Leading scientists drawn to region
New Zealand has some of the world’s leading scientific minds, and they are attracting their international counterparts from all parts of the world to hear them speak at scientific gatherings in the Waikato and elsewhere.
The scientists, with a little help from Tourism New Zealand, are raising the profile of the Waikato as a hub of science in New Zealand, with Hamilton gaining an international reputation for scientific research.
Tourism New Zealand’s global manager business events, Anna Fennessy, says that for the year ended June 2018, Hamilton is the fourth largest region for business events, behind Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
“New Zealand is renowned for its scientific innovation and research and is increasingly becoming recognised as a preferred location for scientific conferences and business events,” she says. “Business events bring economic benefits to a region, with delegates spending more than the average visitor and exploring the area.”
Tourism New Zealand says that in the past four or five years it has helped New Zealand’s science community secure 112 sciencerelated conferences, adding $138 million to the economy. Several of these conferences have never been held in the Southern Hemispherebefore.
Professor Craig Cary of the University of Waikato says New Zealand’s approach to conference bids blitzes the competition.
He was an integral part of the teams that recently secured three events — including one in Hamilton next year — that will bring thousands of the world’s leading researchers to New Zealand. The 8th International Conference on Polar and Alpine Microbiology has been confirmed for Hamilton over five days in February 2019.
The other two are the 18th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology in 2020 in Auckland and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Biology Symposium in Christchurch in 2021.
“We anticipate registrations from more than 20 countries for the conference in Hamilton. This allows us to accentuate the profile of the Waikato as a hub of science in New Zealand and to showcase our region,” Professor Cary says. “To secure these international conferences we really need to do more [than Northern Hemisphere counterparts]. Tourism New Zealand makes it easy — it makes us look so good.
“In the space of 18 months we secured three major scientific conferences that have never been held in New Zealand before — that is unheard of,” he says.
Tourism New Zealand has recently partnered with Kudos Science Awards Trust, based in Hamilton, to further promote the science community and scientific business events potential in the region. The trust, New Zealand’s sole regional scientific awards programme, recognises the achievements of the Waikato’s top scientists and supports ongoing research.
“With the help of Tourism New Zealand we see the opportunity to showcase the innovation in our region to a national and international audience,” says Professor Ross Lawrenson, chairperson of awards trust.
Since 2016 Tourism New Zealand has supported 17 Waikato-based international conferences through its Conference Assistance Programme and delegate marketing programmes. Nine of the 11 international conferences won were science-related.
Professor Craig Cary, a microbial ecologist who researches bacteria which live in extreme environments.