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Iconic event group folds

A big player in the region’s events sector has folded.

Cactus Events, which has been involved in the management of iconic Wairarapa gatherings including Wings Over Wairarapa and the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival, went into liquidation earlier this week.

Paul Vlasic of Auckland-based Rodgers Reidy Ltd has been appointed liquidator. The firm specialises in insolvency, restructuring and forensic accounting and has Australian and international offices.

Vlasic confirmed that the liquidator’s first report is due early next week.

Companies Office records show trading company Cactus Events and Sponsorship Ltd, which was incorporated on December 9, 2019, went into liquidation on Monday, April 15.

Cactus Events has helped stage many successful high-profile events across Wairarapa, including the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival since 2021, and Wings Over Wairarapa.

Further afield, the team has been involved with Brewtown, Lower Hutt’s Christmas in Dowse Square, the Dunedin Heritage Festival, and New Zealand concerts featuring Fat Freddy’s Drop, Mount Tunes, and Backyard Boogie.

The company’s website said its involvement with Wings Over Wairarapa included full event management, sponsorship, marketing, finances, administration, and strategy.

The events sector has been hit hard in recent years, first by covid-related lockdowns and restrictions, and more recently by severe weather events and rising costs.

Yesterday, organisers of the New Zealand agricultural show in Christchurch announced its cancellation this year, citing cost pressures.

Closer to home, Wings over Wairarapa was adversely impacted in 2021 when an unexpected last-minute covid-19 lockdown caused the cancellation of the final day of the three-day weekend event, disappointing participants and attendees. Then last year’s airshow – which was due to be held February 24-26 – was postponed following Cyclone Gabrielle.

Board chairman and former Defence Minister Ron Mark said at the time it was a difficult decision.

“The board and management team have been reviewing the evolving situation with the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle on the nation for some days. Being cognisant of the level of devastation and loss of life that has afflicted our neighbouring regions and their communities, and of where the priorities of the New Zealand Defence Force need to be at this time as well as the ongoing unpredictability of the weather, this is the right decision,” he said.

A revised Wings programme last November was again affected by bad weather, causing part of the programme to be cancelled.

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