Prevue March-April 2018 - 114

New Zealand

Heli landing at the Divide
(photo credit: Johnalee Johnston)

Adventures of a lifetime electrify even the most well-traveled attendees
[ON LOCATION] JOHNALEE JOHNSTON

H

aving hovered thousands of feet in the air against
colossal snow-cloaked glaciers that you could reach out
and touch, it seemed unfathomable that the views of
New Zealand's Southern Alps could have left us more
exuberant than we were already feeling. And then we stepped out
of our ride with The Helicopter Line onto a mountaintop that
belonged in an O'Keeffe painting, engulfed by clouds and crowning
peaks, for a champagne toast.
"A lot of incentive groups land here for lunch or to hit
biodegradable golf balls off the side of the mountain," explained
Tourism New Zealand's business events manager for North
America, Alexa Bennett. "We can arrange just about anything."
Like the folding ridges before us, our week-long adventure in this
extraordinary country would be marked by one pinnacle after the next.

QUEENSTOWN: AN ADVENTURE FOR EVERY WHIM
Gravity is your best and worst friend, we quickly learned, when
winding around Skyline Queenstown's 2,600 ft of open-air
luge tracks. Groups climb to the summit on a steep cable car lift
(almost parallel to the mountain) for tandem hangliding, skydiving,
stargazing and a New Zealand-inspired dining experience served
up with some of the best views of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables
mountain range and Coronet Peak. Buyouts for events of up to 900
take place here and Maori performances like the fearsome haka
can add an unforgettable dose of authenticity.
At nearby Kawarau Bridge Bungy, the world's first
commercial bungee jump, the bravest in our group got another
lesson on gravity during a heart-pounding swan dive 140 ft above
Kawarau River. Kawarau holds room for 550 (and DJs, aerial
silk dancers and other performers, if so desired), and up to 20

90 | prevuemeetings.com

adventurous attendees can take the plunge every hour during
events, perhaps under the twinkling lights of fireworks.

WELLINGTON: UNEXPECTED TREASURES
A bespoke VIP experience at Weta Workshop, an Oscar-winning
special effects and props design company named after NZ's
weird and wonderful prehistoric cricket, has been giving groups
of 20 to 80 a unique look at the underpinnings of hit TV shows
and films for the past 30 years. More than 40,000 items from the
locally filmed "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy are on display, as well
as King Kong's head, animatronics from "Ghost in the Shell" and
"Avatar" props. "All hobbit characters were 3-D printed," explains
our tour guide. "You could have done it with computer-generated
imagery but it just wouldn't have the same effect." At Weta,
creative team building sessions with senior designers take place
on sculpting and blood and chainmail making, and artists can turn
members of the group into dwarfs and other characters during
prosthetics demos.
As New Zealand's political and cultural capital, Wellington,
on the country's North Island, also offers numerous museums for
events. We experienced a guided tour of the waterfront Te Papa,
the country's national museum, whose largest event space holds
room for up to 1,000 attendees. The museum can also arrange
behind-the-scenes experiences of exhibits that immerse attendees
even deeper into the country's distinct heritage.
businessevents.newzealand.com
For more on this FAM, please visit us online at
Prevuemeetings.com.


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