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Roadshow Helps Build Event Expertise In The Thermal Explorer Region

More than 60 event organisers from the central North Island took part in capability building workshops recently as part of the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund roadshow.

The free workshops, held in Taupō, Ohakune, Rotorua, and Hamilton throughout March, helped event organisers and others involved in event management to develop strategies for measuring the performance of their events and planning for future growth.

Among those attending was Events Collective Director Janette Douglas, who helped organise the UCI BMX World Cup in Rotorua in February and the inaugural Great Kiwi Summer Festival in Karapiro last November.

She said the funding the two events had received had made a significant contribution to their success and the workshops had provided valuable networking opportunities and advice that would help her and others grow their events further.

“While the funds primary role was to distribute funding to events that attract visitors to the Thermal Explorer region, I really want to acknowledge the great work with the roadshow initiative,” she said.

“All those I have attended have had great presenters and offered practical and relevant content.”

The March roadshow was facilitated by Lawrence Storey and Shelley Empson from Storied Consulting. It was the third in a series of four roadshows funded by the Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund, which is now in its final year of operation.

The $3.75 million fund was established in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic to help stimulate domestic tourism and travel to the Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu regions by supporting events.

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Fifty events have been offered funding since the fund was created, attracting an estimated 370,000 people to the Thermal Explorer region.

These include new events such as the Ohakune Carrot Rocket Launch held in April 2023, the Middle-earth Halfling Marathon™, which has just held its third rendition in March, and the Love Taupō Trail Festival, which will debut at the end of April.

The fund has also supported a number of existing events such as the Hamilton Arts Festival – Toi ora ki Kirikiriroa which rebranded in 2023, and the New Zealand Blues and BBQ Festival and ARONUI Indigenous Arts Festival, both held in Rotorua.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism Events Manager Aimee Tyson said the roadshow series complemented the event funding by helping to build capability among event organisers, leaving a legacy.

“We have had everyone from event organisers to venue and council event teams, community organisations and club representatives at the workshops. The lessons learned and the connections made bode well for the future of events in the central North Island.”

A survey of participants at the March workshops found that all attendees who responded to the survey rated the workshops as ‘extremely valuable’ or ‘valuable’ and that they would be interested in attending further workshops in future.

The fourth and final Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund capability-building roadshow will take place in September, with workshops held in Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu. The venues and topics for those workshops will be announced in July.

The Thermal Explorer Regional Events Fund is managed collectively through the Event Investment Panel, which is made up of a representative from each of the regional tourism organisations in the Thermal Explorer area – Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (Lead Entity), RotoruaNZ, Destination Great Lake Taupō, and Visit Ruapehu – and one local council representative from each of the four regions.

It is part of the government’s $50 million Regional Events Fund, set up by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment in 2020 to help promote economic growth through hosting of events following Covid-19.

© Scoop Media

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