Today, Olivia Rodrigo announced her Australian tour dates for her GUTS world tour, snubbing New Zealand to the dismay of her Kiwi fans.

Fans had been hopeful for at least an Auckland show in the past few weeks as rumours swirled about Rodrigo’s world tour heading to this part of the world, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be the case.

Sadly for Aotearoa, it’s hardly a new thing. For a long time, it’s seemed like the world biggest stars have often disregarded New Zealand when they eventually do make their way to Australasia.

The list of artists that have snubbed New Zealand over the years is lengthy: From Taylor Swift to Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney to Oliver Tree, not to mention hip hop legend The Game “not making it” for his booked Juicy Fest appearance in January, some of the biggest names in music have bypassed the country completely on their respective tours.

There are many factors that might contribute to this unfortunate oversight.

It seems like, to a lot of Kiwis anyway, that New Zealand gets mistaken for just being a part of Australia by people from overseas, particularly Americans. Perhaps due to the smaller population, artists don’t deem it worthy of a visit.

However, history shows that’s not the case. In fact, New Zealand concertgoers have proven time and time again that they’re some of the most passionate, dedicated fans around. And there’s a clear reason for this: because artists don’t come to New Zealand too often, when they do, we don’t take it for granted.

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When SZA toured New Zealand last month, she called it her “favourite place on earth”, and that she’d never experienced energy like the Kiwi fans before, later capping her trip by getting a Kirituhi from a local Māori tattoo artist. Eilish might not be coming to the country on her upcoming tour, but she once called New Zealand one of her “favourite places in the world.”

Artists like Ed Sheeran and Kendrick Lamar have also packed out New Zealand shows and enjoyed their experience, while Drake even chose Auckland to restart his world tour here in 2016 after an eight-month break.

With New Zealand being in a recession in 2024, perhaps over-priced concerts are a luxury not enough Kiwis can currently afford. Maybe artist like Swift, with their expansive and complex set designs, don’t trust New Zealand to have venues capable of handling their shows.

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It means that being a music fan in New Zealand can often be a tough gig, watching Australian concertgoers enviously from afar, or spending more than they should to get flights to Melbourne or Sydney to see an artist’s show.

More artists are definitely starting to make the trip – see SZA – but just as many still ignore and disregard New Zealand, or cancel their plans last minute.

Going forward, hopefully testimonials such as SZA’s can show touring companies that New Zealand is are worth booking. SZA and Eilish and Ed love us; we have more festivals than any other country in the world; there’s a reason that drum ‘n bass and EDM thrives here. Our music fans go hard.

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