A group of 680 leading business events professionals were welcomed to New Zealand’s capital last night (Tuesday 20 June) with a spectacular opening ceremony for MEETINGS 2023 at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand.
Business Events Industry Aotearoa’s MEETINGS 2023 is the largest in its 27-year history, with 224 exhibition stands representing 19 regions, including 26 first-time exhibitors, plus over 400 buyers, including 100 from Australia and 10 from international markets.
MEETINGS is the first international trade exhibition to take place at New Zealand’s newest convention centre, Tākina Wellington, and this is the first time MEETINGS has been held in Wellington.
Speakers at last night’s event included New Zealand’s Tourism Minister Peeni Henare and Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau who both acknowledged the sector’s role in developing New Zealand’s economic, cultural, environmental, and social success. Invited guests included the Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Ms Harinder Sidhu.
BEIA Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins says MEETINGS demonstrates the huge interest in New Zealand as a world-class conference destination.
“New Zealand has it all. New-generation infrastructure including brand new convention centres, excellent international connections, and superb support services including accommodation, hospitality, and visitor attractions make it a highly desirable meeting place,” Hopkins says.
“Over the next two days we are showcasing Wellington’s stunning new convention and exhibition centre and making the most of its superb location on the waterfront opposite sister venue, Te Papa,” she says.
This year’s event will be the most sustainable yet, with MEETINGS 2023 working towards Toitū net carbonzero certification as a Certified Event Operation.
MEETINGS’ 2023 venue, Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre holds a 5-Star Green Design certification from the New Zealand Green Building Council.
BEIA is carbon-offsetting hosted buyers air travel with Air New Zealand’s FlyNeutral programme, reducing printed material, eliminating satchels, and partnering with local charities Kibosh Food Rescue, Gillies McIndoe Research and Wellington Zoo to make donations on behalf of every hosted buyer.
Business Events Wellington and Tākina Events helped stage last night’s welcome event, and it was emceed by one of Johnson and Laird’s top presenters, Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’I.
With a bespoke menu designed by Tākina Events Executive Chef, Ilavarasu Rajendran, guests sampled the Wellington region’s culinary best. Serving both Tākina and Te Papa, their food philosophy focuses on collaborating with local suppliers, with 90 per cent of their produce sourced from within the Wellington region.
While enjoying the hospitality at Te Papa, guests were also given a chance to experience the museum’s acclaimed Te Taiao – Nature After Dark exhibition.
photos by Smoke Photo + Video