With Southern Paws less than two weeks away, I’m sure a lot of you are getting pretty excited for the event. But before it can happen, we need to take a step back. How does this all work? This post will cover everything you need to know about the event, including opening times, emergency details, and what to bring.

First of all, some basic details.

Basic Details

The site, and times

The event will be held at the Waipara Adventure Centre. The event will be running from Friday to Monday. The site opens for attendees at 2 PM on Friday. If you arrive early you’ll have to wait outside the main gate. If you’re waiting, please don’t obstruct the driveway!

Be tidy! We ask everyone attending to help us out by keeping the site, and their rooms clean and presentable. We aim to leave the site cleaner than it was when we arrived.

For more information, a map of the site is included below. Click the image to view a larger version.


William Smith is the main building. It has the main hall/dining room, the drinks station, and bathrooms. It’s also where some of the cabins and the bunkroom are located.

Steadfast is the second main building. This is where you’ll find the lounge and games room, as well as more bathrooms and a kitchenette with a fridge. This is where the rest of the cabins are located.

Tui Lodge consists of two rooms located down the hill on the left of the site. These rooms were used as the Games Room and Art Room last time, but this year they’re open for free use. The rooms are both heated and are a great spot for long-running games or quiet art sessions. Please keep them clean if you use them!


If you explore the site you’ll find a number of outdoor activities. The confidence course is a series of climbing frames and other adventure playground type equipment. There are also two playgrounds at the site. One of these has a trampoline - please be safe! There is also a sports field, a basketball court, and a wide variety of areas to walk and relax.

Signing in and out

When you first arrive at the site, you’ll need to sign in. The sign in desk will be located in the William Smith building, in the Main Hall. As part of this procedure, Southern Paws staff will need to see your photo identification. Once we confirm your identity, we will issue you with your convention badge. This must be worn at all times.

On the day of the event, we’ll have a trail of large flags you can follow from the car parking area to con registration. So just remember, follow the flags!

If you have any alcohol, you will have to check it in at registration. For more information on our alcohol policy, keep reading.

If you wish to leave the site at any point, you must find a staff member with a radio and sign out.

The forms of identification we can accept are listed below:

  • 18+ Card
  • Kiwi Access Card
  • Passport
  • Driver’s Licence

If you don’t have at least one of these forms of identification, contact our staff immediately.


Rooms in our cabins have already been allocated based on the information submitted with your registration. If your preferred roommates were not able to fill an entire room, you will need to share with others. For those who didn’t specify preferences, or those who picked the bunkroom option, you will be allocated beds randomly. When you sign in to the event, convention staff will tell you your assigned room number and roommates.

Rooms are allocated in advance, and we cannot allow attendees to move without prior notification. If your cabin preferences have changed, please notify us immediately.

Food and dietary requirements

Dinner will be provided on Friday, all meals on Saturday and Sunday and breakfast on Monday. You can bring your own snacks if you’d like more, though.

If you have any allergies or special dietary requirements, you must tell us about these as soon as possible. The food this year is being catered by our venue and we are unable to make last-minute changes to the meal plans.


We do allow smoking, but in designated areas only. This includes the use of vapes and electronic cigarettes. If you need help finding this area, find a convention staff member and they can point you in the right direction.


We are pleased to announce that we will be able to allow alcohol at the event this year, after working with our site on a set of rules that we were both happy with.

  • Attendees will be able to bring a maximum of 15 standard drinks for the whole event.
  • Drinks will have to be signed in at registration and tagged by staff.
  • Drinks will be stored by us (the convention staff) in a fridge that won’t be accessable to attendees.
  • You can come and ask us to get one of your drinks if you’d like one.
  • If you’re noticeably intoxicated, we won’t be able to give you any more drinks.
  • Drinks will only be given out between the hours of 7PM and 11PM (we can’t give out drinks while day pass attendees are on-site)

In addition, we have some limits on what drinks are allowed. We are able to allow the following drinks:

  • Standard single-serve bottles (or cans) of beer, cider, or RTDs.
  • Small (airplane-sized, single serve) bottles (or cans) of wine.

All drinks must be in their original (retail) containers.

Don’t get drunk. If you’re intoxicated you will be put in a safe place until you sober up, and you will not be able to consume any more alcohol for the rest of the event.

If you have any more questions, please email us.


The event is taking place in Autumn this year, so it should be a bit warmer and dryer than last time. It’s a little too early to predict the exact conditions for the weekend, but expect highs to be around 17°C-22°C, and lows to be around 5°C-10°C overnight.

Conditions have been generally dry, but rain is always possible, so bring a jacket.

If something goes wrong

If something goes wrong at the event, or you need medical attention, find a member of our staff as soon as you can. You’ll know them by the bright green Southern Paws t-shirts. And the huge “STAFF” label written on the back. That helps too.

If you need medical attention urgently, Baz and Votter will be our first aid staff this year.

If at any point during the convention you need to get in touch with staff and can’t find anyone, you can reach convention staff using the phone number 0225074385 at any point during the convention. Cell signal at the site should be fairly good. We recommend that you put this number into your phone now - before you need it in an emergency.

Furry Convention Survival

What to bring

First of all, we have to go over the basics. The list below will cover all the basic things you will need to bring with you to the event.

  • Bedding materials. Anything you might need - blankets, pillows, and a warm sleeping bag. Mattresses will be provided, and the rooms are heated, but the night can be pretty cold in the South Island.
  • Warm clothes - as said above, things can get pretty cold! Bring all the clothes you’ll need for the weekend, and some extras if you want to be safe.
  • Towels! At least one, but two is better. The showers on site are diesel heated, and you’ll want to use them.
  • Toiletries. A tooth brush, tooth paste, shampoo, soap, all the basics you’d need for the weekend. This includes deodorant. We don’t want smelly furries.
  • Decent outdoor footwear. The site is fairly easy to get about, but if you want to spend time outdoors you’ll probably want to bring some decent shoes. Some activities may require closed-toe shows.
  • A rain jacket.
  • A water bottle.
  • A torch.

And, a few more things (that while not essential,) you might want to bring.

  • Snacks and drinks. The nearest full-service supermarket is Countdown Amberley, located about a ten minute drive away from the site. There will not be any snacks available for purchase on-site, so we recommend you bring some with you.
  • Basic medication. It’s a good idea to bring any basic medication you could need - Ibuprofen, Immodium, Paracetemol, and antacids being a few examples.
  • Earbuds, earplugs, or headphones. You may end up sharing a room with someone who snores!
  • Swimming togs. We will be having a water-slide activity, and you’ll need togs for this. Wetsuits will not be allowed (site policy).

What not to bring

  • Weapons. We can’t allow weapons on-site at Southern Paws. If you want to use a prop weapon as part of your costume, please contact us in advance to ask if it’s okay. Nerf guns and soft arrows are permitted as long as they are used outdoors and only between consenting persons. You must also clean up after use.
  • Pets will not be allowed at Southern Paws. Guide dogs, and other disability assistance animals are permitted, but we may ask for evidence of this. Please contact us as soon as possible if this applies to you.
  • Explosives, flamethrowers, dangerous things.
  • Drugs. We will not allow any drugs that are not prescription or over the counter. All prescription medicines must be in their original containers unless evidence is provided that it is the same as what your prescription states. Anything else is prohibited and will be reported to police. We will not allow any illegal substances.
  • Valuables. We don’t have any secure storage available on site, so please don’t bring anything valuable that you might lose.

What to do

As with any convention, remember the 6-2-1 rule: Get six good hours of sleep each night, eat two good meals each day, and take one good shower each morning. Besides that, just have fun. Furries tend to be a friendly bunch, so get out there, mingle, and chat!

Remember the event staff are just volunteers, and we pay for our tickets just like anyone else. None of us are making anything from the convention and we are doing it for you folks, the NZ furry fandom. So be nice, considerate, and understand that we are trying our best to make this an awesome weekend for all of us.

On behalf of myself and the rest of the staff, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has decided to attend this year. We’re still a young convention and your support has made this all possible. I would also like to thank the artists Inka and GaelicNox, for all of the amazing work they have done to help bring this convention alive.

We’ll see you soon.

~ kap