Investment criteria for the Major Event Development Fund

Before making an application to the Major Events Fund, read the investment criteria below which detail the areas we will be looking at when assessing your event.


If you are an event organiser seeking investment from the Major Events Fund you need to provide evidence that your event will significantly and measurably impact on the following areas in the immediate and long-term:

  • Tourism revenue: Will your event attract international visitors and expenditure to New Zealand?
  • New Zealand brand promotion: What opportunities will your event present to showcase New Zealand through international media?
  • Business and trade opportunities: Will your event attract any high net worth or significant business or political individuals?
  • Increased participation in sports, arts or culture: Will your event increase growth in participation and high achievement in an event field?
  • Increased employment opportunities: Will short and/or long-term employment be created by your event?
  • National identity and pride: Does your event provide opportunities to celebrate New Zealand culture and heritage and include local communities in event delivery?
  • Event sector capability: Will your event make use of existing event infrastructure, and/or build additional event governance, management and delivery skills?

Events that may be given preference

The MEF is contestable. The Investment Panel may give preference to events that:

  • are timed to fall within off-peak or shoulder tourism periods
  • provide balance to the existing portfolio of government-supported events. This may include events that:
    • add to the existing mix of event types (arts, culture, sporting)
    • support regional spread throughout New Zealand
    • provide opportunities to establish or develop a ‘home-grown’ New Zealand event
  • have a core event management team:
    • with a track record of successful event delivery
    • who can demonstrate best practice governance
    • with event management and risk management strategies.
  • are strongly supported by major stakeholders — including local government or the equivalent local/regional events body — and have the endorsement of the national body relevant to the event (if applicable)
  • are supported by a significant level of commercial and sponsorship revenues.

Events the MEF is unlikely to support

An event is unlikely to receive support if it:

  • will take place outside of New Zealand
  • requires an investment in offshore international rights fees that is disproportionate to the economic return to New Zealand from hosting the event
  • mainly generates benefits to the region in which it is hosted, rather than national benefits
  • doesn't allow for sufficient time for the event to develop and deliver a significant leverage and legacy plan and/or enable the government to leverage the event for wider government objectives. We recommend that applications are made at least 2 years in advance of the event
  • will adversely affect an existing major event due to timing or any other reason
  • is seeking funding that is:
    • disproportionate to the benefits that will result from the investment
    • a financial grant, as opposed to a partnership with government to enhance the event and leverage extra benefits from it
    • in addition to a significant level of other central government support (more than 10% of income)
  • has received MEF support or other significant central government funding in the past and has no credible evidence of future financial independence from government support
  • is seeking funding for the following purposes:
    • development of new infrastructure
    • underwriting for the event
    • business events, such as conventions, conferences, trade shows, exhibition, incentives etc. These are supported in another way (see Business events).

Questions about the criteria

If you have any questions about the MEF criteria, please contact us.