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ATEED Chief Executive Nick Hill to head merged Auckland Council tourism and venues agency

ATEED Chief Executive Nick Hill to head merged Auckland Council tourism and venues agency
October 26, 2020

Nick Hill, Chief Executive of the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), has been announced as the inaugural head of the new council-controlled organisation that will run the city’s events, tourism and venues.

The new agency, which will commence operating as of 1st December will merge ATEED with Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA), which currently runs major facilities including the Aotea Centre, Mt Smart Stadium and Auckland Zoo.

The appointment was announced by Mark Franklin, Chairman of ATEED and of the board setting up the merged - and so far unnamed - entity.

Hill said the new organisation would have a key role as Auckland moves from the COVID-19 crisis into recovery mode, advising “the breadth and depth of our new organisation will be a key catalyst for Auckland’s recovery, while also reanimating our region as a world-class place to live, work and play.

The merger was proposed by an independent review of the council-controlled-organisations (CCOs) which reported back in July, with a new merger board appointed in August.

The two entities had combined budgets this year of $175 million and in February had a total of nearly 800 permanent staff, with the merger expected to save an average $6.7 million a year over the next decade.

The reviewers advised “both have far more in common than they have differences. Both focus in one way or another, to use their words, on ‘enriching the lives of Aucklanders’.

“ATEED through economic development (including tourism) and attracting, funding and delivering events, and Regional Facilities Auckland through arts, cultural, entertainment and sports experiences, which have obvious social and cultural benefits but also investment and employment spinoffs.”

The merger was the largest single recommendation by the three-person review panel, but a raft of other improvements were called for in the way the council and agencies work together.

The merged agency brings together challenges facing both the ATEED and RFA entities.

RFA has presided over the politically-sensitive long-running strategy to rearrange the sporting codes using major stadiums, with Mt Smart Stadium likely to be downgraded and a new speedway venue built.

As reported by the Stuff website, that work is evolving to bring the trust-owned Eden Park stadium into a closer relationship with the council, after ratepayers put in a $63 million bailout package including a loan and grants.

ATEED has seen its portfolio of major events, as well as tourism, hit hard by Covid-19, along with the temporary suspension by the council of the targeted rate on visitor accommodation properties, which helped fund ATEED’s tourism promotion work.

It is not known what role Chris Brooks, RFA’s Chief Executive Chris Brooks, who moved from Melbourne's Fed Square in February 2015 to take up the position, will take in the new organisation.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff acknowledged the work done by Brooks and RFA, advising “Chris and his team have delivered world-class experiences for Auckland, substantially increasing our region’s cultural and events calendar.”

Images: Nick Hill (top) and Chris Brooks (below).

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7th September 2020 - Restrictions on Auckland gatherings sees ARL season cancelled for all grades

3rd September 2020 - Auckland’s new All Blacks Experience to open in December

27th August 2020 - Auckland Council agrees merger of facilities and tourism and events CCOs

14th August 2020 - Sporting events in jeopardy under Auckland’s new Coronavirus lockdown

11th August 2020 - Report recommends merging of Auckland’s venues and tourism and events organisation into single body

17th July 2020 - Auckland Council collaborates with business and community to revegetate environment

13th July 2020 - Pollstar ranks Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium among world’s top 20 venues

6th July 2020 - Auckland sports facilities continue to grow

15th June 2020 - Regional Facilities Auckland welcomes visitors back into its attractions and venues

19th April 2020 - Video showcases Auckland to the world during COVID-19 lockdown

30th March 2020 - New Auckland Zoo habitat welcomes return of Orangutans

6th November 2019 - Regional Facilities Auckland urges U2 fans to go green

29th January 2019 - New directors appointed to Regional Facilities Auckland board

28th October 2017 - New ATEED Head of Tourism appointed

22nd June 2017 - ATEED appoints Nick Hill as new Chief Executive

18th February 2015 - Fed Square’s Chris Brooks move to head Regional Facilities Auckland

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