Communications and public relations for the city's popular Tulip Festival will be done by an out-of-town company this year, the Rotorua Lakes Council has confirmed.

The contract has been awarded to Tauranga-based public relations company Metro Marketing - who will promote the October event being run by the council.

But the decision has been met with some public backlash with one local woman taking to social media to say this is not the first time out-of-town contractors have been used in favour of locals.

"Why do they feel that Auckland or Tauranga companies can do a better job? There are a lot of passionate people in Rotorua who care about our city and want it to grow and put in huge hours of work to try and make this happen."


The annual festival is held in the height of spring, with more than 40,000 tulips in bloom. A range of events and activities are held as part of the festival.

The council's group manager strategy and partnerships Jean-Paul Gaston said the company was decided on last week.

"We have a buy local weighting in our procurement policy and we are always keen to use local businesses however we also have to be transparent and follow our own standard procurement process.

"We received four quotes, two from Rotorua based companies and two from Tauranga based companies. In this case the company that was awarded the contract was the one that was the best fit in both price and criteria," he said.

Metro Marketing's managing director Michelle Whitmore said she was proud to have the Tulip Festival contract and "excited to impart the company's multi-disciplinary knowledge to help grow the festival and the region".

"We have a multi-talented team with competency in many key areas including marketing, public relations, ticketing, graphic design, event management, sponsorship proposals, funding applications, and a proven social media/digital competency."

She said the company had a long standing history of working for not-for-profit and council organisations.

"We ran the Colour Dash in Rotorua, so we have done community good in Rotorua already. We work with other organisations that cross over between Tauranga and Rotorua."

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick spoke with the woman yesterday morning to discuss her concerns.

"All due process was followed so I am not unhappy with the policy in place but my question was how do we keep the local passion in there while taking the event bigger.
"Some events start small then get to a level where it's big - that is happening with the Tulip Festival, it grew to be much bigger than all of us expected but I would love to see those locals who developed the idea stay involved."