News and Updates

MEDIA RELEASE: It’s on! ‘Eventing the Future’ and the NZEA NZ Event Awards Gala scheduled for late July as calendars roar into action.

07 July 2022

The NZ Events Association (NZEA) is thrilled to announce its ‘Eventing the Future 2022’ conference is taking place at the Napier War Memorial Centre on 26 and 27 July. Nearly two years in the making, the premier National Events Industry Conference is finally back after multiple postponements forced by Covid restrictions.

Initially planned for 2020, the conference has drawn an enthusiastic response as industry figures welcome the chance for an in-person meeting of minds and ideas.

Ségolène de Fontenay, NZ Events Association General Manager says postponements and cancellations have been all too familiar for those in the events sector. “After experiencing first-hand the challenges of putting on any fixture in the past two years, we’re excited to go ahead at last,” she notes. “With nearly 250 delegates registered so far, the industry has demonstrated its eagerness to re-connect post-covid.

While industry-wide data is unavailable, the events industry delivers enormous benefits to the wellbeing of New Zealanders and the country. Regional Facilities Auckland calculated that the summer of 2019/20 events generated $53 million; the 2018/19 Annual Reports of ATEED and WellingtonNZ stated collective GDP impacts of major events of $137 million for that year; Warbirds Over Wanaka in 2018 generated benefits of $24 million; and Fieldays generated economic activity to the tune of $247 million in 2019. It has also been estimated that business events alone contributed $1.45 billion to the economy before Covid.

“These figures represent a fraction of the total event activity which until recently took place in our country each year,” notes de Fontenay. “As things return to a semblance of normality – not without challenges due to skills shortages - we should see a return to a highly active events sector delivering benefits measurable in the hundreds of billions of dollars with a flow-on effect on other sectors such as tourism and hospitality. That’s a big economic gain and much-needed morale boost.”

De Fontenay adds that economic activity underpins societal wellbeing. “You cannot underestimate the value of any industry to the wellbeing of New Zealanders across economic, social and environmental spheres and ultimately the health and prosperity of a nation’s people,” she stresses. “If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that every job, every industry, every line of business is essential for New Zealand’s success. And that’s absolutely true for eventing, which has suffered tremendously in recent times.”

Eventing The Future 2022, sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay Region, NZ Major Events, Sport NZ, Creative NZ, Essential Talent and EventsAIR offers a stellar speaker line-up providing high quality professional development when new talents seeking a career path are in hot demand in the sector. It also addresses global and local trends emerging in 2022 and beyond. Topics covered include a panel discussion on the

evolution of sustainable events post-Covid, a discussion on leveraging technology for safer and smarter events, and a presentation on the value of collaboration between tourism, councils, event owners and sponsors. A panel discussion on authentic Māori culture in events is sure to draw an enthusiastic audience.

Keynotes include presentations from Denmark-based Migel Neves (Event MB Editor) on ‘Global Event Trends’, Kylie Archer (COO and Deputy Commissioner NZ Expo 2020) on ‘The largest event in the world’. No issue is more relevant than delivering against the odds presented by Andrea Nelson (CEO ICC Women’s World Cup 2022). “The key change moving forward is a lack of certainty, which means an increased focus on the importance of working with your stakeholders, managing risk and contingency planning,” says Nelson. She advises focusing on purpose, establishing ‘can’t fails’ and getting everyone on the same waka. “Work alongside all your partners.”

Renowned psychologist and TV personality Nigel Latta bookends the conference discussing resilience in his concluding keynote. “As we all know the last couple of years have been a tough time for event organisers as we’ve all had to pivot from real world to online and back again multiple times,” says Latta. “Most important in this swirling uncertainty is keeping your head clear and being flexible in your thinking. That’s not often easy, so following simple principles when a bit lost is fundamentally important: focus on the things you can control, look after yourself, and your team.”

The NZEA NZ Event Awards Gala Evening concludes the first day of the conference as a celebration of the best in the industry and has already drawn more than 300 registrations and counting, ready to appreciate the recently refurbished and reopened venue of Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre in Hastings.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was fantastic to have the awards held in Hawke’s Bay and the gala evening at Toitoi. “Toitoi is the perfect setting to host an evening that celebrates the best of the best, and looks ahead to the bright future of events in New Zealand. “It’s wonderful this event can go ahead after the past two years of cancellations - events are a crucial part of any community, and we are pleased to welcome those who contribute so much to the industry and their communities to Hawke’s Bay.”

It promises to be a great night out to celebrate excellence, innovation, resilience and evolution in New Zealand’s world-class events industry. The Best COVID Response for an Event 2021’ category proved to be the most popular, representing over almost a quarter of all entries. Unveiling the winners in all categories is much anticipated after so much disruption for the sector,

Award Finalist, Chief Executive Officer at PPG Events Tony Regan “It’s great to see the industry moving back towards the packed calendars and busy schedules that signal a healthy event environment.

The 2021 NZEA NZ Awards campaign is proudly supported by ‘Hawke’s Bay’ as Host Region Partner, and Christchurch NZ, Kennedy Park Resort Napier, Red Badge Security, Fresh Info, Trinity Hill New Zealand and Big Barrel as Category Sponsors.

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise welcomes Eventing the Future 2022. “Events like this are an important part of the rich tapestry offered to all visitors to our region. We’re thrilled to welcome as our guests every speaker and delegate and wish you a happy and engaging stay in the Hawkes Bay.”

Notes to the editor The NZ Events Association (NZEA) was formed fifteen years ago and has over 1,000 members. The Association represents the ever-increasing breadth of the New Zealand events industry across leisure and business events. Its purpose is to advocate all aspects of events nationally; their economic outcomes and social benefits, and the people who work and volunteer in and around this unique industry in New Zealand.

Media contact:

Leandri Smith | The Mail Room

027 365 9003 |

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NZ's events industry finally re-connects | NZBusiness Magazine | The Business Magazine For NZ SME