7 Nov 2019

Stephen Colbert's visit to NZ cost Tourism NZ more than $100k

2:46 pm on 7 November 2019

Tourism New Zealand has revealed it paid more than $100,000 to host the American comedian Stephen Colbert on his recent visit.

Jacinda Ardern on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on the Late Show. Photo: CBS / Scott Kowalchyk

Mr Colbert visited New Zealand last month following an invitation from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on his late-night television programme The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Mr Colbert had been scheduled to make a surprise trip in March, but the plans were shelved after the Christchurch mosque shootings, which left 51 people dead.

Shortly after the attack, Mr Colbert expressed his condolences during a taping and urged people to visit.

He instead visited New Zealand for six days last month - arriving in Auckland where he was greeted at the airport by Ms Ardern.

Tourism New Zealand said US broadcaster CBS funded most of the trip, but accommodation, some tourism experiences and meals for the 16 crew were covered by Tourism New Zealand.

The trip cost $104,500 - that included $58,200 on accommodation, $19,100 on attraction and activities, $14,500 on production expenses, $7900 on domestic travel and $4400 on meals.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is the US number one show on late night, boasting an average audience of 3.5 million people.

Tourism New Zealand said it expected Mr Colbert's New Zealand trip to air later this month, generating an estimated $5 million worth of advertising revenue.

During her appearance on Mr Colbert's show last year, Ms Ardern him to visit New Zealand and jokingly offered to make the host - who is a massive Lord of the Rings fan - an official citizen of "Hobbiton".

But Tourism New Zealand said it wouldn't be releasing details of Mr Colbert's trip - including where he visited or activities he took part in - until the show aired.