The New Zealand in 2020 Worldcon bid is announcing they have changed the dates of their potential 78th Worldcon to Wednesday, July 29 through Sunday, August 2, 2020 due to the unavailability of one of the main facilities.
Their proposed location is still in the same facilities in central Wellington, New Zealand. They include TSB Arena, Shed 6, the InterContinental Wellington and the Michael Fowler Centre. The date change will ensure that a New Zealand Worldcon will have “unfettered access” to the facilities and accommodation required to run a successful event, should the NZ in 2020 bid be awarded the convention.
The site selection vote will be held at the 2018 Worldcon in San José. New Zealand is running unopposed.
Long-time science fiction fan, Norman Cates is the chair of the NZ in 2020 Worldcon bid. He said in a press release:
We appreciate that this date change would make our Worldcon early compared to previous Worldcons. We did a lot of debating about this, and moving the date was the best overall option to preserve our best possible Worldcon.
The committee’s original dates were August 12-16, 2020. The new July 29 starting date will result in the earliest Worldcon since Torcon I ran July 3-5, 1948. On the other hand, the New Zealand Worldcon would be positioned to start only about a week sooner than Interaction, held August 4-8, 2005.
File 770 asked what happened to preempt NZ in 2020’s dates. Cates explained:
We had a meeting with WREDA (Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, the group that deals with our facilities) and they told us that a long-running and much larger event swooped in and booked the TSB Arena from August 5th into October. This blocked out our dates.
We asked why this wasn’t known much earlier, and we were told that the event has a contract directly with the city, that over rides WREDA. This appears to have blindsided WREDA as well.
Bear in mind that until we can pay a deposit, they don’t really consider the facilities properly held. We had a memorandum from them agreeing to the dates.
We didn’t see much point in wailing and shouting at that point… It appears to be a case of a higher power over-riding.
So our best option was to shift dates, which our GOHs are fine with.
Losing facilities to an event able to sign a contract is an experience several U.S. bids also have suffered over the years.
Even though New Zealand is unopposed and in a position to consider paying a deposit to keep facilities available, Cates said the required amount was beyond their resources.
NZ in 2020 is offering “pre-supporting” memberships for NZ$30 and a variety of other types of pre-supporting memberships to help fund their Worldcon bid. Joining the bid helps pay for the cost of promoting the bid. Membership forms and additional information about the bid are available on the bid’s website, https://nzin2020.nz .