Te Papas venues and Wellingtons new convention centre to be operated together

Te Papa’s venues and Wellington’s new convention centre are set to be operated together, as the $180 million Tākina project takes shape.

Construction of Tākina, the name of the city’s new convention and exhibition centre, is set to be completed by early 2023 and open by July that year.

The ground-floor exhibition gallery will be the largest in New Zealand at about 1600sqm.

The top two floors will deliver the city’s first premium space to host meetings and conventions with more than 10,000sqm of flexible meeting and exhibition space.

Wellington City Council has proposed a preferred operating model for Te Papa’s venues and the Tākina venue to be operated together under a new trading name “Tākina Events”.

Te Papa is directly across the road from Tākina.

The new operating model recognises the potential to co-host events across the two adjacent and complementary venues rather than have them competing against each other.

It also takes into account the impact of increased national competition on Te Papa, with the opening of convention centres in Auckland and Christchurch as well.

Under the proposal, Te Papa will provide event services, WellingtonNZ will deliver marketing services, and the council will provide building owner services.

It’s hoped that by adopting a co-ordinated city-wide approach to bidding for events, the city is better placed to attract and retain business than other centres.

Councillors will consider the proposal at a full council meeting on Thursday.

Mayor Andy Foster said the operating model was one of partnership and collaboration.

“The partnership will engage Te Papa’s unique skills and experience in delivering home grown and international exhibitions and high-quality events. It also supports the event attraction work of WellingtonNZ.”

The building is located on council-owned land on Cable St, near the waterfront.

Foster said Tākina would create opportunities to deliver unique events on a scale not seen before in the city because of its flexibility and walking distance to Te Papa and other venues.

Tākina is expected to supply 372 jobs as well as bringing in and protecting business worth about $45 million a year in GDP to Wellington’s economy.

Te Papa chief executive Courtney Johnston said the proximity of the two buildings, and the waterfront, presented an opportunity to celebrate the unique qualities of Te-Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

“We’re excited to be part of this amazing new asset for the city and see Tākina bringing in new experiences for locals and complement what we have to offer at Te Papa.”

Taranaki Whānui gifted the name Tākina to reflect the building’s role as the nation’s newest meeting space for thinking, creating, learning and sharing ideas.

The sweeping architecture also invokes Wellington’s well-known winds and how they shape the harbour and city.

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