Auckland Live Staff Spotlight: Julian Harrison

Auckland Live Staff Spotlight: Julian Harrison

Head of Venue Planning

Published: Thursday 6 June 2024


Auckland Live just turned 10! As we mark a decade of bringing the city performing arts and events to create memories that last a lifetime, we will be highlighting the journeys of some of our amazing staff behind the curtain who make the magic happen.

This week we meet Julian Harrison.

Introduce yourself and your role at Auckland Live

Kia ora, my name is Julian Harrison, and I work with the Auckland Live team as the Head of Venue Planning at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited.


What does your job entail? 

Auckland Live has incredible Account Managers, Creative Producers and Producers who are at the coalface working with presenters, promoters, artists, and industry to plan, confirm and oversee the pipeline of event content in our venues. They are working in what is commonly called the ‘sales and programming’ phase of the event cycle, prior to operations handover, planning and delivery.

The role of the Venue Planning team is to be a central hub of business support for Auckland Live (and Auckland Conventions) teams by managing the venue booking and contracting framework, and best practice systems, policy and procedure that allow 360-degree integration with Marketing & Ticketing, Venue Operations, Technical Production, Property, Finance, Legal, Risk and more.

My role is to strategically oversee this model with a focus on filling our 12 venues with aligned content, delivering commercial and social outcomes, managing risk, compliance, and maximising opportunity for Tātaki Auckland Unlimited at the broader venue-level.


Paint a picture of a ‘day in the life’ in your role as Head of Venue Planning. 

I have two loud and intense kids who kickstart my day and go to school with my wife, Rose, who also teaches at the school (amazing short-term bonus). I bus to work, listen to true crime podcasts, get a second coffee and some chocolate off Usha’s desk, gossip with Ange and Glen before greeting my amazing Venue Planning team (Alex, Maree, Holly & Annabelle).

I usually have a few big projects on and contracts to negotiate, and like all of us I have multiple deadlines and large quantities of work to get through. What stands out for me in my current role is the variety, as Venue Planning is a last stop for all things ‘grey area’ in venues management. Whether via meetings, events or walking about the office, during my day I get to connect with people at Auckland Live who are passionate, highly skilled, quirky, and fun with a no-BS pragmatic temperament that is typical in the events industry in doing whatever is required to get on-sale, campaign-launched, doors-open, and curtains-up.


What’s your favourite thing about you? 

In 1992 I performed Billie Jean at Ponsonby Intermediate School assembly and lived to tell the tale.


What’s the hardest thing about what you do? 

As I said earlier, I deal with lots of grey-area issues, and while solving complex problems is a driver for me, it can be overwhelming sometimes – so learning to take a step back and prioritise is the key for me right now.


What has been a highlight or special memory for you in your job at Auckland Live? 

In a previous role as Producer for Auckland Live, I was privileged to work on five sold-out seasons of Manawa Ora, which showcased performances and music created by teens working with one-to-one industry mentors. This was a flagship project of Ngā Rangatahi Toa, an education and creative arts initiative based in love, kindness and compassion that provides long-term wrap around support to young people dealing with a variety of issues. The shows and stories were unbelievable – raw and uplifting with real-world outcomes.

Shows and events Julian is looking forward to:

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