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Convention Centre Open For Business

MEDIA RELEASE
28 July 2004
SKYCITY AUCKLAND

Convention Centre Open For Business

Tourism Minister Mark Burton, Auckland Mayor John Banks and SKYCITY Managing Director Evan Davies, officially opened the new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre this evening (Wednesday 28 July 2004), Federal Street, Auckland City.

Some five hundred industry representatives and local dignitaries attended the glitzy "Out Of The Blue" themed evening which showcased the world-class venue's leading-edge technology and AV capabilities, excellence in catering and service, entertainment, event management and of course, the stylish new centre itself.

Guests were greeted by environmental entertainers at 6:30pm to an "ice cave" arrival zone before taking a ride in the loading lift, through the main kitchen and up to the "Auckland Room" on level four of the new facility, for an hour of canapés and cocktails before being invited to their seats in the massive 'New Zealand room' - a 1300m2 column free ballroom with six metre high ceilings. There they were treated to a lavish three-course banquet meal with all the trimmings - consisting of a crystal bay prawn stack with tabasco spiked gazpacho, crispy skinned snapper with vine-ripened tomatoes and native basil & avocado salsa or beef medallions wrapped in parma ham on a flat mushroom ragout and to finish, the chefs tasting plate of miniature desserts. A range of cheeses was served via forklift (demonstrating the immense capacity of the room).

Master of ceremonies, Simon Dallow, introduced the three officiating speakers - Evan Davies, SKYCITY Managing Director, Minister of Tourism, Mark Burton, and Auckland Mayor, John Banks, who together completed the formalities by unveiling a special commemorative plaque.

The entertainment extravaganza continued through to midnight offering something for everyone with lion dancing, aerial acrobatics from the ceiling, opera and jazz music, state-of-the-art audio visual displays and live bands "Goldenhorse" and "Misfits of Science" with the "Roger Fox Big Band" rounding off the night.

While officially opening the centre, Auckland Mayor John Banks said "The SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre is a key piece of infrastructure as Auckland rapidly becomes a destination for international tourists - shrugging off its gateway status once and for all. With its state-of-the-art facilities and design, the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre is much needed and wanted by our convention, hospitality and tourism industries."

SKYCITY Entertainment Group Managing Director Evan Davies said, "Tonight's opening celebrations are underpinned by our pride in what the Convention Centre represents - for SKYCITY, for Auckland City and region, and for the convention, tourism and other sectors the new facility will make an outstanding contribution to. The Convention Centre represents a major addition to New Zealand's tourism infrastructure, with a myriad of downstream benefits."

Since opening its doors in early April 2004 for evening functions, the new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre has served over 10,000 meals and hosted a number of prominent functions and events such as the Qantas media awards, the Special Olympics New Zealand fundraising gala dinner and the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation's In the Pink fashion show.

From tomorrow, the new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre will be available for day, night and multi-day functions and the new facility has already secured more than 200 bookings for dinners, conferences and events in the next 12 months with other bookings as far forward as 2009 and delegate numbers ranging in size between 300 and 1600.

Situated opposite SKYCITY Auckland, on Federal Street, SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre, opened for business on Monday 5 April 2004 and has capacity for up to 1000 (banquet function) on one floor and 800 on another or 1500 (theatre-style) delegates (or a total of 2000 people banquet style over two floors).

The $140 million development represents the largest commercial project currently underway in the city. On completion, it will comprise five floors of convention centre and 15 levels above will become the new SKYCITY Grand Hotel (scheduled to open in April 2005) providing 316 rooms of luxurious five star accommodation in the heart of the city. The SKYCITY Grand Hotel will offer guests also two restaurants, a club lounge, luxury spa and gym.

For enquiries and additional information phone SKYCITY sales/conference general enquiries on 09 363 6070 or visit www.skycityconventions.co.nz

SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre features:

* Two levels of conferencing, exhibition and banqueting space totalling over 50000 m2 featuring a 1300m2 room with seating for 1500 theatre style or 1200 banquet, plus a second main room with 1040m2 of conference/exhibition space.

* Also two 670m2 foyers, nine breakout rooms, two boardrooms, two business offices and business centre facilities.

* Six and five metre high ceilings

* Retractable walls

* State of the art technology including wireless hot zones, high end sound systems and sophisticated data capabilities

Ends

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