New Zealand’s capital city Wellington is home to a vast number of hugely successful Information and Communications Technology (ICT) businesses. From established, high-flying companies such as Silverstripe, Xero and Intergen to individuals who are starting up, Wellington has the highest concentration of web-based and digital technology companies per capita in New Zealand.
We love the supportive and collaborative nature of Wellington, it is super connected and its size lends itself to an excellent environment where it is easy to share ideas, do business and to build reputation and credibility.
An innovative culture thrives in this vibrant city, including the ICT sector which is flourishing three times faster than in any other region in the country. Together with Wellington’s positive synergy between developers, designers, government and entrepreneurs the boutique city is an ideal location for web design and development conference Webstock. With attendees coming from America, Canada, UK, Australia and across New Zealand, Wellington’s schedule of regular international and domestic flights and a transfer time to the airport of just fifteen minutes proved another draw for organisers.
Webstock first began in February 2006 as the brainchild of Natasha Lampard, Mike Brown, Deb Sidelinger and Ben Lampard; a small group of web professionals who’ve taken it upon themselves to promote raising the standard of websites in their own backyard (and abroad). Now in its ninth year the conference has grown from 500 delegates to more than 800 and is renowned for bringing business and creative minds together to connect, inspire and educate. Webstock runs over five days, which includes a two-day web design and development conference and three days of pre-conference workshops. It combines the internet with creativity, arts and social change and each year it continues to attract a stellar line-up of speakers.
Natasha Lampard says: “Wellington’s technology community seems to be growing all the time while still retaining the ‘collegial feel’ that has welded Webstock to the city. People know each other in Wellington and they share stuff and want to help each other."
In 2015 Webstock chose to return to the two Positively Wellington Venues (PWV) which successfully hosted the 2014 event; the St James Theatre was used as the anchor venue and the Michael Fowler Centre (MFC) for pre-conference workshops. Not only are both venues within walking distance of each other, but also to Wellington’s central business district, hotels, restaurants, shops and galleries. The after party was held at Wellington’s prestigious Embassy Theatre.
The character, heritage and state-of-the-art technology in each venue fit perfectly with Webstock’s selection criteria. The St James Theatre’s stunning 100-year-old auditorium was used for the main conference with plenary for 800 delegates. The theatre’s facade and dramatic showbiz elegance provided the perfect paradox between the building’s history and heritage and the cutting-edge ideas shared on stage. The setting was a suitable backdrop to the sometimes eccentric and always entertaining personalities of the presenters.
Together with Webstock’s sponsors and organisers, the team at PWV worked behind the scenes with their food and beverage partners, Restaurant Associates (RA), and the technical and production team at Multi-Media Systems, to give the conference a trademark Wellington twist.
RA works closely with the region’s top food and beverage producers to deliver tailored dining experiences. Webstock delegates were given a taste of Wellington, from chic canapés to a stand up ‘walk & fork’ lunch served in noodle boxes. Wellington-based organic coffee roaster People’s Coffee were on hand to provide delegates with their caffeine fix of freshly roasted coffee throughout the day. The Greengrocer served delegates fresh cold-pressed juice for a healthy boost, and Garage Project, a start-up Wellington craft beer brewery, fuelled delegates’ creativity kick at afternoon tea. Wooden Spoon, a boutique Wellington freezery, cooled down delegates with ‘all you can eat’ artisan ice-cream.
Multi-Media Systems turned the theatre into a state-of-the-art presentation centre by fitting out the theatre boxes on the side of the stage with screens that acted as electronic billboards and used this to create multifaceted presentations. The massive projector screen on the centre stage was fitted with a purpose-built giant frame used in the various presentations. A gauze screen behind it was lit up to bring in new elements, which included a live band.
Webstock 2015 was a ‘sell-out’ and a fitting celebration of the web – the creativity, the magic, the craft and everything in between.
Delegates said: “The event is world-class and hosting it in Wellington brings big ideas into a contained and connected environment that celebrates all things digital. Webstock brings together a collection of digitally-minded dreamers looking for enlightenment, learning and growth. The content sits beyond the pragmatic and makes you think laterally about what digital represents both now and in the future. And the quality speakers are not only entertaining, but inspire you to think beyond convention.”