Background to the project:

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is made up of 21 economies and plays an important role as the Asia-Pacific region in furthering diplomatic efforts, negotiating trade deals and supporting the economic and cultural aspirations of the many indigenous peoples within the region. It is one of the most important international events New Zealand will host in a generation. Planning for ‘our year’ as the host commenced more than three years ago but the impact of COVID-19 in 2020 forced New Zealand into making APEC 2021 an ambitious exercise in digital diplomacy.

This had not been done before, and presented a wonderful opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s support for and commitment to digital diplomacy. Having 12 months of virtual diplomatic meetings required the APEC team to reset programme planning from the previously planned physical event and build a system that could hold effective, interactive, and dynamic meetings, support the achievement of APEC’s work, and promote New Zealand and our people’s creativity, digitally.

Hosting APEC combines very different paradigms: policy, event management, project management and, for NZ’s host year, a technology focus. Essential to solutions that made sense and added value for all teams, were a collaborative design process and simple and effortless implementation. - Mike Letts

Delivering a well-run virtual APEC demonstrated New Zealand’s digital and creative capabilities, along with our commitment to continued and effective diplomacy.

APEC 2021 created a virtual environment for connections to be strengthened and APEC’s important work to continue.

The case:

Tregaskis Brown was engaged to support APEC in a variety of ways, including developing the initial business cases, providing the outsourced PMO (Project Management Office) function and a team of project management resources. The change from a physical to a virtual event meant a re-set, and every aspect reconsidered, for a virtual context. We initially started work with APEC to create a project management plan for the Delegate Services team. The outcome was to create a supportive and reliable delegate experience, resulting in a positive experience for all delegates.

This initial planning and approach was then applied consistently across projects within the virtual experience workstream. This included the Communications team and the CEO Summit team, seeking to improve project management plans and supporting the foundations for the virtual experience of APEC. This approach also offered the client a workstream wide view, allowing visibility of independence and a planning base that the wider APEC programme has been continually improving upon as the event progresses.


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Project Leads

Karen Tregaskis

Founding Partner

Karen Clarke

Chief Executive

Measures of success: 

“The team at Tregaskis Brown has supported us with the governance, planning and programme management of the APEC 2021 host year from our very first Business Case to the final success and outcomes reporting. I have appreciated the collaborative way you have worked with the team at APEC New Zealand to build the capacity that we needed to secure funding, plan and deliver successfully. I have also appreciated your wise counsel over the last five years.

The entire team at APEC New Zealand is grateful to Tregaskis Brown Ltd for working with us to find solutions to the challenges we faced during our host year. We were ambitious and I feel immensely proud of what we achieved and delivered. So, thank you for your team’s contribution in helping us to deliver a successful APEC 2021.”

- Andrea Smith, Deputy Secretary APEC New Zealand