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March 2004: APEC 2004 at the Christchurch Convention Centre

There was high security and a visible police presence around the Christchurch Convention Centre for the successful week of APEC 2004, the 4th APEC Ministers' Meeting on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation. The inner city around the venue was gleaming and city staff had even polished the nearby bus-stops before the 1250 delegates arrived!

The Christchurch Convention Centre and Town Hall hosted the 4th APEC Science Ministers' Meeting on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation, 10 - 12 March 2004. Two main events at the conference were the meeting of the APEC Industrial Science and Technology Working Group (ISTWG) held over the first two days, followed by the 5th APEC Research and Development Leaders' Forum.In addition, New Zealand's biotechnology, leading edge science, IT & communication technology, and niche manufacturing were promoted through an Innovation Showcase held on the ground floor of the Convention Centre.

Products as diverse as container handling systems, GPS navigation devices, and 3D imaging for biomedical research contrasted with technology to improve the environment, such as a device to enhance crop pollination by delivering beneficial products to the entrance of a beehive to be taken up by bees.

The R&D Forum delegates attended workshops aimed at capturing value from science.Experts and eminent speakers from across APEC economies discussed the challenges of commercialising science such as making the connections among research institutes and businesses and attracting funding.

Site visits around Christchurch and Lincoln areas were organised for delegates and a dinner for invited guests was held at the historic Otahuna Lodge at Tai Tapu. Two major addresses were given at luncheons - one by the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, the Hon. Pete Hodgson and the other by New Zealand-born Chemistry Nobel Laureate, Professor Alan MacDiarmid.