A diverse mix of delegates from across the industry came together at the Plastics NZ annual conference in Rotorua to network and hear from a fabulous line-up of speakers. The concentrated opportunity to build business connections, socialise and learn from each other, ensures a strong plastics community, evident in the help and support during the three days. 

 “First time at conference, it was very well organised, and I was well looked after. I had the opportunity to meet and greet people from all aspects of the industry and enjoyed the Quiz night.”

With over 40 first timers, delegates experienced a diverse line-up of enthusiastic and informative speakers, with plenty of ideas and takeaways for their business and personal development, all focused along the theme of 'Crafting the Future'.

SCION got us off to a great start by hosting us at their incredible facility for a pre-conference networking event on Wednesday evening, where delegates got to meet the staff and view parts of the projects they are working on, while enjoying superb food and reconnecting with industry peers.

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Conference kicked off Thursday Morning with Rachel Barker, our own CEO setting the stage for the event with an overview of where she sees the industry heading, reporting back on what is happening both nationally and internationally and how we can look to help craft the future of the industry.  Jess Mitchell from Designally showcased practical examples of instigating sustainable practices into parts of your business, and technical presentations from SCION and F1 Additive on new developments, followed by how to access R&D funding opportunities through Callaghan Innovation rounded out the first morning. 

Passionate and educational speakers, interesting and engaging, opportunities to engage with their business.

An Industry 4.0 Workshop Thursday afternoon presented by the EMA and Frank Phillips from LMAC was well received, despite the late start due to a few weather issues, with several delegates already looking to follow up on ideas to put into practice in their business. Thursday afternoon was rounded out by the fabulous Ngahihi o te ra Bidois with a session on leadership utilising Ancient Wisdom and Modern Solutions.

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Friday saw a humorous but insightful look at the economic big picture from Cameron Bagrie, followed by a session on energy management and decarbonisation for the sector from EECA and Aliaxis, kept delegates entertained and ensured the time flew by.  Due to further travel complications for some, a quick rejig of the morning programme saw Education and Industry Issues covering topics such as Industry Training, Positive Plastics, the Constitution and Safeguarding and protecting Manufacturing, before we were joined by the Honourable Andrew Bayly, Minister for Small Business and Manufacturing, in time for lunch.

Following networking with the Minister at lunch, he gave an entertaining speech talking about the importance of manufacturing to NZ with innovation and the research and development that is occurring, being key to leading us into the future. A second Industry Issues session followed with Delegates splitting into key sector groups with the packaging sector being updated about the Plastic Packaging Product Stewardship Scheme (PPPS).

Delegates came back together to listen to Professor Johan Verbeek and Dr Julia Fehrer from the University of Auckland discuss their research project on Shaping a Circular Market System for Plastics in New Zealand before the National AGM was held.

Several National Executive Members have stepped down this year and were thanked for their dedication and service to the Industry. These were Tony Miller - Life Member, Murray Knight – PIL, Brian Storie – Interplas Agencies, Mark Field – EPL Group, Kevin Jones – Axiam Plastics. Board elections saw a new President, Bob Gutsell from PACT Group. We are also please to welcome the following elected officers; Murray Jorgensen – PPL, Amber Maisey - Maisey Group, Robert Michael – Tru Design Plastics, Matthew Smith - Axiam Plastics, Sarah Perrott- Pact Group, William Dickinson – KChem, Cameron Thompson - Lane Plastics. For a full list of your new National Executive click here.

Following afternoon tea conference was rounded out by the superb inspirational speaker Tony Christiansen who clearly proves ‘Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude’. Closing of conference saw several companies and individuals recognised for their commitment and service to helping support 20 years of Plastics New Zealand’s Diploma in Design & Specification of Plastics (DDSP).

  “Everything was well planned and executed, from the engaging subject matter presentations relevant to the industry to the motivational sessions.”

Our Thursday evening Gala event sponsored by Competenz saw the presentation of the Apprentice of the year and Training Company of the year awards presented. Our congratulations to Wesley Lewis from Packit Packaging who was named apprentice of the year and to Aisea Havea from Marley NZ Ltd the runner-up. Marley NZ Ltd (Auckland) was named Training company of the year, with PPL the runner up. After dinner, Robert Michael from Tru Design Plastics, was awarded a Life Membership in recognition of his dedication and unwavering support over the years to Plastics New Zealand and the Industry.  

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With the serious part of the evening over, the fun really began with the Waikato branch hosting an 80's themed Quiz Night. Big hair, 80's spandex and famous characters from 80's TV shows and movies decorated the room as teams were formed to mix the delegates up and provide them with the opportunity to meet new people. The tone was set for the evening with the selection of team names and a number of delegates did a double take to see ‘Rachel’s new look’ with some suggesting she 'make it permanent’. Hilarity evolved through the rounds of questions, and who could forget the aerobics session held on stage where the audience got to select their favourites. The good-natured rivalry between teams was matched only by the rivalry between Auckland and Waikato Branch Presidents over who had the best costumes, and a good number of penalty points were handed out. The plastics round was questionable with teams scoring really low - but the questions were hard with many based on the history of the industry (Who knew thermoforming was first introduced between 1875-1900?).

Winners on the night were the 'Dirty Dozen' with the top 8 teams all within 3.5 points of each other.  

  “Quiz night was outstanding! Well organised and a good laugh.”

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Special thanks to our sponsors and trade exhibitors. Without your support these events would not occur. Thanks also to our speakers who gave up their time to share their knowledge and expertise with the industry. Your support is astounding!

Last, but certainly not least, to the delegates that attended. We hope you enjoyed yourself, made new connections, refreshed old friendship, and left conference full of ideas and enthusiasm to look to 'Craft the Future' in your roles and your business.

We look forward to seeing you in 2025!

The 2024 Conference presentations are now available for Members to view in our Members section (Note: Members you will need to login in first to view)


Our Sponsors & Exhibitors

Dinner Partner Sponsor


Wednesday Evening Partner

Scion cmyk logo standard positive

Keynote Speaker Sponsor


Supporting Sponsors

     BASFw wh100db 4c      Azelis Chemiplas cb logo        Blender Logotype BLUE      Qenos eXsource stacked CMYK       PIL Colour   Premium Tooling China    wtw willis towers watson logo

 Trade Exhibitors 

 Anton Paar Logo 01    Aspect logo        CAMMD     DMO Solutions eeca logo 1   Fi Additive Logo Primary on white      wtw willis towers watson logo