Taxpayers have footed a bill close to $1 million for an America's Cup event that included a sing-a-long with Rod Stewart.
As part of the Rock the Dock campaign on March 13, a video version of Stewart's 1975 hit 'Sailing' played at fan zones. The four-minute sing-a-long ended an hour-long show at the America's Cup village.
Tony Rogers, Tourism New Zealand's marketing director, says the event cost $918,000 and was aimed at promoting Aotearoa overseas - but he wouldn't divulge how much of that amount went to Stewart.
Rogers says the Rock the Dock event was part of a campaign to promote New Zealand to key international markets in preparation for the borders reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic.
"To maximise the impact to the New Zealand economy of hosting the America's Cup, businesses and government agencies are running a programme of events and activities to lift New Zealand's profile internationally," he says.
"Rock the Dock was part of our leveraging activity that brought New Zealanders together in a show of support for the teams and their fans around the world who are unable to be here."
Stewart was chosen to take part since he has "global appeal" and a "strong connection" to New Zealand, given two of his children were born here through his 17-year marriage to model Rachel Hunter.
Rogers says he can't share Stewart's fee since it is commercial in confidence and could jeopardise his future contract negotiations.
"The total cost of hosting the event was $918,000. This includes Sir Rod's fees, marketing and promotional budget and production costs associated with the event."
Stewart's pre-recorded performance of 'Sailing' was filmed on a boat on the River Thames in London and beamed into Auckland’s America’s Cup Village and around the country.