Prepare to enter the dragons' den

By laurel.stowell@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

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INTO THE DEN: Sponsors of a new Whanganui event line up before two women who want to make it happen - from left, Tyler McDonald (More FM), Jason Lane and Nicola Hampton (Two Monkeys Web Design), Rose Stokes (More FM), Alison Hollard (Wanganui Chronicle), Nick Gibbons (Morrie Gibbons Signs) and Ian Whittaker (Two Monkeys Web Design) face Lyn Cheyne and Kathy Cunningham, whose Empire PR & Events company is also a sponsor. PHOTO/ STUART MUNRO
INTO THE DEN: Sponsors of a new Whanganui event line up before two women who want to make it happen - from left, Tyler McDonald (More FM), Jason Lane and Nicola Hampton (Two Monkeys Web Design), Rose Stokes (More FM), Alison Hollard (Wanganui Chronicle), Nick Gibbons (Morrie Gibbons Signs) and Ian Whittaker (Two Monkeys Web Design) face Lyn Cheyne and Kathy Cunningham, whose Empire PR & Events company is also a sponsor. PHOTO/ STUART MUNRO

Whanganui needs another event to enliven the winter months and show off its assets - and Whanganui and Partners promotion and marketing manager Lyn Cheyne has a plan to produce something special.

She and Whanganui Events Trust chief executive Kathy Cunningham are holding an event in order to find another one.

They are organising a competition using a format similar to television show Dragons' Den and inviting individuals and groups to pitch an event idea.

The Den of Dragons competition will be whittled down to six finalists who will face the judges on July 27 in the War Memorial Centre.

The winner will likely put on their event - after more than $15,000 worth of help and mentoring - the following year.

"It will take six months minimum to get everything up and running," Ms Cheyne said.

People with event ideas have until July 10 to apply, using an online form found at whanganuiwhatson.nz.

Ms Cheyne, Whanganui and Partners manager Adrian Dixon and Visit Whanganui chairwoman Claire Wickham will choose the best six applications.

Those people will front up on July 27 before an audience and make their pitches to four judges, one of whom will be Mrs Cunningham, who is also managing director of Empire PR & Events.

The winner will be announced on the night and get a prize package of help in kind, cash and mentoring.

Preference will be given to events that happen between May and October, that attract people from out of town, that support Whanganui's reputation for arts, culture and heritage, and that use Whanganui venues and sports grounds.

The event could be one-off, but she's hoping for a long-term one that will benefit the district.

"We are looking for an event that can give back to Whanganui in the future."

Some of Whanganui's best events have grown from community ideas, Ms Cheyne said. The foremost example is the Cemetery Circuit motorcycle races, started by a Whanganui club more than 60 years ago. It has an international reputation.

There were already event ideas out there, Ms Cheyne said, but any and all ideas would be considered.

She and Mrs Cunningham are hoping for "a perfect storm of creative energy" mixed with good management and ongoing success.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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