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Wellington City Council approves new Conference and Exhibition Centre
Wellington’s future as a business events destination is set to be boosted with Wellington City Council approving plans for the development of the city’s planned new Conference and Exhibition Centre.
Construction on the 18,000 metre² facility, which will feature 10,000 metre² of dedicated convention space spread across its top two floors and a 1,650 metre² ground-floor exhibition gallery to accommodate touring exhibitions, is now due to commence this year.
Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA)’s Regional Development Destination and Attraction General Manager David Perks says the Council’s decision to build a world class facility enhances Wellington’s position as a leading conference destination in Australasia.
Perks advised “Wellington has always been competitive with the conference venues available in the city but the WCEC will take things to a new level. It will enable the city to not only retain its current share of conferences but also put in bids for larger international conferences that would simply have been too big for existing venues. It will put us on an equal footing with Auckland and Christchurch who both have conference venues under construction, and the Australian market where all major cities have purpose-built convention facilities.
“It will also allow Wellington’s core performance venues such as the Opera House and Michael Fowler Centre to focus entirely on performance events. This will help increase the number and variety of live concerts and shows being staged in Wellington.”
Perks says the business events market is currently worth around $240 million to the city and is among the most lucrative within Wellington’s tourism portfolio.
However, plans for a Movie Museum backed by famed New Zealand movie Director Sir Peter Jackson within the facility appear to have been dropped.
Nonetheless, a business case for the Convention Centre Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) reveals the new convention centre would host 111 new events annually, delivering nearly 149,000 new delegate days to Wellington. This represents 16% growth from the current position.
The BERL report also revealed the convention and exhibition spaces would contribute a $90.6 million annual spend, adding $44.8 million to Wellington’s GDP while creating 554 new jobs.
Tourism New Zealand’s Global Business Events Manager, Anna Fennessy says the development of a large-scale conference venue is a huge win for Wellington.
Fennessy advised “international business events deliver a range of benefits beyond the significant economic contributions they provide to the local economy. They have the potential to generate long-lasting positive social change in our communities through the expert knowledge delegates bring with them and they allow Kiwis to share their expertise and knowledge too.
“The introduction of a large-scale conference venue for Wellington means these benefits will be absorbed across the region for years to come.”
The new venue had been designed by Wellington-based Studio Pacific Architecture. Principal architect Daryl Calder says the design draws its inspiration from many sources including Wellington’s harbour, its famed wild weather, hilly landscape and Maori mythology, particularly Te Upoko-o-te-Ika-a-Maui (Maui’s head of the fish).
Calder concluded “the building’s glass cladding emphasises the shimmering, sinewy skin which changes in transparency throughout the day as it reflects Wellington’s variable weather. What also makes it a distinctly Wellington building is the use of raw and natural earthy tones, materials and colours throughout. It’s a building designed for Wellington that celebrates its location and context.”
Images: Studio Pacific Architecture's design for the news Wellington Conference and Exhibition Centre (top) and the Wellington foreshore (below).
7th December 2018 - Summer events in Wellington set to break attendance records
28th November 2018 - Wellington Council identifies site for new indoor arena
24th April 2018 - WREDA report supports case for new Wellington indoor arena
20th December 2017 - New directors appointed to WREDA board
31st March 2016 - Strong support for Wellington convention centre and movie museum
9th December 2015 - Wellington to benefit from new Convention Centre and Movie Museum
6th November 2014 - Go ahead for new Wellington Convention Centre
23rd June 2014 - Wellington convention centre plans move forward
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