After a two-year break, more than 500 business events industry buyers and media from Australia and New Zealand were welcomed to Auckland today for Business Events Industry Aotearoa’s (BEIA) MEETINGS 2021exhibition.
This morning at the ASB Showgrounds, attendees were formally greeted to host-city Auckland with a mihi whakatau on the show floor, led by New Zealander of the Year, theatre, film and television actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand CNZM. She gave a moving mihi in te reo Māori, before Ngā Rangatahi O Tamaki – a group of passionate youth selected from a variety of high schools throughout Auckland – led a call of welcome and a pow
New Zealand Minister of Tourism, Hon. Stuart Nash welcomed guests by video link from Parliament, followed by BEIA Chief Executive Lisa Hopkins and Auckland Unlimited’s Head of Major and Business Events, Richard Clarke.
Last night MEETINGS 2021 was officially launched with a function at Auckland’s newest experience and venue, Weta Workshop Unleashed at the SkyCity precinct. Welcomed by Weta creator and Academy Award winner, Sir Richard Taylor, guests were immersed in the fantastical film effects inspired by Wellington’s Weta Workshop, making the most of the surreal environments and interactive experiences.
BEIA Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins said Australian and New Zealand business event decision-makers are at MEETINGS today and tomorrow to learn everything they can about New Zealand as a business events destination, and to book their events.
“Many of our buyers have been travelling around New Zealand since Friday taking the opportunity to explore Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Our regional tourism organisations have been hosting familiarisation tours of their cities, highlighting new infrastructure, activities and hospitality. Now they have the chance to meet all of New Zealand in pre-scheduled appointments and networking times with 149 exhibitors across two days.
“There’s a sense of confidence coming back, reflected in the number of buyers and the number of first-time exhibitors to MEETINGS this year. They sum up the diversity of this industry – everything from Tauranga-based Brewbus, to Auckland’s stand-out new Hotel Britomart,” she said.
Amongst the new exhibitors are two South Island regions, Kaikōura on the South Island’s east coast, and Central Otago, who recently launched Central Otago Business Events, their own regional convention bureau. Five new exhibitors come from Queenstown this year, including hotels, production companies, and adventure operators.
Tourism New Zealand is hosting a new concept called Destination Zone on the show floor. In partnership with Congress Rentals, using their silent conferencing technology, 18 regions are giving a high-level overview to both day buyers and hosted buyers across the two days.