Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show Exhibitor Function Unites Industry

An all-inclusive exhibitor function, featuring beverages and bites, a live band, and the presentation of the prestigious Hall of Fame inductee, was a highlight of this year’s Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show for exhibitors.

Show organiser XPO Exhibitions changed up the format from previous years, focusing on bringing the boating and fishing industry together with a ‘Let’s Unite’ Exhibitor Function, supported by Bayleys Realty Group. The inclusive function was held onsite at the Auckland Showgrounds on the evening of Saturday 18 May.

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With few formalities and an open layout, attendees at the ‘Let’s Unite’ Exhibitor Function enjoyed plenty of opportunities to move around and network.

“We’ve been out and spoken at length with the industry and we’ve listened to their feedback and our focus was on bringing everyone together, to unify the industry and provide a setting that encouraged networking and having a great time after some long hours trading onsite,” says Helen Kay, XPO Exhibition Manager.

After a busy day working the stands on Saturday, exhibitors flowed into the function where they were met with delicious food and beverages, plenty of friendly faces, and a relaxed overall atmosphere. With few formalities and an open layout, attendees enjoyed plenty of opportunities to move around and network. 

Importantly, this year’s Exhibitor Function continued the long-standing tradition of awarding the Hall of Fame inductee. The Hall of Fame award was established in 2005 to recognise valuable contributions to the success of the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show and the marine industry of New Zealand.

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Dave and Veronica Gibbs, who successfully and tirelessly delivered the show on behalf of the Auckland Water Ski Club for 24 years, were this year’s deserving inductees and will have their names etched on the hallowed plaque on the walls of the Auckland Showgrounds.

Dave and Veronica Gibbs were this year’s deserving Hall of Fame inductees. MD of Hutchwilco, Gary Sutton, presented the award to Dave and Veronica’s daughter Jaimee and other family members.

XPO consulted with the marine associations, former Hall of Fame inductees, and key industry stakeholders who believed David and Veronica were very worthy recipients. Former Hall of Fame inductee, industry legend, and MD of Hutchwilco, Gary Sutton, presented the award to Dave and Veronica’s daughter Jaimee and other family members on the night.

Details given in support of Dave and Veronica’s induction into the Hall of Fame painted a picture of years of dedication to the marine industry, dating back to contributions prior to their appointment as Show Managers. Dave was working as a site manager for Peek Display back in 1990, building stands at the show before he took on a role with Pro Dive, exhibiting at the show through the late ‘90s, until he was then appointed in 1999 as Show Manager for the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show. Veronica worked on the Stabicraft show stand and for Hutchwilco before joining Dave in 2002 to run the show.

Throughout their 24-year tenure as Show Managers, their commitment to supporting the marine industry was a core focus, exemplified by their ethos that the show was a platform to impact, support, and contribute to the marine industry. Through initiatives such as the Boat of the Show awards, they left a legacy of encouraging innovation and excellence.

Industry leaders also touched on Dave and Veronica’s community and charitable contributions. Using the show as a vehicle for fundraising and education, they were the driving force behind auctions for Coastguard, support for LegaSea and other charity partners, and providing space in the show for other marine community and education-based organisations.

Although Dave and Veronica didn't own the show (they were appointed as Show Managers by the former show owner – Auckland Water Ski Club), they treated it with the passion of two people who did. Their relationships run deep, and they are highly regarded for their years of commitment and dedication to both the show and the industry in general.

Following the Hall of Fame presentation, Bayleys’ Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Budd and LegaSea’s Programme Lead Sam Woolford hosted a quick-fire auction. The order of sale included a guided fishing charter, hosted match day at the One New Zealand Warriors, and much more, with almost $8,500 raised from the generous bidding going directly to LegaSea – the crew fighting the good fight to restore abundant fisheries and a healthy marine environment.

Lloyd Budd from Bayleys in action at the quick-fire auction that raised $8,500 for LegaSea.

“For us, this is all about alignment with our Bayleys family values. The ocean has always been a massive part of our family history. We love what LegaSea is doing to lead intergenerational efforts to make sure this is protected for our children and future generations,” says Budd.

Woolford says LegaSea relies on the support of partners like Bayleys and XPO.

“They are our lifeblood. We couldn’t raise awareness of the issues facing our coastal fisheries without their incredible generosity.

“Our job at events is not to sell stuff – it’s to spread the message. With XPO’s support, this year was the first in over a decade at the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show where we have covered our costs. It is so greatly appreciated.”

The night was rounded off in style with some all-time Kiwi classic hits, performed live by Jordan Luck Band. 

- NZ Fishing News

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