EXPERIENCING THE LATEST AND GREATEST
BY ADRYAN DAYNES, MANAGING DIRECTOR
Recently, I attended the Meetings 2017 hosted by Conference & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) in Auckland. I was lucky enough to meet with the industry’s best and learn about the latest and greatest in events that our neighbours across the pond are offering.
I set myself a conference challenge while there to learn about the best conference spaces, food and beverage offerings, adrenaline-filled team building activities, entertainment and picturesque locations – all to be answered over a jam-packed two days where I squeezed in 34 appointments, and a couple of families exploring all NZ has to offer.
Here are my favourite *secret* finds:
Located on Auckland’s picturesque harbourfront, The ANZ Viaduct Events Centre is central for all business events in New Zealand. The conference centre is a premium and stylish venue with seven versatile event spaces across three levels with capacity to have up to 1,200 guests.
Through its sophisticated architectural design it achieves a five-star environmental rating. It’s use of intelligent technology enables minimal energy, and water consumption and solar lighting. Stylish, functional and environmentally friendly – it’s an all-round win.
One of the most outstanding historical buildings showing the legacy and culture of the Maori people is the Auckland National Museum. I was equally impressed by the neo-Baroque styled Auckland Town Hall (right) which imposes its prominent heritage facade on Queen Street, with beautiful stain-glass windows and spectacular chandeliers.
Only a three-hour flight from Sydney, the New Zealand International Conference Centre is set to open in two to three years! When complete this impressive 32,500m² conference, exhibition and entertainment space, with inspiring views across the Waitakere Ranges, will be New Zealand’s biggest and most impressive event space. Spread over four levels it will accommodate large-scale events, conferences, meetings and gala dinners, catering up to 4,000 delegates.
LIFESTYLE & CULTURE
One thing is for certain; you won’t be disappointed by Auckland. It really is keeping up with the times, offering a plethora of trendy cafes and restaurants that definitely exude a Melbourne vibe. We were taken to a hidden gem, the “French Kitchen”, which offers a unique and intimate private dining experience. In an open kitchen environment, the restaurant’s highly-touted team Simon Wright, Executive Chef or Gideon Landman, Head Chef, prepare the entire mouth-watering meal in front of your eyes. The food was exquisite and the service second-to-none. It’s ranked the fourth best restaurant in the world, no surprises there.
Auckland has the perfect mix of amazing food, scenic views and action-packed adventure activities. One of the most iconic islands, only a short ferry ride across the harbour, is Rangitoto Island – home to the areas largest volcanic cone and the world’s largest Pakhtunkhwa lush rainforest. There’s also plenty of adrenaline pumping activities for the risk takers including bungee jumping off Auckland Bridge and Sky Jump – a 192 metre jump off Sky Tower.
THE WHISPERS OF QUEENSTOWN
I’m yet to visit Queenstown, where I hear whispers of a new conference centre being built within the next three to four years. As the adventure capital of the Southern-Hemisphere, if not the world, the Queenstown Conference Centre will offer the perfect mixture of exceptional views and action-packed activities at your fingertips. There’s jet boating, trekking, skiing (if it’s the right time of the year), a cruise along the TSS Earnslaw steamship, zip lining with stunning views, and you can even hold a conference in an old gold miners’ shed.
Overall, Meetings 2017 was an exceptional and valuable experience. I look forward to flying over a plane-load of delegates to relish in all our Kiwi business event mates have to offer once the New Zealand International Conference Centre is complete.