The Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival is among four events to win grants to help them grow, attract new audiences, and boost local economies.
Economic and regional development minister Stuart Nash has announced new support from an incubator fund launched last year to provide seed and development backing for creative and cultural events.
"Festivals in Auckland, Rotorua, Porirua and Christchurch have secured new investment to help them grow and broaden their reach to new audiences, so they can eventually be self-sustaining."
The Rotorua festival will be held in September this year and is the third time the festival has gone ahead.
It joins the Pasifika Festival in Auckland, a Pacific youth-driven festival in Porirua first held as Te Ata and the Tīrama Mai Festival to be held in Christchurch. All of these festivals are to be held in 2022.
Rotorua-based Aronui is a multi-disciplinary indigenous arts festival run over three weeks in September and is now in its third year, although the festival was postponed last year because of Covid-19 restrictions.
The festival is organised by the newly established Aronui Arts Festival Charitable Trust, and iwi leaders Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa alongside world-class award-winning artists.
The funding of up to $100,000 per year will help to develop the event's international growth strategy and marketing strategy alongside other standard attendance and engagement performance measures.
Nash said creating festivals for the future international audiences was part of the reason the festival has received the grant.
"We have world-class talent and unique cultural stories to share and celebrate. As planning continues for ways to phase the reopening of our borders, our creative sector and events industries are also thinking about how to plan and market their festivals to future international audiences.
"The Government support from the Creative and Cultural Events Incubator helps the festivals to amplify New Zealand's reputation as a place that is safe to visit, and which celebrates its diverse and unique cultures. Our ability to stage large public events and hold mass gatherings is the envy of many."
For home-grown audiences, jobs and businesses, the festivals stimulated local economies and domestic tourism and kept up the momentum of recovery, especially in the regions, he said.
"The Incubator Fund is an offshoot of the Major Events Fund, which is supporting other significant international attractions like the women's rugby, cricket and football world cups."
Organisers can apply for a maximum of $100,000 per year for up to three years.
"These arts and cultural events have big plans to develop into financially self-sustaining events in their home cities. This new investment will help to nurture their potential to become major events of international significance for Aotearoa New Zealand."
Aronui Arts Festival Trust chair Mercia-Dawn Yates said the grant would provide on-going support for the event during the next three years.
"[The grant] will enable us to create strategies that encourage revenue generation, resilience, and international significance, as Rotorua recovers from Covid-19 and the festival grows," she said.
"Only four major events nationwide were successful. An event like Aronui embodies whakamana, hāpaitia, tukua kia rere - Empower, uplift, and share indigenous arts with the world.
"A special mention must be made to the Rotorua Lakes Council who have invested staff resource, expertise, and investment into the festival to get it off the ground."