WearableArt a showstopper for Wellington economy

24 September 2015

Wellington is preparing to host one of its biggest and most colourful events on the cultural calendar – the World of WearableArt Awards Show.

Poly Nation, Kate Mackenzie, New Zealand

Poly Nation, Kate Mackenzie, New Zealand, World of WearableArt Ltd


The show where fashion, art and theatre collides opens at the TSB Bank Arena on Thursday 24 September and will pump millions into Wellington’s economy.

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) chief executive Chris Whelan says WOW had stamped an indelible mark on Wellington.

“WOW has cemented itself as a highlight on Wellington’s busy events calendar and is for many an annual pilgrimage of food, fashion and fun.

“It has also significantly boosted the local economy in what was once a slower time of the year,” he says.

Since WOW moved to the capital in 2005, hundreds of thousands of tickets have been sold, with a large percentage snapped up by people outside Wellington.

Last year more than 53,000 tickets were sold across 15 shows, an increase of 13% on 2013, with 58% of visitors to WOW from out of town.

According to a 2013 economic impact assessment from Wellington City Council, WOW pumped $22.6 million into the local economy. That demonstrated an increase of nearly 50% in just four years, with the economic impact of the event previously valued at $15.1m in 2009. When the show first came to Wellington in 2005, it generated $8m.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the on going success of WOW, which is entering its second decade in the capital, is a marvellous boost.

“WearableArt is a unique art form and WOW’s success combines cutting edge costume, dance, music and technology to delight thousands,” said Mayor Wade-Brown.

“WOW showcases New Zealand’s arts capital to the world.”

Wellington City Councillor Jo Coughlan, who chairs the council’s Economic Growth and Arts Committee, says WOW has been brilliant for the city.

“Since the council brought WOW to Wellington in 2005, its economic impact has increased by more than 175%.

“Not only are more than 50,000 tickets sold for WOW, but the event employs in excess of 500 people in the city each year. Coupled with the visitor spend in our bars, hotels and restaurants, it shows the investment the council is putting into WOW is paying off handsomely.”

To help people get the most out of their WOW visit, Positively Wellington Tourism has a pre-packaged WOW Weekender itinerary available via its new online experience planner. The itinerary covers all the essentials – brunch, pre-and post-show eats and drinks, art galleries, shopping, and high tea.