A Te Arawa cultural group will perform in front hundreds of thousands of people at two festivals in Korea this week.

Then in December, Korean cultural performers will take the stage at Rotorua's first Mudtopia Festival.

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry said the two cultural exchanges would have cultural and economic benefits for both countries.

"Mudtopia is set to showcase the Rotorua district's Maori culture, geothermal landscape and spa industry and is being supported with $1.5 million over five years from the Government's Major Events Development fund."


The 15-member Te Arawa group will perform at the Boryeong Mud Festival's 20th anniversary celebrations on Friday and Saturday and at the Hadong Seomjin River Festival on Sunday.

"Earlier this year at Te Matatini I met Professor Gang Hoan Jeong, who founded the Boryeong Mud Festival 20 years ago. Professor Jeong is currently on sabbatical here and is working with the Rotorua Lakes Council on the development of the new Mudtopia event in December.

"The Te Arawa group is travelling to Korea by invitation of the Boryeong and Hadong City Governments, with $44,000 support from New Zealand's Cultural Diplomacy International Programme as well as from the International Festival and Events Association Korea Branch (IFEA)," Ms Barry said.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick and cultural ambassador councillor Trevor Maxwell are also attending the Boryeong Mud Festival.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay said the festival attracted 4 million visitors across two weeks last year.

"It's significant that Rotorua is represented at these huge festivals attended by impressive numbers of Koreans and other tourists. This is a fantastic opportunity for the group to showcase their talents as well as gain valuable international exposure for Rotorua," Mr McClay said.

"More than 60,000 Koreans visited New Zealand over the last 12 months. Many came to our region, and Te Arawa's performances will help expose even more Koreans to the unique culture of New Zealand's most beautiful place - Rotorua."