Conference Design

New Zealand’s Centres of Attention

26th May 2022

With its borders now reopened, New Zealand is unveiling what it has been building while international conferences were paused: three new-generation, city-centre convention centres.

The purpose-built venues in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland will showcase the capability and increase the capacity of New Zealand to host exceptional business events.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager New Zealand and Business Events Bjoern  Spreitzer says: “This growth in business events infrastructure underlines both the importance of this industry to New Zealand’s economy and recognition of the wider knowledge, networking and business benefits international conferences and events bring.” 

Te Pae
The first new venue, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, opened its doors in December. It will welcome a solid roster of more than 100 events in 2022, bringing nearly 70,000 people and an economic impact of $37.2m to the city. This includes 63 conventions, eight of which are international.

Te Pae Christchurch General Manager Ross Steele said while there was a strong contingent of domestic bookings in the first year, it had been pleasing to see the return of interest and bookings from international markets, particularly Australia: “We can see that people are missing that connection that only comes with being face-to-face, and we know there is pent up demand for New Zealand, in particular Christchurch, so it’s been great to see interest translate to bookings for later in 2022 and beyond.”

The centre’s name, ‘Te Pae’ draws inspiration from several phrases in New Zealand’s indigenous language, te reo Māori. Te Pae Maunga means our mountain views, and Te Pae Whenua means the vast plains we inhabit. These iconic elements of the region’s landscape are echoed in the building’s design, where shapes and lines represent the contours of the Southern Alps and braided rivers of Canterbury. Te Pae Tangata means a place to meet and converse, highlighting Te Pae Christchurch’s role as a gathering place for the city.

As part of ASM Global, Te Pae Christchurch is already leveraging the knowledge and experience of the worldwide venue management company, while delivering New Zealand’s famed local welcome and hospitality.

Close relationships with ChristchurchNZ Business Events, the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and Te Papa Hauora Health Precinct are driving a targeted bidding strategy drawing on the city’s knowledge strengths, which range from earth sciences to aerospace and future transport, food, fibre and agritech, health tech and high-tech services, construction technology, social enterprise, and international education.

Te Pae Christchurch’s 28,000 sqm of flexible space includes a 1,400-seat tiered auditorium, divisible into two 700-seat venues; a 1,000-seat banquet space overlooking the beautiful Avon River; plus extensive meeting space and expandable exhibition halls. State-of-the-art technology comes built-in, with leading hybrid and virtual meeting capability and an in-house AV and production team.

Te Pae Christchurch has received a Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award from Qualmark, underlining its commitment to safe and sustainable operations and events.

It is also part of ASM Global VenueShield programme, ensuring that facilities are clean and certified at the highest standards of health and safety to alleviate delegate concerns in a post-Covid environment.

Te Pae Christ Church Convention Centre

Next in the pipeline for New Zealand is Tākina, the new Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre, on track to open in 2023 in the middle of the capital city.

Tākina means ‘to invoke, to summon, to connect, to bring forth’ in te reo Māori. The building’s concept draws on the summoning of Wellington’s wind as a means of expressing the shift of knowledge, moving things forward, and carrying ideas. It will be a place of welcoming, thinking, learning, and sharing, with its sculptural exterior housing modern, light-filled, flexible event spaces.

Tākina can be customised to accommodate a plenary of up to 1,600 delegates, with two divisible plenary halls on separate levels which can be easily combined; plus a 1,800sqm exhibition hall with adjacent space to boost capacity; stand-alone meeting rooms, and fully integrated best-in-class AV and ICT systems.

Tākina, the new Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre

In Auckland
Meanwhile, construction continues on the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in the heart of Auckland city.

This vertically stacked building features a glazed façade and adjacent laneways, providing delegates with a connection to the vibrancy of the city, while allowing views of Auckland’s natural beauty, from the Waitakere Ranges to the Waitematā Harbour.

Its flexible convention and event space can cater for up to 4,000 people across 32,500 sqm. The configurable spaces over four levels present opportunities for a wide range of events including theatre capacity for 2,850 and up to 33 meeting rooms.

Tourism New Zealand’s Bjoern Spreitzer adds: “We look forward to welcoming international conference delegates back to New Zealand, with new venues and new opportunities for learning and collaboration.”

New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC)

For information on holding your next conference in New Zealand, head to

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