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Auckland Armageddon Expo update - Fortune favours the bold (we hope)!

Auckland Armageddon Expo update - Fortune favours the bold (we hope)!

Hey hey all!  We’re still going on an adventure, or so we hope.
So, here are some updates for you - a short update and then a full update, with FAQs below.
In short – We are still waiting for the venue to confirm but we are hopeful, so have decided to hold fast until the 30th Sept in the hopes that we will be good to rock and roll. That is a firm go, or no-go date that we cannot work around, our last gasp for this year’s event. Our hope is that we will have good news before then. There is no postponement date, either we run on October 21-24th or not at all.

In long – Okay, so here is what’s happening and why we are holding the line. We have spent every waking hour working on this, reworking, praying, begging, and trying to find loopholes and ways to make this happen now so we can solidly move forward.

We have been talking with all parties involved with the venue, both current and future in the hope that we will be set, and in the end, it comes back to waiting for a High Court decision before we can get final permission.

All parties want us to be there, but will not move forward until the court case has a resolution.

The court result has been expected for the last few weeks and literally can drop any moment, our advice has been that this will happen this week, but possibly next week. Once we have this, we should be all ready to go.

So, we have decided to roll the dice, eat a lot of extra costs, and keep the flame alight until next week rather than pull the plug.

This decision is for several reasons:

  • Exhibitor support. Many exhibitors have echoed the same message of support and the desire to have this event happen, knowing that it will be a huge financial loss if it doesn’t take place and the desire to interact with attendees.
  • Attendee support. In all the years of running shows, this one has some of the most positive support for taking place, with hourly messages asking about it. The interest is extremely high, we know you all want it, so we are trying everything to make it happen!
  • Preparation. We are ready to go! Floor plan, exhibitor list, setup, advertising - everything is set, and we are confident that we can make this work within the timeframe allowed.
  • Guests. We have a solid line-up (and growing) of international IN-PERSON guests, many holding fast with us to attend.
  • Exhibits. We have new large displays all set, with new areas from Spookers and a giant talking robot head (you will need to see it to believe it) underway for the event!
  • Worry for the future. If this event doesn’t happen, the odds are that we might not see another Auckland Armageddon for a year at least, or possibly ever again if the showgrounds doesn’t reopen. We are a victim of our own success, growing to a level few events manage in NZ, but limiting where we can hold the event. There is no venue in Auckland beyond the showgrounds that can fit the Armageddon you all want and deserve.

If Springeddon happens it will be the BIGGEST Public expo in NZ for 2022. Everyone wants it to happen, we just need your ongoing support and belief, and we will get there!

We appreciate your continuing support and look forward to sharing an incredible event with you all.

As we wait for the high court decision and the planned reopening of the venue, we will be sharing with you thoughts and how we hope you can help us to get to the event. Your support is essential to make this happen, as any extra leverage we can generate to help with the venue’s access could make the final difference.

Tickets will not go on sale until we have confirmation, so we’ll give an update on that if and when we come to it.

Bill Geradts
Event organiser.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Auckland Showgrounds currently closed and effecting Springeddon 2022?

Here is a basic version of what’s happened at the Auckland showgrounds over the past few years, but a simple guide to the nuisances of this issue. (And if we’ve oversimplified and got parts wrong, please forgive).

2021 – ASB showgrounds goes into liquidation. Effects from covid, rental increases and management issues.
June 2022 – Auckland Showgrounds closes after temporary management operations for the past year (but this did allow us to hold a special winter Armageddon, which was awesome).
The Cornwall Park Trust that holds the lease for the showgrounds and operates Cornwall Park have been in discussions with a film studio to take over the venue. Parts of the event industry take this to the high court arguing that the venue can only be used as an events venue.
August 2022 – High Court rules that the venue must be used as an events venue for a majority of the time - https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/business/high-court-victory-means-hollywood-may-miss-out-on-auckland-showgrounds-lease/ 
However, the definition of ‘majority’ means that this isn’t clarified enough to allow full use and decide who will operate the venue. An appeal is applied, with both sides in the case currently waiting for the result. This has been expected for the past few weeks and could drop any moment. The venue is currently closed awaiting this decision.

Why can’t you host the event elsewhere?

Some have suggested other venues for the Auckland event and we wanted to give you a breakdown of this as we have spent a LOT of time over the past year looking at options and what we could do, so here are some venues we have looked at.

Aotea Centre and Town Hall - with the construction in the area and lack of access for vehicles, stock delivery and large spaces, even with using the square and marquees there, this would be significantly smaller than current needs.

The Cloud and Shed 10 - This was the closest we could get in spacing but needed a lot of extra space outside to come to about 60% capacity of the showgrounds, but with the loss of the larger outside space. Additionally, both venues had parking and access issues that we were concerned about.

Eden Park - unavailable for use and, again, 50% of capacity that we require for the full event.

Convention Centre - not open until 2025 but no space outside.

Spark Arena - need to build additional areas around, but lack of enough space inside and the rear of the building offers some spaces but nowhere near enough.
Outer venues. Manukau, Henderson, Northshore. Nice venues but to small and outside the area.

Spookers - not possible at all for the scale we need to do.

Mystery Creek - big but too far away from Auckland to work.

Building our own event with marquees - no marquees of adequate size available yet (possibly 2023).

The reliance on the showgrounds is a problem long in the making, with the council ignoring any upgrades and support and allowing one single venue to be the lynchpin in the events industry. With it closed, multiple events are not taking place or have shrunk to smaller sizes, potentially to unsupportable sizes in the Auckland market. While we know that a new venue isn’t going to pop up overnight, the Auckland Showgrounds could be in action right now if there was leadership from the council and foresight that it wouldn’t have gotten to this point.

Why not a smaller venue for Auckgeddon?

Why not look at a smaller venue, run the event trimmer and still hold it? Essentially there is a certain level that the event needs to reach to maintain its quality and deliver the elements that make it what it is.

We have an approximate budget of one million dollars (money mostly spent in the Auckland economy) to run the expo. Even trimming this down we need a high level of exhibitors and attendees to pull off the show and being placed in a smaller venue restricts us both with the number of exhibitors present and with the number of attendees we can host.

The Auckland event, by its nature, costs more to operate than other regions and moving to smaller venues within the city doesn’t necessarily reduce these costs (staffing, advertising, guests, hotel, venue, power, walling, carpet etc). Tickets and exhibitors would reduce, making the event uneconomical to operate and delivering a smaller less diverse event for you all.