The nearly $450,000 of funding will be dispersed among six Ruapehu events, including the Raetihi Gutbuster. Photo / Supplied
Six events in Ruapehu have been awarded funding, predicted to attract over 40,000 people, with two-thirds being visitors from outside the region.
The Ruapehu event organisers will receive funding from a pool of nearly $450,000 over the next two to three years, following the announcement of a second tranche of funding from the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund.
A mixture of new and existing events will receive the funding, covering diverse interest areas of snow sports, trail running, cycling, music and culture.
The events are Tom Campbell Big Air, Ohakune Roots & Blues Festival, Kotahitanga Festival, Vertical Sky Waka Challenge, Raetihi Gutbuster and one other that is still to be confirmed.
A Ruapehu District Council spokesperson Kim Treen said in the past it was small groups of volunteers delivering Ruapehu events, and he was pleased they could receive this financial support over the next three years.
“The support allows the funded events to be developed, positioned and marketed to be or become an iconic or anchor event for the region, encouraging economic benefit and boosting capability in our events sector,” Treen said.
The Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund was set up by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to help support and provide new domestic visitor opportunities for the events and tourism sectors that have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The event organiser of Taumarunui’s Kotahitanga Festival Anahera Hose said they were grateful to be successful with the support to grow the festival into a strong regional proposition.
Thermal Explorer Event Investment Panel member Nicola Greenwell said they had held capability-building workshops and webinars for event organisers, and planned on expanding them as they focus on developing the events sector capability across the Thermal Explorer regions.
Greenwell said she encouraged event organisers to register their interest to receive notification of capability-building opportunities.
The Thermal Explorer Highway fund covers events in Rotorua, Taupō, Ruapehu, as well as Hamilton and the wider Waikato.
Tom Campbell Big Air – September 23-24, 2022
Ohakune Roots & Blues Festival – October 21, 2022
Vertical Sky Waka Challenge – 10-12 March, 2023
Raetihi Gutbuster 25 March, 2023