Almost time!

Programme update

We’ve just published a small update to the programme to add driving and parking directions for the Sprint Distance event on Monday.

Before you set off

We also thought it would be a good time to remind you of a few things before you finish your packing and get underway.

QR codes: While the recent events in Auckland are a concern, the advice at the moment is that we can proceed as planned. To make fast contact tracing possible, we will display NZ COVID Tracer App QR codes, and you must scan these at each event you attend. This is an easy thing to do which makes a big difference to the speed and quality of the public health response. Thanks!

Masks: It isn’t compulsory to wear a mask at the event as we’ll be outdoors and pretty spread out, but wearing one if you’re travelling by public transport (including flights) or carpooling is recommended.

Water and Food: As we won’t be providing water or food at the events, you need to bring your own supply sufficient for your whole party for the whole day. It’s likely to be warm, many of the courses are long and you’ll be losing a lot of water as sweat, so don’t underestimate what you’ll need. Especially if you have hungry teenagers in tow.

Sunblock: It’s still spring, but the forecast is for fine weather and MetService recommends sun protection from about 9.30am to 4.30pm.


You might have seen the Orienteering Family on the recent ads for the Interislander – I know I was excited to see our beloved but admittedly somewhat esoteric sport mentioned in big letters in public – and Jane passed on some even more exciting news:

Stop Press! Interislander have come on board with a couple of prizes which we’ll be giving away during the weekend. Keep an eye out!

So even more reason to run your hearts out come the weekend!


If you’ve volunteered to help, many thanks, we really appreciate it! Please check in with the registration desk when your shift starts and we’ll point you in the right direction. The latest volunteer briefings are available here.

Start lists and programme now available

We’re thrilled that so many people have shown such strong support for the Nationals in what has been an eventful and difficult year. We’re looking forward to hosting more than four hundred orienteers in the forests for the Long Distance and Middle Distance events, and nearly that many for the Sprint Distance on Monday. 

The start lists and programme are now available. Please take the time to read them carefully so you can arrive prepared for a great weekend of orienteering.

If you have any questions, please contact the Orienteering Wellington secretary at [email protected]. Otherwise, safe travels and we’ll see you at the weekend!

Two weeks left to enter!

There are now just two weeks to enter the NZ Orienteering Championships (‘Nationals’). 

Based on where we’re at and the need for orienteers and organisers to have certainty, we are now moving forward with our Level 2 plan. Key elements of the Level 2 plan are as follows:

  • Nationals will be a 3-day event (Saturday 24 – Monday 26 October).
  • Long distance on Saturday, Middle distance on Sunday, and Sprint on Monday. 
  • People will be assigned to ‘travel groups’, according to their club or where they are travelling from. 
  • Elites will be allocated their own time block, regardless of travel group. 
  • World Ranking Event status still applies for long- and middle-distance events. 
  • No food, coffee or water at the event centre, and limited other facilities—so come well prepared! 

COVID Tracer QR codes for contact tracing, good hygiene practices, and physical distancing where possible are all an expectation of participation at Nationals 2020. 

We know that things will look and feel a bit different, but we need to ensure a safe and fun competition for everyone. 

What if alert levels change? 

None of the key elements of the Level 2 plan that are listed above will be revisited, even if COVID-19 alert levels across the country are below Alert Level 2 on the day. 

We know that people want to catch up and compare notes. If all of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1, you will more likely see a more relaxed approach at event centres—but one that conforms to the expected public health practices of that alert level. 

For detail about what happens if alert levels anywhere in New Zealand exceed Level 2 as of 23 October, see our decision criteria.

Everyone must register to enter

Entries for Nationals are now open until midnight Friday 9 October.

All entries from April were voided, so anyone who intends to come along needs to re-enter. Until your name appears on the list of confirmed entries, you are not entered—and you are not automatically re-entered, even if we are holding over your entry fee from Easter. 

We will be contacting those people whose money we have to ensure that they receive the correct reimbursement in light of our moving to a three-day event. We are also contacting our volunteers to reconfirm their arrangements for helping.

We appreciate your commitment to attending Nationals—make sure to enter by midnight Friday 9 October.

Planning for Labour Weekend

We’re pleased to let you know where we’re at with planning for the 2020 ONZ National Foot-O Championships. Further to Orienteering NZ’s recent major events update, Orienteering Wellington would like to present our plan for the 2020 Nationals.

Our key considerations in developing this plan have been to ensure the safety of competitors and to follow government guidelines on gatherings and social distancing.

How it works

  • If all of New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 1, or lower, we will run Nationals under our Level 1 plan.
  • If any part of New Zealand is at a COVID-19 Alert Level between 1 and 2, we will run Nationals under our Level 2 plan.
  • If either Manawatū or Wellington is at a COVID-19 Alert Level greater than 2, we will not run an event.

If Manawatū or Wellington is at level 2 or lower, and any other part of New Zealand is at a COVID-19 Alert Level greater than 2, we will consider running a multi-day event over Labour Weekend. This won’t be the Nationals as such as some competitors will not be able to travel to attend, but will use many of the same high quality maps and courses.

Given the uncertainty around when and where Alert Levels might change, Orienteering Wellington will confirm which Level Plan we will use at the end of September. See our decision criteria for more details.


We realise these are uncertain times and we’re lucky to be able to plan an A-level event at all. To help alleviate the uncertainty for competitors, full refunds for entry fees will be available up until the closing of entries. If the event takes place using our Level 2 plan, the relay entry will be refunded.

In line with government health advice, please do not attend if you feel unwell. Competitors who need to withdraw due to illness will get a full refund of their entry fees.

Unfortunately, Orienteering Wellington cannot take liability for any loss associated with travel or accommodation cancellation.


All previous embargoes remain in place.


Entries are open now, and you’ll need to enter by midnight on Friday 9 October.

Decision on Nationals 2020 currently on hold in light of COVID-19 announcements

At this time, all of New Zealand is in Alert Level 2. Auckland, and people from Auckland, are at Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions.

These alert levels will remain in place until at least Monday 21 September.

Orienteering Wellington and Orienteering NZ are monitoring the situation. Possible implications for proceeding with Nationals at Labour Weekend (23-26 October 2020) are also being assessed at this time.

It is now more crucial than ever to practice good hygiene, keep track of where you’ve been, and stay home when you’re sick.

To see what the change of alert level means for your region, see United against COVID-19.

Plan to arrive in good time

The first starts for the sprints on Friday are from 4pm in Levin.

If you are considering flying in to Wellington or crossing from the South Island before driving north, be aware that Labour Weekend traffic can be heavy. Expect severe congestion at any time of the day, especially in the afternoon. If you’re flying from elsewhere in the country, it may be more efficient to fly to Palmerston North as congestion from there to the event sites is much less likely to be a problem.

Many participants will either be travelling through or beginning their journeys in Wellington. We strongly recommend that you leave Wellington at around 12.00pm. This will give you peace of mind that you will arrive in Levin in good time for your sprint. If your journey goes well and you end up with time on your hands, there’s plenty to see and do along the way.

Road trip resources

The NZTA journey planner is a useful resource when planning your trip, as is the real-time traffic information on Google Maps. And if you can car-pool with other orienteers and reduce the number of cars on the road, so much the better!

Alternative start times

As with all major events, you should plan your travel for the listed “first starts from” start times.

In accordance with ONZ Foot Orienteering rules, specific start time requests can only be considered for parents of young children who may need split starts, and event officials including volunteers.

Entries re-opened!

We’re delighted to announce the details of the rescheduled Nationals 2020 for Labour Weekend at long last.

It’s been a significant task to get all the permissions arranged for the new dates, but the good news is that we are able to hold the forest events as planned. Unfortunately the sprint event can’t be held in the original location, but we have a brand new area to play with instead – the Horowhenua Showgrounds and surrounding schools in Levin.

Our National Coordinator Gillian Ingham is confident that the new area can provide excellent sprint orienteering for the ONZ Championships, and while there is obviously work to do to create the new courses, our sprint planner and controller are on the case!

This means we have a new embargo for the sprint area, while existing embargoes for the forest events remain in place.

New schedule of events

DateStart timesEventLocation
Friday 23 OctoberFrom 4:00pmSprintHorowhenua Showgrounds, Levin
Saturday 24 OctoberFrom 10:30amLong distanceParewanui, Santoft Forest
Sunday 25 OctoberFrom 10:30am
Middle distance
Prize-giving and social
Waitarere Northwest, Waitarere Beach
Himatangi Beach
Monday 26 OctoberFrom 10:30amRelayWhirokino, Waitarere Beach

Entries are open now, so what are you waiting for?

Other information

The holding of the competition is subject to the following conditions, as previously advised:

  • There will be no shared water facilities at the event centres, and no food trucks. However, we are hoping to have a coffee cart!
  • NZ COVID Tracer QR codes will be available at each event centre. We do not collect this data but ask that you scan these to facilitate the Ministry of Health’s contact tracing program. 
  • Everything is contingent on all of New Zealand being at COVID-19 Alert Level 1 (or lower) from 29 July until Labour Weekend.