New Zealand’s New Meeting Place

Skift Take

The new purpose-built venue significantly boosts the city's capacity to hold business events and stands as a strong symbol of the recovery of New Zealand's business events sector.

The Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre officially opened this week. It is living symbol of recovery and life after Covid for New Zealand’s business events sector.

Openning Ceremony

Tākina was officially opened with a morning blessing by Taranaki Whānui, the traditional Māori guardians of the Wellington Harbour and associated lands.

Tākina Dawn Blessing (Photo Credit: Phoebe Mackenzie)

Later, more than 700 guests attended an evening celebration, including mana whenua (local
Māori), dignitaries, key stakeholders, and clients.

“The Tākina Convention and Exhibition Centre is an important asset for the city. In its first year, it’s expected to attract around half a million international and domestic visitors through its family-friendly exhibitions and world-class conferencing facilities,” said Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The Business Case

More than 50 multi-day conferences have booked this year. The first official event, the Festival for the Future, takes place on 8-9 June, and the first public exhibition taking place at Tākina is Jurassic World by Brickman, which will run from 3 June to 16 Oct 2023.

Wellington City Council proposed the venue project as the best way to enable the city to host larger conferences and conventions in its 2014 Economic Growth Agenda. Funding came mainly (67 percent) from the commercial sector. The venue employs around 372 operation-related staff.

A 2018 Business Case projected the city to lose approximately 10 percent of market share annually to rivals Auckland and Christchurch. The venue is the response to this challenge.

The full cost of the construction project is an estimated $96.2 million (NZ$ 157.8 million). Projected business worth is around $27.4 million (NZ$ 45 million) a year in estimated economic impact to Wellington’s economy.

Tākina Street View (Photo Credit: Tākina)

The Building

Tākina offers event facilities across three floors and 18,000 sqm, including 10,000 sqm of flexible meeting space. Construction started in December 2019, this represents Wellington’s largest built infrastructure investment since the Wellington Regional Stadium two decades ago.

Tākina’s iconic form, designed by Studio Pacific Architecture, draws inspiration from a wide range of sources, including its maritime location and Wellington’s dramatic and sometimes wild weather patterns and landforms. It has received Five Green Star Design certification by the New Zealand Green Building Council, making it the first convention center in the country to achieve this standard.

The Māori meaning of Tākina is to encounter and invoke, to connect and to bring forth. Taranaki Whānui
gifted the name to the venue to recognise its role in the sharing of knowledge.

Photo credit: Celeste Fontein / Tākina