14 Sep 2023

Anticipation building for NZICC’s completion

by Jenny Barrett

Hard hat tours and appointments commence

Auckland is eagerly anticipating the opening of the largest convention centre in New Zealand in the heart of downtown Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and the economic and social benefits that this behemoth of a venue will bring to the industry and the city as a whole. Once operational, NZICC is expected to attract 33,000 international business events visitors to New Zealand. The construction programme is progressing well and the building is expected to be watertight and reach its pre-fire state by the end of the year, with an opening date set for mid-2025.

Collaboratively designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, Moller Architects, Woods Bagot in consultation with 70 industry experts and future clients,  the 32,000 metre squared three storey venue will offer a tradeshow and exhibition space the size of Eden Park configurable in to three individual halls with capacity for 400 exhibition booths or one-off events of up to 4000 people. The tiered theatre style plenary space will host up to 2,850 or two separate 1,200 events concurrently and features retractable seating that will allow seated dinners for 1100 people.  In addition to this there is 2,700 square metres of configurable meeting and breakout spaces across three levels.

Hard hat tours of the construction site and the adjoining Horizon by SkyCity Hotel connected by an internal airbridge and external laneway have begun, with the select few already able to stand in the flexible and divisible 2850 seat theatre and the 6723 square metre multipurpose halls. Structural artwork has been installed including a glass shroud that surrounds the top plenary hall by acclaimed NZ artist Sara Hughes and a magnificent 105m-long 13,500 terracotta tile ‘spine’ wall inspired by traditional Maori weaving that runs the length of the building created by the award-winning Peata Larkin. LED RGB lighting installed within the works will see the building to come to life at night with a choreography of changing colour in concert with the nearby Sky Tower. 

The building’s project management team are currently overseeing the supply of the fixed audio visual equipment for the array of versatile spaces including thirty-three meeting rooms and breakout spaces spread across the three levels.

Following a reshuffle at the helm and with a focus firmly on business development, Prue Daly, previously Director of Sales, moved into the role of General Manager in April, having seen the NZICC through the very challenging period following the fire. Prue has extensive experience in the global business events and hospitality industries, including the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Accor. She also serves as a board member for Business Events Industry Aotearoa.

Alana Bicknell, ex-MBIE, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Venues Wellington, took Prue’s place as Director of Sales and Planning and just this week Loryn Blaikie, familiar to some from her time as Business Development Manager at WellingtonNZ, stepped in as International Sales Manager. Eloise Barnes, ex-Auckland Convention Bureau and Auckland Tourism, is working alongside Loryn as Business Development and Research Executive, focussing on leading Aotearoa New Zealand academic and industry talent to research and present international event bidding opportunities for NZICC and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Appointments for the operations and technical management team are expected to commence early to mid-next year.

This team of heavy hitters has already secured a number of high profile events including the 2025 World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education expected to attract some 3,000 representatives from around the world to New Zealand to share strategies for culturally grounded education.

The NZICC management team are currently contacting their networks throughout New Zealand, seeking an audio visual production partner to support clients, particularly international organisations, to create unforgettable events and maximise the potential of this dynamic venue.


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