The Category 3 cyclone hit the northern region of New Zealand’s North Island on February 12, before gradually tracking down the east coast and leaving widespread devastation in its wake. Two days later, New Zealand declared a state of emergency – only the third in its history – as Prime Minister Chris Hipkin described Cyclone Gabrielle as the country’s “most significant weather event” to occur this century.
At the time of writing, the death toll of Cyclone Gabrielle stands at 11, with more than 5,000 people remaining uncontactable across New Zealand. Recovery efforts are currently underway across the country, with the worst of the cyclone subsiding on February 16.
Amid the devastation, Lorde announced the postponement of her upcoming shows in Hawke’s Bay – the hardest-hit area where 9,000 people have been displaced and 62,000 households went without power. “In line with advice from police, the venue and our promoter, I think the right thing to do is postpone our Hawke’s Bay shows,” the singer wrote on social media yesterday (February 20).
From March 1, Lorde was due to perform two back-to-back shows at Black Barn Vineyards in Havelock North, located within Hawke’s Bay. “I would love to be there with you right now, but I can also read the room,” the singer wrote to fans. “Taking precious resources away from those who need them right now is not it.”
Lorde insisted that the postponement of the shows – which formed part of her broader New Zealand tour in support of her 2021 album ‘Solar Power’ – is “not a cancellation at this stage”. She assured ticket holders that she’s “working on something, and you’ll hear from me soon”. Lorde previously postponed the Australia and New Zealand leg of the ‘Solar Power’ tour in November 2021, following uncertainty around COVID-19 border restrictions.
Sting, meanwhile, was yesterday forced to cancel his imminent show at The Mission Estate Winery within Hawke’s Bay’s wine region, out of “respect to those affected by the devastating impact of Cyclone Gabrielle”, concert organisers wrote in a press statement. The former Police frontman was due to perform at the venue on March 4, as part of his ‘My Songs’ tour throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Ticket holders were promised an automatic refund, while Sting and Live Nation pledged a donation to “the Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s Cyclone Relief Fund,” promoters said. Sting’s earlier show in Christchurch on March 1 is unaffected and will proceed as planned.
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