Inclusive approach to Māori culture helps Auckland win coral conference

The International Coral Reef Society’s Symposium will be held in Auckland in the New Zealand International Convention Centre in mid-2025.

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

Dr Michael Sweet, corresponding secretary of the International Coral Reef Society said: “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.”

While New Zealand doesn’t have any coral reefs of its own, it will act as a doorway to the nearby, unstudied coral communities in the Kermadec Islands, north of New Zealand. Coral communities refer to the land which corals occupy, irrespective of the bedrock it sits on.

The symposium is expected to attract around 2,500 scientists, environmental managers, conservationists to Auckland, contributing $6m to the economy.

Tourism New Zealand Global Manager Business Events Lisa Gardiner says: “We are proud to be working in partnership with the Pacific, an area that due to its remoteness is often forgotten, despite the fact that its reefs are under considerable threat.”

Victoria University Professor of Marine Biology Simon Davy added there is little time to act to save coral reefs. “The opportunity to bring the international coral reef community together every four years is extremely important.

“I’m thrilled that New Zealand will host this significant conference, allowing us to both promote research and conservation in the South Pacific, and contribute to global efforts in a meaningful way.”

The win follows other major conferences New Zealand has recently won like the International Association of Women in Police Conference to be held in Auckland in 2023.

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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