New Zealand is on the up, with two of its largest cities currently undergoing mammoth construction projects that will see a huge increase in MICE capacity and capabilities.

The country’s largest city, Auckland, and the South Island’s biggest city, Christchurch, are both set to receive brand new convention centres in the next two years.

Convention & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Sue Sullivan said, “Our two largest cities, Auckland and Christchurch, are well underway with new convention centres, designed for the 21st century, both with easy air access, putting us high on the consideration list for Australian and international conference organisers.”

The key project is the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC). Set to open in 2019, the venue will have the ability to accommodate conferences of approximately 3,000 delegates across 32,500m2 of space.

Facilities include 1,000m2 of space with elevated views for banquet style settings, and a dedicated plenary theatre that can be configured in either banquet or theatre settings for 2,850 people. The centre will also have 8,100m2 of trade floor space and 2,700m2 of breakout areas.

Sullivan said Auckland’s success in the business events sector was key to the success of business events throughout the country, “particularly as we lead to the opening of the NZICC”.

“The city is emerging as a knowledge capital of the Asia Pacific region and the NZICC is perfectly placed to leverage this,” she said.

To attract high-profile, high-value events in the lead up to the NZICC’s opening, Auckland will promote its key strengths within the commercial services sector and knowledge services.

On the South Island, the new NZ$475 million Christchurch Convention Centre, set to open in 2020, will replace the previous venue demolished after the 2011 earthquake.

The new facility will have a 3,600m2 exhibition hall which can hold over 200 exhibition booths, as well as a tiered auditorium that can hold 1,400 people or can be divided into two 700 capacity conference halls. For break outs, there will be 14 interconnected meeting rooms of various sizes and a banquet hall with seating for 1,250.

ChristchurchNZ Convention Bureau manager Claire Hector-Taylor said the new centre would span two blocks of prime land overlooking the Otakaro Avon River.

“The design of the Centre reflects the fluid curves of the South Island’s braided rivers, and complements the green spaces, heritage square and gardens surrounding it,” she said.


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