Convention Centre & Movie Museum - announcement

14 August 2018

Wellington City Council and The Movie Museum Limited (TMML) have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum, which were proposed for Cable Street in central Wellington. Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects.

Artist's impression of the convention centre

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Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says that the decision was mutual and came after a series of meetings and correspondence between the two organisations. The Mayor confirms that the two sides had given the idea of a joint project the best possible shot, but that it had become apparent that Wellingtonians would be better served with the Movie Museum and the Convention Centre as two separate assets.

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh and Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger said that “despite the best efforts of all parties, the economics of the Cable Street location proved to be a challenge for the movie museum.

“We remain committed to the creation of a Movie Museum in Wellington and will now be considering other options.”

The Mayor says he is pleased that Sir Peter and Sir Richard are committed to a movie museum for Wellington and that he looks forward to their vision being realised.

Wellington City Council is looking forward to moving ahead with the Convention Centre. “We are now gearing up for a sod-turning in 2019,” says the Mayor.

“This will be a welcome development for Wellington’s business, hospitality and accommodation sectors as it will mean the city will be equipped to host larger conferences and conventions.”

Along with the Convention Centre, Wellingtonians will also gain a brand-new 1500 square metre exhibition space which will be able to accommodate large, internationally significant exhibitions and draw in visitors from around Wellington, New Zealand and internationally.

The Council is currently in talks with Te Papa – New Zealand’s national museum – about a partnership for the operation of the exhibition space. “Exhibition spaces around the world are undergoing a renaissance, particularly with the fusion of art and technology. We expect this space to be a game changer that not only brings the best of the world to New Zealand, but also gives a platform for our own creative sector to think big,” the Mayor says.

Geraint Martin, Chief Executive of Te Papa, says the museum is excited to work in tandem with the Council, given Te Papa’s experience, international standing and the proximity of the proposed site and the synergies between the two organisations. “We are looking forward to working with the Council to realise this opportunity for Wellington,” he said.

The Council expects to lodge the resource consent for the Convention Centre and exhibition space within the coming months.

Note: TMML is the company established by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger to develop and operate a museum attraction in Wellington showcasing theirs and their companies’ work in the film industry in Wellington over the past 25 years and incorporating their own collections.

Frequently-asked questions

What’s the process from here?

We expect to be able to lodge the resource consent for the Convention and Exhibition Centre within the coming months. A sod turning will happen in 2019. We will keep the community updated on our progress.

Why hasn’t this project gone ahead?

Despite the best efforts of both parties, the economics of building the movie museum together with the Convention Centre proved to be a challenge for the movie museum.

Why can’t the Council build the movie museum component with the Convention Centre?

Quite simply, Wellington City Council doesn’t have the required expertise. We’re committed to developing a Convention and Exhibition Centre for Wellington and look forward to working closely with Te Papa to develop this space.

What will the proposed Convention Centre and exhibition space look like?

We intend to deliver a fit-for-purpose building that will work for Wellington. The existing design can be easily reconfigured to accommodate the larger convention and exhibition spaces. We are still working on finalising all the design elements.

What benefits will the Convention Centre bring to Wellington?

The convention and conference business is currently worth over $140 million a year to the Wellington economy. With the addition of the Convention Centre and exhibition space complex, we would expect to see a spike in conferences and conventions, making Wellington much more nationally competitive. There will be flow-on benefits to hospitality, accommodation and retail, which is predicted by BERL to add a further $31 million a year in GDP to the city’s economy. The exhibition space will only increase this value further.

Currently, a total of 543,800 delegates attended 5100 conventions and conferences across New Zealand in the year ended March 2018, according to the latest CAS report from MBIE. 

Being able to attract and host large-scale, dynamic and internationally significant exhibitions will also have a direct impact on Wellington’s tourism offering, provide spaces for our creative sectors and would work towards increasing the city’s visitor nights.

How much has this cost ratepayers?

The Council purchased the Cable Street site in 2016 at a cost of $21.5 million. Since the land was purchased it will almost certainly have significantly increased in value. The site is currently used as a carpark and has some leased premises on it that generate income for the Council.

We have invested $1.5 million in design work, legal fees and obtaining the initial resource consent for groundworks from Greater Wellington Regional Council. As outlined above, we expect to be able to repurpose much of the design work already completed for the convention and exhibition complex.

Costs associated with internal fit-out for the movie museum were met by TMML.

When will the Convention Centre open?

There is still plenty of work to be done on the Convention Centre and exhibition space. We expect to be able to lodge the resource consent within the coming months. A sod-turning will happen in 2019. We will keep the community updated on our progress.

Who will use the exhibition space?

We will be working closely with Te Papa on the operation of the exhibition space and on the opportunities the Convention Centre and exhibition space complex will offer Wellington and the wider region.

Exhibition spaces around the world are undergoing a renaissance of sorts, particularly with the fusion of art and technology. We expect the Convention Centre and exhibition space will provide a myriad of opportunities.   

Will you be competing with Te Papa for convention audiences and exhibitors?

No. We look forward to working with with Te Papa to expand on Wellington’s convention centre and exhibition space offering.

What will now happen to the Movie Museum?

TMML have indicated they remain committed to the creation of a Movie Museum in Wellington and will be considering other options. We’re pleased about that and look forward to their vision being realised.

Why has it taken so long to get to this point?

Significant and transformative city projects don’t happen overnight – they are incredibly complex and require much analysis, design and negotiation. We are now at the point where we can plan with certainty for the Convention Centre and exhibition space because we are clear on the aim, the site and partnerships we need to deliver the project.