Government funding on offer to build uniquely Kiwi events

A fund aimed at helping Kiwi events highlight New Zealand's natural and cultural beauty has opened for applications this month.

Known as the Creative and Cultural Events Incubator it offers up to $300,000 for events that have the potential to bring in both cultural and economic benefits.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's major events manager Kylie-Hawker Green said the funding enables those in the sector to create events that "celebrate our national identity and makes us unique in the global context".

"It's a really strong opportunity for New Zealand to tell our stories and helps us recognise our really special place in the world," she said. "These events employ people in our regions. They provide business for local suppliers and when they hit that international scale there's international visitation."

Since it began in 2019 the incubator programme has invested more than $2.9m into a number of events, helping them build from the ground up as well as encouraging them to look offshore to our international markets.

Auckland's Pasifika Festival is one of those to benefit with a $100,000 grant. While crowds in the SuperCity have enjoyed its annual presence for nearly three decades, the team behind it hope to use that funding to transform it into a drawcard for international tourists.

Tataki Auckland Unlimited's head of major events Chris Simpson said it offers an opportunity to give the world a taste of New Zealand's unique Pacific culture.

"Our Pacific culture is extremely important and obviously we have the biggest population of people in the world," he said. "So that is important socially and from a cultural perspective.

"Economically if we can help it grow to become that big anchor annual event, it helps drive the visitor economy."

The grant was also vital to those behind the inaugural Matariki Mackenzie festival this year. It gave the festival's cultural director Victoria Campbell the ability to dream big.

"The funding has enabled us to open up the invitation and to share our knowledge and bring visitors on that journey of discovery with the beauty of the skyscape."

Tickets to this year's event were sold out, giving her hope it won't just be a one-off.

"I would hope that we would become the place to be at Matariki. It is a fabulous place to come to admire and learn more about our dark skies."


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