July 27, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier | Image source: NZEA Facebook page

After a 15-month delay and four postponements, the New Zealand Events Association (NZEA) finally held an awards gala to celebrate the best of New Zealand’s events industry last night, with entrants spanning a 19-month eligibility period, thanks to pandemic disruptions.

Twenty-two winners were announced from 108 entrants which included events, supplier companies, venues and individual event professionals.

Big winners on the night included the 36th America’s Cup held in March 2021 in Auckland, which won Best Major or Mega Event and provided the context for three other wins, including two for PPG Events and the delivery of the Toyota Hospitality Experience during the event and the Best Supplier award for Platform 4 Group and its work on the America’s Cup Village.

New Plymouth District Council also picked up three awards, for Best Local Government Event and the publicly voted New Zealand’s Favourite Event for the TSB Festival of Lights, as well as taking home the Best Event Use of Technology Award for Oxfam Trailwalker.

“It’s great to be celebrating excellence in major events at a time when such events are much needed to attract international tourists again,” said NZEA general manager Ségolène de Fontenay, of the America’s Cup wins.

She also acknowledged the struggles for the industry during the pandemic and the value of the industry for all New Zealanders.

“Organising any event depends on managing multiple moving parts, including suppliers, guests, entertainment, catering and more. With COVID presenting an unpredictable additional dimension, organisers have truly had their backs against the wall.

“However, we’ve seen incredible resilience and the classic Kiwi Number 8 wire ‘can do’ attitude emerge from events professionals, who have persevered and put up with unimaginable difficulties with dogged determination. That makes this edition of our awards particularly poignant – and, after being kept apart for so long, it’s fair to say everyone made the most of our NZEA NZ Event Awards Gala Evening.

“You cannot underestimate the value of the events industry to the wellbeing of New Zealanders across economic, social and environmental spheres and ultimately the health and prosperity of a nation’s people,” she said.

“Our country’s events ecosystem keeps us engaged, educated, connected, networked and entertained. Join us in celebrating those who make it happen, no matter what.”

Nearly 350 people attended the awards celebration at Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre.

Eligibility for awards ran from September 2019 through to early April 2021.


Individual awards

Best Emerging Event Professional 2021 – sponsored by ChristchurchNZ
Cuillin Hearty

Best Established Event Professional 2021
Valentina Paladini

Best Event Sponsorship Professional 2021
Matt Davy

Excellence awards

Best Arts or Cultural Event 2021
Kitchen Takeover – Taiao: Food of the Gods

Best Business Event 2021 – sponsored by ChristchurchNZ
Toyota Hospitality Experience – 36th America’s Cup, PPG Events

Best Community or Not-for-Profit Event 2021 – sponsored by Kennedy Park
CupaDupa, Creative Capital Arts Trust

Best COVID-19 Response for an Event 2021 – sponsored by ChristchurchNZ
(three winners)
Boma COVID-19 Virtual Summit, Boma New Zealand
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays, Stuff
uLearn20, CORE Education

Best Event Marketing 2021
ASB for The ASB Sustainaball – ASB Classic

Best Lifestyle Event 2021 – sponsored by Big Barrell (In association with Peroni Italy)
Kitchen Takeover – Eat Your Memories

Best Local Government Event 2021
TSB Festival of Lights, New Plymouth District Council

Best Major or Mega Event 2021
The 36th America’s Cup, Auckland Unlimited

Best Music Event 2021 – sponsored by Red Badge
Rhythm and Vines

Best Sports Event 2021 – sponsored by Kennedy Park
ASB Classic, Tennis Auckland

Support awards

Best Event Creative 2021
PPG Events for the Toyota Hospitality Experience – 36th America’s Cup

Best Event Use of Technology 2021
New Plymouth District Council for Oxfam Trailwalker

Best Supplier 2021
Platform 4 Group for the 36th America’s Cup Village

Best Venue 2021 – sponsored by Trinity Hill
Claudelands Oval for SIX60 Saturdays

Achievement Awards

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award 2021 – sponsored by Kennedy Park
(two winners)
Te Rangi Huata
Anne Hindson

New Zealand’s Favourite Event 2021 – sponsored by Fresh Info
(public vote kindly hosted by Eventfinda)
TSB Festival of Lights, New Plymouth District Council