Wellington City Council in New Zealand has paid out NZ$3.6m (£1.8m/€2.1m/$2.4m) to the World of WearableArt (WOW) event, which had been forced to cancel for a second year running due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event had originally been planned for September 30 – October 17, and traditionally boosted the local economy by around $28m.

Wellington City Council had agreed to underwrite the event in February, with news outlet Stuff reporting that there was a “worst-case scenario” of $5m on hold.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster said that not paying and supporting an event such as this would have resulted in other events being lost “with all the impacts that would have on our arts and culture status and employment of artists and those providing essential support.

“Most of the money has gone to those people – artists, performers, technicians, choreographers etc, and a sizeable proportion of it will, I am advised, provide value for WOW 2022.”

According to reports, World of WearableArt chief executive David Tingey said that part of the underwrite agreement with Wellington City Council would result in the show staying in the city for another five years. Tingey said that the deal had not yet been signed, but soon would be.

Image: Sulthan Auliya on Unsplash