Thermal Explorer Highway Regional Events Fund

Application and Assessment process

Evaluation Criteria

  • Eligible EOI applications will be assessed using the information given as answers to each question in the EOI application form.
  • Applicants are required to answer each question. Applications that do not address each question adequately will not be considered.
  • For shortlisted applications invited to present to the Panel, they will be further assessed based on required supporting documentation and information provided.
Thermal Explorer REF Funding Application – Evaluation Criteria

VISITATION: How will your event stimulate additional visitation into the host region?

Detail: The applicant must demonstrate how the event will attract additional inter (from one region to another) and intra-regional visitation (within the same region, 50km from home). This can be highlighted by event strategies in place; who and where the target markets are from; what type of event is being hosted; and whether this is a new, one-off or existing event.


  • Size and scale of the event
  • Marketing strategies - local, regional and national campaigns
  • Seasonality - event held outside of visitation season
  • Statutory/school holidays
  • If an existing event, will need to highlight how funding will be utilised to stimulate additional visitation i.e. additional event day or event component; or marketing strategies that support this objective.
  • Expected visitors - who are they; what are they likely to spend; how long will they stay?

VIABILITY: How will your event be viable, feasible and financially sustainable?

Detail: The applicant must provide information to showcase the viability of the event; outline why this event is a good idea; outline how the region has the appropriate facilities to host the event and how the event will comply with applicable laws, regulations, rules and professional codes of conduct or practice including meeting the Event Sector Voluntary Code and the COVID-19 Protection Framework; and demonstrate how the event has the potential to be financially sustainable and/or become an iconic/anchor event for the region.


  • Regions ability to host the event including having the appropriate facilities such as infrastructure, accommodation, waste management, and access.
  • Feasibility study
  • Business plan
  • Income source/s
  • Risks assessment of the event including funding, COVID-19, other events at same time, weather contingencies
  • Strategy to grow your event
  • Competitive analysis - in the region, within New Zealand (same events, like events, similar target market)

MANAGEMENT: What event management experience do you have?

Detail: The applicant must outline event management experience and background of the applicant entity and provide evidence of successful and financially sound event delivery and/or suitability of the organisation to successfully manage and deliver the event.


  • Company/organisation profile
  • CV of management team/coordinator
  • Event delivery background/experience
  • Event portfolio
  • Previous event collateral
  • Contractors/suppliers involved/intended to utilise
  • Track record
  • Relevant skills

REGIONAL FIT: How does your event align to the regional brand and priorities of the host region?

Detail: The applicant must outline the significance of this event for the host region and the alignment to the regional brand. The applicant may provide detail on how the event supports iwi and/or community engagement, improve social wellbeing and pride-of-place for residents.


  • Alignment to regional brand – refer to your RTO for details
  • Strategic alignment to the host region
  • Priority will be given to the following event themes: water related events, cultural/heritage, culinary/food/brews, agriculture/equine, adventure, conservation, music, sport (age-group related, high-performance sport)

BENEFITS: What benefits does your event provide to the host region?

Detail: The applicant must outline the event benefits for the host region.


  • Economic (not visitation or other economic benefits already provided within the application)
  • Environmental
  • Social / Community
  • Cultural
  • Exposure of the region i.e. TV coverage, promotion
Other Evaluation / Eligibility Considerations

Event Profile

The applicant must be able to demonstrate the size of the event in terms of (historical information if existing event, or estimates if new or one-off event):

  • Audience
  • Spectator numbers
  • Participant numbers, and/or
  • Media profile

Status of Event Organiser

The applicant must be a legal entity – registered organisation, association or industry group (or be in the process of setting up as a legal entity)

Event Eligibility

Refer to Eligibility for eligibility criteria and considerations.

Applications for event funding are assessed on their ability to meet the Thermal Explorer REF objectives. If you are unsure whether your event is eligible, or you feel your event should be considered for funding, please contact us to discuss.

Timing of Event

  • Funding will not be granted retrospectively or outside of the 2022 event funding application round.
  • The event must take place in the timeframe relevant to the 2022 event funding application round (no earlier than Friday 1 July 2022 - subject to the discretion of the Panel)

Economic Benefit

If the proposed event is a new event, assessments may be made through comparison of events of a similar nature. If a previously held event, performance data may be used to assess the event.
Other economic benefit considerations include: impacts on the supply chain, events sector and wider economy, and how the event is broadcasted regionally and nationally.

Calendar Fit

The REF supports inter and intra-regional visitation strategies and objectives of each region - events need to demonstrate how the timing of their event meets the key visitation and economic drivers of the region.

Financial Viability

The Panel will assess the event’s ability of:

  • Financial Management: deliver demonstrated financial sustainability and management capacity
  • Financial Support: generate financial support beyond REF funding


The Panel will take into strong consideration the endorsement of the event by RTO and regional stakeholders.

The Panel – Experience and capability

The Panel will utilise their background, skills/experience, events and tourism industry knowledge and contacts to assess and validate the application and information contained within.