Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund

The first round of funding from the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund has been confirmed.

The Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund includes the Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu regions and is managed collectively through the Event Investment Panel (eight representatives from the four regions).

Key highlights of the 2021 round of Funding Applications:

  • 82 Expressions of Interest received
    • 28 Waikato events
    • 19 Rotorua events
    • 12 Taupō events
    • 7 Ruapehu events
    • 16 events hosted across more than one of the Thermal Explorer regions
  • More than $16 million requested
  • Half of the applications were for NEW events
  • Estimated total event attendees 827,000; estimated total out of region visitors 434,000; therefore approximately 52% of total estimated event attendees are visitors to our region.

The Panel were impressed with the calibre of applications and the opportunity of new events and expansion of existing events throughout the region. Of these 82 applicants, 22 were shortlisted for phase two – individual presentations to the Panel.

The Panel assessed all 82 applications against five main criteria, considered presentations from the 22 shortlisted events and are pleased to confirm that 15 events* have been offered funding from the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund.

The selected events are a mixture of new and existing; business, sport, culture, exhibitions; range across the geographical area of the full region; are predicted to attract over 120,000 attendees, with two-thirds being visitors from outside the host region. Some events have three-year funding agreements, others received one-year investment to boost their development.

Event funding recipients 2021 round:

  • ARONUI Indigenous Arts Festival
  • Dare2Sweat Events Limited
  • Equifest
  • Long Course Weekend
  • Love Trails Festival
  • New Zealand National Fieldays Society – New Event A
  • New Zealand National Fieldays Society – New Event B
  • New Zealand Rugby League National Tournaments
  • Ohakune Events Charitable Trust’
  • SX4
  • The Great Kiwi Summer Expo
  • Tom Campbell Big Air (TC Big Air)
  • Tourism Summit Aotearoa and Tourism Awards Dinner
  • Whaka 100

*One funded event will be announced at a later date.

Important links and information
Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund – 2020/21 Key Achievements

For more information on key achievements 

Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Investment Plan

For more information including an overview of the Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Investment Plan

Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund – Funding Application Guidelines 2021

Expressions of Interest for the 2021 Funding Application round have now closed. The Funding Application Guidelines 2021 and Frequently Asked Questions are still available to download if required.

Timeline and next steps
Wednesday 25 August 2021 Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund Capability Building Workshop
  • Where: Taupō
  • Details: TBC
January / February 2022 Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund – Funding Application Guidelines 2022
  • The guidelines and FAQs will be updated and available to download.
9.00am, Wednesday 2 February 2022 Expressions of Interest (EOI) open (2022 Funding Application round)
Mid-February 2022 Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund Capability Building Workshop
  • Where: TBC
  • Details: TBC
5.00pm, Wednesday 2 March 2022 Expressions of Interest (EOI) closes (2022 Funding Application round)

For more information

Lead Entity for the Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund (REF):
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism
Email: ThermExREF@waikatonz.com

If you would like to register to receive updates and information about the Thermal Explorer Highway REF, please subscribe here

Background 

The $3.75m Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund is part of the $50 million Regional Events Fund announced by the New Zealand Government in September 2020 as a result of COVID-19. The purpose of the fund is to stimulate domestic tourism and travel between regions through hosting of events, which is intended to replace expenditure from international tourists. Please visit www.mbie.govt.nz for more background on the Regional Events Fund.

The purpose for the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund is a contestable fund that will be utilised to focus on developing, securing or enhancing new and existing events to become long term sustainable “iconic” or “anchor” events for the regions; and to support capability development of the event ecosystem in the four regions of the Thermal Explorer area.