There is often talk and supposition around how much an event is going to bring to a city or region.

But now we know.

Whangarei's economy absorbed $6.2 million on the day the British and Irish Lions played at Toll Stadium last June.

Many rugby clubs rely on a big game to bring some money in over the bar.


But that's one heck of a taking from one game on one day.

The figure comes from analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers which has also established that New Zealand earned $194m from the Lions' series.

The Whangarei figure does not include the benefits from before and after the match.

So, including the rest of Northland, and takings excluding the match day, the figure is heading towards $10m easily.

That's pretty good going and especially for Whangarei - a city still to establish itself as an event destination with vital infrastructure such as a large inner city hotel, and a decent sized conference centre.

These things are works in progress though, and look at how far the city has come in the past decade or so.

It is evolving, perhaps too slowly for some, but take some time to step back and try and look at the city's positive change.

The Loop Walkway, for example, the Hundertwasser project, the vibrancy two decent restaurant/bars have brought to the Town Basin, the inner (very inner) CBD, our parks and entrance ways.


Whangarei's problems - an empty "outer" CBD for example - are well documented, but the positive change can't be ignored.

And as for the Lions match, Whangarei's district council invested $250,000 into the Lions' tour opener, so that's not a bad return.

Let's have more events - there won't always be a "Lions" but what else can we do? And it doesn't have to be international. Events like the March 10 Fritter Festival are part of the puzzle.

Whangarei is finally growing up as a world class event destination and city.