Blossom Festival and large scale events are all go after return to level 1

A Blossom festival, a Ranfurly Shield match, and weddings are all go outside of Auckland as events get back up and running under Alert level 1.

The country, minus Auckland, made the move to alert level 1 on Monday at 11:59pm 

Air New Zealand says the move means it will have its domestic schedule back to 85 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels by October

In Alexandra, the 64th annual Blossom Festival is ready to go ahead this weekend after the move to level 1.

Blossom Festival organiser Martin McPherson is excited to hold a large scale event again.

"This is the first big gig out of the blocks since COVID-19, it's going to be massive."

Massive it will be, organisers are thrilled to be welcoming 15,000 visitors to Central Otago over the three days.

"This event has such a huge economic impact on this region that to miss it would have been a really, really sad thing," McPherson says. 

Under level 1 there are no restrictions on crowd size at events and gatherings. 

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield advocated for alert level "1 plus" for everywhere outside of Auckland, limiting indoor gatherings to just 500. 

Bloomfields idea was rejected, he says cabinet decided to alleviate the risk rather than introduce new restrictions.  

"What Cabinet decided to was to take a different approach to that and identify all those gatherings that might be there over the next couple of weeks and put in measures that would mitigate that risk."

Christchurch wedding planner Emma Newman is feeling confident about the upcoming season, saying she's "pretty excited."

Although alert level 1 isn't an instant shot in the arm for the wedding industry 

"The borders are still closed and they're going to be closed for some time," Newman says.

"So the couples and events have to make the decisions do we go ahead? Without really special people like your head bridesmaid or your mother in Australia."

Meanwhile, in Taranaki the Ranfurly Shield was paraded through the streets of New Plymouth with fans shoulder to shoulder celebrating the win.

The Taranaki Bulls excited for their first defense in front of a packed home crowd on Sunday

Taranaki Rugby CEO Laurence Corlett is keen to get the crowds back into the stadium.

"We'll have four to five thousand people watching, yelling, screaming, supporting the boys so it's going to be pretty times."

From Taranaki to Otago everyone really is making the most of the move to Level 1.