The first Rotorua mud festival will be held in December next year.
Details of the new festival, based on the world famous Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea, were revealed yesterday at a ceremony held at the Rotorua Lakes Council.
At the same time, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announced $1.5 million would be invested in the new festival through its Major Events Development Fund.
According to the ministry's major events manager Devorah Blumberg the event would serve as a launch pad for international promotion and the funding would cover the first five years of the event.
"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," she said.
"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."
• Govt invests $1.5m in Rotorua mud festival
The Boryeong Mud Festival is in its 19th year and features large city-wide parades, giant inflatable playgrounds - covered with mud, concerts, mud for skincare and health promotions, and has added a cultural exchange with Spain's La Tomatina (tomato) Festival.
An international partnership was signed yesterday by Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick and the mayor of Boryeong City Kim Dong-Il, along with International Festival and Events Association president, Professor Gang Hoan Jeong, at the ceremony that featured a pohiri by members of Ngati Rangiwewehi.
Both mayors were excited about the future of the event saying it would also grow a strong relationship.
Rotorua's festival will happen at the Energy Events Centre between December 1 and 3 and will include a mud-arena, spa and wellness experiences, as well as education and historical story-telling.
Council chief executive Geoff Williams said it was too early to say how much the event would cost.
"Council is taking an underwriting position but it's too early to commit to an amount. Our expectation is the event would be sustainable and cost neutral."
The council's major events co-ordinator Jason Cameron said Rotorua's mud would come from a quarry, rather than from any protected geothermal features.
"The mud is not cosmetic grade clay but suitable as a thermal clay (dried mud) which in the Rotorua region is usually formed from volcanic ash or the local volcanic bed rock.
"The event requirements in the first year will be around 10 tonnes."
The mud would be thermally dried to kill any bacteria before being sifted into a fine powder that would eventually be mixed with thermally heated water.
"The car park will be the venue for the Mud Arena which will be split into both a family friendly area and an all ages area. Inside the Events Centre, the event will have the Spectator Alley, along with some of the quieter components of the event."
Rotorua mud festival:
• December 1 to 3, 2017
• It will be held outside the Energy Events Centre
• The Government has approved $1.5 million funding
• Total cost yet to be determined
• 10 tonnes of mud in first year