The first Expo was held in 1851 in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, under the theme of "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.” Since then, the purpose and structure of the global event has changed drastically.
Today, the Expo is a mega cultural event that promotes trade, tourism and so much more. Phillip Gibson was Commissioner-General during Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan, and utilised the Expo’s versatile space to renew the relationship between New Zealand and Japan.
The New Zealand pavilion at Expo 2005 was influenced by Japan’s minimalist approach to design while still conveying an authentic New Zealand atmosphere. This included interactive digital elements that told stories about New Zealand, a two-ton Pounamu nephrite jade and a movie that depicted a day in New Zealand from the perspective of a bird flying across the country.
The New Zealand pavilion at Expo 2005 in Aichi became a space that strengthened and established relationships with clients and potential business partners not only between New Zealand and Japan, but with the rest of the world.