June 17, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

New Zealand’s business events industry wrapped up a huge showcase last night, with the gala dinner for the country’s flagship business events trade show MEETINGS rounding out a near week-long run of famils and business discussions between New Zealand sellers and buyers from across Australia and New Zealand.

The dinner was held in new convention centre Te Pae Christchurch’s elevated River Rooms and recognised the best of the exhibitors on the show floor as well as giving all of the show participants an opportunity to celebrate together.

The Millennium Hotels stand, which featured bespoke gins with labels which gave frank and hilarious assessments of the last few pandemic years, won best individual stand, Wellington won best regional stand, with its Wellington General Store boosting engagement by giving away Wellington products based on interactions with buyers, and Kim Chan Events picked up best new exhibitor after its socially responsible flower wall caught the eye of the three buyer judges.

“MEETINGS has shown that business events are back, and better than ever, with a strong pipeline of bookings coming from two days packed with appointments,” said Lisa Hopkins, chief executive of association Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), which organises MEETINGS.

“MEETINGS has also been a triumph for New Zealand’s and Christchurch’s business events hosting capabilities. It leaves everyone in awe of our world-class venues and services in a bucket-list destination. Hosting its first major international exhibition, Te Pae Christchurch has come through with flying colours,” she said.

Under the eye of Te Pae’s chefs, produce for last night’s dinner was all sourced from within 85km of Christchurch.

The theming for the evening was big on florals and was executed by best new exhibitor winner Kim Chan Events. All live plants used for the evening and those on the show floor during the exhibition will be donated to local community organisations.

A high point in the entertainment for the evening – organised by The Production Agency – was a performance incorporating dance and lasers, which created an incredible optical illusion. The after-dinner band also got the industry out in force on the dance floor.

And the night’s MC, local celebrity Jason Gunn, was on-point for an audience of event professionals.

More than 50 Australian buyers attended familiarisation tours of Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, Marlborough and Queenstown last weekend, while a small group will do a post-event famil in Rotorua this weekend.

Stay turned next week for our wrap of what we learned at MEETINGS 2022.