Regional Events Fund

The $50 million Regional Events Fund is designed to stimulate domestic tourism and travel between regions through holding events. This is intended to support the tourism and events sector, and replace some of the spending from international tourists due to the border closure as a result of COVID-19.

Events are important for regional travel

Tourism New Zealand research indicates that up to one third of domestic travel is primarily driven by people looking to participate in events. This research also highlights how New Zealanders intend to spend more on domestic holidays including events.

Understanding New Zealanders sentiment towards domestic travel(external link) – Tourism New Zealand

This provides confidence that domestic visitation will grow especially as outbound travel is in decline. As such, it makes sense to support the events sector, encourage intra-regional travel and increase the spill over benefits across regions.

Funding allocation

The Fund has been split across International Marketing Alliances (IMA) groupings based on their share of international visitor spending prior to COVID-19.

All nine Regional Investment Plans have been received, reviewed against the criteria and approved.

The Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) in each IMA, the amount of funding approved and website links to further information about each regional investment plan including relevant contact details are provided in the links below. The remaining links will be added as they become available within the coming days.

Under this model, MBIE is not making decisions on which events are funded. Each IMA grouping has the autonomy to determine the mix of events that best meets the regions’ needs over the next two to four years.        

International Marketing Alliance grouping RTOs included Funding allocated (million) Further information about the plan and contact details
Northland & Auckland Auckland Unlimited, Northland Inc $19.00 Auckland Unlimited website(external link)
Thermal Explorer Highway Destination Rotorua, Destination Great Lake Taupō, Visit Ruapehu, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism $3.75 Hamilton and Waikato Tourism website(external link)
Pacific Coast Highway Western Bay of Plenty Tourism and Visitors Trust, Hawke's Bay Tourism, Trust Tairāwhiti, Destination Coromandel $2.00 Bay of Plenty NZ website(external link)
Western North Island Venture Taranaki, Whanganui & Partners, Central Economic Development Agency $1.00 Venture Taranaki website(external link)
Wellington & Wairarapa WellingtonNZ, Destination Wairarapa $3.50 WellingtonNZ website(external link)
Nelson & Marlborough Nelson Regional Development Agency, Destination Marlborough $1.50 Nelson Regional Development Agency website(external link)

Regional Events Fund Summary for Nelson Tasman [PDF, 75KB] (external link)
Canterbury & West Coast ChristchurchNZ, Venture Timaru, Hurunui Tourism, Development West Coast, Destination Kaikōura, Mackenzie Tourism $7.00 ChristchurchNZ website(external link)
Southern Lakes Destination Queenstown, Lake Wanaka Tourism, Tourism Central Otago, Destination Fiordland $8.50 Southern Lakes Regional Events Funding website (external link)
Pure Southern Land Enterprise Dunedin, Great South, Tourism Waitaki, Development Clutha $1.50 DunedinNZ website(external link)
Total to IMAs $47.75  
TRENZ $2.00  
Fund Management $0.25  
Total Fund $50.00  

Regions have received different levels of funding

This fund intends to support those regions hit hardest by the downturn in international visitors. This means each region is receiving funding based on its share of the International Visitor Spend prior to COVID-19.

Regional Events Funding is for a wide-range of event-related activities

The Regional Events Fund can be used for some or all of the following activities:

  • Event funding for new and existing events that drive inter and intra-regional visitation.
  • Capability or capacity building for event management (e.g. manage event programme) for a Lead Entity or Panel Member.
  • Fund management/secretariat.
  • Event strategy development.
  • Event feasibility studies and event development.

This work could be completed by using RTO staff, or by external resources or third party.

The funding will be used towards a wide range of events and activities that will generate interest and encourage inter and intra-regional travel. These include new or one-off events across a variety of sport, arts, cultural, business and other themes. However, it is up to each IMA grouping to determine what events will receive funding – as all events that drive inter and intra-regional visitation are eligible to receive funding.

The $50 million Regional Events Fund complements, but is different to, the existing $10 million Domestic Events Fund and Major Events Fund

The $10 million Domestic Events Fund was a short term fund which excludes one-off or small events. The new $50 million Regional Events Fund has a much wider focus, and looks to support longer term broad-ranging events.

It is preferable that events that currently receive funding through an MBIE fund, including the Domestic Events Fund or Major Events Fund, do not also receive funding through the Regional Events Fund. This is to minimise duplication with MBIE-funded events, and to ensure that a wide range of events and event subsectors are supported. However, if a region believes that further investment will drive domestic tourism, as is the intent of the Regional Events Fund, then this may be permissible but must be discussed with MBIE first.

The Regional Events Fund can be used to support events that receive funding from other Central Government agencies

MBIE has worked with officials from Sport New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage regarding event-specific funds they operate. In order to open up funding for event- or subsector- specific funds, there is no restriction on regions with regards to funding events using both the Regional Events Fund and other agency event funding. IMA groupings will be required to report on any events that receive funding from both the Regional Events Fund and other Government funds.

Regional Events Fund funding cannot be used:

  • For events which do not drive out of region visitation (for example, a community farmers market, annual Santa parade). This is because these sorts of events do not provide significant flow-on benefits to tourism operators in regions, such as those in the accommodation and hospitality businesses.
  • For destination marketing, as the Regional Tourism Organisation funding through the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme covers this activity. However, marketing for specific events is permitted.
  • As a substitute for existing committed funding (from Local Government or Trust Funds that significantly contribute to regional events). However, it can be used to provide additional scale to an existing event.
  • To competitively bid with other regions for the same event.

Reporting on the outcomes of the investments

IMA groupings will provide six-monthly reports to MBIE on the impact of their plans

At this stage, we do not know which events will be funded, when, where, or how this will change visitation between regions. IMA groupings have phased their budgets in their regional investment plans and can propose any amendments to MBIE. This enables them to adapt quickly to the changing environment, for example moving through COVID-19 alert levels.

IMA groupings are required to notify MBIE of all events their Regional Events Fund allocation is being used towards a minimum of 20 days prior to each event commencing.


TRENZ is the largest annual business-to-business trade expo for the tourism industry, and it is led by Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

TRENZ is receiving $2 million for their annual expo and to support its evolution moving into a post COVID-19 landscape.

Tourism Recovery Ministers have agreed for Regional Events Fund funding to be used to support TRENZ in 2021. Financial support to TRENZ for future years is yet to be decided.

Tourism New Zealand is working in partnership with Tourism Industry Aotearoa to support and evolve TRENZ for the future.

Further information

If you are interested in accessing funding from the Regional Events Fund, please refer to the funding allocation table provided above to determine which IMA grouping to contact and access their website for further information.

For any other queries, please contact the MBIE team via

Last updated: 02 February 2021