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Waikato’s strong cultural links attract major event

Waikato will welcome around 800 international Indigenous studies experts in June 2019. The event will put the region on the world stage as a cultural hub and is expected to deliver more than $1.7 million to the economy. 

Tourism New Zealand worked with the University of Waikato and Hamilton and Waikato Tourism to secure the annual Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) conference.

“Waikato’s strong cultural links, activities and the University’s indigenous studies expertise was a winning combo and convinced the event organisers to bring the conference to New Zealand for the first time,” says Lisa Gardiner Business Events and Premium Manager, Tourism New Zealand.

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“Events like this are fantastic for the country for a number of reasons, they get visitors into the regions and during off peak times, they put New Zealand on the world stage as leaders in a range of fields and they deliver significant economic benefits for local communities.”

Tourism New Zealand works closely with New Zealand’s universities, regional convention bureaus and industry to attract international business events to the country.  Over the last four years events that will deliver over $310 million to the New Zealand economy and bring nearly 100,000 people to the country were secured.

University of Waikato Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, Brendan Hokowhitu’s long held relationship with NAISA was instrumental in securing the event.

“This is a fantastic achievement to bring NAISA to Aotearoa, as it has never been hosted outside of the US and Canada before. So it’s a real coup for us. As the world’s preeminent Indigenous Studies conference, hosting NAISA will put the University and the region on the world stage and will allow the University of Waikato to establish a really strong bond with the most important Indigenous academic association in the world.

It’s an incredible opportunity for staff and students from Indigenous Studies and other cognate disciplines from all over Aotearoa/New Zealand to interact with some of the best Indigenous minds, to refresh, refocus and rethink our curricula, research and scholarship in terms of Indigenous Studies as an international discipline.”

Jason Dawson, CEO, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism  says “Through an excellent partnership with Tourism New Zealand, the University of Waikato and Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, it’s a huge achievement for our region to secure a significant international conference like NAISA.

“Hamilton and Waikato is now the third largest region behind Auckland and Wellington for conventions, meetings and business events for the year ending March 2017 (MBIE Convention Activity Survey, Year End March 2017).

“Every conference we can secure for Hamilton and Waikato is significant for the region, regardless of the sector or size. Conference delegates are also influenced to return for a future holiday based on their positive Waikato experiences.

“A delegate attending a business event was worth twice as much of a leisure traveller to the region, with an average delegate per night value of $350 per night for international delegates and $509 per night for domestic delegates."