Wellington ready to host bigger conferences as new venue opens

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Wellington ready to host bigger conferences as new venue opens

A meeting on digital preservation and another on sedimentary rocks will be amongst the first international conferences taking place at Tākina - New Zealand’s newest conference and exhibition centre.

The Wellington venue opened this week, three-and-a-half years after building work started, with a morning blessing by Taranaki Whānui, the traditional Māori guardians of the Wellington Harbour and associated lands.

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau said the opening of Tākina was a ‘transformational’ step for the city. More than 50 multi-day conferences are scheduled to be held this year.

“As capital of New Zealand, the Tākina Convention and Exhibition Centre is an important asset for the city. 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,” he said. “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.”

The first event, the Festival for the Future, takes place next week (8-9 June). International conferences already booked include: The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases Conference in 2024; Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) in 2024; iPRES 2025 - International Conference on Digital Preservation in 2025; and International Sedimentological Congress in 2026.

Situated in Wellington’s cultural precinct, opposite the waterfront, Tākina is expected to create 372 jobs and add NZ$45m a year to the city in tourism receipts.

Tākina incorporates 10,000sqm of conferencing space over two levels, with capacity for plenaries up to 1,600. The ground floor exhibition gallery, at 1,280sqm, is the largest in New Zealand. 

David Perks, general manager Tākina Commercial Development for Wellington City Council, said Tākina would increase Wellington’s ‘opportunity to host international conferences at a scale the city has not previously been able to’. 

Tākina is owned by the Wellington City Council and operated by local team Tākina Events, which manages the event spaces of both Tākina and neighbouring national museum Te Papa Tongarewa.

Tākina Events spokesperson, Jake Downing added: “Tākina will offer cutting-edge technology, flexible function space and world-class cuisine. With our convention centre and our national museum in such close proximity, it creates exciting spaces and opportunities for events.”

The Māori meaning of Tākina is to encounter and invoke, to connect and to bring forth. The name was gifted to the centre by Taranaki Whānui to recognise the venue’s role in the sharing of knowledge.

Designed by Studio Pacific Architecture, Tākina is the first convention centre in New Zealand to receive 5-Star Green Star Design certification.

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.


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