Sue Duncan, Uno Loco; Georgia Henderson, Epic Entertainment; and Claire Webber, Event Solutions NZ Limited at the conference dinner at the Cardboard Cathedral Sue Duncan, Uno Loco; Georgia Henderson, Epic Entertainment; and Claire Webber, Event Solutions NZ Limited at the conference dinner at the Cardboard Cathedral

Disruptors, opportunities and differentiators

The New Zealand events industry is looking for opportunities to collaborate and innovate with local iwi and tangata whenua to reinvent some of the country’s biggest community events.

New Zealand’s endemic multi-cultural and bi-cultural landscape is being recognised worldwide as a drawcard for major new international events such as the Social Enterprise World Forum held last year.

But the industry is saying more needs to be done to redesign existing local events to create new platforms for empowerment and engagement.

Social entrepreneur Jason Pemberton says gone are the days of a simple Powhiri welcome to tick the cultural check box.

‘How can we step into a different space and create a new thing together? How do we transition this event to being more culturally aware and more bicultural?

‘And what that seems to look like is not just turning this event into a bicultural event but actually creating a different event. Because a bicultural event is a fundamentally different thing than a Maori event and is a fundamentally different thing than a Pakeha event, and I think that subtle mindset shift is actually what people need to realise. It’s not just a matter of plugging in an add on to the event.’

This is one of the key messages being touted at Eventing the Future being held in Christchurch this week (6 and 7 August) where all of the big players in the New Zealand events industry have joined forces to identify disruptions, opportunities and differentiators within the future of events.

Conference-goers have also identified the societal shift from isolation to connectivity as driving more demand for meaningful connections and experiences through events, festivals and conferences.

New generations coming through in the business realm are looking to major events and conferences such as the recent Festival for the Future in Wellington as a tool for growth, networking, education, and inspiration.

Internationally renowned speaker and curator of the SingularityU New Zealand and Australia summits, Kaila Colbin, opened the conference this morning (Monday 6 August) with a challenge for event organisers to move their thinking away from Return on Investment (ROI) to Return on Experiences (ROE).

‘When you’re running an event you’re given a wonderful jewel of people’s attention – it’s your moral obligation to do something with that time.’

Of course technology was identified as a major disruptor and opportunity in the events sector, with 3D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics rapidly changing the game for festivals and tradeshows around the world.

The Eventing the Future 2018 programme has attracted inspirational speakers from around the world including Tahira Endean, Canadian event producer, author, and one of MeetingsNet’s top five women in event technology; and Kim Skildum-Read, one of the world’s most recognised and influential corporate sponsorship experts.

Eventing the Future began in Christchurch in early 2001 after a number of recognised and respected event organisers identified the lack of professional training, networking and experience-sharing opportunities for New Zealand industry professionals – for those working in the industry and for students graduating from event management courses. It is the official conference of the New Zealand Events Association (NZEA). 

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