13 Jul 2023

ETNZ Connect 2023 Conference & Tradeshow

by Jenny Barrett

Back as a face-to-face event after a four year hiatus

The Entertainment Technology New Zealand (ETNZ) Conference and Tradeshow is back after four years and ticking all the boxes with highly relevant content and multiple opportunities to connect in person with colleagues from throughout the country and overseas.

Vicki Cooksley, now in her eighth year as President of ETNZ says, “As an organisation we need the chance to reconnect with our industry people and share our experiences since the last conference. It’s time to regroup, evaluate, and plan for the future.”


The choice of speakers and seminar topics has been informed by a survey of ETNZ membership and makes for an impressive line-up. There will be case studies from new or recently upgraded venues: Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre (Ken Davidson), Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre (Jake Downing, Andrew Bruce and Tom O’Sullivan), and the Sir Howard Morrison Centre in Rotorua (Kevin Greene and Phil Conroy), all sharing insights into their decision-making processes and their choice of new theatrical and audio-visual systems.

For the technicians there is heaps more on offer including the well supported tradeshow featuring Fiasco, Jands, John Herber, Kenderdine, LSC, LS Group, mdr Sound & Lighting, Metro, Show Technology, TheatreLight NZ and ULA Group, some of whom will be contributing to a roundup of current trends in live performance audio technology.

Chris McKenzie will be facilitating a panel of lighting designers, including Rachel Marlow and Marcus McShane, on choosing tools for your design, older versus newer and everything in between. Richie Mickan from LSC Control Systems will change lives by helping you understand and resolve RCD/RCBO tripping! There will also be a panel discussion uncovering how pre-production use of visualisation tools is changing how we do things.


For the riggers, Steve Sanders, Genevieve Poppe and Andrew Gibson will be on hand to talk you through using the ETNZ rigging guide and ICOPA, and Steve and Andrew will also lead a discussion of the increasing interaction between industrial and theatrical rigging.

There will be heaps of sharing of lessons learned including Simon Barker of Lotech Media who will talk about what worked and what didn’t touring a projection-heavy show through varying size venues throughout the motu.  The conference will also feature a debrief from the team who will have recently wrapped up the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, hosted jointly by New Zealand and Australia from 20th July to 20th August.

For those involved in film and theatre, workshops will cover the updates to the Firearms Act and the impact on production; and how to incorporate the needs of specialists such as intimacy coaches and fight coordinators into the production schedule.

Newbies are catered for too with sessions supporting people stepping into freelancing. An accountant will be talking attendees through structuring their finances beyond the annual tax return and Andrew Malmo, Crombie Lockwood Insurance and IRD representatives will be leading a panel discussion to help people stay protected and get paid.

In previous years ETNZ and attendees at the ETNZ Conference have led the industry to make significant strides in health and safety and skills development. Both topics still remain highly relevant and ETNZ members who have led initiatives in these areas will run sessions on current issues. Cathy Knowsley will be discussing where next with risk assessment; and as we face skills shortages across the sector, Dale Henderson and Kathryn Osborne will focus on apprenticeship schemes and the value of  in-house training. ETNZ will also run a couple of sessions alongside providers and developers giving interested parties a change to feedback and comment on the Level 3 and 4 Entertainment and Event Technology qualifications.

Another area increasingly requiring industry leadership will be discussed and next steps identified, as ETNZ looks to produce a Green Guide for Sustainability. ETNZ will also be launching the Wellbeing Handbook, outcomes of previous forums at ETNZ events and a lot of hard mahi by members.

ETNZ Connect 2023 is always a highly interactive, informal and rewarding event. For those who have never attended, it is an opportunity not just to listen but to get involved and steer the future of the sector.  

The details

The Connect 2023 Conference & Tradeshow is scheduled for 29th & 30th August 2023 at Te Whaea: The National Dance & Drama Centre, Wellington. Doors open 9.30am Tuesday with workshops until 5.30pm, followed by the conference dinner. Wednesday 30th sees the option of a Production Manager’s breakfast and another day jam packed with workshops and time to peruse the tradeshow. The conference wraps up with drinks sponsored by Aspiring Safety Ltd, and another opportunity to mingle on a trip to see Wicked at the St James Theatre followed by a backstage tour.

Early Bird pricing ends this weekend. For more details and to book visit

To book a spot in the tradeshow visit


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