A new international-standard convention centre is now assured for Auckland.

After much public debate and controversy, the C&I industry of New Zealand is excited to see that the SKYCITY Entertainment Group has signed a Heads of Agreement with the NZ government to design, build and operate the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC).
The agreement specifies the terms of the commitment that would see SKYCITY commit $315 million to build and fit-out the NZICC, in addition to contributing 14,000 square metres to the Auckland CBD site, valued at $87 million.
The controversy around the proposed centre has come from the arrangement between the government and casino on an increase in poker machines and gaming tables. It has been revealed that should the centre go ahead – which it now will – the government would extend SKYCITY’s casino licence for 35 years with the addition of a package of regulatory reforms.

It is understood it will take three years to build the $315 million development, with its 3500-seat capacity, 780 parking spaces, and link-way bridge over Hobson Street, all to be complete by mid-to-late 2017.
SKYCITY chief executive, Nigel Morrison, said the company was pleased to have reached agreement with the government on the key terms of SKYCITY developing and operating the new facility.
In April, the government announced that over the next four years, $34 million of its $158 million tourism funding package would be focused on attracting international business events, conferences, conventions and exhibitions to New Zealand.
“For the first time, the NZICC will provide a venue of the size and scale required to allow New Zealand to finally compete with other countries for our fair share of major international conferences,” Mr Morrison said.
The Heads of Agreement states that SKYCITY and the government have until June 14, 2013, to formalise the agreement. If this date is not achieved, neither party will have any obligation and the agreement will be terminated.

New and improved

As the setting of what is sure to be another successful MEETINGS, Auckland has even more to showcase than last year. Auckland Convention Bureau manager, Anna Hayward, says the team is looking forward to showcasing the best of the region at this year’s major exhibition for the business events sector.
“It’s always a pleasure to host MEETINGS in Auckland and we look forward to showing the hosted buyers a great time during the mega-famil. Our destination is constantly evolving – people are often surprised with the diversity of what’s on offer in Auckland, and I expect that this year will be no exception.”

Ocean dreams

Indigenous Journeys is welcoming visitors onto Te Waka Haunui – an ocean voyaging waka. The vessel recently completed a 30,000 kilometre journey of rediscovery in the Pacific as sailed by traditional Polynesian navigational methods. ‘The Navigator’s Journey’ offers a chance to help hoist the sails and man the giant steering oar as Haunui makes its way across the Waitemata Harbour.

Shed 10.1

The cargo-shed-come-stylish-urban-warehouse venue, Shed 10, is undergoing a refurbishment. The maritime venue has hosted swanky product launches, exhibitions, festival events and black tie gala dinners, but soon it will also claim the title of multi-purpose events centre and cruise ship facility. The work is expected to be all wrapped up mid-year ensuring Shed 10 is already hot on the list of event planners, especially after TRENZ was hosted there with great success.

Cool culture

The culture of Auckland is continuing to flourish with the Britomart precinct in downtown Auckland having undergone a transformation that is the ultimate urban success story. Its beautifully restored historic buildings now house hip bars, eclectic eateries and world-class designer shopping. It is continually opening new shops and restaurants.

Peruse the new offerings on www.britomart.org.