August 26, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

New Zealand’s capital continues to use business events as an avenue to boost its knowledge economy and industry expertise, with Wellington to host New Zealand’s first Life Sciences Summit.

The summit has been initiated through a collaboration between BioTechNZ and NZTech, with Business Events Wellington signing onto a multi-way partnership between BioTechNZ, WellingtonNZ and the bureau. The event is also being supported by Tourism New Zealand’s business events division and PCO Brightstar.

The first event of the new partnership will take place in March 2023 at Wellington waterfront venue Shed 6, before moving to Wellington’s new convention and exhibition centre, Tākina, following its opening in the middle of next year. The intention is to grow the event’s audience both domestically and internationally during its tenure in Wellington.

“New Zealand ranks fourth in the world for innovation potential in biotech,” said BioTechNZ’s executive director Zahra Champion.

“Our vibrant sector is small but growing with 211 companies and $2.7 billion in revenue. Globally, biotechnology is expected to be worth $1.1 trillion NZD by 2025, so it makes sense that we explore all possible opportunities.

“There has never been a more important time to elevate the science of making our world more resilient through sustainably transforming the food system, protecting our environment and facilitating breakthroughs in health, green energy and biobased manufacturing.

“Our objective is to bring New Zealand’s biotechnology and life sciences industries together across the sectors, including agricultural, environmental, industrial and human health,” said Champion.

“Having this breadth of participants highlights New Zealand’s capability and promotes research and commercial opportunities to solve the biggest challenges on the planet.”

Wellington is already home to several key players in New Zealand’s biotech sector, including world-leading independent biomedical research institute, the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, and several life sciences research centres. The city’s Gracefield Innovation Quarter, run by New Zealand’s innovation agency Callaghan Innovation, is also set to host a new biotech hub.

“Biotech is an increasingly important industry in New Zealand for addressing our pressing environmental health, climate and food challenges,” said WellingtonNZ’s general manager of business and innovation Rebekah Campbell.

“To date there hasn’t been an event that draws together business, academia, government and investors across this sector in Aotearoa.

“The innovation and commercial potential for this sector is immense and this event will serve as a platform for growth.”

This latest partnership follows an agreement between Business Events Wellington and the New Zealand Game Developers Association, inked at the end of 2021, which will see a multi-year residency of an event for game developers as well as those in the film, screen and interactive media sectors, in Wellington, with the strategic partnership designed to widen the event’s original gaming remit to take in increasingly interrelated creative industries.

“Supporting an event like this meets our objective of retaining and growing conferences and business events in sectors that leave a positive impact for the Wellington region,” said Business Events Wellington Manager Irette Ferreira, of the latest biotech event partnership.