History of the show

1956

The New Zealand Boat Show was first held as part of the Easter Show at the Auckland Showgrounds.

1957-1960

The boat show is promoted under its own name as "The Auckland Easter Show Boat Show" due to its early success.

1958-1960

The Outboard Boating Club runs its own display of boats in various locations. 

1961

Organisers from various clubs come together to run the first Auckland Boat and Caravan Show. 

1962

The first boat show "lake" is introduced, becoming a popular attraction over the years. During this time it was home to a huge range of entertainment: from hilarious water ski shows and fiercely-fought powerboat races to a pirate ship giving rides; from performing chimpanzees to a helicopter dumping monsoon buckets of water into the cockpit of an apparently-unsinkable runabout.

1965

The Showgrounds adds a new pavilion, expanding the display space.

1960-1970

The boat show goes by various names, including Boat and Caravan Show, Auckland Boat Show, Auckland Boat and Caravan Show, and Auckland Boat Show. 

1978

The name "New Zealand National Boat Show" is briefly used, and then it becomes the New Zealand Boat Show. 

1983

The show's duration is shortened to five days. 

1985

The show is moved to Queens Birthday Weekend.

2001

Changes are made to introduce a more professional and transparent system for judging new release boats. A gala Boat of the Show Awards Evening is introduced, becoming a prestigious event in the marine industry.

2001

The show becomes known as the "Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show." 

2002-2003

The lake feature briefly returns, but proves financially unsustainable.

2007

The show's date is changed to a four-day event in mid-May, and a new pavilion is added to replace an older hall.

2011

The show is recognised as the best boat show in Australasia.

2022

XPO Exhibitions acquired the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show from long-time owner Auckland Water Ski Club.

2022

'Spillane vs Cornwall Park Trust Board' - XPO's MD wins a High Court case to save the Auckland Showgrounds from being repurposed, evidencing clear legal protections for exhibitions & events to continue priority usage of the site. The Boat Show (amongst other iconic events) was used as a case study to demonstrate the important community value that the Showgrounds has provided for many generations attending the event on the site; as well as the significant economic footprint the venue continues to provide for many 1000s of small business exhibitors. (Note : The NZ Government and Auckland Council has historically invested into the buildings & facilities at the Showgrounds for the very purpose of hosting exhibitions).

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