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Funded events to attract 40,000 people to Ruapehu region

Funded events to attract 40,000 people to Ruapehu region

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.

Upcoming events:
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

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Lethbridge Pride events attract hundreds to celebrate the community

Lethbridge Pride events attract hundreds to celebrate the community

Breanne Otis (she/her), who was at Pride in the Park celebrating, says she she loves it. “I love celebrating pride both with my friends and just being a part of a big, large, happy community that is, you know, kind of not really visually seen too much inside Lethbridge,” Otis said, “but it’s great to see the big engagement we have.”

That engagement is needed according to Otis, as the recent events in the United States have her concerned about what could possibly happen in Canada.

“The right to autonomy to our bodies, especially what’s happening in the States right now. We are in charge of our own rights. The government doesn’t really have, shouldn’t have a say to what I do with my body,” said Otis. “I think it’s really important to remember that it takes a community, and a village to support each other. And having the viewpoint of, you know, some person is telling me I can’t do anything with my body that I want to do with it isn’t right. And I want to definitely show my support and I want to stand against that and help people keep their bodies autonomous to themselves and all the services they can get for themselves.”

River Stone (they/he) also took part in the celebration today, and they say it’s important to attend Pride and show support for the community.

“It’s a good celebration of finding not only people within your community, but also celebrating that community in and of itself, and I think that’s really important,” Stone said. “I like coming out, showing my support for my fellow queers, and getting some protected public recognition.”

Stone added that with this being the first in-person celebration in two years, it’s extra important to show up and support those who were impacted by the pandemic, as it was especially hard on certain members of the community.

“The pandemic really took a toll on all of us, but especially the immunocompromised and disabled,” said Stone. “So, for all of us to be able to come out and be together, without a whole lot of worry about the pandemic anymore, I think it’s really important that we get to see each other, because everybody lost community over the pandemic. So, I think this is a good revitalization of that.”

If you’re interested in taking part in any of the Pride events happening around Lethbridge this weekend, you can visit the Lethbridge Pride website.