New Zealand’s premiere adventure event and the world’s largest expedition adventure race GODZone has received Government funding to ensure the event’s viability as the race pivots into a new supported delivery format.


GODZone was a successful applicant in the recent Domestic Events Fund (DEF) round to support the delivery of the 2021, Chapter 9, event following assessment by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and a regional panel.

The DEF has supported a number of key events across New Zealand after the Government established it in the 2020 Budget in response to widespread COVID-19 related impacts on the event industry due to reductions in sponsorship, trust funding and Alert Level restrictions.


GODZone Event Director Warren Bates says the funding was critical for the high-profile adventure race that will be held in the Rotorua district from the 4th– 13thMarch 2021.


“It has been a very challenging time for events and event organisers across the country. Uncertainties over travel, border closures and the need to be proactive in managing social distancing and contact tracing has necessitated innovative and significant changes; many of which have come with increased costs and reduced revenues. The support from DEF has gone some way in ensuring that this premier event can be delivered and that a myriad of flow through benefits for Rotorua and the wider district can be realised.”


“The event was originally planned for November 2020 but was postponed to March 2021 once the magnitude of COVID became apparent. It was hoped that international borders would return to some form of normality by the end of the year, but that eventuality has looked increasingly remote as time has gone by. The absence of overseas travel will be very disappointing for our international teams and has had a major impact on the event.”


“To receive support from the New Zealand government through the DEF at this time is significant for both us and for Rotorua, the host location, and signifies the importance and recognition given to this iconic adventure event that we are very grateful for.”


Bates says GODZone remains the largest expedition race in the world with 70+ Kiwi teams racing and the introduction of a ‘supported format’ now allows other Kiwi based competitors the chance to gain a race spot.


“To ensure GODZone can happen if we are in a Level 1 or Level 2 restriction next year we have pivoted the event to a ‘supported’ style race that is in line with historic adventure races such as the Southern Traverse and the newly revived Eco Challenge that recently aired on Amazon Prime.”


“Each team is now required to bring a support crew with them to move their gear around the course and help keep each team in their own bubble. The response from competitors to this new twist has been very positive and will make the event even more special. It’s like going back to the original days of expedition racing.”


“This allows entries to open again for more Kiwi teams to race. We have waived any late entry fees to assist this to happen and all the entry details are online at”


Bates says the support from the Rotorua Lakes Council and Rotorua Economic Development Board for the event has been outstanding given the difficult circumstances.


“Events are important at a community, regional and national level, providing both economic and social benefits. Rotorua Lakes Council Sports Development Manager Steve Watene and Events Attraction & Development Manager Jason Cameron and their respective teams have been with us every step of the way on this journey to Chapter 9 and we are all working extremely hard to deliver the ultimate edition of GODZone in 2021.”


For more information on GODZone Chapter 9 go to:

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