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A cultural milestone has been reached in the construction of the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre which has been bestowed the Māori name Tākina.

The city selected the name after working in close collaboration with local iwi (indigenous) partners based in or near Wellington – New Zealand’s capital city.

Tākina means ‘to invoke’ which reflects the city as a place people come together to talk and think.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says Tākina is the perfect name for Wellingtons’ new iconic space.

“Tākina will prove extremely attractive for conference, exhibition and event organisers  looking to come together in New Zealand’s capital.

“Our new Convention and Exhibition Centre is part of the ongoing regeneration of the city centre and given the breadth of exhibitions, conferences and events it will host Tākina is set to be a major asset for Wellington as New Zealand’s Arts and Creative Capital.”

WellingtonNZ General Manager David Perks says there was a strong desire for the new building to have an identity and story anchored by the history of the site, its surroundings and its meaning to the city.

“This was an opportunity to bring to life those stories and connections with the cultural history of the city. It will create an identity for the centre where visitors experience a world class venue while being exposed to a uniquely Wellington experience. There will be nothing else like it in the world.”

Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui Inc Chairman Kura Moeahu says Wellington that is renowned for its unique and diverse elements of wind that is reflected in the architecture of Tākina.

“It is about embracing and respecting the environment and gaining a great appreciation for it.”

Mr Moeahu and Taranaki Whānui (collection of tribes from the Wellington region) have gifted a karakia (Māori incantation/prayer) to Wellington City Council for Tākina. The karakia represents the numerous and various winds that are unique and pertinent to Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour).

The impact of Covid-19 has slightly slowed construction of Tākina but it’s still scheduled to be completed early in 2023. WellingtonNZ has already fielded a string of enquiries from organisations keen to book the venue.