How to successfully open a (super) venue

The Exterior of Tākina at sunset from across the street.

Tākina, the capital’s exciting new convention and exhibition centre, opened in May 2023, marking the start of an exciting new era of business events for Wellington.

The experienced team at Tākina Events manages the spaces within Tākina. After a successful opening and inaugural week of events, Te Papa director of museum and commercial services Jake Downing talks about the behind-the-scenes efforts.

Get familiar (and wear comfortable shoes)

It was important to get staff into the building as soon as possible to get a feel for the space. Get them into the flow and gain a clear understanding of how everything worked before the venue opened. Doing this while Tākina was still being built was a challenge and it was different for each team. Testing the kitchen, for example, had to wait until it was certified. Our AV teams only got access to use the equipment days before the first test event went live. It was important for them to learn what they could before they could actually get in and plug in.

Another key learning was to wear comfortable shoes. When you’re walking every inch of a new venue, your step count gets pretty high.

Take time to test and learn

We were lucky Tākina was delivered on time and that we had a chance to run test events. This allowed us to trial our operations and service delivery procedures in real-time. We have some great partners who allowed us to use their events as “guinea pigs”. They put massive trust in us and we will forever be grateful.

Both main test events had great feedback, from the catering to the venue and AV. As expected, we’ve learned how to do a few things differently across these events, but it didn’t impact the delegate experience.

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Build a business pipeline

Work started to promote and fill Tākina long before the doors opened, and people are excited to book this beautiful, world-class space. We’ve had a strong level of inquiries across a variety of different events.

These events range from some of New Zealand’s largest trade exhibitions to banquet dinners, and multi-day medium to large-scale conferences. With good demand coming from Australia and beyond. At the time of opening, there were more than 50 multi-day conferences planned in the first year, with bookings as far out as 2027.

Partner for success

We’re super excited to welcome and host guests into this amazing, wonderful space. This wouldn’t have happened without the hard work of all our partners: Wellington City Council, Business Events Wellington, WellingtonNZ, and Te Papa. I’m so grateful for the huge the team at Tākina Events has put in. There were some massive days, and they’ve done a wonderful job in bringing Tākina to life.