Regional collaboration secures $700,000 of funding for Coastal Bay of Plenty events

Tāpoi Te Moananui ā Toi | Tourism Bay of Plenty (TBOP) has confirmed funding for at least 15 events over the next two years thanks to the Regional Events Fund and a new contestable funding collaboration with other regional funding partners.  

$500,000 in the contestable fund originated from the Regional Events Fund (REF), part of the Government’s Tourism Recovery Package intended to support the visitor sector by stimulating domestic travel and replacing the loss of international visitor spending due to COVID-19.

After TBOP approached Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty funder TECT to take a collaborative approach to reviewing applications, the $500,000 expanded to $700,000 thanks to TECT contributions.

This new contestable event funding process heralds a new approach to sharing regional knowledge, insights, overviews, and expertise to get the maximum of out of regional funding opportunities, says TBOP Tumuaki | General Manager Oscar Nathan.

“It’s an approach that we’re excited to have spearheaded,” says TBOP Tumuaki | General Manager Oscar Nathan.

“When we work in silos, the result isn’t optimal. Sharing knowledge and running a transparent contest of applications has brought about an exciting result that we intend to build on with our new partners in the future. It’s how we’re going to take our events calendar to the next level.”

And it couldn’t have come at a better time, when events are desperately needed to stimulate and invigorate our COVID-19 impacted economy and communities, explains Nathan.

“Events provide fantastic incentives for Kiwis to travel, especially during off-peak seasons, delivering huge flow-on effects for accommodation, hospitality, retail, and tourism activities.

“This is even more critical in terms of catering to domestic tourism while our borders remain closed to international manuhiri ki tāwāhi (international visitors).”

TECT General Manager Wayne Werder says this collaborative approach with other event experts and funders in the community is critical to maximise the events calendar and associated opportunities.

“We all know that there is power in numbers and in unity. By working together and pooling our funding, we’re having greater impact and helping more events realise their goals to bring our community together to celebrate, compete and connect.

“The value in realising these goals is that we can achieve post-COVID community revitalisation and economic growth. We’re looking forward to seeing the confirmed events we have supported in Tauranga bring a new life to our region; one full of opportunities for our people and opportunities for these events to continue in the years ahead as a vital part of our events calendar.

“We also recognise that many events have had to cancel or postpone due to the Alert Level restrictions and lockdown. It is never an easy decision to make, but we know it is ultimately the right one given the climate we are in. We thank the countless volunteers and event organisers for their mahi in organising these events and know they will come back stronger than ever when the time is right.”

Also on the Coastal Bay of Plenty Regional Events Fund panel are members from Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and Whakatāne District Council. Applicants had to demonstrate their ability to attract significant visitation to the region, stimulate tourism between regions, and support the tourism and events sector.

Successful recipients of the $700,000 allocation include new events such as a region-wide food festival Flavours of Plenty launching in 2022, the 2022 New Zealand Stand Up Paddle Boarding Nationals, and the 2023 World Paddle Boarding Championships.

These new events explore untapped potential associated with the region’s DNA and will lift the profile of the Coastal Bay of Plenty on the national and world stage while showcasing some of its best natural assets, artisans and produce.

Tourism Bay of Plenty is also continuing to support hugely popular and successful fixtures such as AIMS Games, the Tauranga Arts Festival, and the STEM Festival.

“As well as funding new events, we acknowledge the hard work and commitment shown by existing event planners. The cancellation of the AIMS Games and the Tauranga Arts Festival is a blow for the region, but we are committed to investing in the future of these events,” says Nathan.

“We look forward to working with event organisers and stakeholders to bring these attractive events to fruition over the coming years. The REF is an important catalyst to improve our region’s event capacity and capability and increase domestic visitation and spend.”

Confirmed events include the following:


  • STEM Festival
  • Flavours of Plenty Food Festival
  • 2022 NZ SUP Nationals
  • Polo in the Bay
  • X Air Games
  • NZ National Bridge Congress
  • Te Atea Indigenous Art Event
  • Mount Festival of Multisport
  • The Tauranga Arts Festival
  • AIMS Games
  • One more event being announced in 2022


    • Classic at Ōhope
    • The West End Wiggle
    • Sun to Surf Challenge
    • Ōhope Local Wild Food Challenge


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