Wellington Scoop

Sedimentological conference commits to new Convention Centre in 2026

News from WCC
New Zealand has built upon its earth science strengths to win the 22nd International Sedimentological Congress (ISC) in 2026. The congress is expected to attract up to 1000 participants to Tākina, the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre, and deliver an estimated $3.4 million to the economy.

The ISC is one of the largest international conferences dedicated to the study of sedimentary rocks and the processes by which they are formed. The ISC is rarely held in the Southern Hemisphere but in 2026 it will be hosted by Geoscience Society of New Zealand’s Sedimentology Special Interest Group (SSIG).

Lead organiser and Senior Geologist at GNS Science, Dr Mark Lawrence, says: “This congress will be an excellent opportunity to showcase New Zealand sedimentology and for networking with international sedimentologists.”

Tourism New Zealand works with experts across the country and the business events industry to support New Zealand to bid for and win international conferences.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager Domestic & Business Events Bjoern Spreitzer says: “Conferences like this showcase our expertise to the world and help grow our knowledge at home. They also deliver significant economic gains that benefit the New Zealand economy.”

The conference win is testament to both New Zealand’s strengths in earth science and its ability to provide fascinating first-hand experiences in the field, Dr Lawrence adds.

“Geologically New Zealand is very interesting. It has a whole range of geological attributes concentrated in a relatively small geographic area. Then you have the impact of tectonics, and climate change. It’s essentially a neat, small-scale laboratory,” he says.

The theme for the congress will be ‘Sedimentation on active plate margins through time and space’ and will include field trips across the country covering as broad a range of sedimentary systems in Zealandia as possible. Topics relating to Māori and Pacifica views of the sedimentary process will also be included.

Dr Lawrence says the congress is an excellent opportunity to engage the next generation of sedimentologists, who will be able to attend with fewer costs since the event is close to home.

“It will be particularly good for students who may otherwise be unlikely to attend such a prestigious event overseas. For those starting out in the field it’s a great opportunity to make these international contacts.”

Plans are underway to ensure the conference has wider outreach to New Zealanders, through public lectures or learning experiences for school age children.

Wellington will be the host city, providing both a core of knowledge in earth science via Victoria University and geological affiliated research institutes GNS Science and NIWA, and a brand-new conference venue.

WellingtonNZ General Manager David Perks says the capital’s central location makes it the perfect location for this congress.

“Being so central to the rest of New Zealand means all the site visits to be undertaken by delegates are very accessible. And while here they’ll be able to enjoy our great eateries and bars and all Wellington has to offer, learning more about the history of New Zealand right across the road at Te Papa – New Zealand’s national museum, and getting closer to nature at Zealandia.

“While the congress doesn’t happen until 2026, it’s great to see that Tākina is already front of mind for international organisations. It was specifically designed to host international conferences of this size.”


  1. greenwelly, 28. October 2021, 15:29

    The ISC is one of the largest international conferences dedicated to the study of sedimentary rocks and the processes by which they are formed. How apt that a group that measures things in geological time should have booked a convention in Wellington. Let’s see how much progress is made (or not) on our transport and infrastructure in the next 5 years … which to them is but a blink of an eye.

  2. Ian Apperley, 28. October 2021, 15:46

    Brilliant. That’s some super desperate PR right there!

  3. hel, 28. October 2021, 16:29

    Seems like a fantastic event to secure for the city. Ian nothing seems to please you anymore.

  4. Kara, 28. October 2021, 19:06

    What’s wrong with using existing venues in Wellington for that conference? [Take a look at the comment from Walker, 20th in the chain following our Takina article.]

  5. Hel, 28. October 2021, 20:07

    Kara, there is no venue in Wellington that can host a conference of 1,000 to 1,200 with break out spaces, not to mention the general quality of the Council’s venues is pretty poor.

  6. Meredith, 28. October 2021, 20:21

    I agree Ian: Super spin. If we got rid of WREDA, some of the operational costs and losses could be covered! Some serious rationalisation is needed by the Council if we ratepayers are to afford this idle building and its losses. Clearly the building and its proposed use will never return anything other than huge commercial risk for the ratepayer.

    Councillors are told “there will be instances where Council will have the full commercial risk from the exhibition … the main risks for any exhibition are related to visitor numbers and this is mitigated by a strong assessment process … a robust business case and having well considered protections in contracts and management plans with respect to Covid-19.” Sounds like another gravy train for consultants or anxious officers to provide “robust business cases.”

  7. Dave B, 29. October 2021, 1:11

    Hel: Michael Fowler Centre? How much do we really need to spend on finely-tailoring new venues to exactly fit every once-in-a-blue-moon event that can’t be (or chooses not to be) accommodated in our already generous provision of facilities?

  8. michael, 29. October 2021, 9:19

    Hel, while there might not be any other venue that can host conferences up to 1,600 (according to WCC figures), given the hotel occupancy rates in Wellington I believe there would not be enough hotel rooms in Wellington to accomodate 1600 delegates, their partners plus organisers and trade exhibitors etc.

  9. Guy M, 29. October 2021, 16:39

    Michael – care to explain then how the WOW events pull in 60,000 per year, over 3 weeks, which gives a rough rate of 2857 visitors per day? Yes, obviously not all in hotel rooms, and lots staying with friends, but Wellington can certainly soak up the visitors to that – so it should be no problem with a mere 1600 visitors per day. Just saying…

    And, hey, if by chance it was even more successful, and needed even more hotels to be built in Wellington to capitalise on that success – isn’t that a wonderful problem to have?

  10. Lindsay, 29. October 2021, 17:19

    And the film festival sells 80,000 tickets over 17 days every July – without running out of beds. (Not so many tickets this year, though, because of Level 2 distancing.)

  11. Julienz, 29. October 2021, 17:45

    Lindsay and Guy, without in any way denigrating the success of the events you mention, I would ask how many attendees live here already? WCC seems to place excessive value on visitors who come to Wellington to spend for a couple of days on hotels and restaurants, as opposed to those of us who live here and spend our money at a far greater range of businesses most of the year, every year, year in and year out.

  12. Guy M, 29. October 2021, 20:19

    Its a good question Julienz – in terms of people coming to a conference, I guess that would probably divide up like NZ population – most of the people and companies at a conference would come from Auckland, some – maybe 20% from Canterbury, and a few would drive down from the provinces like HB and the Wairarapa. Probably would end up about 50% AKL, 30% WGTN and 20% from elsewhere. It’s always a success when we can drag people away from Auckland – and they’re nearly always surprised how good the weather is and how much better our city is than theirs !

    From what I understand about WOW, its a mainly female audience (I’ve been twice – it was great!) and generally they tend to be reasonably well heeled, and seem to spend up large, as I’m sure the hospo industry will attest to.

    I’m not going to lie to you – we would need many conferences and regular events held there, to help pay the massive bill for the cost. But I think Wellington has much going for it in order to attract people here.