Thursday, 21st May, 2020

Wanaka business organisations Ignite Wanaka and Lake Wanaka Tourism have tailored their calendar of events for the remainder of 2020 to help Wanaka businesses navigate the new operating environment post COVID-19.

Based on feedback from businesses, via a recent online survey and through direct communications, the organisations have developed a plan for educational, training, business support and networking events across the next six months targeted at all sectors of business and the wider community.

Over 128 businesses responded to the survey, with business owners and managers highlighting a number of key areas of need such as:

  • Business to business collaboration and idea sharing via industry forums and seminars

  • Learning from business leaders who’ve experienced recessions and economic crises

  • Networking events, trade shows, speed networking in both small group and larger format

  • Understanding and adapting marketing to a domestic only market 

  • Data, insights, research, and travel trends to then inform business planning and strategy

  • Opportunities to inform marketing plans and online selling tools. 

Ignite Wanaka Executive Officer Naomi Lindsay said the approach to the revamped events plan took a ‘hyper-local’ focus, learning from local leaders and business experts where possible.

“We have amazingly talented and experienced people in our community that we can learn from and we’ll be tapping into that knowledge, while also ensuring we utilize the best experts from across New Zealand as well as off-shore, particularly in sector-based training”, says Naomi.

Building on the organisations’ pre-COVID strategy for an increased events calendar to support businesses, there will be a mix of opportunities to learn, connect and share thinking with potential to adapt and change as needed.

Lake Wanaka Tourism GM James Helmore said the schedule was designed to help businesses work through the logical steps of business planning, strategy, and operations over time, responding to the challenges businesses currently face.

“We kicked the schedule off last week with a data and insights webinar to help inform businesses’ decision making, then we will follow with a short term planning and a panel discussion webinar looking at how others have right sized their businesses as a result of COVID-19”, says James.

The events will be largely co-hosted by LWT and Ignite Wanaka, working with other organisations, to share ideas and resources to ensure businesses have access to the best opportunities available, playing to each organisation’s strengths and relationships regionally, nationally and internationally.

See below for a full schedule of events detailed so far. Dates and further speaker details will be distributed via the LWT and Ignite newsletters and event bookings can be made via the Ignite Wanaka website here, where events will be updated regularly.


May-December 2020 Wanaka Business events calendar

Training and educational opportunities

Ongoing - Industry specific get togethers – Connect with others in your industry, learn what others are doing well, where people need help and share knowledge. Mixture of zoom sessions to focus on sector learning and connection events with guest speakers. Currently underway with hospitality. Next up; retail, building, professional services, creative, and health. 

End May Industry-leaders- Learning from those business leaders who’ve experienced recessions before. Learn from those who’ve survived other major economic turndowns and recessions and explore their top tips for coming through an economic crisis.

End June –E-commerce 

Creating an ecommerce and online growth strategy Building a roadmap for sustainable digital and  ecommerce growth Getting. the best return on your investment by focusing on the right channels to connect with the right people at the right time. 

July -August – Marketing plan audit - Pivoting your marketing plan focusing on key areas of brand, strategy, customer personas, getting your business story right. Creating a content channel plan.

September – October - Speed networking for businesses. Weekly sessions to test your new elevator pitch and reconnect as business owners. 

October-NovemberIgnite Wanaka Leadership Academy – Nurturing our future leaders via a five-week course (every Thursday) learning from the region’s and NZ’s most respected leaders to explore your leadership style, gain confidence and knowledge to lead your business, team or community learning from real-life and best practice.

Connecting events/networking 

End May - Ignite Wanaka Business ChamberNew member get together- Hear all about Ignite, our vision, values and how we can help businesses grow through connection, learning and advocacy.

From June - Monthly Ignite B@5 Hosted by a different hospitality venue each month to showcase their venue. Cash bar rather than fully hosted.

June-DecemberMonthly Women in Business monthly coffee mornings return in June as well as the Christmas lunch with larger venue and revised format in December.

June-December Women in Business specific workshops and learning opportunities. Women speakers delivering workshops aimed at women in business based on challenges and needs.

Other potential events:

October/November TBC – Wanaka Business Expo - Bring businesses together (B2B) to showcase their products and learn via breakout sessions, evening drinks, guest speakers etc 

Community event/s A series of events that celebrate and provide opportunities to connect.


Lake Wanaka Tourism (LWT) is a Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) formed in 1993. The organisation is an incorporated society which is membership based, with 500 member businesses. A board of six, elected from the membership governs LWT.

Ignite Wanaka is the collective voice of the Wanaka business community, offering a range of events, workshops, and resources to help it’s 340+ members thrive, preparing them for change, adaptability and success.

For more information please contact:

James Helmore General Manager Lake Wanaka Tourism
M: + 64 21 229 1607 E:

Naomi Lindsay Executive Officer Ignite Wanaka
M: 021 942 502 E: