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.
The site, and times
The event will be held at the Waipara Adventure Centre. The event will be running from Friday to Sunday. The site opens for attendees at 1:30 PM on Friday, and closes at noon on Sunday.
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.
Signing in and out
When you first arrive at the site, you’ll need to sign in. 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 balloons you can follow from the car parking area to con registration. So just remember, follow the balloons!
If you wish to leave the site at any point, you must return to registration and sign out.
The forms of identification we can accept are listed below:
- 18+ Card
- Kiwi Access Card
- 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
Meals will be provided, including all meals on Saturday as well as breakfast on Sunday. 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 will be 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 allowing alcohol, however we are placing restrictions on what is allowed. These can be found listed below:
- No more than 10 standard drinks for the entire event.
- Must be in its original container.
- All alcohol above the limit will be confiscated.
- Any mild to severe intoxication will not be tolerated and if you are intoxicated you will be put in a safe place until you are sober.
The current weather forecast for Saturday is patches of rain. This isn’t ideal for our outdoor events, but we’ll try to do as many as we can despite the rain. If the rain is too bad to go ahead, we’ll try to postpone, and in the worst case scenario, we may have to cancel some outdoor events. We highly recommend you bring good outdoor gear - a rain jacket, waterproof shoes, and something warm.
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, our onsite medical fox will be wearing a red shirt, so he should be easy to spot.
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 0225655351 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.
If you have any problems with your fursuit or cosplay, our artist Kittyraa will be bringing basic supplies to help fix minor damage and tears.
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. We don’t recommend a wetsuit for this activity, though.
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.
- Drugs. We will not allow any drugs that are not prescription or over the counter. This includes “legal highs”. 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 maybe reported to police.
- 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.
We’d also like to thank all of those who are attending this year for helping make this event possible. The old cliche remains true - none of this could have happened without your support.