Fair fight in New Zealand

by John Abolins
Auckland was a busy hive of activity in late September with jewellery retailers from all around New Zealand converging on the city for not one – but two – jewellery fairs.

At the Ellerslie Convention Centre the 15th annual JWNZ Trade Fair had 75 exhibitors while at the nearby ASB Showgrounds the inaugural New Zealand Jewellery Fair, organised by Expertise Events, had 58 exhibitors including about 25 Australian firms.

The JWNZ Fair was held from September 27-28 while the Expertise Events Fair ran from September 26-27.

Many in the jewellery industry wondered why this tiny island country needed two fairs when one was more than enough to cater to the industry’s needs.

According to visitors at both fairs, the Expertise Events fair had a quiet opening day on the Saturday while in contrast the JWNZ Trade Fair opened on the Sunday with a rush of buyers eager to view the home-grown exhibition which was loyally supported by many of New Zealand’s leading suppliers including Worth & Douglas, House of Bond, K H Plank, Landau Jewellery, Brian Oughton, Twentyfive 7, Citizen Watches and Seiko.

JWNZ Trade Fair chairman Roland Plank said around 700 people visited the Association’s two-day fair.

He said the visitor numbers were “on par” with last year’s results.

“After coming through a difficult winter, it was proof the industry was supporting our industry-organised fair,” he said.

Meanwhile Expertise Events managing director Gary Fitz-Roy said the New Zealand Jewellery Fair “recorded 872 pre-registrations with an attendance of just under 700”.

“This is a result we are pleased with, and creates a solid base for work to commence on the 2010 event,” he said.

However, a dog fight might be on the cards in 2010 as both fairs are again scheduled to be staged concurrently in September.