Our big year is a great chance to put NZ on the map, writes Economic Development Minister David Parker.

2021 is going to be a huge year for New Zealand and Auckland with Apec, the 36th America's Cup — held at the world class venue on Auckland's waterfront and on the harbour — and the Women's Rugby World Cup as well as a range of other international events.

This isn't a new experience for us, however. New Zealand knows how to host and organise global events, and Auckland has been a major player in some of the biggest we've had.

Whether it's the World Masters Games, the Rugby World Cup, major international Fifa tournaments, or previous America's Cups — or Apec in 1999 — Kiwis extend warm welcomes to our international visitors. In the case of Apec we are also doing our part — taking our turn if you like — hosting an organisation that is vitally important to the economies of the Pacific Rim.

Advertisement

Hosting major events is a great chance to put Auckland and New Zealand on the map. The substantial international coverage that follows gives us a stage for us to tell our stories, celebrate our history, and share what makes us tick. They allow New Zealand to display our manaakitanga, the uniquely New Zealand welcome we provide to visitors from around the world. Major events can also provide economic benefits, create jobs and show the world what we're capable of.

Making the call to invest public money in these events is always a balancing act. Some question whether the cash could be better spent elsewhere and others criticise what they see as funding that is skewed towards "elite" sports and meetings. It is not always an easy call for politicians to make.

But in the case of the America's Cup, for example, the estimated economic benefit is between $550m and $1 billion. Many of the people who developed Emirates Team NZ's carbon fibre technology have gone on to develop carbon composites for Rocket Lab rockets and new technology from the R & D programme has flowed through to the general marine industry.

The New Zealand Government has been a partner to Auckland in many of these events, including through the New Zealand Major Events Fund, which promise significant immediate and long-term benefits to Auckland and the whole country.

Key to unlocking those benefits is how we leverage these meetings and fixtures, whether it be as a shop front for New Zealand as a tourist destination or as a country of smart, skilled workers and businesses.

This is what we should all be looking to do in Auckland in 2021; showcasing New Zealand as a vibrant place to live, visit, and invest. I know Auckland is up for it.

Big events on the 2021 calendar

Prada Cup (America's Cup Challenger Series

Auckland, January/February

America's Cup
Auckland, 6-21 March

2021 Women's Cricket World Cup
Nationwide, February

2021 Softball Men's World Cup
Auckland (North Harbour), 19-28 February

2021 ICF Junior/U23 canoe slalom world championships
WERO Manukau, Auckland, April

2021 Women's Rugby World Cup
Auckland-Whangarei, July-August (tbc).