International virtual reality experts to gather in Christchurch

The world’s largest and most prestigious virtual reality conference will be held in Ōtautahi Christchurch in 2022.

HIT Lab, University of Canterbury

The city secured the hosting rights for the 2022 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces, making it the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to host the gathering of over 400 virtual reality experts from around the globe.

Loren Heaphy General Manager Destination and Attraction said the conference was a natural fit for the city and a huge win for New Zealand’s fast-growing virtual reality sector.

“As a host city we have so much to offer delegates, a strong and well-connected immersive technology sector, world-leading R&D expertise at the University of Canterbury (UC), alongside fantastic culture, hospitality and some of the most stunning landscapes and outdoor adventures to explore.

“Delegates will be hosted at the city’s new and world-class Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre – a stunning venue in the heart of the city,” Heaphy said.

In selecting Christchurch, organisers were particularly impressed by the level of expertise at UC, Otago University and across New Zealand, which was a big factor in selection.

Professor Stephan Lukosch of UC’s HIT Lab NZ joined forces with colleague Associate Professor Tobias Langlotz from the University of Otago, and together with support from Tourism NZ, prepared a compelling application to host the conference.

“I am looking forward to welcoming the conference delegates to Christchurch. New Zealand has a vibrant research community on virtual and augmented reality, this is a great opportunity to showcase our work and to connect with others from around the world,” said Professor Lukosch.

Professor Tobias Langlotz said the conference will help put virtual and augmented reality in New Zealand on the world stage.

“Given the size of New Zealand, we are internationally in a very good position and well presented when it comes to virtual and augmented reality. Showing this is one of our key goals, we want to have a great conference, but this is also the perfect opportunity to showcase the amazing work that is being done here,” said Langlotz.

Tourism New Zealand Global Manager Business Events Lisa Gardiner said securing the event was a great win for Christchurch and New Zealand.

“International conferences like this have the potential to leave positive, long-lasting impacts on the communities hosting them, and the rest of New Zealand.

“This conference is likely to attract internationally acclaimed experts in virtual reality to New Zealand whose knowledge will be invaluable to local experts in the field. The pre- and post-conference events being planned for delegates across the country will also provide an opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s virtual reality expertise on the world stage,” said Gardiner.