The excitement surrounding the Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre is palpable, and its anticipated opening is set to be a game-changer for the city’s business events industry.
With construction completed at the site, the centre is preparing for a grand opening on May 31, 2023, after a series of test events planned for the month leading up to the official launch.
The new venue is expected to allow New Zealand’s capital city to host larger-scale international events for the first time, breaking its glass ceiling for the types and scale of events it could not previously cater for.
“Within the business event sector, the excitement is absolutely red hot,” said David Perks, general manager of Tākina Commercial Development.
“This is something that Wellington’s business events sector and the city has realised it’s needed for a long time… and the fantastic thing is the volume of business we are getting (for the centre) already in terms of conference and bookings is really high,” he added.
These include the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists Annual Scientific Meeting in 2024, and the Congress of the International Association of Sedimentologists in 2026 for 900 and 800 delegates respectively.
Perks told TTGmice that Tākina will work with Christchurch’s Te Pae and Auckland’s plans for New Zealand International Convention Centre so that all three become regular stops on the Australasian circuit.
“But the real gold is bringing in international events which are really important to our business case, first of all, because those visitors tend to spend more and stay longer, so we get more of that direct economic impact for our businesses in the city and the people who are employed in them.
“Secondly, we do see that as a relatively small city on a global scale, this is a way of getting our story out there about what our place is all about,” he said.
With construction on the building completed on February 28, Tākina is finishing with kitchen fit-outs and AV installation.
Tourism New Zealand general manager New Zealand & business events, Bjoern Spreitzer, said Tākina will give the business events market added capacity to New Zealand’s meetings offering and greater choice with its premium, purpose-built conference and exhibition centre.
“Event planners from Asia will find what’s always been strong in Wellington and New Zealand – our warm welcome, inspiring thought leaders, and amazing landscape and activities to entice delegates, but now with the added benefit of a cutting-edge venue,” he said.
Tākina accommodates up to 1,600 delegates with two divisible plenary halls, plus a 1,800m2 exhibition hall and meeting rooms. It has about 4,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of its location.