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23 Jan 17: Event-Full year for Waikato

Waikato will be alive with a multitude of events throughout 2017. Our mighty region will be busy, pulsing with musical, artistic, sporting and business events as well as various festivals to thrill locals and visitors alike.

We have noticed an increase in visitor expenditure in our region and this is predicted to continue to grow this year.

Balloons Over Waikato

Recent statistics show Hamilton and the Waikato region garnered $1367 million in annual visitor expenditure for the year ended October 2016, an increase of 9.6 percent from the previous year.

International expenditure in Waikato (NZ’s fifth largest tourism region) sits at $320 million and domestic expenditure totals $1047m (year ended October 2016).

So, what will be entertaining our locals and attracting people to our region this year? Nationally and regionally significant events are in the mix.

We have kicked things off in January with Raglan’s Soundsplash Festival (January 20-22) and Festival One at Mystery Creek Events Centre (January 28-30). February is a hugely busy month with diverse activity. The mix includes the The Winery Tour at Vilagrad (February 3), Kawhia Kai Festival (February 4); Blackcaps v Australia cricketing action (February 5); International Polo NZ v England at the Kihikihi Polo Ground (February 11); Acceleration on Water Festival of Speed, Lake Karapiro (February 11-12); Blackcaps v South Africa (February 19) and Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival (February 17-26). The arts festival will feature a plethora of events including a “Marley” concert featuring NZ’s greatest musical talents paying homage to Bob Marley. Other events of note include “Backyard Beats”, perennial favourites “The Sunset Symphony” and the “Outdoor Film Series”.

Iconic, major Waikato events include Balloons Over Waikato (March 22-26) and NZ National Agricultural Fieldays, (June 14-17).

In April we welcome the World Masters Games (April 21-29) with the cycling and rowing heats being held in Waikato. The world’s largest multisport event is set to host 25,000 athletes from more than 100 countries, with 1300 athletes competing in Cambridge and Lake Karapiro.

The DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 – set to attract an estimated 25,000 international visitors – will also be shining a spotlight on the region. The Chiefs v The British & Irish Lions match will be held at FMG Waikato Stadium on June 20 and the Rugby League World Cup will include two Hamilton matches in November 2017 (Samoa v Tonga on November 4 and NZ v Tonga on November 11).

Major international conferences will be staged in the region and are expected to inject more than $2.3 million into the local economy during 2017. These conferences include the meeting of the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC27 Working Groups on IT Security Techniques being held in April, and the Conference of the International Society for River Science being held in November, at The University of Waikato. Other major conferences include the He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research Conference being held at Claudelands Conference & Exhibition Centre in March, and the Australia & New Zealand Garden History Society Conference being held at Hamilton Gardens in November.

Events such as conferences and business events perform a critical role of showcasing the region to complement the Regional Tourism Strategy, broadening and highlighting the region’s visitor offering. They maximise economic gains for the location and wider Hamilton and Waikato region by increasing visitor nights spent in Waikato, and locally raises participation and pride.

Looking at the year ahead, there is much to participate in, with a range of events in which the greater Waikato can take pride. For a full list of events go to

HamiltonWritten by Amanda Graham -, tel: (07) 843 0056, email: