The evening event came after the convention centre was officially opened in the morning with a blessing by Taranaki Whānui, the traditional Māori guardians of the Wellington Harbour and associated lands.
The venue has more than 50 multi-day conferences locked in for its first year of operation.
“As capital of New Zealand, the Tākina Convention and Exhibition Centre is an important asset for the city,” said Wellington’s mayor Tory Whanau.
“In its first year it’s expected to attract around half a million international and domestic visitors through its family-friendly exhibitions and world class conferencing facilities.
“Tākina is designed as a place where we can share stories of the nation with the world, and where the world can share its stories with us.”
Economically, the centre is expected to generate 372 direct jobs within Wellington’s visitor economy and generate $45 million for the national capital.
Last night’s event was attended by local Maori, dignitaries, key convention centre stakeholders and clients of the new centre. Tākina’s culinary capabilities were on display and entertainment showcased Wellington’s cultural scene, including signature Wellington event, World of WearableArt (WOW), alongside the Connections Pasifika Choir, and Ngati Poneke Young Māori Club.
“It’s wonderful to see Tākina come to life,” said David Perks, GM of Tākina commercial development for Wellington City Council.
“Tākina will increase Wellington’s opportunity to host international conferences at a scale the city has not previously been able to.”
The New Zealand and Australian business events industry will get a working experience of the new convention centre next month when the venue hosts New Zealand’s flagship business events trade show MEETINGS.