Working together across the Central North Island


As we rebuild the visitor economy and compete for the domestic visitor dollar, we have been working collaboratively with our neighbouring regions to grow visitation and enhance our events portfolio.

Our largest collaboration is with six regions in the Central North Island on the ‘Get Out More NZ’ marketing campaign showcasing the big adventures that can be had within a short travelling distance, with a humorous twist.

Phase one of the campaign poked fun at some of the family lockdown experiences that we all shared and encouraged Kiwis to ‘Get Out More’ now that we can travel safely again.

The Coastal Bay of Plenty, Hamilton & Waikato, Rotorua, Ruapehu, Tairāwhiti Gisborne and Taupō are promoting Kiwis to take a themed-roadie (road trip) through the diverse landscapes in the central North Island as part of the latest phase of the campaign.

With New Zealand’s borders closed, the only lifeforce for New Zealand’s tourism industry is the domestic market. In a country of just five million people with 32 regional tourism organisations, competition between tourism marketing entities is fierce.

We are also partnering together attending consumer shows around the North Island under the ‘Get Out More NZ’ collective as well. Our next major consumer activation will be at Fieldays 2021 from 16-19 June at Mystery Creek. To be inspired around roadies in the Central North Island, check out www.getoutmorenz.com

Another significant partnership underway is the new $3.75m Regional Events Fund which collectively covers the regions of Waikato, Rotorua, Taupō and Ruapehu. The four regions previously worked together in international long-haul markets around the Thermal Explorer Highway. Due to Covid-19 and continued international border closures, we have partnered together around developing a collective events portfolio.

We know that hosting major and business events are crucial to lead the economic and social recovery of the Waikato region. Tourism New Zealand research indicates that up to one-third of domestic travel is primarily driven by people looking to participate in events.

We are currently in the first round of the Regional Events Fund process with 82 Expressions of Interest received requesting over $16 million in total funding with half of the applications for new events across the four regions.

Funded by the Government, the lifespan of the Regional Events Fund is 2-3 years to drive additional domestic visitation into our regions. The fund is intended to support the tourism and events sector, while replacing some of the spend from international tourists as a result of Covid-19. To find out more, visit

Another first for our region is partnering with Auckland Unlimited (previously ATEED) on a joint venture marketing campaign to encourage residents to enjoy experiences in their extended backyard.

The campaign based on the familiar expression ‘love thy neighbour’ targets Auckland and Waikato residents. It is designed to encourage travel around the two regions during autumn by showcasing activities and attractions across five themes – nature, active breaks, family, relaxation and wellness, and food.

Using ‘if you love this, you’ll love that’ messaging, the campaign highlights favourite Auckland and Waikato locations and activities based on travellers’ passions, and encourages them to try similar offerings in the other region.

The campaign was born out of the acknowledgement that the two regions are key visitor markets for each other and wanting to support each other’s visitor economies after what has been a challenging year.

We want to extend the manaakitanga to our Auckland neighbours, and through this campaign we want to inspire them to visit some of the best spots in the Waikato that match the things they love to do in Auckland.

To find out more, visit :

www.waikatonz.com/lovethis or www.aucklandnz.com/love-this-love-that and use the hashtags:
#lovethis, #mightywaikato and #visitauckland.


About Author

Jason Dawson

Chief Executive, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism