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  • Face-to-face Flourishing in the Digital Age

It’s a vibrant industry, abuzz with innovation, world first launches and solid expansion. While many may believe that social media and online technology is the out front leader in modern sales and marketing, Auckland based company XPO Exhibitions knows differently.

“Trade Shows are enjoying an incredible resurgence in popularity in New Zealand,” says managing director Brent Spillane as he today announces the major acquisition of HAYLEYMEDIA’s trade exhibition division.

The purchase of The National Safety Show, MHL (Materials Handling & Logistics) Show, SouthMACH and the South Island Hospitality Show will take place on the 30th September 2013.

“People tend to have a preconceived idea that New Zealand is too small to host quality industry exhibitions, but that’s just not true,” says Brent. “Many world first innovations are being launched at our existing industry events and we estimate hundreds of millions of dollars in trade is happening onsite each year.

“We continue to receive serious attention from local and central government who consider our ten existing B2B Trade events as prime ways to communicate with industry and encourage export growth.  One example was an ATEED-supported New Zealand Food Innovation Showcase which took place at our last Foodtech Packtech show.

“XPO has a growing database containing more than 140,000 unique (mostly SME) business visitors who have attended our shows in the past three years. These numbers have been authenticated by the Circulations Audit Board of Australasia who verifies the attendance at each show.

“This surge in attendance is attracting growing marketing budgets from many hundreds of business exhibitors.  Businesses are seeing value in selling their business products face-to-face with target industry customers.

“No sensible B2B marketer would argue the conversion rate statistics from selling face-to-face versus a Google ad.”

XPO’s acquisition will see the four large scale shows added to the company’s current line-up which includes the New Zealand Gift & Homewares Fairs, Engineering Machinery & Electronics Exhibition (EMEX), Foodtech Packtech, BuildNZ, Designex and MyBiz Expo.

Adding even more gunpowder to XPO’s planned growth and expansion is the recent appointment of Tony Waite, former GM Sales at TVNZ.

“Tony is our new National Events and Sales Director and his appointment is a big statement about where our events business is heading,” says Brent. “Tony is leading our new five year plan which includes a new major events strategy for the company. We’re on a mission right now to create meaningful exhibitions for growing trade sectors across New Zealand.

“With the addition of HAYLEYMEDIA’s trade exhibitions, and our growth into new sectors,  XPO is now covering a wider range of industries including engineering, electronics, manufacturing, technology, machinery, safety, logistics and handling, building and construction,  design, architecture, gift and home wares, business services, food, packaging and hospitality.

“Our immediate priorities are bedding down the new brands and communicating the good news to our customers,” he says.

“The HAYLEYMEDIA team have worked tirelessly to create strong show brands. We plan to build and further grow the shows – cross selling the new shows to our existing customers, as well as giving new customers reasons to consider our event format.

“XPO will be rolling out our bespoke visitor registration technology to the newly acquired shows. This allows exhibitors to better qualify and followup leads via permission-based scanning to retain visitor contact details. The acquisition also allows XPO to extend value to our growing list of event sponsors who are offering products and services tailored to each industry.”

Sponsors include Ford, BNZ and 2 Degrees Mobile who are all enjoying exclusive engagement in their respective fields with industry visitors at events. “Ford Motor Company of New Zealand recently reaffirmed its belief in the power of XPO by extending another two years of sponsorship deals, including many more car giveaways at the shows,” says Brent.

In 2010 the Spillane family purchased New Zealand’s largest Trade Exhibitions portfolio from dmg world media nz ltd (part of the Daily Mail Group UK).

Those events include three annual NZ Gift & Homewares Fairs, EMEX, Foodtech Packtech, buildnz and designex.  The Spillane family have been intimately involved with the NZ Gift & Homewares Fairs since their inception in the early eighties.  The acquisition of the three HAYLEYMEDIA shows will compliment and consolidate XPO’s current businesses.

HAYLEYMEDIA owner Andy Hobbs is considered one of the most experienced show organisers in New Zealand.  A former Christchurch Press newspaper salesman, Andy pioneered the trade show industry in this country in 1972. He sold his company, XPO Exhibitions, to dmg world media Ltd in 2000 (part of the Daily Mail Group UK).

Andy established Hayley Media in 2002. His daughter Rachel Hobbs-Price has been an important part of the business and has been involved one way or another since she was eight years old. She has worked full time with Andy for the last 25 years, in her role as HAYLEYMEDIA’s exhibition director.

With the divestment of the trade exhibition arm of his business, Andy will now focus his energies on running HAYLEYMEDIA’s leading trade magazines NZ Engineering News, NZ Food Technology and Machinery Seller.

Says Andy: “We think XPO will continue to deliver a quality exhibition experience across the shows and our magazines will continue to advocate and strongly support these events.”

From Brent: “Andy has more than 40 years’ experience running exhibitions and as the (relative) new guy on the block I’m keen to tap into that knowledge base.”

Media Enquiries: Irene Smith 09 976 8352

  • Taylor Road awarded the New Zealand GIA 2012-2013 award for Innovation and Excellence in Homewares Retailing

Take yourself back twenty years to the early 90’s, in the depths of the Blue Mountains Australia, nestled amongst a national park lay Taylor Road; a quaint village styled street, where neighbours were friends and friends were more like family. Every house was a home, warm and open. Children would flit through each property, stopping briefly for refreshments or supplies and recruiting numbers as they passed. Parents in pursuit would stop for a chat here or a cup of tea there, no one was rushed or stressed, a very happy place to live. To some this may sound like a fairytale, to Anne and John Heng it was simply their past and the inspiration for their heavenly new homeware store, Taylor Road.

In October 2012, Taylor Road was awarded the New Zealand GIA 2012-­‐2013 award for Innovation and Excellence in Homewares Retailing. The couple will travel to Chicago in March 2013, for the International GIA Awards, where they will represent New Zealand amongst the twenty plus other national winners from around the globe. To meet the criteria in Retail Excellence required by the US governing body meant that Taylor Road had to excel in the innovation of all aspects of Homewares retailing from visual merchandising, web design, IT, store design through to staff involvement and customer service. With the launch of a brand new online store and retail expansion the Manawatu retailer was primed for an award of this caliber. However the achievement still came as a surprise to the owners, who said that, “although we see customers from all over the lower North Island, being recognised Nationally was really incredible. To be competing at an International level is just unbelievable.” It may be an astounding achievement for such a young store, but looking back at the rapid three year evolvement of this homeware gem, it is likely the first of many exciting achievements.

The store first opened in November 2009 as one of three independent franchises of the iconic New Zealand homewares retailer Nest. After Nest went in to receivership in late 2010 the three independents joined forces to continue the sale of some of New Zealand’s much loved dinnerware shapes and other quality products, under the group name Home Etc. Two years on, the Palmerston North store has undergone a massive expansion and refurbishment, tripling in floor space from the original Nest store. Now reopened as the independently owned retailer, Taylor Road, the name is one to watch. Partnering with major brands such as Wallace Cotton, TleafT and Ecoya, as well as their own range sourced from around the world, they have provided a quality shopping destination with a real point of difference.

The name and brand, Taylor Road, proposed and designed by Anne and John’s 22 year-­‐old daughter, Hannah, was selected to embody everything you could want in a home. As she says, “Taylor Road was where I grew up, it was my first home and to me it means family and the enjoyment of being surrounded by a beautiful home filled with beautiful people and beautiful memories. This is what we want people to feel when they are welcomed into our store.” And welcomed you will be! A smile seems to be a permanent fixture on the faces of the lovely staff members always willing to help or advise. The calming blue and green tones, will help ease even the most tightly wound up folk, while wide isles have been establish to allow for strollers, wheelchairs and even mobility scooters.

Taylor Road is a store for everyone and has something to ‘add a touch of beautiful to every room in your home’.

  • Christchurch event gets retailers buzzing

From all over New Zealand, retailers and the country’s top industry suppliers flocked to Christchurch for the first Winter Gift Fair since the tragic earthquakes, with statistics from the event indicating that the city’s retailers are doing well: 42% of respondents say their business is growing (just 19% say their business is getting smaller), and 21% of respondents say they have increased their number of store sites in the previous 12 months.

One of just three annual New Zealand Gift Fairs servicing the entire retail sector, the Winter Gift Fair is a key part of a vibrant Canterbury and South Island sector, and was sorely missed last year say visitors to the 2012 event.

“The Christchurch Fair is the only one we do and it’s important for our business,” says Lindon Sizemore of Dunedin’s Sizemore’s Pharmacy. “Three of us are here for two full days, so it’s quite an investment but it’s good for business to be here and find new products and get inspired. I’m glad it’s back. It’s a nice friendly South Island event, and it’s great that the exhibitors went all out this year. It was very inspiring and we found a great theme that we can really run with and that our customers will love. That’s the beauty of the Winter Gift Fair. This Fair is very important for our buying. We can see suppliers who don’t have reps that come to us, and in just two days we can see thousands of products and get to see the bigger trends picture.”

Closer to home, Rangiora’s Sue Counihan of The Basket Case, says the Winter Gift Fair was “absolutely fantastic. We need it to be here every year as it’s a vital part of our business and it’s close enough that we can make the trip without the travel costs of the two Auckland Fairs. We had a great time and did good business, making quite a few purchases and finding a few new suppliers too. Attending a Gift Fair is important because you need to see and hold the product. You need to be able to buy wisely and well. You need to source product that you know will sell and please your customers.”

Wanaka’s Originz sells only New Zealand-made product and Joel Squires says he makes a point of visiting all three Gift Fairs. “May and June is our downtime so the Winter Gift Fair fits well. The Fairs are good for finding new items as well as being a good excuse for a weekend away. Although the earthquakes didn’t make a difference to our business in Wanaka, we’re very supportive of anything that helps the people of Christchurch get back on their feet. It’s a good thing that the Winter Gift Fair is back, and will help retailers and other businesses here carry on.”

Tony and Marie Rhodes run Pot Pourri in Akaroa and enjoy visiting their local Gift Fair. “As buyers it’s a nice Fair because it’s less pressure than the others and there’s plenty of time to get right in and have a good look at things. Because we had the time to talk to people we discovered a great new concept. It’s nice to remind suppliers that we’re still around, and also top up those products that we’re running low on. The visit is also a great motivator when you see how suppliers have product displayed and that gives you new ideas that you can use in-store. With about half the items new every time it’s well worth the time to spend a few days at the Fair. We found product we’ll be purchasing over the next few months. It’s great to have the Winter Gift Fair back in Christchurch.”
Christchurch retailers Al and Eleanor Campbell own et elle, a store that was affected by the earthquakes, being closed for six months. “It took that long to find the right new location. We were shuffling stock around Christchurch, storing everything from the old store wherever we could find space. Having the Fair back is great and it’s another sign that Christchurch is back in business. It’s good to see exhibitors who are regulars as well as new suppliers. It’s also much better to touch and feel items than just see them online or in catalogues, particular as our focus in on the upper end of the market. A visit lets you see evolving trends and ask suppliers for their advice, and that’s very useful for a successful business. Winter is a quiet time for retail but being at the Fair and talking to suppliers lets you see product and delay or stagger orders. Christchurch people are buying smaller nice things at the moment as they need the nurturing. Purchases of bigger items will pick up when certainty returns and they feel able to make long-term purchase decisions.”

Kay Stevenson of The Soap Box in Westport says it’s great to have a Gift Fair back in the South Island. “The Winter Gift Fair is smaller than the others but that makes it more relaxed. I go to the Melbourne Fair, which is huge, but always visit the Christchurch one too. It’s a great place to make top-up buys and forward purchases for later in the year. I’m pleased that so many suppliers from all over New Zealand have put in so much effort and come back to Christchurch. It’s great that they’re helping give the city a lift.”

One of those suppliers is Robert Hill of Le Forge. “My roots are in the South Island and I’m delighted to come back to Christchurch and try and assist the retail community. We got a great reaction to our presence and that was really gratifying. We felt that we owed it to the people of Christchurch to have a presence, and we got a lot of recognition and appreciation for that. The 2012 Winter Gift Fair was bigger than the one two years ago and well worthwhile for us. The feedback from retailers was that it was the same for them.

“With many new products introduced at Winter Gift Fair, and all good quality, we put in the effort for local retailers and also made sure that the deals were good too. It was gratifying that our effort was appreciated, and we’ll certainly be back next time. The Christchurch fair is very important to us. In fact, South Island sales are better per capita, especially for higher quality furniture… I always say that people in the South Island have good taste!

“I really feel for what people in Christchurch are going through. Many retailers have been badly hit and people and their businesses are still suffering. I’m always happy to talk to retailers and see what we can do to help.”

The Winter Gift Fair is one of the biggest retail events in the country and early analysis of Winter Gift Fair research makes interesting reading: 83% of respondents say they placed orders whilst at Winter Gift Fair, and 76% of respondents agreed with the statement that ‘Winter Gift Fair is a necessary event for South Island Retailers’.

The event is also good for Christchurch’s food and accommodation businesses. Exhibitors come from all over the country, but so do visitors: 42% of respondents are from Christchurch, and 27% from Canterbury, but 23% are from Other South Island regions, 1% from Auckland, and 7% from Other North Island areas. 79% of respondents work in companies based at a single site/shop (21% from companies with multiple sites), 70% of respondents are aged between 40 and 60 years, and 92% were women.

Further information: Irene Smith, +64-21-378 202 or

  • Ford gets behind Kiwi businesses

Ford Motor Company of New Zealand Limited has cemented its commitment to Kiwi businesses with a two-year partnership that will see six new Fords given away to visitors at NZ’s largest and longest running sector specific exhibitions and events.

XPO Exhibitions Ltd, leading business-to-business (B2B) event organiser, has partnered with Ford to give trade visitors to the country’s leading food technology, packaging technology, engineering, manufacturing,  gift & homewares, build, design, architecture and business services sector specific exhibitions. It’s an opportunity for our business visitors to add a brand new Ford to the company asset register, says XPO Director Brent Spillane.

“It’s great that one of the country’s oldest and most-respected motor companies with a passion for this country has recognised the same in our DNA. XPO has the country’s longest-running successful trade exhibition portfolio. We’ve been successful because we focus on sector specific businesses. We work hard to make our trade events the place that businesses can come to compare, research and buy world leading products and services face to face. It’s about ensuring ongoing value for exhibitors as well as visitors.

“Ford has the same values in supporting New Zealand business. Ford dipped its toe in the water at our biennial ‘buildNZ designex’ event earlier this year by giving away a new Ford Ranger Utility to one lucky trade visitor. The response from the trade was brilliant. Ford saw genuine value from the captive market and an intimate way to market its’ leading vehicles to Kiwi businesses,” says Brent Spillane.

The XPO/Ford partnership gives the motor company exclusive access as our preferred vehicle partner at the country’s premiere business and trade events.

“XPO events attract more than 35,000 genuine trade only visitors every year, and the majority of them are return visitors proving the enduring value of these events. Visitor numbers have been on the increase too. The agreement will allow Ford to capture its own rich business profile data of those attending and entering the prize draws or simply interacting with Ford on their prime exhibition space.”

The business events that Ford will be supporting and providing a vehicle prize giveaway include the New Zealand Gift & Homewares Fairs; the EMEX engineering, manufacturing and electronics sectors event; FoodTech PackTech which is for the food, packaging and technology sector; buildNZ designex which supports the building, construction, design and architecture sectors; and MyBiz Expo which helps small and medium enterprises source competitive business services for their companies.

Ford will run a number of show-only promotions before and after the events, giving visitors a genuine reason to buy. Chris Masterson, national marketing manager at Ford says, “It’s an exclusive business target audience and one that we just had to jump at – and we are the first major vehicle brand to partner with XPO in this B2B exhibition space. Our vehicles are a great value match for specific business sectors looking at fleet or even personal needs. This is a fantastic new marketing launch pad.”

There is more detail on each of these business sector events at
Further information: Brent Spillane, 09-976 8378 or 021 906 111

  • Earthquake-Hit Retailers Offered Nice Surprise

Christchurch retailers affected by the massive February earthquake in the region are getting help to get their businesses re-stocked with the latest and greatest gift and homeware items. Thanks to a new fund established by the New Zealand Gift Trade Association and XPO Exhibitions, retailers in Christchurch and affected surrounding areas can apply for a subsidy to attend the Spring Gift Fair in Auckland.

Bill Spillane, chair of the NZ Gift Trade Association and XPO’s managing director, says that both organisations are right behind the initiative.

“The South Island retail environment has always been an active and vibrant one, and it was doing well despite the global economic problems. But the two big earthquakes in Christchurch changed things for businesses there. This fund has been set-up to help retailers, who would have visited Christchurch’s now-cancelled Winter Gift Fair, to get to Auckland for Spring Gift Fair 2011 in August.”

Christchurch retailers who had registered to attend their local Gift Fair, or who normally attend one of the other New Zealand Gift Fairs, can apply for subsidised accommodation in Auckland, says Bill Spillane.

“Through the fund, eligible retailers could pay as little as $23 a night at Auckland’s renowned Rendezvous Hotel. XPO is also putting on extra shuttles between all our hotel partners and the ASB Showgrounds, so the only large costs for visitors are airfares and travel from and to the airport.

“Every year for decades the Winter Gift Fair has been a vital part of the South Island retail scene. We’re devastated that it can’t happen in 2011, and many retailers have expressed their disappointment too. Thousands of South Island retailers do the bulk of their buying at the Christchurch Fair. The products seen and bought there, and the deals done, can make the difference between a retailer having a good year and one they’d rather forget. Modern gift retailing is not a simple business, and successful businesses need to consider market and product trends, customer needs, and be able to negotiate good deals. The Gift Fairs are the premier business tools for these retailers to network and to meet the manufacturers, wholesalers and importers driving some of those trends. Not being able to attend a Gift Fair is a huge blow.

“That’s why we’re committing a substantial amount to the fund, and we’re pleased that our hotel partners have come on board as well, dropping room rates to very low levels. We’re aiming to help at least 500 ‘quake affected businesses get to Auckland so they can buy the stock they need to trade through this tragic event. If they can continue to trade, they can continue to help Christchurch recover, keeping people in employment and contributing to the local economy.”

Retailers who believe they are eligible for a subsidy from the fund but haven’t received the email from XPO Exhibitions about the offer are encouraged to contact XPO for more information.  Retailers can call 0800 367 976 or email

For more information contact:
Irene Smith – Group Marketing Manager
Phone: 09 976 8352 or 021 378 202

  • Scam Targets NZ Trade Fairs

FAIR Guide

In the past few years we have become aware that an online directory called Fairguide have been contacting our exhibitors asking them to "update their free listing details" on our shows.

Please be aware that the fine print of the contract includes a charge of approx US$1531 per year for a period of 3 years.

Please note that we are not associated with and do not endorse those proprietors or others, or that website. We suggest that you make your own decisions and, if appropriate, obtain independent legal advice, before you respond to or deal with those proprietors or others, or that website. 

You may also find further information about Fairguide at

StopECG has now published basic advice, primarily be to help those who
have already signed these forms in error - please go to to find out more.

Read what the NZ Herald had to say ...


EXPO Guide

Now it seems another 'directory service', based in Mexico under the name of EXPO-GUIDE is approaching exhibitors with the request to check the accuracy of their listing details and proceed with its update.

Please be aware that the fine print of the contract includes a charge of US$1676 per year for a period of 3 years.

Again, please note that we are not associated with and do not endorse those proprietors or others, or their websites. We suggest that you make your own decisions and, if appropriate, obtain independent legal advice, before you respond to or deal with those proprietors or others, or their websites.

XPO are not affiliated with, nor endorse, either of these websites.