Case Study: Asian Seed Congress

Case Study: Asian Seed Congress


The world’s largest seed industry event, the Asian Seed Congress, was held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre for the first time in late 2023 – bringing over 1,000 delegates from more than 45 countries to the Canterbury region and contributing an estimated $2.5 million to Christchurch’s visitor economy. 

New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) Operations & Events Manager Sharon Dawe says the opportunity to showcase the country’s major seed growing region was made possible in-part by the ability to host the event at Te Pae Christchurch. 

“Te Pae was definitely a significant part of the bid. Being in Canterbury – the heart of the local grain and seed industry – was quite a drawcard, but if we had not had the venue, it wouldn’t have come to Christchurch,” says Sharon. 

A flavour of Aotearoa 

Having won the bid, the organising committee were determined to put a local stamp on it. “We recognised we needed to put a New Zealand flair on it, to really make it our own,” says Sharon. 

Despite the scale of preparations required, Sharon was confident that she had the right support in the events team from Te Pae Christchurch.  

“As a Te Pae customer, whatever you want, they will make it happen – the staff just go out of their way in their commitment to every single detail,” says Sharon.  

The taste of a region 

As a significant contributor to the local agricultural sector, the NZGTSA was also proud to showcase food sourced from Canterbury and the South Island – an integral part of Te Pae Christchurch’s food philosophy. 

“That was a huge hit with the delegates – to know that we could source so much of the produce locally and that some of the food on the menu was produced literally an hour from here.” 

The business of meetings 

The Congress is notable for the sheer volume of business conducted over the course of the 5-day event. Organisers estimated nearly 10,000 meetings were held during the Congress, with up to $200 million of new business generated during trading sessions. 

“One of the key parts of what Te Pae offers is the versatility they can provide any event,” says Sharon. “We have our own national conference and the Arable Awards at Te Pae, so we knew that they could cater for anything from our own event of 150, to a major Congress hosting over 1,000 delegates.” 

Located for success 

Another drawcard for the venue is Te Pae’s proximity to Christchurch’s vibrant inner city entertainment centre, and a range of hotel accommodation. 

“The delegates loved how close they were to the venue,” says Sharon. “Having a choice of a range of quality hotels within walking distance not only means that you don’t have to coordinate transport, but it also encourages people to go outside and get more of a genuine experience of the city.” 

Four fully subscribed post-event tours, as well as a dedicated tour for partners and families, not only showcased the local industry but also highlighted the broad range of tourism experiences in close proximity to the city.  

A landmark event 

Sharon says the post-conference feedback from delegates has been amazing. 

“Overall, the feedback has been incredible,” says Sharon. “People were saying to me that it was the best Congress they’d been too, how much they loved their experience of the country, and that they want to come back and visit or stay longer.”