Up to 3,000 school principals from around the world are expected to gather in Auckland in September 2026, when the ICP World Convention returns to New Zealand for the first time in almost two decades.
The conference win was the result of a collaborative effort between New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF), Auckland Convention Bureau and Tourism New Zealand, with financial support garnered through the national tourism agency’s Conference Assistance Programme. The event also received indications of support from the mayor of Auckland and New Zealand’s central government.
“Hosting the convention in New Zealand will expose New Zealand’s educators to the world’s leading researchers and the top international speakers in this sector,” said NZPF president, Leanne Otene.
“Conversely, we have some incredibly good researchers in New Zealand, and we can put them on the world stage. It’s a great opportunity.”
As principals globally face challenges including a decline in school attendance and the emergence of AI, Otene is expecting strong attendee numbers for the New Zealand iteration of the global conference.
“ICP is a place where educators can share ideas and best practice and see what’s working elsewhere in the world.
“We’re expecting a good turnout. New Zealand is a destination that people will want to come to from a tourism perspective, but we also have a reputation that we will put on an amazing convention. We’ll have this beautiful new venue and the opportunity to showcase our multicultural city, with visitors also having the opportunity to visit schools around the city.
“New Zealand offers a unique perspective. We’re at that leading edge in terms of being culturally responsive to First Nations people, and educators around the world want to see how that’s done.
“Our international visitors will be able to see themselves in our schools and see how we’re supporting their growth in terms of their cultural identity.
“Schools are the centre of embracing different cultures. We are building a generation that’s much more tolerant of difference.”
Head of Auckland Convention Bureau, Ken Pereira, confirmed that Auckland is home to more than 220 ethnic groups.
“For a conference like the International Confederation of Principals, this point of difference is a crucial draw card,” he said.
The conference is expected to deliver a $4.6 million injection into the New Zealand economy when it’s held at the new New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC), which is expected to open mid-2025.
“As the only venue in New Zealand large enough to host a conference of this scale, it is a privilege to be welcoming the International Confederation of Principals and their delegates to the New Zealand International Convention Centre in 2026,” said NZICC’s general manager, Prue Daly.
“The sharing of knowledge and showcasing New Zealand’s manaakitanga are fundamental values of the NZICC, and to be able to foster this through the ICP conference, who are utilising all 32,500m2 of our world-class venue, is very exciting.”