Unlocking meaningful conference connections in New Zealand | Arinex & Tourism NZ Educational Event 2024

Fast facts

Event: Aotearoa, New Zealand Educational Event

Dates: 18 – 23 March 2024

Location: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch

Challenge:

While Aotearoa, New Zealand has emerged as an exciting new frontier for the business events sector with the arrival of three state-of-the-art convention centres, many Australian associations remained unaware of the full breadth of experiences the country can provide conference delegates. To truly elevate their events, Australian association event organisers needed to experience first-hand how New Zealand can provide rich cultural experiences, meaningful connection with local communities, and unlock valuable knowledge sharing.

Solution:

To effectively showcase New Zealand’s diverse offering, Arinex and Tourism New Zealand developed a six-day educational event for eight Australian association representatives. The thoughtfully curated itinerary promised not just venue tours, but an authentic experience of the culture and diverse industries of the country’s three most populous cities: Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington) and Ōtautahi (Christchurch).

Cultural Immersion: From the outset, participants were immersed in New Zealand’s cultural fabric. In Auckland, they experienced a Māori cultural welcome with engagement continuing throughout the six-day program, including a cultural walking tour followed by a journey by traditional hand-crafted Māori waka along the Avon River in Christchurch. In Wellington, the country’s capital city and political centre, they were welcomed to Tākina Wellington Convention Centre with a mihi whakatau (welcome) and karakia (prayer) and a presentation by a local Cultural Advisor and Tribal Leader. At the final dinner in Christchurch, the participants were presented with a taonga (treasure) of pounamu (green stone), a special gift from Arinex, following a karakia blessing and haka to signify the importance of the connections made throughout the famil.

Venue Tours: A key focus of the program was in-depth tours of New Zealand’s newest world-class convention centres. Participants went behind the scenes at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, Tākina Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre, and the upcoming New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland (opening 2025). In addition, they inspected other exceptional venues and were hosted by world-class hotels such as the Crowne Plaza Christchurch, TRYP by Wyndham Wellington, and the Grand Millennium Auckland, which provided insight into the country’s high-calibre accommodation and meeting facilities.

Scenic Experience: New Zealand is renowned for its captivating landscapes, and the itinerary offered a range of scenic activities starting with an exhilarating America’s Cup yacht sailing experience on Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour, showcasing why the city is often referred to as the ‘City of Sails’. In Wellington, they enjoyed the iconic Wellington Cable Car, offering panoramic views over the ‘coolest little capital in the world’. The Christchurch leg of the tour included a city sights bicycle tour of notable locations like the Aotea Centre, Viaduct Events Centre, and Christchurch Town Hall, followed by a helicopter flight over the ‘Garden City’ and its coastline, famous for attracting visitors with its picturesque outdoor activities, as well as a thriving food and wine scene. Other educational visits on the program included the Zealandia wildlife sanctuary, Te Papa Tongarewa museum, the newly refurbished St James Theatre, and Parliament House.

Knowledge Hubs: Networking events facilitated connections with subject matter experts from leading institutions in the discipline or industry related to those of the participants These connections demonstrated the depth of expertise and collaborative opportunities available across New Zealand.

Outcome:

The six-day educational event profiled New Zealand as far more than a scenic destination with new convention centres. It emphasised New Zealand’s value proposition for fostering lasting legacies and connections for visiting delegates, local communities and the wider industries that choose to meet there. The Australian association representatives left with a sense of Aotearoa as an exceptional destination for impactful conferences, blending world-class venues with cultural immersion and access to diverse industry experts.

Within one month of the educational event, Arinex saw genuine interest and commitment from associations to bring an event to New Zealand.

See participant comments below.

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As an event manager, I am now more convinced than ever that New Zealand is the ideal destination for hosting association events. The country’s stunning natural landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for inspiring meetings and conferences. The new convention centres, contemporary venues, accommodation offerings and numerous pre and post activities and tours will ensure a seamless and memorable experience for all delegates.” Amanda Frazer, Australian Institute of Health and Safety

“This famil was extraordinary in its coverage and depth. We went to the NZ Metropolis (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch) seeing the very best these destinations have to offer. It was all world class. I was also introduced to the leaders in my field across industry, government and research and duly provided the space and environment to conduct meaningful exchanges.”  Dan O’Sullivan, CSIRO

“During our travels, each city we visited had its own unique features, ranging from exceptional immersive experiences and captivating art scenes to breathtaking natural landscapes. But what truly stood out was the harmonious blend of cutting-edge innovation, thoughtful design and Māori culture at the heart of every venue and destination.  Traditional Māori values of whanaungatanga (relationships) and manaakitanga (hospitality) were evident the minute we arrived and I doubt the humble embrace we experienced will ever be forgotten.” – Jill Craw, Renal Society of Australasia

The visit to NZ was extremely beneficial.  NZ will be forefront of my mind when considering conference locations as a result of the visit.  NZ has everything to offer as a conference destination – wide array of accommodation offerings, high quality conference facilities, incredible cultural immersion experiences, fantastic food, side destinations and most importantly a country with an enormous heart and generosity of spirit. It is the one stop shop. The team showcased the very finest of NZ and it has only left me wanting more.” – Melanie Robertson, Forest Stewardship Council Australia and New Zealand