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In September 2014, Wellington hosted The 21st Annual Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC).
The 21st Annual Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) conference was held in Wellington in September 2014 and organised by ASN Events. This was in conjunction with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council and the New Zealand Fire Service and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.
900 delegates travelled to Wellington to the conference, which was held in three Positively Wellington Venues - Shed 6, TSB Bank Arena and Michael Fowler Centre , as well as dinner at Te Papa Tongarewa.
600 of these delegates came from Australia, 30 from the Pacific and the others travelled from around New Zealand.
The idea of bringing AFAC to Wellington was driven by Fraser Engineering who initiated discussions with Mayor, Celia Wade Brown, almost three years ago. Fraser’s is a Wellington-based engineering company that designs and manufactures fire engines.
Martin Simpson, General Manager at Fraser Engineering, says "Having the conference in Wellington meant many of the top chiefs from fire brigades in Australasia came to Wellington and looked at our latest trends in technology and how we do things in innovative and more efficient ways."
The key requirements for this event included: venues that accommodated plenary sessions for 900 delegates, breakout spaces, a trade exhibition hall for 80 exhibitors and a space for five fire engines to be on display, all within close proximity.
The conference venues were all in close proximity to each other, as well as the airport, hotels, restaurants, shops and the waterfront. The interesting choice of meeting places and spaces including dinner at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, and the addition of Shed 6 to the TSB Bank Arena, all worked perfectly for the conference providing close to 5000 m2 of flat floor space.
Wellington proved to be very cost effective - venues, hotels, catering, technical and travel were all competitively priced, even taking into consideration the New Zealand exchange rate.
The team at Business Events Wellington and Positively Wellington Venues worked with the organisers to bring the four day conference to Wellington.
An event of this scale would not have been possible without the close collaboration between organisers and Wellington's event-related businesses, who all worked behind the scenes to deliver a seamless event.
ASN Events wanted to make the most of the versatility and flexibility of Shed 6. Multi-Media Systems worked together with the PWV team to transform the venue within extremely tight timeframes.
The changeovers were remarkable, the retractable seating system and operable walls allowed the venues to go from one large plenary room holding 900 delegates, to four separate breakout rooms, all within 30 minutes, while delegates enjoyed morning tea.
Amanda Leck, Director Information & Community Safety, AFAC, says "The integration between Shed 6 and TSB Bank Arena worked really well for us, and it was great having the conference, trucks and exhibitor displays separate, but so close."
Wellington's unique position in the conventions and events market is what makes the capital such an attractive event destination.
Following the success of AFAC, Simon Monk says he believes Wellington has the one of best convention offerings in New Zealand. He was impressed by the fact that their delegates had access to fantastic restaurants, the beautiful harbour and hotels - all less than a ten minute walk away.
"Wellington is an absolutely stunning city. I'm looking forward to going back to Australia and sharing our experience with the wider team and look at what other business events we can bring to Wellington," Simon says.
The AFAC conference is a prime example of Wellington's reputation for collaborating to ensure event organisers are connected with the best creative, artistic and business minds in Wellington. This is a demonstration of applying the "Power of the Precinct" to create unique, engaging and memorable event experiences.
Martin Simpson from Fraser Engineering says:
"Holding this conference in Wellington has been our best opportunity ever to showcase the latest technology and manufacturing trends to those with billions of dollars of purchasing power, resulting in significant returns for our business and New Zealand."