Application Process

Applications to the Domestic Events Fund are now closed.

Decision making process

The Panels have been established as they are best positioned to provide guidance regarding how an event might meet the criteria across within New Zealand’s regions. This will ensure that events across the country will have equal opportunity to be considered through the Domestic Events Fund. Panels will review applications against the DEF criteria and rank them accordingly. The final investment decision is made by the General Manager Tourism at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

We have noted which regions fit within each Panel below. Please do not send your application directly to or lobby any of the individual Panel members, as your application will be disqualified. 

Business events must be submitted to the business events panel.

It is important to note that the Panel members will be reviewing and assessing your application. We wanted to make you aware of who those individuals are, as you may consider some of the information sensitive. If you think there may be a conflict of interest for a panel member please send an email to with the subject heading “Conflict of Interest – [Event Name]” and provide the details of who the conflict is with and a high level description of why you believe a conflict may exist. We will ensure that this conflict of interest does not disadvantage your event application assessment.

Please note that funding may be approved at a lower level than applied for to ensure funding reaches a broad cross section of the sector.  Additionally, events will typically be required to pay a certain percentage of funding as up-front payments to key suppliers.  This will ensure funding reaches the supply chain quickly.

Representation of the regions

We have aimed for a broad representation across the region where possible. The panel members are professionals, and work under a standard Terms of Reference. There is a consistent assessment process across all panels to ensure their recommendations are robust. Panels do not make the final funding decisions, they make funding recommendations. The decision regarding the quantum of funding will be made by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.


Northland and Auckland Panel

  • Northland 
  • Auckland  

Panel Members: 

  • Rebecca Temple - ATEED
  • Carina De Graaf - Whangerei District Council
  • David Burt - Auckland Council

Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast Panel

  • Nelson 
  • Marlborough 
  • West Coast 

Panel Members:

  • Rebecca Leach - Nelson Regional Development Agency
  • Gary Alsop - Tasman District Council
  • Jeni Thornborough - Nelson City Council
  • Samantha Young - Marlborough District Council
  • Jo Birnie - Development West Coast

Thermal Explorer Highway Panel

  • Hamilton/Waikato 
  • Rotorua 
  • Lake Taupō 
  • Ruapehu  

Panel Members:

  • Chad Hooker - H3 Group
  • Nicola Greenwell - Hamilton and Waikato Tourism
  • Steve  Watene - Rotorua Lakes Council
  • Andrew Wilson - Destination Rotorua
  • Steve  Giles - Taupō District Council
  • Warren Furner - Ruapehu District Council

Canterbury Panel

  • Christchurch 
  • Aoraki Mount Cook / Mackenzie  
  • Kaikoura 

Panel Members: 

  • Jemma Clarke - ChristchurchNZ
  • Lucy Blackmore - Christchurch City Council
  • Tanya Cokojic - Christchurch City Council
  • Di Hay - Aoraki Tourism
  • Shane Adcock - Hurunui Tourism
  • Shay Robinson - Selwyn District Council
  • Kelsey Waghorn - Selwyn District Council 

Pacific Coast Highway Panel

  • Coromandel 
  • Bay of Plenty  
  • Hawkes Bay 
  • Eastland 

Panel Members: 

  • Kevin Murphy - Napier City Council
  • Kirstin Richmond  - Thames-Coromandel District Council
  • Angela Stuart - Gisborne District Council
  • Jenna Quay - Tauranga City Council
  • Hilary Nyberg - Hawkes Bay Tourism

Western North Island Panel 

  • Whanganui 
  • Taranaki 
  • Manawatu 

Panel Members: 

  • Tasha Paladin - Palmerston North City Council
  • Vicki Fairley - Venture Taranaki
  • Brent Limmer - Manawatu District Council
  • Jonathan Sykes - Whanganui & Partners
  • Nelita Byrne - New Plymouth District Council
  • Andrew Hansen - Central Economic Development Agency
  • Paul Chaplow - Whanganui & Partners

Wellington and Wairarapa Panel

  • Wellington
  • Wairarapa

Panel Members:

  • Warrick Dent - WellingtonNZ
  • Natasha Petkovic-Jeremic - Wellington City Council
  • Chris Costley - Upper Hutt City Council
  • Lizzie Edwards - Hutt City Council
  • Jamie Bigwood – Kapiti Coast District Council
  • Anna Nielson - Destination Wairarapa

Southern Lakes Panel

  • Wanaka 
  • Queenstown 
  • Fiordland 

Panel Members:

  • Jan Maxwell - Queenstown Lakes District Council
  • Madeline Peacock - Destination Fiordland
  • James Helmore - Lake Wanaka Tourism

Pure Southern Land Panel 

  • Dunedin 
  • Southland 
  • Waitaki 
  • Clutha and Catlins 

Panel Members:

  • Joy Gunn - Dunedin City Council
  • Bobbie Brown - Southland Regional Development Agency
  • Libby Hindmarsh - Clutha Development

Business Events Panel 

  • Business Events (as per the definition provided) 

Panel Members:

  • Lisa Gardiner - Tourism New Zealand
  • Leonie Ashford - Tourism New Zealand
  • Lisa Hopkins - Conventions & Incentives New Zealand