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Covid 19 Delta outbreak in NZ: Tulip tour in doubt, but exports flourishing

An annual tour of the tulip fields will wilt this year if Southland remains in Alert Level 2, an event organizer says. Tulip grower Triflor NZ was set to open its colorful fields in Edendale to thousands of people on Labour Day. However, tour coordinator Jean Kirby, of Seaward Downs, said the event would only proceed if the South was in Level 1.

A final decision will be made on October 18, Kirby said. She believes the chances of the event going ahead are "slim". 

The open day was run by Edendale Presbyterian Church, raising funds for the parish, the Wyndham Pioneer Lions Club, and the Edendale Scout Group. If the event was canceled, the committee would find a way to sell tulip bulbs online this year, and people would still be able to look at the "vibrant and stunning" tulip fields from the road.

"Covid cannot cancel the tulips flowering - regardless of what level we are in, the paddocks are going to be beautiful."

About 75 percent of the bulbs were exported to North America - the rest went to Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Russia. Demand in North America has "leveled out" after Covid-19 hit last year and clients began canceling orders. Consequently, new markets in Eastern Europe were explored to sell the surplus bulbs.

The new clients are returning to buy more bulbs this year. "Covid, in that regard, has been good to us."

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