For the first time annual business event arrivals from Australia to New Zealand have exceeded 40,000. What’s going on?

According to Statistics New Zealand data, there was 10.4 per cent growth for business event arrivals into New Zealand for the 2015 year, compared with 2014.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Sue Sullivan says event organisers love the ease of access, hospitality, scenery and value for money New Zealand offers Australian conference groups.

“You can fly direct to New Zealand from seven different Australian airports including Adelaide and Perth, arrive to state-of-the-art facilities, world-class cuisine, and a range of activities and accommodation options that won’t cost the earth,” she says.

Citing New Zealand’s events success as coming from the creation of meaningful and authentic experiences – something CINZ intends to share at the 20th MEETINGS in June – Ms Sullivan continued, “Underpinning everything we do are three core values – open spaces, open hearts and open minds. We welcome everyone as friends and ask where are you, how are you and when will you be back?”

“We are known for our kaitiakitanga – care of people and place – and for being safe, stable, open, and accessible. Kiwis have a reputation as ‘down to earth’ and ‘good to work with’ and our outward-looking way of thinking allows us to be creative, innovative and often ingenious,” she says.

MEETINGS celebrates 20th year

Exciting connections are being anticipated when the 20th MEETINGS exhibition opens in June.

“CINZ MEETINGS 2016 will be a stellar anniversary event and our buyers can look forward to full hosting including travel, accommodation and registration for the event on June 15 and 16, plus famil opportunities before the show gets underway,” Sue Sullivan said.

“Along with our legendary social hosting, the highlight of CINZ MEETINGS is focused, face-to-face appointments. Pre-scheduled appointments mean buyers can meet a choice of 200 exhibitors from 19 regions of New Zealand, all under one roof with 35 appointments across two days.”

Up to 100 hosted buyers from Australia will also have the opportunity to join one of eight regional familiarisation tours around New Zealand the weekend before MEETINGS, and a hosted Auckland day experience on June 14.

Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand are bringing influential international buyers and media to MEETINGS from North America, China, India and South East Asia.

“Buyers tell us they enjoy the atmosphere of our appointment program, with five minute breaks between appointments plus morning and afternoon tea breaks, all day coffee and tea, and exceptional networking and familiarisation events,” Ms Sullivan said.


Another step closer to the reality of the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) was made in February when the first sod on the site of the landmark project was turned by Prime Minister John Key – an event that follows eight weeks of demolition on the site of the two-storey convention centre and five-star, 300-room hotel, which is being developed by SKYCITY Entertainment Group.

Rising on the site of the $700 million project in the first half of next year will be the NZICC and the Hobson Street hotel. Once open, these facilities will create more than 1000 jobs across the new entertainment precinct.

SKYCITY chief executive Nigel Morrison says each year Auckland is becoming more of a leading international city and is now in the middle of a development boom, recently appearing in the top 20 on the City Momentum Index, which rates commercial growth in world cities.

“When open in 2019, the NZICC will be capable of hosting conventions of around 3000 people, and one-off events of up to 4000 people on the exhibition floor, which will be five times larger than the current largest exhibition hall. At the same time, it will also be able to host multiple events.

In other news, the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT), the largest museum of its type, recently opened The Idea Collective, an artistic collaborative installation which celebrates New Zealand’s vibrant innovation culture. The facility brings together a diverse set of visionaries, artists, designers and technologists to create a range of exciting displays and experiences.

The perfect venue for product launches or a corporate dinner, the space can host up to 250 guests for a banquet or 350 in a cocktail-style arrangement. Visitors to the exhibition will get a kick out of creating their own sound and light show on the ‘Titania’ light harp. This touch-free interface generates music and triggers a light display in response to movement, while the mysteries of augmented reality can be explored in an interactive installation designed by leading Kiwi innovator, Sir Ian Taylor.


The latest Convention Activity Survey (CAS) statistics released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) reveal there were 227 multi-day conferences held in Rotorua in 2015, a 13 per cent increase over the 2014 year.

Destination Rotorua’s business events manager Craig Murray said, “The Rotorua business events strategy is focussed on further increasing Rotorua’s market share of multi-day conference activity during the winter months.”

At the Te Puia New Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI), upcoming site developments will see a new 300-seat café, restaurant and bar overlooking Te Whakarewarewa Valley and a new Pavilion overlooking Pohutu Geyser. Te Puia general manager sales and marketing Kiri Atkinson-Crean says the new developments will completely transform the 60-hectare site, along with the visitor and MICE experiences.

“The new developments expand our capacity and capability for events and redefines the indigenous dining experience. It’s hugely exciting.”

In addition to the facilities, Te Puia | NZMACI will also be developing a new Wānanga (schools) Precinct that will bring NZMACI to the forefront of the operation, as well as a new culturally focused kiwihouse that will see New Zealand’s native bird thrive.

Rotorua had the third largest market share (nine per cent) of multi-day conference delegate days spent in the 13 CAS regions, beaten only by Auckland (35 per cent) and Wellington (17 per cent).

Destination Rotorua’s business events manager Craig Murray said, most conference activity occurs during the winter season and therefore makes an important contribution to filling capacity at tourism businesses during the leisure market’s low season.

Applying the latest Convention Delegate Survey average per night expenditure to the visitor delegate days spent in Rotorua, it indicates that Rotorua’s multi-day conference market generated more than $30 million in visitor expenditure during the 2015 year.

“With Rotorua hosting TRENZ later this year we have every reason to be optimistic that Rotorua’s positioning as a premier business events destination will be further reinforced, resulting in continued success not only for our tourism industry but for the wider Rotorua business community as a whole,” said Blair Chalmers, Regional TIA Hotel Chairman for Rotorua said.

When Rotorua hosts CORE Education’s uLearn16 conference in the Energy Events Centre (EEC) in October 2016 more than 2000 teachers, school leaders, educational organisations and businesses will be a part of New Zealand’s largest education conference.

During the three-day event hotel conference rooms surrounding the EEC will be utilised to offer 40 consecutive break-out options as part of a broad program offering.

The main plenary, live-streamed sessions, hands-on workshops, presentations and panels, and an extensive trade hall with 100+ exhibitors will be held in the EEC, while a gala dinner, conference reception and social media café are all catered for the event which is a regular sell out.