Meeting Newz March / April 2021

can be a regenerative force that enables all life to thrive,” says Fraser. “Regeneration is more than just reducing one’s footprint and doing less harm; it’s about leaving our place better than we have found it. “We have found that conferences coming to Tauranga are opting to spend time giving back to the Bay of Plenty community, and as part of their free afternoon or a team-building activity, they are heading out to our local beaches for a beach clean-up or dune planting. “The trick is to have options readily available for delegates to get involved in; it’s surprising how many businesses can offer something in this space when they become committed to it.” Fastest growing city in NZ The heart of the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is the country’s fastest growing and fifth largest city in New Zealand. Access is easy with the city being within driving distance from most major North Island centres while Tauranga Airport (NZ’s busiest regional airport), has frequent daily direct flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The compact nature of the region means conference facilities are also close to the CBD, activities and attractions, and extensive accommodation options. The range of venue options includes ocean-side (Trinity Wharf, Papamoa Beach Resort and Mount Surf Lifesaving Club), spacious (Trustpower Baypark, located between Mt Maunganui and Tauranga) and refreshed multipurpose (Hotel Armitage and The Historic Village). Fraser notes the region has much to offer visitors. “Not only are we home to some of New Zealand’s best beaches, we also have a thriving arts and culture scene and a sunny microclimate which makes perfect growing conditions for fresh local produce, with the many award-winning eateries in the region using local produce in their signature dishes.” Sunset Cruises Fraser notes a general mood of positivity within the business events industry, with operators working collaboratively to develop new experiences such as the recently initiated sunset cruises by Bay Explorer, departing from the private pier at Trinity Wharf complex (detailed later in this article). Bites of the Bay Pre-COVID, food tour specialists Taste of Plenty were running tours predominantly for cruise ship passengers to meet some of the local food heroes and sample innovative cuisine. Post-COVID, 99% of the business dried up with the non-existence of cruise ships, so owner Ian Holroyd set about redesigning his tours for the domestic market. Passionate about the foodie scene in the Bay of Plenty, Holroyd’s tours now take people “off the eaten track” to discover local gems among the artisan food and beverage producers. The tour, named Bites of the Bay, features behind-the-scenes access to a chocolate maker, Italian pizza chef and a fifth-generation beekeeper taking honey BAY OF PLENTY ] View from Mauao business by the beach it’s in our natuRe Main Beach, Mount Maunganui Find out why the Bay of Plenty is fast becoming a favourite business event destination by visiti ng: to the next level, plus exotic ice cream from Mount Made and wine tastings from Leveret Estate. “Bites of the Bay tours have become extremely popular with corporate and incentive groups, wanting to eat and drink their way around the Bay,” says Fraser. Making its own history Tauranga’s Historic Village has pumped $5.5m into capital projects over the last five years. The comprehensive revitalisation journey shows no signs of slowing, however, as the venue strives to realise its aim to maximise its uniqueness, diversity and vibrancy. A multi-pronged approach of financial investment, tenant and event programming meeting newz [march april] 2021 [25]