People of Asuwere - David Caldwell

Meet David Caldwell, Asuwere member and a key player in the sports travel and hospitality scene down under. As the GM and Director of Sports Travel & Hospitality Group in New Zealand and Australia, he's the go-to guy for unforgettable sports and culture experiences around the globe that leaves fans buzzing. David has been in the game for years and with his unwavering passion and commitment, he and his team have been redefining the way sports lovers experience with their beloved teams while jet-setting around the globe. Join us as we dive into David's world and explore how they do things at STHNZ!

Tell us a bit about STHNZ.

Sports Travel & Hospitality NZ Ltd is one of 4 offices worldwide that sits under the STH Group of companies based in Japan, UK, Australia of course, NZ. Across the group, our expertise is creating travel and hospitality experiences for some of the world's biggest sporting events like Rugby World Cups, ICC Cricket World Cups, the Olympics, and the Aussie Open, to name a few.

We started life in NZ more than 11 years ago as All Blacks Tours, the official supporter tours company of NZR, which is still the brand we're most recognised by today but over the last few years, we've started to diversify into other sports, so to do that we've started using our parent company brand, Sports Travel & Hospitality. Rugby is in our DNA, but Kiwis are sports fans at heart, so we've started replicating our travel and hospitality experiences in other sports like F1, tennis, and cricket. 

All Blacks Tours has been running for over 11 years and has continued to grow. How many people have you got in France at the moment?

All Blacks Tours will always be the baby of our brands, and it's been an absolute privilege to be involved since day one. Having guardianship of one of the most recognisable sporting assets in the world was a daunting proposition when we first started, but I think we've done it proud as the conduit for so many All Blacks fans over the years. France is our 3rd RWC, and they've all been so different in many ways. This time we'll have over 3000 passionate All Blacks fans heading to France to support the team. Expectations don't change, as Kiwis, we feel part of the team, and our expectations of winning are probably only surpassed by the players. What I have noticed over the 3 RWCs we've been part of is we're a little more forgiving than we used to be, we've come to realise the sun does come up the next day, even when our winning expectations aren't met.

What can someone expect from one of these experiences?

Fans join a tour primarily for a few reasons: 1. everything is managed for you; turn up, and we'll take care of the rest. 2. to visit places and countries they haven't been to, the destination drives the decision to join a tour, rugby is the excuse, and finally, to meet like-minded rugby fans in a group environment.

Once on tour, expect an assault on the senses dictated by the destination - cultural, gastronomical, historical, and, of course, the hospitality of the opposing fans. Everything from grassroots rugby experiences to visiting some of the most iconic landmarks in the world to meeting the All Blacks themselves is catered for. You can also expect to meet people who will become lifelong friends. We have a group of customers who met at our first RWC in 2015 and are still traveling together to this day.

Do you have a particular tour highlight?

I know it sounds a little cliche, but there are too many highlights to name. We've got enough to one day sit down and write a book about all the experiences we've been part of over the years. As many countries as we've visited as many incredible sporting moments we've witnessed, my personal highlights are still those nuggets I get from speaking with our customers. We have such a diverse customer base; everyone has their own story and connection to the All Blacks and their reason for following the team around the world. I could listen to those stories all day. Knowing we've been able to play our part in fulfilling, in some cases, the trip of a lifetime, my entire team would say the same: that is the highlight and the most rewarding aspect of our jobs. 

What does the future hold for STHNZ? Are there any more sports tours in the pipeline?

With rugby well and truly part of our product offering, we'd love to make several other iconic sporting events available to our loyal customers. We're involved with the Aussie Open for 2024 and beyond and recently released a very cool F1 experience for the Melbourne Grand Prix. More tennis with Roland Garros and other motor racing events like Bathurst and Indy aren't far away. Golf and American sports are also something we're exploring. The beauty with some of these sports is you don't need to be a rusted-on fan, the event itself provides so much entertainment. We're happy to look at whatever events our customers tell us they'd like to experience, we're sports fans, too.

The official coin from the Heineken Coin toss in the Quater Finals of the Japan 2019 RWC

How does Asuwere suit your lifestyle?

I'm like many people who run a business and balance that with family life and friends. I bounce between traveling (for work or with the family), board meetings, stakeholder engagements, and time in the office. Some of those occur on the same day, so I want good quality clothing that fits well and is comfortable all day/evening, hence why I'm a member. I love the versatility of the Asuwere selection; pieces match effortlessly, and it's so easy to dress up or down, depending on the situation. The ability to order next month's piece in a couple of keystrokes is an absolute godsend. We all seem time-poor, so any opportunity to save a few hours is hugely valuable.

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