The Goverment is to contribute $1.5 million towards a mud festival in Rotorua in December next year.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick made the announcement today during the signing of an agreement between the Rotorua Lakes Council and Boryeong City in South Korea.
During the ceremony, Mrs Chadwick said she had just received word the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment would invest $1.5 million in the annual mud festival through the Major Events Development Fund.
The inaugural Rotorua festival will take place from December 1 to 3, 2017, outside the Energy Events Centre.
Devorah Blumberg, manager of major events at the ministry, said Rotorua was renowned for its spa, health and wellness offerings and this innovative, cultural event would serve as a launch pad for international promotion.
"The first Rotorua mud festival event is scheduled to take place in December 2017. This investment will help seed the event's growth over its first five years," said Ms Blumberg.
"The festival concept was inspired by the South Korean Boryeong Mud Festival, which has attracted a large following of millions. The Rotorua mud festival will leverage Rotorua's extraordinary natural resources and will include a mud-arena, spa and wellness experiences, as well as education and historical story-telling.
"Inviting the world to immerse themselves in geothermal mud is a unique opportunity to showcase Rotorua's distinctive volcanic and geothermal environment to an international audience.
"Over time, the event is forecast to attract a significant number of domestic and international attendees, which will generate strong economic returns for both Rotorua and New Zealand," said Ms Blumberg.
The Government invests, through the Major Events Development Fund, in major events that generate significant immediate and long-term benefits to New Zealand.