Manager, The Local Wine Co., Adelaide
Bachelor of Arts in Event Management
He wanted to work in event management since he was 14 years old, says Hunter Witters who completed a Bachelor of Arts in Event Management.
“I was fortunate enough to get my first job working for an event at MoMA PS1 when I was 14 years old, and from then on I was hooked. I love the fast-paced environment of working in events and enjoy seeing that my contribution has a direct impact. As I came closer to applying for university, I found only one university that could help me pursue my passion for events; AUT.”
What he liked most about his studies at AUT was the combination of an outstanding degree structure, incredible professors and students being able to gain real-life experience as part of their degree.
“I found the industry experience my lecturers had very inspiring, and it showed me the diversity of events. One of the highlights for me was a group project where we had to make an event from scratch, and our group put our love for vintage clothing and music together and called it Tunes ‘N Threads. It was such a success that AUT hosted it again the following year. I was also very proud when I received a letter from the head of the hospitality and tourism school for having an A point average in my final year.
“My final-year workplace experience was another standout for me. My placement was with a fantastic social enterprise called Youth Art New Zealand, which specialises in connecting, showcasing and developing young creative talent across Aotearoa. I was involved in logistics management and marketing; a side of events I wasn’t familiar with but I had great mentors teaching me the ropes. The experience gave me confidence and enabled me to build relationships with some incredible people in the industry.”
A rewarding career
After graduating from AUT in mid-2021, Hunter returned to his hometown of Gisborne to apply his skills as the cellar door, accommodation and event manager for Matawhero Winery, the oldest boutique winery in the Gisborne region.
“My interest in wine sparked from undertaking the Professional Wine Studies course at AUT. From then on, my passion for wine has taken me to work at a couple of wineries in Central Otago and Gisborne. My role at Matawhero revolved around delivering the highest service for our customers whether that was helping organise various events centred around wine or weddings, conducting wine tastings, or ensuring our accommodation was the best it could be.”
He has since decided to uplift his skills in the wine industry and recently moved to South Australia to study a Master of Wine Business at the University of Adelaide.
“My dream is to one day combine my passions of events, wine and hospitality, and I’d really love to one day work at events like the New York Wine & Food Festival or be a brand ambassador for a beverage company where I can host events.
“In addition to my studies, I’m also managing wine bar The Local Wine Co. I really enjoy this job as we have an ever-changing wine list that allows me to curate new wines for our patrons to try. Being in charge of curating the wine list allows me to network with people in the wine industry, from wineries to distributors.”
Advice for other students
Hunter has some great advice for other students interested in a career in event management.
“There are many event opportunities in Auckland where you can volunteer, and I found that they’re always eager to take on students wanting to learn in the industry. There are very few industries with such a diverse range – from fashion to wine and sport, there’s an event for everyone to participate in.”
His other piece of advice is to make the most of university life.
“Take advantage of all that AUT has to offer, whether that be using its incredible facilities, going to university-run events, or learning from the incredible lecturers and all the experiences they have to offer.”