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Frequently Asked Questions


What qualifies as a major event?

  • From government's perspective, a major event is something that:
  • Generates significant economic, social and cultural benefits to New Zealand.
  • Attracts international participants and spectators.
  • Has a national profile outside of the region in which it is being held.
  • Generates significant international media coverage in markets of interest for tourism and business opportunities, including:
    • Australia
    • Asia (with specific interest in China)
    • United States
    • Europe and the United Kingdom

Examples of Major Events include the DHL New Zealand Lions Series, World Masters Games, Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018, and the Audi Quattro Winter Games. You can also look at the list of MEDF recipients.

What types of events are supported?

The Major Events Development Fund invests in most major event types, including arts, sports and cultural events. An exception to this is business events, which are supported through the Conference Assistance Programme, administered by Tourism New Zealand . This includes conventions, conferences, trade shows, exhibitions and incentives.

Preferential consideration will be given to events that provide a balance to the existing portfolio of government-supported events. Considerations for this include:

  • The purpose of funding (attract, grow and retain)
  • The types of benefits provided by the event
  • The existing mix of event type (art, culture, sport, etc)
  • The regional spread throughout New Zealand

Funding will also be considered for bids to host international events in New Zealand, and for feasibility studies.

Who can apply?

You must be a legal entity in New Zealand to submit an Expression of Interest. Stage two applications are by invitation only.

How much money can I ask for?

There is no limit on the amount you can apply for. However, applicants should take into account that the median level of government investment since 2005 has been $250,000 and the average level of government investment since 2005 has been $592,618.

How do I make an application?

Applying for MEDF investment is a two stage process; the first involves submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI). This is assessed against the MEDF criteria and successful EOIs are invited to submit a more detailed, stage two application. Stage two applications are accepted three times per year. Read about the deadlines and application process.

When should I apply?

We encourage applications well in advance of the event (ideally two years or more) to ensure there is enough time for the additional benefits made possible by government investment to be realised.

There are three round deadlines each year for stage two applications. EOIs are open all year round. If your EOI is invited to submit at stage two, it will be assessed in the next round. View the current round dates.

How long does it take before I know whether my application is successful?

As the decision calendar varies, you will be advised of an approximate timeframe when you submit your EOI or stage two application. As a guide, if applicants progress to stage two, the full process can take up to approximately seven months. Decisions for EOIs can take up to 10 weeks from when it is submitted.

Who decides?

The Major Events Ministers Group makes the final investment decisions. The Ministers Group is made up of the following:

  • Minister of Economic Development (Chair)
  • Minister of Tourism
  • Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Minister for Sport and Recreation

The Major Events Ministers Group is advised by the Major Events Investment Panel. The Panel is comprised of five independent members. The current members are:

  • Sir Brian Roche, Chair
  • Dame Therese Walsh
  • Sue Patterson
  • Tim Cossar
  • Barry Maister

View more information on the governance of the MEDF.

If my application is unsuccessful can I re-apply?

Yes. Re-applications are accepted but they must show additional work has been done to develop the earlier application.

How much is in the MEDF?

The MEDF’s annual appropriation is $10 million, much of which is committed several years in advance.

How many events receive funding each year?

The number depends on the amount of funding requested and the number of applications which meet the criteria. It is a contestable fund, so funding goes to those organisations which best meet the criteria and show a clear rationale for government investment.

What is leverage and legacy?

Leverage and legacy are the broader, longer-lasting national and local benefits that are set in motion during the initial planning then realised through an event.


Activities outside the normal running of an event that result in one-off or longer-term benefits that either increase or are in addition to the benefits that naturally arise from the event itself.


Lasting, long-term benefits on a regional or national scale, that result either from the event itself or from the leverage activities surrounding it.

Is there any other support in addition to funding that is provided by Major Events?

  1. The Major Events Resource Bank holds good practice information for all aspects of events including planning documents, templates and information from other events. All the information is freely downloadable.
  2. Advice is available from Major Event Advisors on all aspects of the funding and application processes. To make contact email majorevents@mbie.govt.nz with an outline of your request.
  3. There may be ways that groups represented on the Major Events Investment Panel can work with your event. These opportunities are identified through the assessment process.
  4. The Major Events Border Steering Group (MEBSG) involves the key border agencies: New Zealand Immigration Service, New Zealand Customs Service, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and the Aviation Security Service. For the benefit of visitors to New Zealand the MEBSG:
    • has developed two 'one-stop' information resources on New Zealand's border requirements and processes, 
    •  for major events that meet certain criteria it can provide a targeted border facilitation service.


Last updated 25 June 2018