New partnership to boost Chinese visitors to New Zealand

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

A partnership aimed at attracting more high-value Chinese visitors to New Zealand during shoulder and off-peak seasons has been formed between Auckland’s economic development agency, the bankcard scheme with the world’s largest cardholder base, and Immigration New Zealand (INZ). 

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) signed the China – New Zealand Year of Tourism 2019 Memorandum of Understanding with UnionPay International Co. Ltd (UPI) and INZ to explore shared common goals around the China-NZ Year of Tourism initiative.  

ATEED General Manager – Destination, Steve Armitage, says as New Zealand’s second largest international tourism market, Chinese visitors are a significant contributor to Auckland’s accelerating economic growth.  

The MoU seeks to ensure that opportunities around the China-New Zealand Year of the Tourism 2019 are maximised and leveraged through targeted activities and identified value-add benefits.  

Steve Armitage says: “This collaboration aims to increase visitation from the high-value Chinese free and independent segment, adding benefit to our tourism partners around the region as we enhance the quality and delivery of existing tourism products and services.”  

In collaboration with Auckland tourism suppliers, ATEED will produce unique and sustainable Auckland tourism packages for high-value UnionPay cardholders alongside Auckland tourism suppliers. This activity is part of UPI and INZ’s Tourism Industry Partnerships programme to ensure UnionPay cardholders have a quality Auckland experience during their stay.  

These partnerships streamline the visa application process for a select pool of premium customers belonging to these partners, provided they are of good character and health, and support in-market work undertaken by NZ Inc. agencies.

INZ General Manager Settlement Protection and Attraction Steve McGill says: “INZ is happy to support this effort to maximise the high-value tourism opportunity that the China NZ Year of Tourism 2019 brings to New Zealand.”

UnionPay has issued more than 7 billion cards in 51 countries and regions, with millions being to premium cardholders. 

In New Zealand, more than 60,000 merchants now accept UnionPay Cards via POS terminals, 85% of ATMs offer UnionPay Card withdrawal services. It ensures UnionPay cardholders’ have high-quality visiting experiences from secured payment experiences of shopping, dining, hospitality, transportation perspectives.

James Yang, General Manager of UnionPay International South Pacific region, says “this partnership facilitates the culture, economy and financial technology exchanges between New Zealand and China through UnionPay International’s high quality, cost-effective and secure cross-border payment services.”

Immigration New Zealand Tourism Industry Partnerships:
•    In November 2012, MBIE published a China Market Review report recommending that INZ implement initiatives to target high-value, low-risk visitors through arrangements with industry partners. 
•    These partnerships are designed to support both the government’s and industry’s strategic priorities for the tourism sector, focused on attracting high value tourists and business event visitors, and encouraging more international travellers to come to NZ outside the peak season period.
•    Applicants still need to meet all other requirements, including being of good character and an acceptable standard of health.  
•    Opportunities for the TIP programme to support the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism (YOT) have been identified in MBIE’s YOT Tourism goals development document 
•    The China UnionPay scheme was announced during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand in November 2014.
•    More information on the Tourism Industry Partnerships can be found here:  

About UnionPay International: 
•    UnionPay International (UPI) is a subsidiary of China UnionPay focused on the growth and support of UnionPay’s global business. In partnership with more than 1800 institutions worldwide, UnionPay International has enabled card acceptance in 174 countries and regions with issuance in 51 countries and regions outside the Chinese Mainland. UnionPay International provides high quality, cost effective and secure cross-border payment services to the world’s largest cardholder base and ensures convenient local services to a growing number of global UnionPay cardholders and merchants.
•    For more information on UnionPay International, please visit


Triple the fun: Auckland to host three huge events in one exciting weekend

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Rugby, football and the country’s largest cultural festival are set to entertain Aucklanders and visitors alike on the weekend of 15-17 February.

The only professional kiwi team competing in the Hyundai A-League competition, the Wellington Phoenix, will host the high-flying Melbourne Victory at Eden Park on 15 February and attempt to extend a five-game winning streak at New Zealand’s spiritual home of rugby.

In the second part of a fantastic cross-code double-header at Eden Park, the Blues will face off against Super Rugby’s 2018 champions, the Crusaders, in a blockbuster season opener on Saturday at 7.35pm. After two pre-season wins, the Blues will celebrate 50 games in the jersey for exciting No 8 Akira Ioane.

Each of these events is expected to attract big crowds, but Auckland Lantern Festival will lead the way with up to 200,000 people expected to attend its 20th anniversary and take in the 800 lanterns at Auckland Domain – making it New Zealand’s largest cultural festival.

In support of the festival, Vector Lights will display a ‘Year of the Pig’-inspired animation and sound show on Auckland Harbour Bridge, between 8pm and midnight each night of the event.

Stuart Turner, Head of Major Events at Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), says hosting multiple huge events is what Auckland does best.

“Auckland has a fantastic range of venues that can cater to the demand that these types of events generate. And many of these venues have the ability to turn over different events night after night. 

“Combine this with everything else Auckland has to offer, and locals and visitors to Auckland can plan some incredible weekends here.”

Use of public transport is recommended for each event, with bus stops and train stations near both Eden Park and Auckland Domain.

Auckland Transport has confirmed free travel on trains, Northern Express and special event bus services for anyone carrying a Blues vs Crusaders ticket on 16 February. There is a dedicated webpage for Auckland Lantern Festival, with up-to-date information on public transport to and from Auckland Domain.


Western Springs set to transform into the heart of Pasifika once again

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Auckland’s iconic Pasifika Festival will transform Western Springs into a vibrant heart of Pacific culture once again on March 23-24, with new features and shared spaces aimed at creating an even better experience for the tens of thousands of festival-goers. 

In its 27th year, this family friendly event brings together Pacific communities to celebrate diverse cultures of the South Pacific. The festival is free for everyone, with authentic foods, arts and crafts stalls and demonstrations, traditional and contemporary Pacific music and performances.  

 With more than 200 traditional and contemporary performances throughout the two-day event, festival-goers will experience traditional artforms and practices from 10 different villages, each representing a distinct Pacific culture. This year’s event includes villages from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Aotearoa, Hawaii, Tokelau, Samoa, Tahiti, Tuvalu and Tonga.  

 This year’s refreshed and expanded format includes the re-introduction of a shared festival stage in addition to each village’s stage.  

The stage programme will be jam-packed with an exciting array of headline, international and large group performances. Festival attendees can expect more opportunities to participate with each of the unique village experiences, with fale activations programmed throughout the festival weekend.  

ATEED ‘s Head of Major Events, Stuart Turner says: “Pasifika Festival brings together thousands of people – Aucklanders, domestic visitors and international travellers – to learn about and celebrate Pasifika culture. It is a great opportunity to tell the story of Auckland’s important Polynesian heritage, and to strengthen our identity as an exciting, cultural destination.”  

Expect bright floral arrangements decorating each village throughout the festival site. In the Hawaiian village people can learn how to make fresh flower leis, twining greens and weaving colourful, fragrant flowers together to wear around the festival. Over at the Fijiian village, there will be traditional Rotuman garland-making, which can be used for ceremonial or dancing purposes.  

This year marks the 250th anniversary of Tahitian high priest Tupaia of Raiatea Island landing in New Zealand with legendary explorer James Cook. The village will have a range of performances and displays to acknowledge this historic milestone. With a focus on fresh, quality cuisine, the Tahitian village will showcase the vibrant flavour of its five archipelagos, preparing fresh coconut milk for people to feast on.  

The Cook Islands village has a sustainability focus this year, with talks and workshops on protecting marine life in the Pacific. Its various food stalls will keep hungry people happy with popular traditional dishes including curried octopus (eke), marinated raw tuna, and pancakes.  

 An exhibition of traditional wedding and funeral attire will adorn the fale walls of the Tongan village this year. Nearby, visitors will be able to experience a traditional cava ceremony.   

The festival will proceed rain or shine. Attendees are encouraged to prepare according to the day’s weather forecast. There are many public transport options available to and from the festival location at Western Springs. Further information on bus and train schedules can be found via   

Vector Lights will light up the Auckland Harbour Bridge to celebrate Pasifika Festival. This is part of a smart energy partnership between Vector and Auckland Council in collaboration with the NZ Transport Agency, the guiding light toward a smart energy future. For more information, and to listen to the sound track, visit  

Pasifika Festival
Western Springs, Auckland
Saturday 23 March 9am – 7pm (all villages shut down at 5pm with the festival stage continuing to 7pm)
Sunday 24 March 10am – 4pm


BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS double header vs India – fan activations at Eden Park

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Fans lucky enough to have tickets to the sold out Twenty20 double header at Eden Park on Friday, 8 February will be treated to a range of activations as they head into the stadium.

At 3pm, New Zealand’s Women’s side, the WHITE FERNS, will face India’s Women’s team.

At 7pm, New Zealand’s Men’s side, the BLACKCAPS, will challenge India’s Men’s team.

Tickets allow cricket fans to attend both matches.

From 2pm – 7.30pm, Auckland Tourism, Event and Economic Development (ATEED) will host fan activations at the top of swamp walk off Sandringham Road and outside of gates A, D and H at Eden Park. 

The activations will include Indian musical and dance performance groups, DJ sets, social media roaming photographers, roaming performers, Beige Brigade entertainers, face painting and photo-boards.

Stuart Turner, Head of Major Events at ATEED, says the activations at Eden Park are a fantastic way to welcome fans of the Indian and New Zealand teams to Auckland. 

“It’s no secret that the biggest fans of cricket hail from India, so it felt like a great opportunity for us to amplify the buzz surrounding this tour, especially with so many people of Indian heritage living here in Auckland. We have taken advantage of our connections from Diwali festival – and inspiration from classic Kiwi cricketing culture – to create a pre-game mini-festival to enhance the Auckland experience for visiting fans and locals.
“It is also a great opportunity to showcase Auckland to millions of people around the world.”


Auckland’s fish market reopens its doors

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Auckland’s lovers of fresh seafood are re-acquainting themselves with the historic Auckland Fish Market, which has re-opened after a 9month refurbishment and upgrade.  

The Wynyard Quarter icon has eight new eateries and a courtyard bar alongside the traditional fishmonger. The three-level Sanford building has been in use for more than 90 years, and the fish markets have been a destination for seafood lovers for decades 

Daily fresh catch which arrives at nearby working wharves from the Hauraki Gulf and beyondmakes the Auckland Fish Market an appealing destination for both domestic and international visitors.  


New Zealand’s biggest fishing company Sanford hacurated a variety of seafood retailers, a boutique food market, restaurants, licensed cafes, and the Auckland Seafood School. On the corner of Jellicoe and Daldy treets, the venue feature indoor and outdoor seating for more than 400 people.  


With cuisine on offer from around the globe, the food and beverage offering includes Azabu Lite, Tiki Thai, Good Karma, Ika Bowl, Billypot, Mar & Tierra, and The Wreck Courtyard bar with a pizzeria.  


The daily market has a wide selection of different species of fresh fish and seafood on offer to take home or enjoy at one of the many retailers. Visitors can select any whole fish from the fishmonger and request it to be prepared to suitor choose recipes and alternative suggestions for getting the most out of not-so well-known fish. 

Sanfords vision is to encourage visitors to try alternative fish species such as kahawai, trevally, grey mullet, mirror dory, jack mackerel, gemfish, ling and porae. This is part of Sanford’s sustainability focus, aiming to increase the consumption of fish beyond the big five’ species by 2020.  


To understand more about the seafood industry, people can book a behind the scenes tour of the fresh fish auction (daily at 6am) and processing plant. 

The Auckland Fish Market’s doors are open for both lunchtime and evening service.   



Australian delegation to explore trade and tourism links with Auckland

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

A delegation of business and civic leaders from Australia’s leading regional economy and most exciting new metropolitan area will visit Auckland this week to explore opportunities in trade, tourism and collaboration. 

The delegation will mark the introduction in late 2018 of direct air flights between Newcastle Airport and Auckland Airport. Newcastle is about 150 kilometres north of Sydney on the Australian east coast and is the regional capital of the Hunter, which encompasses 10 local council areas. 

Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said the proximity and diversity of the Hunter region offered great opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relationships with business partners in Auckland.

“There are many similarities in the economic profiles of our regions that potentially provide good synergy for business, as well as parallels in our journeys of post-industrial revitalisation, diversification and urban renewal,” he said.

The once-industrial city of Newcastle has undergone a major transformation over the past decade that has delivered a modern city centre complementing its enviable coastal location. Cranes in the sky are reshaping the CBD, the streets are buzzing with cosmopolitan cafes, bars and restaurants, and a new light rail service is set to begin operating within weeks. 

Newcastle Airport CEO Peter Cock said the trip would promote the significant business and economic benefits provided by the direct flights between Newcastle and New Zealand.

“Our new international service has provided the people of Auckland with a link to visit family and friends whilst enjoying all that our region has to offer, from a burgeoning cultural city, to the pristine beaches of Port Stephens and some Australia’s oldest wineries in the Hunter Valley, all within a 45-minute drive from Newcastle Airport,” Mr Cock said. 

“This business trip will develop important relationships with the aim to strengthen demand and to grow this route.”

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) General Manager Economic Development, Pam Ford welcomes the chance to forge new business relationships between the two regions. 

“Given Auckland’s relative proximity to the Newcastle area, Australia’s importance to us as a tourism and trade market, and the opportunity that these direct seasonal flights will bring, this is a welcome opportunity to explore business, investment and tourism collaborations. Both Auckland and the Newcastle area are undertaking transformational urban and waterfront projects and we look forward to sharing information as these progress.”

The Newcastle-Hunter delegation includes the Newcastle Lord Mayor, Councillor Nuatali Nelmes, and the Mayor of neighbouring Port Stephens, Councillor Ryan Palmer. It also includes the CEOs of Newcastle Airport and Port of Newcastle, the global trade and tourism gateways for the Hunter and key drivers of the regional economy.

The delegation will participate in a forum with business leaders from Auckland at GridAKL today (Monday 4 February). 
Members of the media are welcome to attend. 


For more information:
Amy De Lore, Hunter Business Chamber, +61 419 218 830