There will be a rowdy carnival atmosphere at Nelson's Trafalgar Park in April when a new rugby league tournament kicks off.
The event is one of four which has received a financial boost from a Nelson Events Marketing and Development Programme funding pool of $70,000.
The other three events are the Nelson Cycle Festival, the Nelson Winter Music Festival and the WASA! Wild and Sneaky Art Festival.
Tasman Rugby League chairman Paul Lafotanoa said the committee organising the inaugural event was stoked to be given $6000 from the pool which it will mostly spend on marketing for the tournament.
It will be held on April 2 at Trafalgar Park and will host 12 teams from Nelson, Marlborough, Wellington, Christchurch and possibly Waikato. The games will be fast and shortened versions of rugby league with nine players on each side and games running for 18 minutes.
The Nelson Nines will become an annual event. From next year it will be held in March and will also involve Australian teams. Mr Lafotanoa said the event will be modelled on the popular rugby Sevens tournament held in Wellington every year, with spectators encouraged to dress up. The day will also be aimed at families and tourists.
"The whole idea of this is that we want to create a carnival atmosphere – it's a whole day out."
Nelson Events Marketing and Development Programme chair Bill Findlater said the aim of the funding was to help develop distinct events that would provide significant economic benefits to Nelson, increase visitation in shoulder and off-peak seasons and enhance the city's profile nationally and internationally.
Nelson Tasman Tourism chief executive Lynda Keene said more than 25 per cent of domestic holiday visitors state that attending an event was an important factor in a decision to visit a region.
"So it is fantastic to see that such a strong events strategy is in place."
- © Fairfax NZ News