Womad NZ named Best National Event of the Year 2017
Many people who have been to the Womad music and arts festival say it's the best event in the country - but now its organisers have official bragging rights.
Womad New Zealand has been named the Best National Event of the Year 2017 at the New Zealand Event Awards.
And the people of the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT), which stages the event in New Plymouth's Brooklands Park and TSB Bowl of Brooklands, are "rapt" with the accolade, chief executive Suzanne Porter said.
"It was hotly contested," she said. "It's fabulous for the team and an award for everyone. It's something Taranaki can be proud of."
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The first Womad festival launched in the UK in 1982 and has since become an international celebration.
TAFT secured the event in 2002, hosting it biennially between 2003 and 2007 before it became an annual event.
The three-day festival invites artists from around the world to celebrate a variety of music, arts and dance.
Porter said Womad's success in Taranaki has to do with the event "finding its place".
"It's generally in the place where the community really takes it on," she said.
"It really took off here and people were really proud of it.
"There's a sense of pride that a region of this size can present an event like this."
The New Zealand Event Awards, held Wednesday evening at SkyCity in Auckland, announced winners in 13 different categories, of which Womad NZ was a finalist in three: the public-voted Eventfinda/New Zealand's Favourite Event of the Year, the Emerging Event Professional (marketing and communications manager Cleopatra Wood), and the professionally judged Best National Event of the Year.
Porter said TAFT usually avoided entering awards because the "little team" stayed busy jumping from one event to the next.
"But for some reason we decided to enter this year.
"The people who attend it know it's the best, so it's fabulous for the team to have actually won."
She said the award is something the TAFT team, the region, and partners can be proud of.
Charles Wilkinson, TAFT board of trustees chair, said the accolade recognises the culmination of years of expertise, dedication and professionalism given to the festival.
"I am so proud of them (staff), as is my board, and I am so excited that we now have a line that we can exceed to take our festival to an even greater level."