Rotorua welcomes MEETINGS guests with traditional pōhiri

The Haka Pōhiri was performed as a mark of respect to the visitors.

MEETINGS 2024 officially welcomed the more than 1,000 business events professionals from New Zealand, Australia, Asia-Pacific and North America to Rotorua at an event at the Sir Howard Morrison Centre last night.

In a ceremony guided by local Māori iwi Ngāti Whakaue, Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell and RotoruaNZ chief executive Andrew Wilson welcomed Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) MEETINGS back to Rotorua after a 13-year hiatus from the city.

RotoruaNZ chief executive Andrew Wilson .

“Rotorua is a hub for business innovation and events, tourism and Māori culture so we’re perfectly placed and ready to provide an exceptional and unique MEETINGS experience,” said Tapsell.

“We’re going through an exciting period of change here and can’t wait to showcase what’s new since MEETINGS was last held in Rotorua. We now have a world-class lakefront, luxury Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa facility, our brand new Sir Howard Morrison Centre, new forest hubs, and exciting new tourism attractions and hospitality offerings.”

Performers from Te Whare Tapere o Te Arawa.

BEIA chief executive Lisa Hopkins says the traditional pōhiri (welcoming ceremony) is part of tikanga and kawa (customs and etiquette) that ensure visitors are warmly welcomed and made to feel at home in Rotorua.

“Last night’s dramatic representation of Te Ao Māori – the Māori World, created by a group of talented young performers from Te Whare Tapere o Te Arawa, fused visual art, theatre, contemporary dance and kapa haka and ensured a powerful start to MEETINGS 2024,” she said.