Regional event funding approved


2020-12-21T16:26:00 Pacific/Auckland

17 Dec 20


The Thermal Explorer Highway collective , made up of Ruapehu, Waikato, Rotorua and Taupō , has been approved $3.75 million for regional events by Tourism Minister Stuart Nash today (Thurs 17th Dec 2020).

The local Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) from Ruapehu, Waikato, Rotorua and Taupō, alongside their council partners, have worked together on developing a collaborative regional events investment plan for the next 2-3 years to drive additional domestic visitation into their regions.

This is the first investment from the $50 million Regional Events Fund to stimulate domestic tourism and travel between regions through holding events. The fund is intended to support the tourism and events sector, and replace some of the spend from international tourists as a result of COVID-19.

Ruapehu GM Jo Kennedy says that “as a premium outdoor adventure landscape located centrally between Auckland and Wellington, Ruapehu is well positioned to grow this aspect of its visitor market, with recent Tourism New Zealand research indicating that up to one-third of domestic travel is primarily driven by people looking to participate in events. We see the collaboration between Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu will lead to a strong and compelling event proposition for our four regions, who also partnered together for the recent $10 million Domestic Events Fund”

“Our regions have a history of working together in the international long-haul market under the Explore Central North Island marketing alliance which also includes Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, so partnering in the regional events space was a natural fit too” added Kennedy.

Ruapehu Destination Development Manager Warren Furner says “the benefit of events in our region are economic and social. They add to the profile and reputation of our area and often give rise to repeat visits and advocacy from participants”

The bulk of the $3.75 million fund will be used to create a contestable fund with successful events being supported over a three year period. The focus will be on the development of event with a mix of new and expansion of existing events. Another portion of the funding will be used to develop or update existing regional event strategies, plus run capability building workshops and training for event organisers and suppliers, with the remainder to cover administration, legal and event measurement.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash congratulated the Thermal Explorer Regional Event Fund collective for being first out of the blocks to submit an investment plan.

“The RTOs have collaborated across the districts and are now the first to have funding released to spend according to local priorities” says Nash.

“Events will reflect common themes across the districts, including water-related sports and action events; music, cultural and heritage events; and food and beverage events. These events will help to accelerate the economic recovery in these regions and support local jobs and businesses” added Nash.

Further information on the contestable fund, event criteria and application process will be made available early in the New Year.

To ensure event organisers receive notification when the Thermal Explorer Regional Event Fund opens, please email [email protected]


The Thermal Explorer Highway collective , made up of Ruapehu, Waikato, Rotorua and Taupō , has been approved $3.75 million for regional events by Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

Page reviewed: 21 Dec 2020 4:26pm