Womad named finalist in New Zealand Event Awards Best National Event of the Year

Taranaki Arts Festival Trust Suzanne Porter and Cleo Wood are elated both Womad NZ and Wood were nominated for a ...
ANDY JACKSON/STUFF

Taranaki Arts Festival Trust Suzanne Porter and Cleo Wood are elated both Womad NZ and Wood were nominated for a national award.

The esteemed celebration of world music, art and dance held in Taranaki has been recognised at a national level.

Womad New Zealand 2017 was this week announced a finalist in the New Zealand Event Awards in the category of Best National Event of the Year.

The annual festival is up against Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon, Pinot Noir New Zealand 2017, Repco Beach Hop 2017.

Taranaki Arts Festival Trust's Suzanne Porter and Cleo Wood will attend the award ceremony in Auckland next month.
ANDY JACKSON/STUFF

Taranaki Arts Festival Trust's Suzanne Porter and Cleo Wood will attend the award ceremony in Auckland next month.

Also nominated for an award was Cleo Wood of the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (Taft) for Emerging Event Professional of the Year.

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It was the first time Womad, held at New Plymouth's Brooklands Park since 2003, had been entered in the competition and Taft chief executive Suzanne Porter was delighted with the nod.

Given the economic benefit it brings to the region, the growing interest among all generations and the strength of its programming, she believed the three-day event had a good chance of taking out the category.

"I think from an event point of view I would say we're the strongest event in New Zealand," she said.

"I'd be surprised if we're pipped at the post, but you just never know."

This year's edition, held in March, saw 17,500 adults attend the festival. It attracted 12,389 visitors to the region and recorded a $6.6 million new visitor spend - $6.9m was attributed to regional GDP.

Womad's success came down to its organisers understanding the product and staying true to what it is, Porter said.

"It had been tested for a long time in the UK and then Australia had been going for a number of years, but it's also not a matter of taking a franchise, if you like, and shoving it in and expecting it work.

"It's actually giving it it's own unique flavour which in our case it's in a gorgeous setting...and doing everything you can to the best you possibly can."

Wood was surprised to have been named a finalist and said she was was honoured by the acknowledgement.

While officially she was the group's marketing manager, she has sat at every desk within the trust since she began in 2012.

Her nomination was for work done across all of the Trust's festivals which included the Taranaki Arts Festival, Womad NZ and Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Auckland next month.

Planning for Womad 2018 is well underway with Kiwi hitmakers Dragon recently being announced as the first act for next year's edition of the three-day music festival.

 - Stuff

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