Wellington will host one of the world’s most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) conferences in 2018.
The ILGA World Conference 2018 will bring around 600 delegates to New Zealand’s capital from around the world. It is the first time in the 40-year history of the ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) that the bi-annual conference will be held in New Zealand.
The conference win was the result of months of work by the Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ), Tīwhanawhana Trust, and RainbowYOUTH; with funding and support from Tourism New Zealand and Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA).
“The group did a fantastic job promoting Wellington as the ideal conference destination, gaining a unanimous vote from the conference organisers,” says Lisa Gardiner, Business Events Manager, Tourism New Zealand.
“Wellington is an ideal location, it has great conference facilities. It’s vibrant, diverse and inclusive. I have no doubt the delegates will have a fantastic time.”
She adds: “New Zealand is performing extremely well internationally as an attractive and unique business events destination. The estimated value from all conferences bid for, and won in the last financial year is an impressive $96.3 million. Major business events like this inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into the New Zealand and event destination economy.”
Jessica Beyeler, Business Events and Partnerships Manager, WREDA, adds: “The host organisations originally began talking with us about hosting the national ILGA conference, but we quickly realised that there was an opportunity for Wellington, with the support of Tourism New Zealand, to put together a very strong bid for the global event. Our cultural factors, the breadth and strength of our LBGTIQ organisations, combined with quality facilities, activities and vibrant social scene make for a very attractive destination.”
Elizabeth Kerekere, Chair of Tīwhanawhana Trust, says: “As the national organisation advocating for takatāpui (Māori with diverse sexes, genders and sexualities), Tīwhanawhana saw our involvement as a natural fit. Having won the bid, we look forward to ensuring the conference occurs according to Māori culture and values – as shared with ITANZ and RainbowYOUTH. We also aim the include LGBTIQ communities here in Aotearoa in a way ILGA has never seen.”
Mani Mitchell, E.D. ITANZ, adds: “I have been closely involved with ILGA for the past decade. I am so proud of our delegation and what has been achieved. This conference gives us the chance to share with the world a very different way of working with the issues of our diverse queer communities in Aotearoa and the Pacific.”