Accompanying Persons Programme


The Congress is hosting an accompanying persons programme which will provide the participants with the opportunity to see Auckland, experience some of its best attractions and get a real flavour of the city's history and culture.

Our accompanying persons programme runs on Monday 12 February, Tuesday 13 February, Thursday 15 February and Friday 16 February.  We have designed a programme that will allow you to explore our Auckland and slightly further a field, whether you're looking for cultural experiences, inner city hot spots or beautiful beaches and island escapes.  Details on each of the sightseeing see the information below as to the offerings each day. 

How to book:

  • Simply choose the Accompanying Persons Programme when you register a delegate
  • Accompanying Persons Programme registration is NZ$75.00 and includes: a name badge, catering each day at the Aotea Centre and a tote bag full with goodies to help you for the week.
  • Accompanying Persons will have access to the sessions and trade exhibition over all four days and can book tickets for any of the activities listed below.
  • Accompanying Persons are also able to purchase field trip tickets on Wednesday 14 February


Monday 12 February

Coffee and Cake

Time: 0830 - 0930
Cost: No charge
Meeting Point: The Box Cafe, Aotea Centre

Meet up for a slice of cake and coffee at 'The Box Cafe', located on level 3 of the Aotea Centre (directly off Aotea Square).

Garden Tour

Time:  1000 - 1230
Cost: $55.00
Meeting Point: Tour Desk (next to the registration desk), Aotea Centre
What to bring:  Wear casual clothes and good walking shoes.

This morning visit an iconic Auckland garden.  Visit the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Travel along the southern motorway to the Auckland Botanic Gardens home to the Sculpture in the Gardens event from 11th November 2017 to 25th February 2018. The Auckland Botanic Gardens is very proud to host this 6th biennial Sculpture in the Gardens event! This event is a great opportunity to see large-scale artworks from New Zealand's best-known and up-and-coming sculptors on a 2 kilometre sculpture trail throughout the Gardens. Read about the exhibition and selected sculptors on the Sculpture in the Gardens website.  

Located in the Huakaiwaka visitor centre at the Auckland Botanic Gardens is Café Miko.

Sights and Beach Tour

Time: 1330 - 1700
Cost: $60.00
Meeting Point: Tour Desk (next to the registration desk), Aotea Centre

This afternoon travel along the seaside road known as Tamaki Drive to the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Situated just off Tamaki Drive near Mission Bay, the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park is set amongst 49 hectares of land with impressive panoramic views overlooking Waitemata harbour and Rangitoto Island and sweeping views of Auckland city skyline. The tall obelisk, sunken pool and landscaped gardens is a memorial to New Zealand's first Labour Prime Minister (born 1872 - died 1940) and also the founder of New Zealands Welfare State. Free time to explore this park and take photographs of the harbour and city.

Travel on to Mission Bay and stop to view Mission Bay beach and the Trevor Moss Davis Memorial Fountain. This fountain is the centre piece of the Mission Bay Reserve. Trevor Moss Davis was director of the Auckland liquor firm Hancock and Company and died of a sudden heart attack in 1947 at the age of 45.     His father Eliot Davis, nephew of Sir Ernest Davis, Auckland mayor from 1935 to 1945, gifted a memorial fountain at Mission Bay to keep the memory of his son alive.  The fountain was designed by architect George Tole and created by Richard Gross, it is constructed of Sicilian marble fluted to catch the light and decorated with three bronze sea monsters gushing water. The memorial is a landmark on the city's waterfront, regularly sending dancing jets of water as high as 12 metres (40 feet) in the air and at night it features a beautiful light show. During the summer young children use it as a paddling pool.

Travel on to Saint Heliers which is a warm, sunny-side village nestled in the heart of Auckland. Maybe have afternoon tea at one of the many cafes and explore the boutique shops while you're there. Or maybe just stroll on the beach. You may never want to leave!


Tuesday 13 February

Matakana 'foodie' tour - all day

Time: 1100 - 1730
Cost: $315.00 per person
Meeting Point: Aotea Centre at 1045

Discover the delicious tastes of fresh Matakana Coast produce; served in local restaurants or purchased from the roadside. The quality and care our passionate locals instil in the creation of their produce is evident in the taste sensations you will experience.

The Matakana Taste Tour includes visits to two wineries as well as three local producers of your choice – choose from the following: Sausages, boutique cheeses, hand made chocolates, gourmet Smoke House, oysters, honey, ice cream, olive oil, pure water & a farmer's market option on Saturdays.

Tour Highlights:

  • Meet colourful, talented locals along the way; enjoy their stories of how their ventures established and flourished.
  • Enjoy a delicious antipasto platter lunch at a beautiful winery – another opportunity to sample the delights of this region
  • Savour quality artisan foods hand-crafted with passion – feijoa fruit wine, handmade chocolates with manuka honey centres, gelato made with local berries, boutique blue cheeses, award winning ice cream and world-class olive oil. This tour must be good for you!
  • Along the way, soak up Matakana Coast's beautiful and diverse scenery. Rolling countryside, golden beaches, sunny coastline – this is our backyard and it truly is spectacular.
  • As time allows, this tour can also include visits to other local attractions. These may include the famous Morris & James Pottery factory, a 1,000 year-old Kauri tree and a place with panoramic views.

Waiheke Island Tour

Time:0815 - 1745
Cost: $195.00 per person
Meeting Point: Aotea Centre at 0800

On arrival at Waiheke Island guests will be met and taken on a tour of Waiheke Island including wine tasting at two vineyards, olive oil tour and olive oil tastings, walk on the beach at Onetangi Beach, free time for independent lunch in Oneroa town centre and free time at Oneroa town centre which is home to numerous galleries such as Glowing Sky  (New Zealand made merino garments), the Waiheke Art Gallery, Christine gallery and the amazing Island Gelato (delicious gelato!) etc.

When Aucklander's talk of an island paradise they are referring to Waiheke Island which is 35 minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland. With a permanent population of around 9,000 people Waiheke Island is home to over 30 wineries, along with olive groves and dozens of local and internationally renowned artists.  On this picturesque island there is a blend of farmland, forest and stunning beaches.    With hot, dry summers and stony soils, Waiheke wineries produce unique, high quality wines based on cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, cabernet franc and the recent move into chardonnay grape varieties. 

Wednesday 14 February

Field trips Itinerary
Dairy Event
Time: 0700 - 2230

This tour leaves Auckland at 7am and heads south to the mighty Waikato. Here delegates will have the opportunity to view the facilities of artificial breeding and herd recording companies CRV and LIC. The day will include a bull parade, a demonstration of semen collection, a show-case of the latest innovations in performance recording and a range of informative technical talks.

A BBQ style lunch will be served at various commercial dairy farms. Lunch is generously provided by the Ayrshire, Holstein-Friesian and Jersey breed societies.

Last but not least we will wrap up the day with a visit to the world famous Hobbiton movie set, where delegates will enjoy a standing dinner. Buses will return to Auckland.

Please note: Early buses will return to Auckland for those delegates who would prefer not to visit the Hobbiton movie set

Angus Event
Time: 0830 - 2130

This tour leaves Auckland and travels through the Waikato region to Waitomo where guests will be treated to a stunning tour of the limestone caves and marvel at the glow worms as they boat through the waters of Waitomo.

After lunch at Waitomo, the tour will travel to Storth Oaks Angus Stud only 35 minutes from the Caves.  Weather permitting the group will travel through the typical hill country sheep and beef property to the sale barn. Storth Oaks is a leading NZ Angus breeding farm incorporating most modern technologies into their programme.

There will be a selection of stud cattle on display and viewed through the property and two sponsors - American Angus Association and Beef and Lamb Genetics will give presentations before drinks and a barbecue dinner supported by Performance Beef Breeders.

Delegates will then board their buses to return to Auckland.

Equine Event
Time: 0900 - 2100

Visit one of Australasia's largest and most successful Thoroughbred stud farms – pasture based horse production.  Delegates will be treated to an afternoon at the Races followed by an evening meal.

Tree Selection and Breeding
Time: 0730 - 1815

This trip will be hosted by Scion geneticists and forest pathologists who use a range of technologies to improve tree growth, form, resistance to pests and diseases and wood quality. 

The day will cover two important tree species for New Zealand; the iconic indigenous kauri tree (Agathis robusta) and the backbone of the New Zealand planted forestry industry, Pinus radiata.

You will visit a Pinus radiata  field trial and talk about tree breeding techniques and technologies including seed and pollen collection, phenotyping, DNA fingerprinting and genomic selection. 

You will also visit native tree forests, with a particular focus on the iconic native kauri tree.  Kauri are iconic indigenous species with spiritual ties to the tangata whenua (people  of the land) of New Zealand.  Kauri are currently being challenged by Kauri dieback which is caused by Phytophthora agathidicida.  Discussions will also cover the potential of genetics and genomics to help retain this iconic tree.


Te Puke Plant and Food Research
Time: 0900 - 2100

This tour is hosted by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research. Plant and Food is the world's largest horticultural research company, supporting fruit, vegetable, crop and food industries. The Te Puke Research Centre (2.5 -3 hours south of Auckland) is situated in the beautiful Bay of Plenty and it is home to the largest kiwifruit research orchard in the world.  

The day will start with a presentation about Plant and Food's Seafood Research (as we cannot get you to Nelson in the South Island) and our work with the seafood industry to optimise the value of seafood harvests. We have included a visit to Plant and Food Research kiwifruit orchard; the orchard covers 50 Ha and houses the biggest single collection of Actinidia species outside of China which is used extensively by the breeding and other research teams. 

After the visit we will be heading to the Hobbiton set in Matamata where there will be a light barbeque and refreshments in conjunction with some of the other tours, before buses depart Hobbiton and return to Auckland.


Deer and Sheep Event
Time: 0600 - 2100

Visit deer and sheep (terminal and maternal flocks) properties and listen to Focus Genetics and AgResearch staff discussing their breeding programme. This includes Focus Genetics deer breeding programme, DNA parentage, DeerSelect and introduction of genotyping by sequencing for DNA parentage, breed composition and genomics selection. Sheep includes terminal sire flocks selected for growth, meat production and meat quality and is accompanied by talks on their genomic selection programme with a similar set of talks for their maternal programme. 

Bring sturdy footwear and a coat. Trip includes a coffee stop for breakfast, BBQ lunch and packed dinner.


Images courtesy of Pamu Farms of New Zealand, Te Anau

Alexander Farming Genetics / Hobbiton Event
Time: 0800 - 2030
This tour leaves Auckland and heads south to Alexander Farming Genetics: a breeding-finishing farm, producing Romney stud sheep and angus cattle. The property has some of the most FE-tolerant sheep in New Zealand due to their involvement in Facial Eczema trials with AgResearch since 1978. They are currently initiating a lot of work in the area of genomics and see this as the next increase in productivity, through increased genetic gain.

The farm is also home to the world famous Hobbiton Movie Set where, in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The group will be taken on a private tour of the Alexander family sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. There will be presentations in the morning from Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics on recent developments, including the transformation of the New Zealand sheep industry's performance recording and genetic evaluation database. Today, the database holds information for more than 600 flocks – making it the largest genetic evaluation of sheep in the world. 

After lunch, a guide will escort you around the Hobbiton set, showing the intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made. Once the tour has finished, there will be a light barbeque and refreshments, before buses depart Hobbiton and return to Auckland.


Aquaculture Event
Time: 0900 - 1700
This tour leaves Auckland and travels by ferry to Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf. In just 40 minutes we will arrive at the beautiful island, home of great wineries and some of New Zealand's finest farmed Pacific oysters.

Following a stop for coffee, a bus will take us to the Te Matuku Marine Reserve at the south east corner of Waiheke Island. There we will tour a Pacific oyster farm, Te Matuku Oysters, hosted by the manager who will provide an overview of how oysters are farmed in New Zealand and describe the company's involvement in the oyster selective breeding programme.

Lunch will be held at one of the Island's wineries followed by presentations about the use of selective breeding in New Zealand aquaculture and the benefits this has brought to the industry. There will be an opportunity to discuss the future of breeding and genomics in this growing global industry.

In the afternoon we will take a conservation tour of the island and stop off at key attractions, including the chance to stroll through some native bush before heading back to the big city on the ferry.

Waiheke Island was named one of the world's top 10 regions to visit for 2016 in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel guide.

Dairy Sheep Event
Time: 0700 - 2200
There is a rapidly emerging dairy sheep industry in New Zealand. The original dairy flock was predominantly East Friesian based, but recently, two major new flocks have imported new genetics.

The tour will involve a visit to both Southern Cross and Spring Sheep Milk Co in Taupo providing an opportunity to see how they are developing breeding strategies and management systems within the newly emerging sector.

Spring Sheep Milk Co is a fully integrated boutique sheep milk sales and marketing business. Our Taupo farm milks 2000 ewes which provide pure sheep's milk goodness for consumes of our nutritional products in South East Asia.

Limestone Downs Event
Time: 0930 - 2100
Visit a coastal sheep, beef and dairy farm and end the day with a caving adventure!

Limestone Downs, owned by the C. Alma Baker Trust, has been used for sheep, beef and dairy research for over 70 years.
The farm is currently host to the Beef+LambNZ Genetics Dairy Beef Progeny test, in which 80 beef bulls have been used over 800 dairy cows for two years to produce 1200 crossbred calves. The calves were born in 2016 and 2017 and are being reared for processing at 2 years of age.

This trip departs Auckland at 9.30am, before heading south to Port Waikato. Arriving at Limestone Downs, the tour will start with lunch at the woolshed, where you'll get to see the 2017 calves from the Progeny Test, and hear about the progress of the progeny test to date. A tour of the sheep and beef farm will take in the ram-breeding flock, 18-month-old cattle from the progeny test, and sweeping coastal views. Weather permitting, we will stop at the black-sand beach, before visiting the five-year-old dairy conversion where we will see cows milked through the 60-bail rotary cowshed. The day will wrap up with a visit to Nikau caves, where you will have the option of either wet or dry caving adventures, or a simply relax in the picturesque gardens, before enjoying a barbeque dinner.



Thursday 15 February

Hobbiton Express Tour

Time:0700 - 1500
Cost: $236.00 per person
Meeting point: Pick up from Aotea Centre
What to bring: Just yourself! Lunch is included in the package.

This tour is an easy day trip from Auckland. Let Bush and Beach take you on a magical journey through Middle-Earth to the Hobbiton Movie Set from 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' filsm for a fascinating guided tour. 

Sumptuous buffet lunch - free souvenir voucher - return transport with full commentary from Auckland city - bush and beach guide with you for the whole day - admissions and guided tour of hobbiton movie set - ale, cider and ginger beer at the green dragon inn 

Sylvia Park - Shopping Mall

Time: 0900 - 2100
Cost: $5:50 - cash fare for public transport
Meeting point: Aotea Centre (before walking to the train station at Britomart)

Welcome to Sylvia Park, New Zealand's largest shopping centre - located at the heart of Auckland, with unparalleled exposure and accessibility.

Shop till you drop with amazing shops, restaurants and a movie theatre. Make a day trip out of this experience at Sylvia Park. To find out what is happening at the complex click here.


Friday 16 February

Tiritiri Matangi

Time: 0900 - 1700
Cost: $85.00 per person (including a guided walk) + $30.00 for a lunch box.
Meeting point: Aotea Centre (then as a group we walk down to the wharf)
What to bring: Walking shoes, day pack, water

Explore the enchanting wildlife sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi Island. Expert guides will lead you to hidden spots on the Island where native wildlife is in abundance. 

You will learn the history of Tiritiri Matangi against a backdrop of native birdsong echoing through the canopy. A beacon of conservation, the Island has been replanted with native species, all mammalian predators eradicated, and a number of threatened and endangered bird and reptile species have been successfully reintroduced, including the flightless takahe, one of the world's rarest species, and the tuatara. There are few places in New Zealand where you can readily see and walk amongst so many rare species.

Rangitoto Island

Time: 0915 - 1700
Cost: $33.00 per person + $30.00 for a lunch box
Meeting point: Aotea Centre (then as a group we will walk down to the wharf)
What to bring: Day pack, water, togs/towel for swimming, binoculars if you want to go bird watching and good walking shoes.

The volcanic Rangitoto Island is one of the most iconic landmarks in Auckland's city skyline. Sitting majestically off the coast, Rangitoto's distinctive symmetrical cone rises 260 metres over the Hauraki Gulf. Climb to the summit or take a 4WD road-train to the top for epic views.

Rangitoto erupted from the sea 600 years ago in a series of dramatic explosions. Two episodes 10 to 50 years apart are thought to have lasted for several years each. This makes Rangitoto the youngest island in the Hauraki Gulf – the last and largest volcano to be formed in the Auckland volcanic field. 

Exploring Rangitoto is a 'must do' day out for locals and tourists alike. A gentle climb through lava fields will lead you to the summit in approximately one hour. Allow extra time to explore the lava caves on the way back, or see the historic bach community near the wharf. 

For more information about the island click here.


Activities available to do at your leisure

Listed below are activities which are available for you to do any day of the week.

Auckland City Walk

Time: 1000 - 1300
Cost: No charge
Meeting point: Aotea Centre at 0930
What to bring: Walking shoes & drink bottle

Walk down to Queens Wharf Village (89 Quay Street).

Taking off from Auckland's downtown, the walk heads up through Britomart Transport Centre, taking you through the city's pedestrian laneways and right up to the recently renovated Auckland Art Gallery. You'll then wander through the historic Albert Park and University of Auckland, before heading back down to Auckland's famous viaduct precinct and across Te Wero Bridge, concluding among the hustle and bustle of the always-interesting Silo Park.

While we strive to visit all stops on our walk, please be aware that due to the each walk being unique we might not visit all stops listed above.

Art Gallery

Time: 1000 - 1700
Cost: $10.00 for a tour, otherwise entry is free
How to get there: Short eight minute walk from the Aotea Centre

How to book a tour:
English-language tours start in the foyer on the ground floor daily at 11.30am and 1.30pm. Tours last 60 minutes and are limited to 15 people. Book at the information desk on the ground level on the day of your visit. There is a Café available in the gallery. 

Visit Auckland's Art Gallery walk around and view the wonderful art on display.

Auckland Art Gallery is a cultural leader in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our purpose is to be a place for art and a catalyst for ideas. We offer experiences that strengthen and enrich our communities, and we value collaboration and dialogue.

With multiple exhibition spaces spreading across three levels of our award-winning building, we are the largest and most inspiring visual arts experience in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our collection and loan collections currently number over 16,000 artworks. Together, they include major holdings of New Zealand historic, modern and contemporary art. Alongside outstanding works by Maori and Pacific artists, they represent significant international painting, sculpture and print collections. 

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Time: 1000 - 1700
Cost: $25.00 for International Visitorsadditional costs for museum tours below and free general admission for NZ Residents. 

Tour prices: You can extend your experience further with a package deal that includes a Highlights Tour, Maori Cultural Performance or both. Visitors can bundle their admission with a package of their choice. Bookings can be made on the day at the information desk.

  • Kiwi Package: Museum Entry + Highlights Tour $40.00
  • Tui Package: Museum Entry + Maori Cultural Performance $45.00
  • Moa Package: Museum Entry + Maori Cultural Performance + Highlights Tour $55.00

Auckland War Memorial Museum is New Zealand's first Museum.  The Museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people. The Museum is a war memorial for the province of Auckland and holds one of New Zealand's top three heritage libraries.

It has pre-eminent Maori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections.

Hop on - hop off bus

Time: 0940 - 1700
Cost: $45.00 per person
Meeting point: Bus departs Civic Theatre every half hour (starting from 0940)

A bus takes you around Auckland and give you the option to get off at tourist attractions that might take some interest to you. 

Bus stopping points: Bastion Point Lookout, Kelly Tarltons Sea Life Aquarium, Parnell Rose Gardens, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland Museum, Parnell Village, Civic Theatre Centre, SkyCity and Sky Tower, Philips Corner, Martime Museum. Available during the day. First bus departs from "Philips" Princes Wharf at 0900 every half hour. 


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