ILGA World Conference, 18-22 March 2019, Wellington



Geneva / Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, 26 June 2017 – Today, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) announced the new dates for its next World Conference, which will take place in Aotearoa New Zealand from 18-22 March 2019, in the capital city of Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

The new dates for the event, originally set to take place in October 2018, were chosen to honour the 40th anniversary of the first ILGA World Conference, which took place in April 1979. Back then, the groundbreaking meeting saw 65 delegated gathering together from 17 countries in the town of Bergen, The Netherlands: 40 years later, the 2019 ILGA World Conference will be the first global LGBTI event of the year that will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, and will lay on the foundation of the outstanding numbers of its last edition, which attracted more than 700 participants from 101 different countries worldwide.

The event will be historic for more than one reason: the ILGA World Conference will be held in Oceania for the first time in the journey of the organisation, as a collaborative bid of three major Aotearoa New Zealand LGBTI organisations (Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand, Tīwhanawhana Trust, and Rainbow Youth) has successfully won the bid to host it.

“Forty years after the first conference following ILGA’s foundation, the ILGA World Conference will be finally held in Oceania, at the antipodes of its origins,” commented Renato Sabbadini, Executive Director at ILGA. “This is not only a testament to the incredible growth of ILGA World in the last four decades – which has now ECOSOC status at the United Nations and represents more than 1,200 member organisations from 132 countries worldwide – but also to its genuine ability to embrace all cultures and be shaped by them in its spirit.”

Just as Matariki – or the Māori New Year celebrations, which began yesterday – are a time to honour the lives of those no longer with us, but also to celebrate new beginnings, the ILGA World Conferences are empowering occasions for LGBTI activists from across the world to honour those who built our movement through a lifelong struggle, but also to take stock of the many groundbreaking moments celebrated by our communities in the past few years and to strategize about our future.

ITANZ is humbled, proud and excited to be part of this important conference, to have an organizing committee anchored in the principles of manaakitanga hospitality, indigenous voice, to have the opportunity to show to the world  the multiplicity of SOGIESC realities here in the Pacific Ocean,” said Mani Bruce Mitchell, Executive Director of Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tīwhanawhana is super excited to welcome in 2019 the World’s LGBTI communities to spectacular Te Whanganui a Tara Wellington,” added Kevin Haunui of Tīwhanawhana Trust. “We understand the importance of all voices being heard and the sharing of knowledge and wisdom; the conference will be an opportunity to hear the many voices of the Oceania region. The city of Wellington and New Zealand’s rainbow communities will provide an extraordinary experience for ILGA World Conference 2019. Haere mai!”

“Our communities worldwide know the art of resilience, and everyday continue to challenge systems, practices and norms that put our lives at risk, violate our bodies, disregard our rights and deny us equal opportunities,” remembered Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, co-Secretaries General at ILGA. “Events like the ILGA World Conference represent important occasions where people fighting injustices can realise that they are not alone in their struggle, and work together to advance equality worldwide. We held these events since our early days, and we are honoured and grateful for the work that dozens of persons are already putting in place to make the 2019 ILGA World Conference an event to remember.”


Welcoming and inclusive Wellington wins LGBTIQ world conference

Wellington will host the one of the world's most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,  Intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) conferences in 2018.

The event will bring around 600 delegates to the capital from around the world and is the first time in ILGA’s 40 year history that the bi-annual conference will be held in Oceania[.

The conference win was the result of months of work by the Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ), Tīwhanawhana Trust, and RainbowYOUTH; with funding and support from Tourism New Zealand and WREDA.

“The group did a fantastic job promoting Wellington as the ideal conference destination gaining a unanimous vote from the conference organisers”, says Lisa Gardiner, Business Events Manager, Tourism New Zealand.

“Wellington is an ideal venue, it has great conference facilities. It’s vibrant, diverse and inclusive. I have no doubt the delegates will have a fantastic time.” Tourism New Zealand works with groups across the country to encourage and support them to bid to bring conferences to New Zealand.

“New Zealand is performing extremely well internationally as an attractive and unique business events destination. The estimated value from all conferences bid for, and won in the last financial year is an impressive $96.3 million.”

“Major business events like this inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into the New Zealand and event destination economy.” 

Elizabeth Kerekere. Chair. Tīwhanawhana Trust says “As the national organisation advocating for takatāpui (Māori with diverse sexes, genders and sexualities), Tīwhanawhana saw our involvement as a natural fit. Having won the bid, we look forward to ensuring the conference occurs according to Māori culture and values – as shared with ITANZ and RainbowYOUTH. We also aim the include LGBTIQ communities here in Aotearoa in a way ILGA has never seen.”

Mani Mitchell, E.D. ITANZ states “I have been closely involved with ILGA for the past decade. I am so proud of our delegation and what has been achieved. This conference gives us the chance to share with the world a very different way of working with the issues of our diverse queer communities in Aotearoa and the Pacific”
The conference will be the biggest LGBTIQ event hosted in New Zealand since Wellington's highly successful staging of the 2011 Out Games sports, culture and human rights mega-event. Tīwhanawhana Trust Deputy Chair, Kevin Haunui, was also part of Wellington 2011 team which won the Supreme Award

Key facts 

A number of conferences will be held across the country over the coming years benefiting many regions, these include Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington Christchurch and Dunedin.

Tourism New Zealand had a target to assist 60 conference bids a year. In the in 2015/16 financial year a massive 71 international bids were achieved with 72% success rate. The target was also exceeded in the previous financial year.

The Tourism New Zealand bid team is focussed on promoting New Zealand as a compelling business events destination in the core markets of Australia, China, South East Asia, USA and the Global Association market. 

Tourism New Zealand offers strategic marketing and bid assistance to internationally-affiliated organisations seeking to host a conference of more than 200 international delegates in New Zealand.  Assistance includes providing a financial feasibility study of the conference, bid presentation costs, international travel assistance, preparing professional documents and presentations to set bids apart and marketing strategies to improve an organisations chance of winning a bid.