medic tent, whether presenting for COVID-19 testing or for other reasons. The medic tent will have limited N95 masks available.

If testing positive at the event attendees are required to send someone to notify site office of their positive result so it can be made aware to other participants. They will also be responsible for making sure others in close contact with them are informed. If part of a Theme Camp they will need to alert them as well so any shared areas can be thoroughly cleaned. As well as providing a list of recent communal locations they have been, not to be made public, but so the sanitation team can do an extra clean of the area.

Attendees that contract COVID-19 during the event and are required to leave before Saturday the 28th will be offered a refund of their ticket and an option to purchase a reserve ticket for next year’s event. Individuals who test positive on Saturday, Sunday or Monday will not be refunded but are still required to isolate/leave site.

When to test:

Attendees are required to have a Rapid Antigen Test if displaying symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive. We expect the community to be self-reliant in identifying symptoms that would require testing. These include but are not limited to:

  • a new or worsening cough
    sneezing and runny nose
  • a fever
  • temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue/feeling of tiredness

3. Having a COVID isolation plan

All attendees must have a COVID isolation plan for traveling as outlined on the Unite Against Covid website[3]. This includes plans for how to safely get home or, if not possible, somewhere else safe to isolate. Attendees should take into account that they may be traveling in shared transport and compensate for how this can affect their travel plans if they or someone else in their shared transport tests positive. A very limited isolation area will be available for those who cannot return home during the event and will be agreed on by case-by-case basis. Attendees will still be required to identify a place to isolate after the event is over, as the 7-day isolation period will be longer than the event itself.

4. Mask wearing

Mask-wearing is an essential tool for creating a safe environment during circumstances in which physical distance cannot be warranted. All attendees should bring masks to the event. This is especially important in case they develop symptoms or need medical attention. Theme camps can require masks at their events at their discretion.

5. Communication

A record of the number of attendees which have tested positive with COVID-19 will be posted at Depot.

6. Breakout Contingency

Essential Teams

Fire Department – If there are a multitude of positive cases so that the Fire Department cannot adequately provide their services then there will be no burns. If one brigade has members down with COVID then another can be asked to support but this is under the discretion of FENZ.

Medics – Medics have a contingency plan involving rotating members of staff not staying on site. If in the unlikely event of losing too many of the medic team then we would not have the essential services to run the festival and would have to close it down.

Wider Population of Event

The Event Delivery Team is currently working with MidCentral Te Whatau Ora on a contingency for if a large COVID-19 breakout occurs during the event. If this occurs then further plans will be created by the Event Delivery Team to make sure that everyone has sufficient access to food, water and toilet facilities. We would be in contact with the Ministry of Health and follow their advice.

During the event – volunteers

Every team is expected to have a plan for monitoring symptoms for volunteers and a subsequent way of identifying close contacts for anyone that tests positive.

Team leads should be proactive with testing and communicating any positive results with both their teams and to the Event Delivery Team.

Post Event

This is a predominantly communications strategy for if a participant tests positive for COVID post-event and suspects potential transfer at Kiwiburn occurred. We are expecting all participants to report any positive COVID test results in the few days post-event to the Kiwiburn organizational structure so we can inform the wider community.

Admin/Ticketing/Record keeping:
  1. All COVID related information is to be kept for a minimum of 4 weeks as required by the NZ Government issued Events Code of Practice. This is the recognised timeframe for information to be kept for adequate contact tracing to occur.
  2. Provide MoH with attendee list (note this includes both email address and contact phone number for the attendees along with an emergency contact if attendee themselves are not reachable
Communications Strategy:
  • Make a Social Media announcement within 2 hours of Kiwiburn being notified
  • EFP Post
  • Specific wording would be aligned with the Ministry of Health Messaging.






COVID-19 Refund Policy for Kiwiburn 2023

This policy sets out the amount of refund that the Organiser (Kiwiburn Incorporated Society) of the Event (Kiwiburn 2023) will make to the registered Ticket Purchaser of an Event Ticket.

  • Should the Event be cancelled as a result of Covid restrictions or their impact on the Event at any time up to the opening of the Gate on Wednesday 25 January 2023, the Organiser will offer a pro-rata refund based on expenditure at time of any cancellation. In total, $210 of the $225 face value of the ticket is refundable; A non-refundable amount of $15 goes towards the annual subscription fee to the Kiwiburn Society which also covers basic year-round expenses and allows Kiwiburn to continue to function as an entity (even without an event). Any ticketing agency fees or charges associated with the original Ticket purchase are non-refundable.
  • As with Kiwiburn 2021 and 2022, every effort will be made to delay outgoings as much as possible to manage impact on potential refunds due in the event of a cancellation.
  • Ticket Purchasers who do not wish to receive any refund and instead generously wish to gift the ticket price in full to Kiwiburn will be given that option.
  • Ticket Purchasers who generously wish to donate a proportion of their ticket will have the opportunity to do so by accepting any refund and then being able to gift a sum of money through a separate donations app.
  • If cancellation occurs, Kiwiburn will be open and transparent regarding costs incurred up to and as a result of the cancellation and these will be published to the Community.
  • All refunds will be processed by our Ticketing Agent – Quicket – and can only be made to the credit card account used for the Ticket purchase i.e. the person (Ticket Purchaser) whose credit card details were used to pay for a Ticket regardless of whose Burner Profile the Ticket is currently registered to as the Ticket Holder. Note the Ticket Purchaser may not be the same as the person named as being the Ticket Holder e.g. if the purchase price of the Ticket was paid to Quicket/Kiwiburn using the credit card details of someone other than the person named as being the Ticket Holder. See COVID-19 FAQs for further information on registered Ticket Purchaser versus Ticket Holder as well as the Refund process in general.
  • The timing of when refunds will be made is dependent upon when the decision to cancel is made. The goal would be to refund within 4-6 weeks of the cancellation but the exact method of processing refunds – and the associated time required to process such refunds – is still being finalised as we are aiming to minimise the administrative process and thereby shorten the time to make the refunds.
  • Note – once the Gates open the Event has commenced and Kiwiburn’s pre-existing and all encompassing NO REFUND policy will apply – see Point 3 under “Tickets and Refunds” section of the “Terms and Conditions of Ticket Purchase and Entry” which can be found here. Similarly if the Event is cancelled for any reason other than Covid related issues then the same standard pre-existing NO REFUND policy will also apply.
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