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Game of Thrones author to headline sci-fi convention in Wellington

Thousands of science fiction fans will descend on Wellington in 2020 after the region won the rights to host the 78th World Science Fiction Convention.

CoNZealand co-hosts Kelly Buehler and Norman Cates

Among them will be the legendary Game of Thrones author George RR Martin who has been confirmed as the Toastmaster for the event.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says, “It’s great the city can attract such a high-profile convention and I’m sure it will be a roaring success that local businesses will benefit from.

“Wellington is home to some of New Zealand’s best creative talent and we will do our best to ensure the delegates find the city a home away from home.”

Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall says, “The high profile event will showcase New Zealand as a fantastic host destination and a place where creative thinking is embraced. It is an excellent opportunity for Wellington and New Zealand to show how well we host large-scale global events.”

Co-chairs Norman Cates and Kelly Buehler put their hearts and souls into securing hosting rights for the convention over the past eight years. The pair enlisted the support of Tourism New Zealand and the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) to help throughout the bidding process.

"We are utterly thrilled to bring some of the great names in science fiction to New Zealand to meet their Kiwi fans and to give our amazing creators here at home their time to shine on an international stage,” says Kelly.

WREDA Chief Executive Lance Walker says this is a huge feat for Wellington and the agency enjoyed working alongside Tourism New Zealand to make it happen.

“Not only will the convention bring 2000 visitors to the region and significantly contribute to the local economy, it also gives our local creative sector the opportunity to connect and collaborate with the international science fiction community.

“It’s no secret that our local screen industry and filmmakers love science fiction. Who knows what will happen when you bring them together with the world’s greatest science fiction storytellers.”

The event is expected to deliver $4 million to the economy. Named CoNZealand, it will be held at multiple venues across the city, including TSB Arena, Shed 6, the Michael Fowler Centre, and Intercontinental Wellington from 29 July to 2 August 2020.