New Zealand’s business events sector is booming, largely aided by overseas incentive trips and domestic meetings as well as a high-profile destination branding campaign that has proven to be successful over the years.
While New Zealand’s lands are vast and diverse, most of the business – over 60% of gross national revenue – is centered in Auckland. According to the Auckland Convention Bureau, the industry in the city was valued at NZ$230 million (US$160 million), with the figure expected to double by 2025.
One of the major additions to the city’s business events infrastructure is the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC), what will be the biggest event space in the country and the second biggest between Australia and New Zealand.
Located along Hobson Street in the CBD, the centre is part of a major infrastructure development including more hotels, transport hubs, and tourist amenities. More importantly for delegates, the centre will be within walking distance of over 7,000 guest rooms scattered across hotels in the city and connected via airbridge to a 300-room property currently under construction.
The space is spread across four levels: the top level will have a theatre for a capacity of 2,850 seated guests and the remaining levels will have more pre-function and meeting rooms and an underground carpark.
The draw, of course, is the theatre which will have retractable seating for flat-floor events and can be divided into two separate function rooms. It will be multi-purpose and carpeted with 6,674sqm of hall space in its entirety and suitable for theatre shows, exhibitions, or dinners for up to 3,000 people.
On top of that, the building is designed to allow in plenty of natural light from Hobson Street. “We’re perched up on a ridgeline so we’re going to be getting sun pretty much all day,” said Sarah Burilin, marketing manager for NZICC ahead of CINZ Meetings 2018 in Auckland.
“Often you’ll have international delegates arrive in Auckland only for their convention. They spend three days inside an artificially lit box, they have no idea about the city experience around them. This is a great opportunity to see people walking past on the street around them, or out across to Victoria Street where people play soccer at lunchtime.”
The centre’s architect also worked with local artists Peata Larkin and Sara Hughes to create two of the largest pieces of public art in New Zealand to be placed on the exterior of the building. Both pieces from each artist will span a total of 5,760 sqm once fully installed on the four external walls.
Larkin’s 105m-long tile wall inspired by motif on the bodice of Māori women will feature aapproximately 13,500 terracotta tiles in eight different colours and will aim to add movement to an otherwise plain wall.
“I wanted to soften the long wall and achieved this by creating an undulated geometric pattern inspired by traditional Maori weaving – a subtle 3D presence that would visually change dependent on the angle it was viewed from,” said Larkin.
Furthermore, LED RGB lighting installed within the works will enable the building to perform a light choreography of changing colours in concert with the nearby Sky Tower. Light choreography can be customised based on clients’ needs if necessary.
NZICC and its accompanying hotel is fully funded by SKYCITY and will cost NZ$703 million (US$504 million) to build. The centre has already bagged 14 bids from 2020 onwards including five medical conferences.