The Waikato region is now at Red. For more information visit →

Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund

Expressions of interest for the second round of funding are now invited.

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).

Expressions of Interest are now invited and need to be submitted by 5pm, Wednesday 2 March 2022.


Important links and information
Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund – Funding Application Guidelines 2022

Please download and ensure you have fully read the guidelines before you apply. The Frequently Asked Questions may also help with your planning.

Expression of Interest online application

If your event meets the criteria to apply for funding, please download and complete the following templates to assist with your application preparation before submitting your Expression of Interest online.

  • Word template – the online form cannot be saved during application, therefore please prepare your responses within this document (if required).
  • Event Budget template – you will need to save your completed budget, then upload when prompted in your Expression of Interest online application.
Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund - 2021 Event Funding Round

Highlights of the 2021 round of Funding Applications including event funding recipients.

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

Timeline and next steps
9.00am, Friday 28 January 2022 Expressions of Interest (EOI) open
5pm, Wednesday 2 March 2022 Expressions of Interest (EOI) closes
TBC (postponed from Thursday 10 February 2022) Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund Workshop -
  • Where: Hilton Lake Taupō
March/April 2022 Expression of Interest (EOI) applications shortlisted
Monday 2 – Wednesday 4 May 2022 Shortlisted applicants present to the Panel
  • Location: Cambridge
End-May 2022 Shortlisted applicants informed of outcome
June 2022 Events contracted
From 1 July 2022 Events commence

For more information

Lead Entity for the Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund (REF):
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism

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


The Regional Events Fund is a part of the New Zealand Governments Tourism Recovery Package established as a result of COVID-19 with the purpose of stimulating domestic tourism and travel between regions through hosting of events, which is intended to replace expenditure from international tourists. Please visit for further information.

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 regions of the Thermal Explorer area