The story of IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2020 and 2022
The LIANZA Council began working on the bid to host what was then IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2020 following the indication of member support via survey in October 2014.
Former LIANZA Executive Director Joanna Matthew worked closely with the LIANZA Council to put together the original 172-page bid document.
Support for the 2017 bid came from many places. Tourism New Zealand provided generous support via its Conference Assistance Programme and Tracey Thomas, director of Conference Innovators, provided additional, valuable assistance. The bid included messages of support from the library community, Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff, and Auckland Tourism, Events, and Economic Development (ATEED) Chief Executive Brett O’Riley.
The bid hinged on the upcoming construction of the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in central Auckland. The NZICC was originally expected to open in 2019. Five times larger than existing facilities in New Zealand, the NZICC was to be the only facility in the country able to host more than 3000 delegates in one site. It was this venue that made the bid to host the congress realistic.
On the strength of this bid, and following a visit to New Zealand from IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner, it was announced in August 2018 in Kuala Lumpur that the IFLA Governing Board had decided to award New Zealand the hosting rights to IFLA WLIC 2020.
A New Zealand National Committee was formed in late 2018 to begin planning the congress. National Librarian Bill Macnaught and Te Paea Paringatai were elected as co-chairs of the committee’s governance group and portfolio leads were sought via expressions of interest.
The National Committee halted progression of its congress planning work in February with SkyCity’s announcement that the NZICC would not be ready to open until the second half of 2020. This meant the NZICC would no longer be a viable venue for IFLA WLIC 2020.
Following this news, LIANZA Executive Director Ana Pickering worked closely with Auckland Convention Bureau General Manager Anna Hayward and Auckland Conventions Venues and Events Deputy Director Tony Howlett to secure an alternative venue for the congress.
A congress precinct of three venues (the Aotea Centre, the Auckland Town Hall, and the Grand Millennium Auckland) was presented to the IFLA Governing Board as a new conference venue in early March.
Despite the great effort to secure the newly proposed congress precinct, the IFLA Governing Board voted not to move forward with this option, but in recognition of their desire to hold a congress in Auckland, decided to postpone the Auckland congress to 2022.
It was announced that IFLA WLIC 2020 would instead be hosted in Dublin and work was begun on preparing for IFLA WLIC 2022 in Auckland.
Sadly events would not transpire favourably for either event.
Following the fire that broke out at the NZICC construction site in October 2019 the completion date of the venue for IFLA WLIC 2022 was pushed out again, and when it became clear earlier this year that the completion date could not be guaranteed within an acceptable timeframe to prepare for the congress, the National Committee looked to Christchurch as an alternate host city.
The National Committee presented Te Pae Christchurch Conference Centre and other nearby venues as a conference precinct in one more effort to retain hosting rights for New Zealand for IFLA WLIC 2022.
The IFLA Governing Board greatly appreciated this mahi, however was ultimately concerned about having multiple venues and about the potential loss to delegate numbers of moving the congress away from our biggest city.
In the end Auckland was preferred over Christchurch, but without a venue guaranteed to be delivered on time, the Governing Board decided that IFLA WLIC 2022 would not go ahead in New Zealand.
With the world battling Covid-19, the Governing Board has also cancelled IFLA WLIC 2020 in Dublin, and in recognition of the work done by the Irish National Committee so far, has made the call that IFLA WLIC 2022 will now be Dublin’s time to shine.
The New Zealand National Committee, LIANZA and Te Rōpū Whakahau wish to acknowledge and thank the following organisations for their untiring support throughout the process of bidding and preparing to host the world library congress to Aotearoa New Zealand which began back in 2014:
Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, New Zealand International Convention Centre, SkyCity Auckland, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Auckland Convention Bureau, Auckland Conventions Venues and Events, Auckland Council, Auckland Libraries, Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, Department of Internal Affairs, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Foundation, Wheelers, New Zealand Micrographic Services, Conference Innovators, Conference Company, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, ChristchurchNZ, and our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
We wish to acknowledge and thank all the library associations and institutions that were keen to help New Zealand succeed in the delivery of WLIC in our region, particularly the Pacific Library Network.
A heartfelt thanks to all our colleagues who volunteered their time, knowledge and enthusiasm to bring the world library congress to Aotearoa New Zealand, with special acknowledgement to the national committee formed in 2018:
Te Paea Paringatai, Bill Macnaught, Louise La Hatte, Jane Hill, Paula Eskett, Andy Fenton, Kim Tairi, Carolyn Robertson, Anahera Morehu, Rachel Esson, Erica Rankin, Winston Roberts, Rohini Subbian, Laura Caygill, and Helen Tait.
These collective efforts and energies will long be remembered.
Whaia te pae tawhiti, kia tata, whakamaua kia tina - pursue your dreams, and cherish those you attain.