RMBA Conference has something for all

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The Registered Master Builders Association Conference 2015 will be held at the Claudelands Conference and Exhibition Centre in Hamilton on June 2-5.

This year’s conference is themed “Lest We Forget”, and features as the main guest speaker Bill (Willie) Apiata, a recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC) for New Zealand.

Corporal Apiata was part of a New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) Troop in Afghanistan in 2004 that was attacked by about 20 enemy fighters while camped for the night in a rural area.

Rocket-propelled grenades destroyed one of the troop’s vehicles and immobilised another. Corporal Apiata was blown off the bonnet of the vehicle he had been sleeping on, while two other soldiers in or near the vehicle were wounded by shrapnel, one of them seriously.

After finding cover and assessing the soldier’s injuries, Corporal Apiata carried him across 70m of exposed ground to reach the troop’s main position. He then helped fight off the attackers.

Corporal Apiata received his VC on July 26, 2007, at Government House in Wellington.

RMBA president John Macdonald will present his welcome address on Friday, July 3, after which Minister for Building and Construction Nick Smith will speak.

Lively and informative workshops and business sessions will take place on the Friday and Saturday and, as has been the case regularly in past years, the RMBA has put together an outstanding programme for delegates and partners.

On Friday afternoon the ITM Welcome Function will see delegates travel to Matamata to experience the real Middle-Earth with a visit to the Hobbiton movie set, the bucolic setting for The Shire that featured in the Peter Jackson-directed films The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

The tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges.

Guides will escort delegates through the 12 acre site, recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton movie set was created.

Pre-dinner drinks will take place in The Green Dragon Inn, the meeting place for all residents of Hobbiton. An exact replica of the Green Dragon Inn, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies, has been masterfully recreated.

Delegates will then move through to the fully-themed party marquee for a Hobbit Feast, including beverages crafted specially for Hobbiton, and entertainment by an authentic fiddler.

The PlaceMakers Gala Dinner is on at the Claudelands Conference and Exhibition Centre on Saturday night when delegates will commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Gallipoli.

The room will be transformed to mark the occasion, with military accessories and music reflective of the era.

Meanwhile, the Partners Tour features a morning tea, fashion show, wine tasting and lunch in the tranquil setting of the lush vineyard and wine cellars at the gorgeous Vilagrad Winery on Saturday.