Planning in a pandemic

Despite the worldwide difficulties with travel and recreation under COVID-19, Peninsula and Plains Orienteers are still keen as to host a great event for Orienteers in January 2021. We have decided to go ahead with 4 days of events – whether they will be possibly be called the Oceania Championships, or not. This decision will now be decided by the end of August. We are currently canvassing other South Island clubs to determine the full extent of the series, and we will be back with more news soon. Thanks for sticking with us as we work this out.

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Waiting game

 “It’s spookily quiet in the forest and sounds from the farms in the valley below seem to travel a long way”, says Michael Croxford. Michael has been working on mapping in the middle of nowhere with only some friendly farm noises, the odd native bird and a couple of rabbits to keep him company.  Visits to Oceania terrain were on hold in the highest Lockdown, but the Laidmore forest was on the top of the list to start mapping once regional travel was enabled.  We are looking forward to hearing more to whet our appetite as we wait in anticipation for announcements on the availability of future trans-Tasman travel.
So what is the terrain like? Michael describes it as  “pine forest that is clean and very runnable with rock features scattered across the slopes however, there is some reduction of visibility at times so runners will definitely need to stay in map contact.”
It is sounding like the perfect orienteering playground for Oceania 2021.
Image source: WayfindNZ
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Response whilst in lockdown

We are almost at the end of a high lockdown level – level 4 in New Zealand. Things are going to work differently for a little while yet. Along with all of New Zealand and the rest of the world, it is too early for any of us to make sensible decision about whether we will be able to go ahead with the Oceania Orienteering Championships in January 2021, due to national and international travel restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The organising group anticipate being able to make a firm announcement by June at the earliest and August at the latest. Watch this space, and in the meantime, as always, stay safe.

Image source: The Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite over New Zealand. Image captured on 22 August 2018, this true-colour image shows the snow-covered Southern Alps stretching 500 km across the west coast of the South Island.

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Staying safe

We are all entering a new phase in community life right now as New Zealand is currently in lockdown to beat the COVID-19 virus for four weeks. We are lucky in New Zealand to do this with a supportive government putting everything in place. This is not the way we imagined we would plan a major world ranking event, but we are still continuing preparations for Oceania. We’ll get through this, we are in it together. We will constantly re-consider our options as time goes on. We know what we want the future to hold, but we have to see what we are capable of achieving. Stay safe. Keep tuned-in to our website and media for updates.

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Orienteering in Canterbury’s finest crags

We all need orienteering adventures in new places. To try something different, have a change of scenery.  It’s important to have variety and new challenges.

Castle hill basin area

Pictured here are landscapes around the Prebble Hill area, where the NZ Oceania Champs middle event is planned. It is impressive terrain on the eastern ranges of the Southern Alps, an hour’s drive from Christchurch. Have a look at  Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill which is nearby and rocks similar geological wonders to Prebble Hill. This is a place of natural, historical and cultural value, with a rich history for the Māori tribe Ngāi Tahu who collected food and created rock drawings around these giant rock formations. Hewn by eons of rain, wind and groundwater, this is an archetypal karst landscape where sheets of limestone have been reduced to isolated blocks, pillars and outcrops, that remind you of ruins of ancient castles. When you are driving on the Arthur’s pass road between Christchurch and Greymouth watch out for this spectacular area that was used in as part of a film setting for part of the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

If you are coming to the Oceania Orienteering Champs in January 2021 you will enjoy this outstanding challenge requiring deft footwork and crafty map skills between the crags. Expect to hear: “This is the best orienteering event ever!”

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