New Zealand is pleased to MEET You!

LATTE joins Australian delegation exploring Marlborough

Nothing says “welcome” better than luxury accommodation, gourmet meals, boat cruises (with dolphins and seals), exclusive wine tastings, a private air show and a helicopter flight.

Those are just a few of the treats experienced by some of the 110 Australian buyers in Aotearoa New Zealand for MEETINGS 2022, the country’s annual trade event for the conference, meetings, events, exhibition and travel incentive industry.

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The two-day trade show at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre was the first international exhibition to be held in the brand new NZ$450 million next-generation centre and attracted a record number of exhibitors – 210 stands showcasing 18 regions of the country.

New Zealand’s Minister for Tourism and Economic Development, Stuart Nash opened the show and acknowledged the critical role the business events sector will play in the country’s future success.

“Data shows that international conference visitors actually spend more than any other visitor – they leave as storytellers and come back with their families and friends, and spend a lot of money,” he said.

Lunchtime celebrity speakers included former All Black’s Captain Kieran Read and Sir Richard Hadlee, one of the greatest all-rounders in cricket history.

The Australian buyers engaged in dozens of meetings with exhibitors but the pre- famil experiences had, quite possibly, already won them over.

Travelling around Blenheim in a Vintage Ford: Siobhan Jensen, Michelle Oliver, Emma Richardson, Leona Watson, Brian Challinor, Adelaine Ng (TTG Asia Media), Gucci Achatz (Destination Marlborough).

Famils took place in Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, Marlborough and the host city Christchurch.

In Marlborough, the group’s trip started at Blenheim with a “Meet the Winemaker” experience at Wither Hills Winery, a gourmet lunch and tasting at Misty Cove Wines and a lesson about the sustainability practices at Spy Valley Wines – with a private tasting, of course.

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre was an unexpected thrill – the highlight being Sir Peter Jackson’s “Knights of the Sky” exhibit – the Lord of the Rings director’s personal collection of WW1 aircraft show-cased in stunning “film-set” dioramas.

Behind the scenes, the group had a tour of aircraft hangars and a private air show starring “Full Noise”- a V-12 Yak fighter plane, one of the best of the World War 2 fighters.

Later, the group got up in the air with South Pacific Helicopters over Blenheim, had a scenic charter cruise with Marlborough Tour Company, met “Fern” at Brancott Road Aviary and learned how the endangered Karearea Falcon is being saved. The team also got to stay at Marlborough’s most sought-after five-star accommodation The Bay of Many Coves.

Joy flights over Blenheim with South Pacific Helicopters: From left: Leona Watson, Gucci Achatz (Destination Marlborough) and Emma Richardson.

Shaken by earthquakes, stirred by eruptions, spooked by a random act of terrorism and suffering, like many, by the devastating effects of the COVID pandemic, New Zealand’s MEETINGS 2022 has shouted “Haere Mai” to the world. You’re welcome.

“Fern”, an endangered New Zealand Falcon at Brancott Road Aviary.
Fine dining at Marlborough’s Bay of Many Coves Resort.

Lead image: Private hangar tour at Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum. The Australian delegation included (from left):  Siobhan Jensen, Event Manager ICMS; Emma Richardson, Power2Motivate; Michelle Oliver, The Incentive Lab; Leona Watson, Leadership Adventures & Speaking; David Weir, Unleashed Experiences and  Brian Challinor, gener8 events.

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