Auckland will host stopovers for the next two editions of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race after being successful in its bid to attract the high-profile race back to the city.
Organisers of the event confirmed on Tuesday that the city, which successfully hosted competitors in the race in 2012 after a 10-year absence, would host the start of the Southern Ocean leg of the race in both 2015 and 2018.
"Sailing into Auckland after a 10-year gap felt like the race was coming home," said Volvo Ocean Race chief executive Knut Frostad.
"As soon as we arrived it was clear that we'd been away from this stunning city too long and it's hugely satisfying to be able to say that we're coming back straight away this time. Having an agreement in place for the next two editions is just the icing on the cake."
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said the city was the perfect destination for the race.
The government, through its major events development fund, will put up $1.5 million to help support the stopovers and help leverage the nation's marine industry.
"The Volvo Ocean Race stopovers provide a great opportunity to showcase this sector's expertise internationally," Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said.
Around 275,000 spectators visited the race village in 2012 and according to economic impact data it generated an additional $6.3m to New Zealand's GDP and attracted 1681 international visitors.
The two 15-day stopovers in 2015 and 2018 are forecast to generate $7.4m and attract 1880 foreign visitors each year.
The dates of the stopover will be revealed next month and competitors will sail from Auckland to the Brazilian port of Itajai in the next edition.
Four of the 10 ports for the 2014-15 race, which takes nine months, have now been confirmed with the rest of the route to be settled in the coming weeks.
New Zealand entry Camper was second behind Groupama in last year's race.