News | 31 May 2023
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Groundbreaking Tākina Convention and Exhibition Centre blessed ahead of opening

Tākina, the capital’s exciting new Convention and Exhibition Centre, was blessed this morning ahead of an official civic opening this evening.

Taking blessing ceremony with Kura Moeahu
Takina blessing ceremony with Kura Moeahu

It is the most significant new building to open in Wellington since Sky Stadium was built two decades ago.

Kura Moeahu, Chair Te Runanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui Inc, was joined by other members of Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Te Papa, to officially open the new site at a dawn ceremony with a karakia and blessing of the three-storey building.

The blessing was also attended by Mayor Tory Whanau, members of the project team, as well as community and Council representatives.

This evening’s civic opening, which is also the official opening of the Jurassic World by Brickman®, will be hosted by Mayor Whanau in partnership with Taranaki Whānui, with guest speakers Minister Barbara Edmonds, Kura Moeahu, Mark McGuinness (Willis Bond), Jackie Lloyd (Te Papa Board Member), and Ryan McNaught (Brickman).

The iconic building, located opposite Te Papa, will contribute $44 million a year to the local economy, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to Wellington to attend conferences and the large-scale exhibitions it will hold.

Tākina will be hosting an open day on Saturday 15 July with guided tours for the public to visit and explore the normally private convention floors.

There are already 118 multi-day conferences and events on the calendar, and the internationally acclaimed interactive LEGO® brick exhibition, Jurassic World by Brickman®, is getting set to take Wellington on an epic adventure when it opens on Saturday 3rd June.

This will be closely followed by a major world first-exclusive exhibition in October.

Amongst key events in the first weeks of operation are The Festival for the Future, Aotearoa’s biggest leadership and innovation summit, and MEETINGS 2023 the only national tradeshow in New Zealand for the Business Events industry, this will be the first time that Wellington has had the capacity and capability to host such a national event.

Takina blessing ceremony
Official opening of the new site at a dawn ceremony

Building Key Features


  • 18,000 sqm over three main levels, plus mezzanine floors
  • Public ground floor with three public entry points (2 x Cable St and 1 x Wakefield St), internal public walkway linking Wakefield and Cable Streets, 1280sqm Exhibition Gallery for hosting touring public exhibitions, cafe & shop.
  • Venue management offices, staff facilities and the loading dock are also located on the ground floor featuring a vehicle lift and three goods lifts to ensure ease of pack-in and pack-out of events.
  • Levels 1 & 2 dedicated to convention and business events, able to be hired separately or together for large scale events featuring:
  • Two flexible plenary spaces seating up to 700 people and 1,600 people respectively (2,730 sqm combined)
  • 2,770 sqm of exhibition or pre-function space across both floors
  • Two conference organiser offices (one on each floor)
  • Kitchen and back of house facilities on each floor service both levels.
  • Five green rooms for speakers to prepare
  • Fully base-isolated
  • 5-star Green Building Certified – the design of Tākina reduces energy use by 60% and carbon emissions by 66%, when benchmarked against comparable new builds.
  • Sefar Glass Façade – Tākina is the first building in New Zealand with this material which has enhanced thermal qualities.
  • Building sits 3.5m above sea level.


Construction Facts


  • 220 piles @ 12m depth
  • 100 # base isolators
  • 2,250 tonnes of steel 
  • The facade features about 1300 glass panels installed across the building’s curved profile 
  • 10,000 cubic meters of concrete – LT McGuinness’s largest ever concrete pour of 400m3
  • 250 people on site daily
  • New staff well-being practices introduced focussing on people and place with great success.


The meaning of Tākina



The name Tākina was gifted by Kura Moeahu, Taranaki Whānui. 


Tākina means to invoke, to summon, to connect, to bring forth, in te reo Māori. In Wellington, the most powerful force that is summoned here is the wind.


Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour) is renowned for its unique and diverse winds. Some days they rage across the harbour, blowing everything before them. At other times, they are soft, welcoming, calm. We treasure and invoke each of them, because together they make Wellington a unique place.


Those winds are a metaphor for magic, exuberance, sharing, and ideas. The winds express the shift of knowledge from one generation to another. They move things forward. They carry truths and viewpoints here from the universe and move them on to others, thousands of miles away.


The Building


  • Iconic - this will be an iconic building delivering a civic and cultural statement for inner city.  It will set the standard for regeneration of the surrounding precinct, which is was under-utilised, under-productive and in need of investment.
  • Resilient - the building is designed to IL3 standards having considered the importance of resilience for this civic building which will be able to return to business as usual as quickly as possible after an event or become a safe emergency centre within the central city.  It is base isolated and has a diagrid super structure allowing the building to move up to 700mm horizontally during an earthquake but remain stiff in the upper structure.  It also sits 3.5m above sea level mitigating any risk of surface water flooding entering the building.
  • Accessible – the building has been designed to achieve excellence in accessibility. 
  • Sustainable – will be built to 5 Green Star standards incorporating and showcasing meaningful and real sustainability initiatives including rainwater harvesting systems and a significant solar power capability (200kva).   


Costs and Funding: 


  • The project budget is $179.3m including the land cost of $21.5m – actual costs are expected to be at around $168.9 plus land costs.
  • The capital costs are funded by Council borrowings, with the interest, depreciation and net operational costs being met by ratepayers through the Downtown Levy (40%) and General Rate (60%). 
  • Overall, 66.7% of the costs fall to the commercial ratepayer and 33.3% to the residential ratepayer.


Key Benefits


  • Commercial and economic development for Wellington 
  • The development will provide significant economic benefit to the city both during construction ($76.3m GDP and 864 jobs in Wellington) and once it is operational such as creating jobs, providing business for our local business and retail community and flow-on tourism ($44.8m GDP p.a. and 554 jobs in Wellington).
  • It will also protect the economic benefits Wellington currently enjoys from the business events market which we will lose without responding to redeveloped facilities in Auckland and Christchurch in this lucrative market.
  • Urban Redevelopment and Secondary Investment
  • The urban landscape in this area will be significantly improved - we expect Tākina to act as a catalyst for rejuvenation of the surrounding area, encouraging other property developers to invest in outstanding architecture
  • We’re helping create a new precinct for Wellington, one which is a destination in its own right – we want people to come to this area, not just through it
  • Tourism benefits
  • Business event visitors spend significantly more and stay longer in their host city than other tourists therefore provide high value to the host city and region.  An international business tourist spends around 50% more than a regular international tourist.
  • The exhibition gallery will provide another attraction in Wellington which is expected to stimulate domestic tourism and increase international visitors’ length of stay in Wellington.
  • The centre will provide a flow-on to other businesses in area, especially hotels, shops, bars/restaurants
  • Service & hospitality industry jobs stimulation
  • Tourism off-season is high season for conventions, providing a steadier tourism flow for the city across the year, enabling more stable employment in this sector for residents.
  • The new development is centrally located, making it convenient for visitors to access other tourism-related attractions, such as Te Papa.
  • Jobs in this sector also strengthen our tertiary sector supporting Wellington being a place of choice for students who can support their studies with regular part-time work.

International conferences already booked at Tākina include:

  • The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases Conference in 2024
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) in 2024
  • iPRES 2025 - International Conference on Digital Preservation in 2025
  • International Sedimentological Congress in 2026

For more information on Tākina visit