Queenstown will host the World Hereford Conference in 2020, bringing an estimated 450 Hereford enthusiasts and farmers from South and North America, Canada, Scandinavia, UK and Ireland and Australia to New Zealand for business and networking.
Lead organiser Posy Moody of the New Zealand Hereford Association has an events background, but this is the first time she has bid for an international conference. She says the support she’s received to win the prestigious event has been invaluable.
“New Zealand hasn't hosted the WHC since 1984 and I think it is definitely due to come here. People are very eager to come to New Zealand to learn the latest from our farming systems and discuss using our Hereford sires in their studs. Our farming is very innovative and that is very attractive. We pride ourselves on our uniqueness and diversity,” Moody says. “We have Herefords in Northland where it is semi-tropical, and in tough mountainous terrain in Otago, and that fascinates people. That diversity continues into breeding and we have specialists who have bred Herefords specifically for the dairy industry, as well as those providing for the beef industry. This event will open up a lot of opportunities for us.”
She notes: “Our association runs on an oily rag really, and the financial and emotional support we’ve received from Tourism New Zealand in the bid process has really made a difference. The Conference Assistance Programme funded my attendance at this year’s WHC in Uruguay. That was really beneficial for our organisation, which is made up of voluntary, very busy, farmers. Tourism New Zealand helped us put together a proposal, bid document and presentation for Uruguay, covering facts about New Zealand, New Zealand Herefords, and what we would show them if successful. The World Hereford Delegation council loved it so much they asked us if we could do it in front of the whole conference as a finale. Everybody loved the bid documents and they disappeared in a hurry. Everyone we spoke to said they would come to New Zealand and they’re very excited,” she says.
“Associations are not always aware of the conference support available. I do feel I can pick up the phone to Tourism New Zealand and ask for advice. They know a lot about conferences… and, actually, after the bid process, a lot more about Herefords, too!
“They appreciate that they may spend a few dollars to deliver the bid, but I believe we really will see financial results from that. The people that attend won't just come for a week, they will spend time here in New Zealand. People bring their wives and enjoy a holiday and that all-important time off the farm.”
Moody says an initial feasibility study floated the options of bringing the event to either Hamilton, Christchurch or Queenstown. “The NZ Hereford board liked the option of Queenstown in March. It will coincide with the Wanaka A&P Show, an iconic Kiwi Show with wood chopping and sheep dog trials, which will appeal to overseas guests. Plus, March suits our breeders and they will have the opportunity to attend and meet the international breeders to do business.”
She adds that Queenstown’s natural beauty and tourism appeal were another major drawcard for international visitors. “Although we are far away, there are so many reasons for breeders around the world to come here. To see the cattle, to see the country, to see Queenstown, and experience that Kiwi hospitality.”
Moody is now working on a programme which encompasses a conference week comprising speakers and country reports, and social events including a registration reception and final gala dinner. “Queenstown Convention Bureau with support from Tourism New Zealand recently hosted us and that was really valuable to see our options for venues and activities. Plus, we’re fortunate we have well-recognised guest speakers from within New Zealand to showcase local knowledge on topics from health to profitability, feed conversion and heifer mating,” she adds.
“We’re also running a pre-conference tour in the North Island and a post tour in the South Island. It’s a real opportunity to visit the farms and see how we are farming, plus we’ll build in visits to Kiwi attractions, scenic locations and general agricultural-related businesses as well. That could include, for example, a high country picnic with stunning views, complete with a Kiwi barbecue with Hereford Prime beef.
“We aim to showcase the best in Herefords but also New Zealand as a whole: our wine and produce, the landscape and New Zealand culture.”
If you would like to find out more about Tourism New Zealand, please visit www.businessevents.newzealand.com