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14 Dec 2017
Put simply, it’s been a spectacular year for Wellington in the media. Here’s our countdown of the top ten stories worked on by the WREDA media team in 2017.
Hollywood star Bryce Dallas Howard spent plenty of time in Wellington while making Disney film Pete’s Dragon in 2016. This year, as a Brand Ambassador for Tourism New Zealand, she created The Ultimate New Zealand Experience video series for National Geographic. We helped host her in Wellington, which she called her ‘favourite city’, showcasing our style, cuisine and culture.
Bryce's guide to Wellington also appeared in Elle magazine's December 2017 edition.
Very different, but with its own ‘star power’ was the story of the Kiwi league team visiting ProjectR, Wellington’s virtual and augmented reality development hub, where they were scanned and made into 3D virtual avatars. Built and pitched by our media team during the Rugby League World Cup, what we loved most about this story was bringing together two of WREDA’s areas of responsibility: Major Events and Business Growth & Innovation.
Selling Student City is one of our ‘Big 6’ focus areas, as we help develop Wellington’s highly valuable education sector. International education is a big growth area, and availability of hosting families is one of the key components to enable success. Telling the story of Sue and Rusty Wallis from Miramar, who’ve hosted 51 international students (and counting) over 20 years triggered an immediate increase in enquiries from prospective host families. It also helped remind locals of the positive contribution international students make to our our community, as well as our economy.
It’s especially satisfying when our media work generates tangible results for Wellington companies. When hologram company Point Zero had an opportunity to expand into Brisbane this year, we worked with them to publicise the move – and their technology - across Australia through multiple media stories. Point Zero reports that they received an upsurge in enquiries, orders and deal opportunities following the coverage.
Occasionally, as an economic development agency, we have a responsibility to step out and present a point of view, to inform a public debate and advocate for what we consider to be the best outcome for Wellington. Just this month, our Interim Chief Executive Derek Fry wrote this opinion piece for Fairfax, in response to the release of the 'Let’s Get Welly Moving' transport scenarios.
Our media work is often about adding value and visibility to the work of other WREDA teams. A WREDA-led tourism and trade mission to Singapore in July gave us the opportunity to publicise Wellington in this valuable market, which became much more accessible thanks to Singapore Airlines ‘Capital Express’ service. Working with several of the key Wellingtonians travelling on the mission, and an on-the-ground PR agency, we secured a number of stories with magazines, newspapers and television in the ‘Lion City’. Coverage included this feature with Jos Ruffell from Wellington brewers Garage Project, which appeared in Singapore's major daily, The Straits Times.
Much closer to home, the 2017 DHL NZ Lions Series was a peak busy time across the Wellington region, and naturally, across WREDA. With our Major Events team having successfully secured two back-to-back matches for the region, our focus was ensuring it all went smoothly and delivered maximum benefit to Wellington. Media-wise, we had double duty: help create awareness and excitement for all the fan entertainment activity in the city and manage incoming media enquiries about visitor logistics. Among a whole raft of stories, our favourite was this one about local kids welcoming the Lions squad to Wellington, which appeared on TV and online, and was shared by Lions’ social media.
When WREDA was formed, one of the big tasks our media team was given was to position Wellington to Australians as an exciting, emerging tech hub for the Asia-Pacific region. This is an ongoing project, involving pitching regular ‘success stories’ like the Point Zero coverage above. Every so often, though, you land a big one: the story that says exactly what you want it to, to exactly the audience you’re trying to reach. From the front page of the Australian Financial Review’s Tech section, this feature was definitely a ‘big one’.
Each year, we generate upwards of 500 ‘destination’ media stories across Australia and New Zealand. Designed to attract visitors to Wellington, this involves hosting journalists, pitching out content and previewing events. Picking just one from all of these is difficult...so difficult, in fact, we've picked two!
Not only does it paint a mouthwatering picture of Wellington’s cuisine scene, it was also a cover story in the Canberra Times food liftout, placed to make the most of their new direct flight and the opportunity of a long weekend visit.
Jesse brought his kids back to the city where he met his wife and discovered a side of Wellington he'd 'never fully appreciated'.
It was easy to choose WREDA’s number one story of the year – the LookSee Wellington tech talent attraction programme truly went viral, and scored coverage in a dozen countries, with a total value of around $10 million. The trick was picking which of nearly 100 international media stories to feature.
We’ve gone with this story which appeared the San Francisco Chronicle. Why? Always ahead of the curve when it comes to tech, San Francisco was the first big media score for LookSee, and the first indication we were on to something pretty special that could catch the attention even of the folks in Silicon Valley.
And, right at the other end, we're also very fond of this Dominion Post story, featuring Darren, Alyssa and 18-month-old Isobel Kidd, who were the first 'new Wellingtonians' to arrive thanks to LookSee Wellington.
For Wellington independent game development studio Little Lost Fox, creating an award-winning studio and game wasn’t the plan.