Holding an outdoor event: tips to prevent spread of pests

If you are organising an outdoor event, it may need to meet biosecurity, food safety and animal welfare requirements. Find out what you need to do to meet the requirements.

Requirements for outdoor events

Whether you're organising an outdoor community, cultural, sporting, or fundraising event, you may need to:

  • help food providers make sure their food is safe and suitable to eat
  • take precautions to prevent pests and diseases from being unintentionally spread to new areas
  • ensure any animals at the event are taken care of appropriately.

You may also have to meet requirements of other government agencies. Contact your local council to get advice.

People selling food at outdoor events

People planning to sell food at an outdoor event, need to make sure it will be safe and suitable to eat.

Food safety rules differ depending on the type of food and how it's being sold. Check with an environmental health officer (EHO) at the local council. The EHO can tell you who is entitled to sell food and the rules. They may be able to give you leaflets about food safety you can distribute to people wanting to sell food at your event. Your local council can also tell you about any other rules that may apply to your event

When planning your event, you can help people sell safe food by:

  • identifying who will be providing food, what food will be sold, and what facilities they need at the event (such as rubbish bins, access to clean water, toilets)
  • deciding where best to position food stalls (such as away from things that could contaminate or taint food)
  • making sure food providers have the facilities they need for safe food
  • identifying who will maintain facilities and remove rubbish during the event.

Find out more

Events near waterways

If you're organising an event in or near rivers or lakes, make sure you have procedures in place to prevent the spread of freshwater pests like didymo.

Remind participants to decontaminate their gear before coming to your event (including for training). If participants will move between different waterways during the event:

  • use the 'Check, Clean, Dry' method to decontaminate clothing and equipment
  • make sure you provide a cleaning station.

Suitable facilities for specific events

MPI's Check, Clean, Dry: Information for sporting event organisers provides information and a checklist to help you manage an outdoor sporting event. Use the checklist to:

  • determine the risk of your event spreading freshwater pests
  • find suitable decontamination methods and facilities for your event.

The appendix has specific decontamination methods for events involving:

  • mountain biking
  • kayaking
  • running
  • swimming
  • vehicles
  • fishing
  • boating and watersports.

Information for sporting event organisers [PDF, 2.6 MB]

Forest events

If you're planning an outdoor event in or near an area with native forest in the upper North Island, take precautions to prevent the spread of kauri dieback (a fungus-like pathogen that kills kauri trees). Make sure participants:

  • have access to facilities to clean and disinfect their gear before and after they enter the area
  • stay on the tracks.

Kauri dieback can be spread by just a pinhead of soil and is threatening kauri with extinction.

Events involving animals

If animals will be at your event, you must make sure they are cared for appropriately and that you meet your requirements under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and codes of welfare. This includes providing:

  • proper and sufficient food and water
  • adequate shelter
  • appropriate handling
  • protection from injury and disease
  • safe transport to and from the event.

Codes of welfare outline the standards you must meet for animal care and management. Codes of welfare are available for different types of animals, animal transport, zoos (including farm parks and wildlife sanctuaries), circuses (including mobile animal farms), and rodeos. You should also be familiar with regulations that came into force in October 2018.

Who to contact

If you have questions about holding an outdoor event, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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