Holding an Event in Whanganui

Whanganui offers versatile facilities for events of all sizes. Our infrastructure supports visitors and getting around the compact city centre is easy and enjoyable.

The Royal Whanganui Opera House

Whanganui’s historic opera house is a popular venue for performances, graduations, productions, seminars, weddings and meetings. The theatre seats 830 patrons and is the venue of choice for many local, national and international events.

The 115-year-old Opera House is equipped with audio visual requirements and a technical lead and team can assist with set-up and technical advice, ensuring events are a success. Pre-show and intermission refreshments are provided in the upper bar area, along with ice cream sellers to sweeten the theatre experience.

The Royal Whanganui Opera House is operated through Whanganui District Council’s Venues & Events.

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Whanganui War Memorial Centre

The Whanganui War Memorial Centre, which opened in 1960, is among the top 1000 architectural “modernistic” buildings in the world and the top 50 in the Southern Hemisphere. This premium venue houses three flexible spaces and a large modern kitchen, making it suitable for hosting a range of events. The Centre is bookable as separate spaces or as a whole.

Main Hall

The Main Hall is very versatile and an excellent venue for meetings, conferences, sports tournaments, socials, balls, exhibitions, displays and public entertainment as well as many other activities.

It is the largest of the single available areas at 33m x 32m = 1056 sq m, and has one of the largest sprung dance floors in the Southern Hemisphere, at 573sq m. The Hall can seat up to 1,300 conference style, hold 1,598 for a concert or 600 in a formal dinner setting (550 with black surround curtains) and a host of other alternatives.

Concert Chamber

The Concert Chamber features fixed auditorium tiered seating for 311 with an open stage (9.14m x 4.56m). With carpet underfoot and outstanding acoustics, it is ideal for concerts, conferences, presentations, meetings and much more.

A feature of the Concert Chamber is the Steinway grand piano, which can be hired out or discreetly stored away if not required.

Pioneer Room

The Pioneer Room is the smaller of rooms at the Centre and has splendid views overlooking Pukenamu/Queen’s Park grounds.

With direct access to the kitchen and serving hatches, it is extremely versatile and ideally suited for a variety of events, fully carpeted with an abundance of natural light. Seating for up to 200 conference style or 120 for a formal dinner setting ensures the possibilities are endless. It is also ideal to set up as a boardroom or classroom and you can enjoy the FREE WIFI.

The Forecourt

Upon entering the War Memorial Centre you will come across a large outside forecourt area, idea for facilitated parking for up to 70 vehicles. This space can also be utilised for outdoor events, including car shows, children’s days, marching parades and much more.

Downstairs Foyer

The downstairs foyer is an ideal space for registrations, meet and greets, pre-event drinks and much more. With lots of natural light and beautiful stained glass windows, this space can cater for a wide range of event needs and also accompany other rooms within the venue.

Upstairs Foyer

The upstairs foyer is similar to the downstairs foyer, and is often utilised in partnership with the Main Hall or Pioneer Room. Ideal for buffet meal serving, pre event registration, meet and greets and much more.

Dressing Rooms

The War Memorial Centre has two sets of dressing rooms on either side of the stage in the Main Hall, as well as two downstairs below the Concert Chamber. Fully equipped with toilets, showers and basins, these are ideal for performers and hirers to utilise for their event.

The Kitchen

A fully equipped kitchen is located on the upper floor, set up with two commercial ovens, two commercial pie warmers, chiller and sanitiser. This space can be booked as part of your venue hire, and is ideal for your caterers to base themselves from during your event.

The Centre is operated through Whanganui District Council’s Venues & Events.

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Cooks Gardens Events Centre

Home to Peter Snell’s world record breaking mile in 1962, Cooks Gardens is renowned for its sporting and athletics events. This premier venue also offers a unique track-side venue for conferences, meetings, product launches, and weddings. The venue is equipped with a fully operational kitchen and bar, ensuring all food and beverage requirements can be catered for.

Peter Snell Lounge

A spacious lounge named after one of history’s running greats, the large windows offer magnificent views of the stadium and wider city. This lounge has an inbuilt sound system, projector and large screen, all ready to make your next function come to life. Comfortably accommodating 120 theatre-style, 80 in banquet and up to 200 for a cocktail reception, the Peter Snell Lounge can be combined with the Cooks Room to accommodate up to 230 guests.

Cooks Room

Offering equally splendid views over the athletics track, the Cooks Room provides the ideal atmosphere for smaller meetings, dinners and cocktail evenings. The room can host 40 guests theatre-style, 20 in banquet and up to 30 for a cocktail reception.

The Cooks Room can be combined with the Peter Snell Lounge to accommodate up to 230 guests.

Corporate Boxes & Meeting Room

Overlooking the athletics track, the Corporate Boxes provide the ideal smaller meeting, presentation or break out room for up to 15 guests. For events requiring that indoor-outdoor flow, there are access points from each Corporate Box to the tiered Stadium seating.


The Cooks Gardens Events Centre has a perfect sized kitchen to cater for all functions. The kitchen comes as part of the venue hire when booking the Peter Snell or Cooks rooms, or can be hired seperately. The kitchen also includes a large chiller and outside courtyard to park additional fridges if required.

Media Room

Located down the West end of the grandstand is the purpose built Media Room. This is the ideal space for commentators and media to set up when the field is in use for sporting events, or also the perfect home for event teams to base themselves from for bigger bookings. The ground PA and sound system are located in here, as well as the score board operation panel.

Cooks Gardens is operated through Whanganui District Council’s Venues & Events.

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Whanganui Function Centre

The Whanganui Function Centre is based at the racecourse on Purnell St and offers a large facility with a number of different sized rooms for a diverse range of functions from conferences, meetings, birthday celebrations, funerals and weddings to larger community events.

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The Kingsgate

The Kingsgate is a 58-room hotel with a number of venue options, from a conference room that can accommodate 180 people to a private boardroom. The hotel also offers in-house catering and has a bar that can be hired for cocktail receptions.

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Anndion Lodge And Function Centre

Anndion Lodge enjoys a quiet, picturesque location and conference facilities offer views of the river and a private outdoor courtyard, making it a relaxing setting for conferences, meetings, training sessions, team building and staff retreats. The Anndion is just five minutes from the city centre and has 21 rooms of accommodation.

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Tarapuruhi Bushy Park Homestead

Bushy Park Homestead is a historical homestead located in Bushy Park Sanctuary. The charming heritage building and surrounding park makes it a unique and venue for corporate functions, conferences and team retreats. Accommodation is available for up to 22 people.

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Heritage House

The stunning Edwardian building in downtown Whanganui was built in 1912 and declared the “best building in the Empire” at the time. The venue has only gotten more elegant with age and is a stunning location for corporate events and functions.

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Where to stay in Whanganui

For a quick overview of what’s available and to book online, use our Booking.com accommodation widget.

For expert local advice or further help on your stay, contact our Whanganui isite visitor centre or browse our guides on Where to stay.

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