Double servings for Capital: Movie museum plus convention centre on the way

8 December 2015

Plans have been announced to build a combined movie museum and convention centre in Wellington, which will underpin the Capital’s economic development and provide a unique experience unparalleled in the Australasian market.

Robot clip from movie.

At an extraordinary meeting held Tuesday afternoon, the Wellington City Council has voted unanimously to purchase land opposite Te Papa, between Wellington’s Cable and Wakefield Streets.

Council has agreed in principle to build a movie museum together with a new purpose-built convention centre on the site. Council will partner with private interests headed by Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Sir Richard Taylor, and Tania Rodger, to deliver the movie museum, which will celebrate the film heritage of Wellington, identifying the Capital as the home of film where five of the world’s 12 highest-grossing films of all time were produced.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the new purpose-built convention centre and a movie museum to celebrate the contribution by the film sector to our culture and economy are both part of Wellington’s economic growth plan. 

“The Convention Centre is back on track and looking better than ever,” says the Mayor. “The combined facility will provide jobs and deliver another major attraction for tourists to visit and stay longer in the Capital, in a perfect location. 

“This will be a unique convention centre for the Australasian market, transforming our offering from a service facility to an amazing experience for visitors, delegates and tourists alike.”

Chair of the Economic Growth and Arts Committee, Cr Jo Coughlan, says Council’s decision is a major milestone in its strategy to boost economic development within the City, and protects a key industry for the Capital.

“Wellington ranks second behind Auckland with 17 per cent of the New Zealand convention market, earning around $146 million for the Capital each year and supporting 1000 jobs,” says Cr Coughlan.

“A new purpose-built convention centre will protect that business and grow it by about 10 per cent – about 67 new events delivering around 62,000 delegate days.

“The Movie Museum will attract 310,000 people by year three, adding another “must see” attraction to Wellington and further elevate Wellington as a ‘must visit’ destination. This investment is great for the city,” she says.

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester says the Wellington City Long Term Plan 2015-2025 received overwhelmingly positive feedback on both the movie museum and convention centre proposals. “Our financial position is strong, which has enabled Council to secure the land to enable this project,” he says.

“Benefits for Wellington alone are estimated at $36 million during the construction and, once operational, $38 million GDP per annum will be generated and protected – this will be a significant economic input for the city,” says Cr Lester.

Council will purchase the land and construct the three-level building which will include an up to 1100- delegate convention centre on the top floor. The Movie Museum will lease the lower two floors from Council and fit out and operate the space.

The combined facility, including the land, will cost an estimated $134 million, providing 440 construction jobs and, once the facility opens, create 483 new jobs in addition to protecting 85 existing jobs in the conference sector.  This investment will build on the precinct around the national museum and be a catalyst for this area.

Mayor Wade-Brown adds: “The Matamata tourist attraction Hobbiton Movie Set Tours is now a major New Zealand visitor destination with more than 350,000 visitors alone, and the successful Great War and Gallipoli Exhibitions show how film talents can be translated into enthralling exhibitions.”

Further public consultation on the combined facility is scheduled for February / March 2016. Oral hearings will be heard March 2016, and a final business case will guide Council’s final decision on the combined convention centre and movie museum initiative, expected to be April 2016.

The Town Hall is being considered as the core of a national music centre in the civic precinct and draft designs will be produced in early 2016.