Boryeong Agreement FAQs


What is the Mudtopia mud festival?

Rotorua's inaugural Mudtopia Festival will be a three-day fun event at the beginning of December featuring various mud-related activities, spa and wellness experiences, a mud market and a concert featuring high profile music acts.

Shapeshifter has already been announced as the headline music act and another international act is to be announced soon. Anika Moa and others will be supporting acts.

A number of local businesses will also be involved in the event.

The event was inspired by the hugely popular Boryeong mud festival in South Korea which has been held annually for 20 years.

This year's three-day Rotorua event, scheduled for early December 2017 at the Arawa Park race course, is the first Mudtopia festival and is forecasted to attract thousands of attendees, both domestic and international, generating a boost for the local economy.

Council agreed to commit to and invest in the event in December 2015 following feasibility work undertaken by the organisation.

The event is owned by Rotorua Lakes Council which appointed a specialist event management company to deliver the event.

Find out more about the festival via THIS LINK or go to

How did this event come about?

In December 2015 Council's Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee received a business case on a proposed mud festival and approved the event, subject to confirming government investment. The Council agreed to "underwrite" the event up to $500,000 with the mayor and chief executive authorised to negotiate the value and term.

The event was projected to break even in each of the first five years but was noted all revenue streams have risk, hence the need for the underwrite commitment.

Extensive independent feasibility work was carried out with the support of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Consultation was carried out with the community, tourism sector and iwi and was followed up with a comprehensive business plan.

Conservative estimates of market demand indicated the Rotorua festival could attract between 9500 and 21,600 attendees over the first five years and could have a $5m economic impact in year one, growing to $10m by year five.

On the strength of this work, New Zealand Major Events Development Fund agreed to invest and Council committed to owning and underwriting the event.

What is the expected value of this event?

The event is expected to bring economic returns for both Rotorua and New Zealand (as above) and is considered to have the potential to become a major annual event.

How is the festival being funded?

Funding for the event is coming from Rotorua Lakes Council, Central Government's Major Events Development Fund, sponsorship and through ticket sales.

Council owns the event and is working in partnership with an event company to deliver the event.

Council committed to what has previously been described as an "underwrite" of up to $500,000, but as Council owns the event it's financial commitment is technically not an underwrite because as event owner, Council carries any financial risk.

Central Government, through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is investing up to $1.5m over five years to help get the festival established. Through the Major Events Development Fund the government invests in major events which are expected to generate significant immediate and long-term benefits to New Zealand.

It is anticipated the event will bring tourism and economic returns for both Rotorua and New Zealand.

The expectation is that the event becomes self-sustaining over time.

How much has been spent to this point?

Planning is well advanced and expenditure to date is approximately $460,000. A number of commitments have also been entered into, including part payment for performers, land rental and event management costs.

What was the memorandum the mayor signed while in Boryeong?

The memorandum of understanding signed by the mayor reconfirmed the partnership approach which is involved in this event and has been critical to progressing Mudtopia.

How does the partnership work?

Replicating or purchasing the rights to an existing event carries a cost.

In the case of Mudtopia, the Boryeong event organisers have shared their intellectual property and advice and promoted the Rotorua festival at their 2017 event, which attracts an international audience.

In exchange, Rotorua will promote the Boryeong event, featuring their cosmetic-grade product in an interactive display area at the local festival.

What are the details about the Boryeong mud powder that is to be imported?

Five tonnes of the cosmetic mud powder will be purchased, for approximately $90,000.

However it won't all be used at once and will not be used in any mud "bath" type activity. It will be used in a hands-on therapeutic experience, enabling festival goers to apply it to their hands, face and body.

Who is paying for the mud powder?

The cost for the mud powder will come from the overall budget for the event, which includes funding from Council, MBIE, sponsorship and ticket sales.

Why can't you just use local mud?

The majority of the 10 tonnes of mud that will be used in this year's festival will be locally-sourced thermal clay from a licensed quarry. It will also come in a treated powder form, to be used in the other mud activities like the mud arena.

Will Council buy more mud powder if the 5 tonnes runs out?

The agreement with Boryeong Mud Festiva's organisers was to purchase five tonnes of cosmetic mud powder to promote their festival at an interactive display area within the festival.

Council is not committed to purchasing any more than the agreed five tonnes.   

Are there any biosecurity risks associated with the imported mud?

Regarding importation of the mud powder, Council and the Rotorua festival delivery team have been working with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to ensure all border requirements are met.

The mud powder will undergo stringent tests and heating and irradiation treatment in South Korea and its importation will be subject to MPI border clearance which will include a requirement to produce a certificate of treatment.

Council has also been working with Bay of Plenty Regional Council to ensure any of its requirements are met. No discharge consent is required as mud from the festival will be captured, contained and taken away to be disposed of by a contracted waste management company.

Who made the decision to buy the mud?

Council was required to approve the event but elected members are not involved in the delivery of events or arrangements which are part of that.

Working within an overall budget, decisions relating to the operational delivery of the event are made by the event delivery team which reports to a governance group.


Page reviewed: 06 Aug 2018 11:52am