South Korean boy band Seventeen will be the second K-Pop supergroup to perform in Auckland in the space of three months.
The group will arrive in Auckland this evening ahead of a fan meeting and show at the Trusts Arena tomorrow night.
Diane Lee, local organising partner, said the visit was part of the band's first Asian tour, which also includes Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.
"This part of the world, and New Zealand, is a bit slow in embracing K-Pop, but it is now being seen as an important growth market," Lee said.
"Seventeen is the second K-Pop group to come here, but it will be the third K-Pop performance in Auckland this year, after B.A.P and singer Lee Seung-Chul."
Seventeen debuted last year with 13 members - DK, Hoshi, Mingyu, Vernon, Joshua, S.Coups, Jeonghan, Jun, Wonwoo, Woozi, The8, Seungkwan and Dino.
The group was named the best new artist award at the Seoul Music Awards, Gaon Chart K-pop Awards and Golden Disk Awards, and Billboard labelled the group one of Music's Hottest Young Stars Under 21.
"We're not getting the second rated K-Pop groups, but those that are among the best in the world who are coming here in an attempt to win new fans," Lee said.
In the past two months, K-Pop has suffered a setback in its important Chinese market following China's protests against anti-missile deployment.
State-run China Central TV reported earlier this month a ban on Korean shows, and several concerts were cancelled as a result of Chinese displeasure over South Korea's deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system.
It was installed last month in South Korea as a defence against potential ballistic missile attacks from North Korea.
Lee said K-Pop fans can expect to see more groups headed this way because New Zealand and the region is seen as an "important area" for K-Pop market growth.
AUT University Associate Professor in Popular Media and Cultural Studies Lorna Piatti-Farnell said although the Chinese market is big for K-Pop, the growth and reach of K-Pop "goes well beyond China".
"It is extremely popular on a global scale, in some areas more than others," Piatti-Farnell said.
"The interest in K-Pop in Australasia is growing, so it doesn't surprise me to see an interest in K-Pop bands growing particularly in New Zealand."
Seventeen's first album 17 Carat debuted at No.9 on Billboard's World Album chart and remained on the chart for 11 weeks, and was also named as one of Billboard's 10 Best K-Pop Albums last year.
Billboard said of the band: "Seventeen is a small army whose weapons include talent and creativity."
Its second album Boys Be topped the charts last October and also remained there for 11 weeks.
"Wow, finally we can watch NZ's traditional dance, the haka," Seventeen said in a video message for New Zealand fans.
"It's our very first time going to NZ and we are really excited to greet our New Zealand fans as well."
There are about 6000 K-Pop fans in New Zealand, and most of them live in Auckland.
Members of Seventeen's fan club, known as Carats, have produced and posted a video on YouTube to welcome the group to Auckland.
WHO IS SEVENTEEN
• A South Korean boy group formed by Pledis Entertainment last year
• It has three different specialised sub-units: hip hop, vocal and performance
• They are deeply involved in composing and producing their own tracks and choreography
• Won their first ever TV music chart trophy in May on Show Champion with their song Pretty U
• Auckland show, tomorrow Aug 30, at Trusts Arena