Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Dunedin has won the International Deer Biology Congress in 2026, which will attract up to 500 cervid researchers and professionals to the ‘unofficial wildlife capital of New Zealand’.

Themed ‘Your Deer Here’, the conference will take place in February 2026 at the University of Otago, bringing together biologists, ecologists, veterinarians, geneticists, wildlife managers, conservationists, food, health, and production researchers to discuss the diverse aspects of deer management and biology from various perspectives globally.

It’s the first time the event has been held in New Zealand since Dunedin hosted the inaugural event in 1983. The winning bid was led by scientist Jamie Ward from AgResearch, with support from Deer Industry New Zealand, Enterprise Dunedin, and the Tourism New Zealand Business Events team.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager NZ & Business Events, Bjoern Spreitzer adds: “This international congress provides multiple benefits for New Zealand, bringing high-quality visitors to our shores who will explore Aotearoa as well as share their expertise and building networks with our local specialists.”

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

“We want to bring together the world deer science community as well as bringing together the entire New Zealand deer community.”

Jamie Ward says: “Dunedin was chosen for its iconic legacy with this Congress, its strength in Deer Science at AgResearch’s Invermay Agricultural Centre, and the strong history of scientific excellence at Otago University, as well as a fascinating history of deer introductions, diverse landscapes and uniquely accessible wildlife. To get the news of hosting this Congress not long after we celebrated the milestone of 50 years of Deer Science at Invermay makes it even more special. We want to bring together the world deer science community as well as bringing together the entire New Zealand deer community which has never been done before.”

“The intention is not only to showcase New Zealand and our interesting and innovative approaches to deer but to share our ideas, techniques and technologies, learn from our international colleagues and have wide-ranging conversations on how we can work to improve all things deer globally.”

“We also want our visitors to have a great time and hopefully extend their stays to see more of New Zealand, so many of them are very excited already, it really is a bucket list country to visit and see ‘Their Deer Here’.”

Emil Murphy, Science and Policy Manager at Deer Industry New Zealand, adds: “This win is a testament to the close relationship between researchers and industry that has enabled New Zealand to be at the leading edge of deer science for the last 50 years. The congress will help build interest for deer science in New Zealand and lift the research collaborations that will advance our knowledge about deer.”

Photo Credit: Tourism New Zealand

Alongside plenary sessions, presentations and poster sessions, the programme will include a Field Day tour to the internationally renowned Invermay Agricultural Centre and to a local commercial deer breeding farm. Visitors will also get to explore the wildlife of the Otago Peninsula.

Louise Woodburn, Business Events Lead – Enterprise Dunedin, says: “This is an excellent win. It reinforces Dunedin’s reputation as New Zealand’s wildlife capital, offering opportunities to explore both our world-leading research and commercialisation in this field and our beautiful wildlife and landscapes.”

A bumper run for conferences in Dunedin

The win kicks off a bumper run for international conferences in Dunedin. In 2023 the city will host the International Foundation of Fashion and Technology (IFFTI) in April, the International Symposium Adapted Physical Activity in July, the 9th Asia Pacific International Congress of Anatomists (9th APICA) and the 20th Australian and New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists (ANZACA) Conference 2023 in November, and the World Leisure Congress 2023 in December.

In January 2024, the city will welcome the International Human Resources Conference, and some 1000 delegates are expected at the History of Science and Technology Congress 2025.

Source: Tourism New Zealand

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