Leading legal conference “massive” win for Auckland

by Sophie Schroder12 Nov 2014
Between 600 to 1,000 top lawyers from Asia Pacific will be paying Auckland a visit in 2017 after a successful bid by the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) to hold its annual meeting and conference here.
The IPBA jurisdictional council leader for New Zealand and Buddle Findlay partner, Neil Russ, told NZ Lawyer that the news is hugely significant and lends a “fabulous” opportunity for Kiwi lawyers to get involved in what will be a world-class conference.
“I think lawyers can expect to see very high quality top business lawyers from all around the world,” he says. “If they participate they have the opportunity to network with some of the top practitioners in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The Auckland bid for the conference, up against cities like Manila and Shanghai, was successful on the first attempt and unanimously voted in – no small feat considering that Kuala Lumpur, who will host the meeting in 2016, had to bid three times before it was accepted.
The IPBA teamed up with Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB) - part of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) - and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) to put together the proposal and secure the hosting rights.
Russ says the IPBA wouldn’t have won the bid without such solid support.
“Each bidding city needs to get an organising committee together and then we needed to put together a tentative programme, a budget, and work out whether we could put this on at all,” he says.
“Lawyers are great at organising but something they’re not so great at is pulling together marketing material…the sort of things that would attract lawyers from overseas. So it was fantastic that Tourism New Zealand and [ACB] could help us with that.”
Part of the bid included handing out Silver Fern pins to the delegates, which were such a hit that members were approaching the team afterwards to ask for extras.
And it wasn’t just other members of the IPBA who have been impressed by the NZ groups’ Auckland bid: Last week Russ also accepted an award at the New Zealand Business Events Awards for it.
The dinner, which celebrated the success New Zealand has had in the business events sector, acknowledged the contribution of key industry and sector leaders.
In total, attendees of the dinner had won a combined 29 international events representing an estimated 13,500 delegates and injecting approximately $41 million into the Kiwi economy. 
And of that, the five-day IPBA Annual Meeting and Conference is expected to generate $1.047 million to Auckland’s regional GDP, and 2,705 visitor nights, according to ACB manager Anna Hayward.
The chairman of the IPBA organising committee and Lowndes Associates consultant, Denis McNamara, says this conference is an important opportunity for New Zealand’s legal fraternity to network with peers visiting from around the world, and to showcase Auckland as a destination to an international audience.
“The 2017 conference has also been carefully timed to enable international delegates to enjoy a late-summer holiday or to experience the 2017 World Masters Games which is being held at the same time,” he says.