Expo 2020 Dubai: Six60 to headline NZ’s $62 million trade push

Six60 will be the headline act for New Zealand’s $62 million push at Expo 2020 Dubai which starts later this year.

The band is expected to play for more than a week at Expo, where 192 countries will exhibit.It is regarded by the Government as a part of its recovery from Covid-19, which has savaged the economy which suffered a worse than feared contraction in the December quarter.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the event – postponed from last year – would be a launching pad for all countries to get into international markets.

”That will certainly be the case for New Zealand.”

Expo will run for six months and New Zealand’s pavilion is almost complete for the event.

”We’ve done very well with some of our export markets but now’s a chance to make sure that we are entering new spaces, and really lifting our profile,” said Ardern.

Many of those going to Expo, which stretches to April 2022, would have been vaccinated as part of the general programme from mid-year. There could be provision for early vaccinations for some groups who need to represent New Zealand overseas but these criteria had not been set.

”We just need to make sure that we treat everyone consistently if we do have a special process for those representing NZ abroad.”

While still retaining the Expo 2020 name, the taxpayer’s commitment has risen by close to $8m due to the need to pause and restart building work and disruption to filming for the entertainment and cultural programme.

Under the theme of Care for People and Place, New Zealand plans to showcase its values, innovation and creativity to the world in the city state, which is one of the biggest global hubs.

It is expected that about 600 representatives from private sponsors, NZ Trade and Enterprise staff and performers and entertainers will make the trip to Dubai.

Choreographer Parris Goebel has developed an entertainment programme celebrating New Zealand’s creativity, diversity and youth.

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates which is vaccinating its 10 million people at a rapid rate.More than half the population has had the jab and the vaccine rollout should be finished by the end of the year.

All our major trading partners were participating at Dubai and host country the United Arab Emirates itself is New Zealand’s 10th biggest trading partner, taking exports of $3.9 billion a year – and they are growing.By the middle of last year exports were up 16 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The Middle East region is New Zealand’s seventh-largest trading partner and a source of demand for this country’s food and beverages – a big part of the push at Expo.The New Zealand pavilion will showcase food and drink at a restaurant at the site.

Last year it was estimated 25 million people could visit Expo with 75 per cent of them from countries other than the UAE.

The sprawling Expo site covers more than 4.4sq km, including big stage areas where Six60 will play during the week or so they will be at the event.

About 80 per cent of the site will be retained as a new city – District 2020 – when Expo has finished.

While New Zealand’s commitment to Expo was reviewed in the depths of the pandemic last year, this country’s commissioner general, Clayton Kimpton, said the country had previously leveraged expos at pivotal times in its economic history.

Osaka in 1970 gave the country the opportunity to promote meat exports to a wider range of countries as Britain was getting closer to Europe, and an event at Shanghai in 2010 came at a good time as the world was emerging from the Global Financial Crisis and New Zealand was bedding in its free trade pact with China.

The rapid vaccine programme in the UAE comes on the heels of a massive spike in Covid cases in January.But it has been able to drag down rolling daily averages of more than 3600 cases to half that number.

More than 1200 people have died of the disease in the territory, from more than 400,000 who have contracted it.

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