New Zealand secures global coral event

Coral reefs in Fiji

New Zealand has won hosting rights for the International Coral Reef Society’s Symposium, a major global conference on coral reefs highlighting the plight of the South Pacific to the rest of the world.

It will be held in mid-2025 in Auckland at the New Zealand International Convention Centre. Around 2,500 scientists, environmental managers, conservationists are expected to attend, contributing NZ$6 million (US$4.3 million) to the economy.

Coral reefs in Fiji

Coral reefs are a vital part of marine ecosystems but are being destroyed by global warming and ocean acidification, as well as more localised threats such as agricultural run-off, poor fishing practices and coastal development.

The prediction for coral reefs around the world is bleak and many could be completely gone in just a few decades. This loss will not only have massive implications for marine biodiversity, but socio-economic impacts for those countries and regions that depend heavily on coral reefs, such as New Zealand’s neighbours in the South Pacific.

Tourism New Zealand and the Auckland Convention Bureau worked alongside Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Auckland and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Fijian office to secure the event.

Michael Sweet, corresponding secretary of the International Coral Reef Society reflected on why the New Zealand bid was a success, beating out other nations like Italy.

“We were particularly impressed by the inclusivity of the New Zealand approach in identifying the importance of Māori culture and the natural environment and also the partnership with the Pacific.”

Tourism New Zealand’s global manager business Events Lisa Gardiner added: “It’s a real boost for the sector as we head into 2021 that we’ve got a number of great conferences in the pipeline. We are forging ahead to keep New Zealand an attractive place to host business events so the industry can keep staff employed and keep these high-value visitors coming to New Zealand.”

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