New Zealand's biggest-ever festival, which will run in conjunction with Rugby World Cup 2011, has grown even larger following the allocation of Lottery Grants Board funding to 195 projects. The REAL New Zealand Festival will highlight the country's arts and culture, food and wine, heritage, entertainment, and lifestyle throughout next year's tournament, which is expected to attract 85,000 international visitors. The newly-funded projects will bring the total number of festival events to well over 500, stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill.
Sir David Gascoigne, who chaired the specially-formed Festival Lottery Fund Committee tasked with allocating $9.48 million in funding, said the calibre of applications had been impressive, and with applications for 570 projects totalling over $76 million, the committee's task had been extremely difficult.
"When the Prime Minister first announced the fund, it quickly became evident that New Zealanders wanted to get involved in this chance to celebrate all that is great about our country.
"The number of applications forced some very hard decisions, especially as the diversity and coverage across New Zealand of many projects were impressive. We have worked hard to ensure a good mix of programmes, and to support projects that showcase local regions, or highlight a town's stories, people and special features."
Twenty-three centres will host games or teams during RWC 2011, and while the hubs of the REAL NZ Festival will centre on match and host cities, and cluster around match dates, the festival programme will touch almost every part of the country and fill the full 45 days of the tournament. With plenty of time between matches, visitors are being encouraged to 'take the long way round' as they travel between venues to experience as much of the country as possible during their stay.
Sir David said because many successful applicants had been offered less funding than requested, they now had two months to consider whether their projects could proceed with the lower level of funding. Staff from the REAL New Zealand Festival office would work with applicants if they required help in those determinations.
"Once this process is completed, we'll make a full announcement of all successful applicants. We aim to complete the process and announce the projects in February 2011."
To find out more about the REAL New Zealand Festival, including more about the events as they develop, visit www.realnzfestival.com.
Updated on 23rd July 2015