If you have been to a Worldcon, you know to expect:

  • Thousands of people from around the world
  • Many events, programme items, exhibits, parties and more
  • The chance to hear your favourite writer/artists/editors/fans speak
  • The chance to meet other fans

Due to the worldwide pandemic, CoNZealand has had to move online. So instead of going to Wellington, New Zealand for a Worldcon, we on the CoNZealand committee are working hard to bring the Worldcon directly to you. The virtual CoNZealand will be, in many ways, an experiment in how to adapt to a future which science fiction writers may have predicted but science fiction fans did not expect.

While accessing the convention will be different, many parts of the virtual Worldcon will be similar to Worldcons in the past. For the first virtual Worldcon, we promise:

  • Thousands of people from around the world
  • Many events, programme items, exhibits, parties and more
  • The chance to hear your favourite writer/artists/editors/fans speak
  • The chance to meet other fans

And . . . you can engage with the virtual Worldcon from the comfort of your own computer.

For the last few months the CoNZealand crew has been planning how to deliver a virtual Worldcon. We have worked extensively with software such as Zoom, Discord, and Grenadine to develop a varied convention experience.

What You Will Need to Attend the First Virtual Worldcon

  • An attending CoNZealand membership

  • A personal computer, tablet, or smartphone

  • Internet access

  • Discord membership & probably a Zoom membership

The Fantasy Network is working with CoNZealand to develop an online portal for CoNZealand. You will use it to log into the Virtual CoNZealand website. We will have more information about that later--watch the conzealand.nz website and your email for details. Make sure your email filters allow you to receive email from conzealand.nz and grenadine.co

Once you log into the portal, you will gain access to the Grenadine Guide, which allows you to access different areas of the convention -- Events, Exhibits, Parties, Chat Areas and so on.

Most of the Grenadine Guide will work as it has for many recent Worldcons. If you were at the Dublin Worldcon and used the online guide, you are already familiar with Grenadine. The main difference is, instead of locating a convention center room to attend an item, when you want to attend an item, just press the big blue "Join on Zoom" button at the time the item is due to start:

Pressing the “Join on Zoom” button launches Zoom and takes you to a virtual room for the item.

We anticipate that items scheduled in a Zoom Webinar will have enough capacity for any CoNZealand attending member to attend. Items scheduled in a Zoom Meeting are designed to be more interactive and are limited to 100 people.

A few programme items, like workshops and literary beers, require advance sign up. You will be able to sign up through the CoNZealand Grenadine Guide. Note that the first version of the convention schedule online may not have sign-up enabled. We need to have Grenadine securely integrated with the new portal login system before we can open sign-ups. Keep an eye on the CoNZealand Programme Page and the CoNZealand 2020 Worldcon Group on Facebook for complete information about the online guide.

Remember: most panels and events will be available for Webcast within a day of item being recorded. If you miss an item due to a Zoom Meeting being full or because it was on at a bad time for you, you have until 9 August 2020 to view it. Complete information about viewing recorded panels will be in the Grenadine Guide.

Since virtual conferences are new to most people, we will provide online documents, FAQs and short videos to help you with Zoom, Discord and Grenadine. When you log into the Grenadine Guide, you'll see the Event Info link at the top left of the page.  For most Worldcons this has given you information about the physical site, but for Virtual CoNZealand, it will have more information about how to use the software. 

We will have at least one room host in every virtual programme item to help anyone with technical issues.

We will use Discord for chat sessions -- more informal social interactions. If you do not have a Discord account, be sure to sign up for one and use the same email address for it that you used for CoNZealand and for Grenadine.

To check which email address you bought your CoNZealand membership for, go to the membership area, or check your email to see which one CoNZealand is using

If you have used Grenadine at different conventions, Grenadine has probably stored multiple email addresses for you. Try to login to Grenadine with the address that is attached to your CoNZealand membership.

Note: We anticipate that the Worldcon portal will require a unique email address for each attending member. Be sure each CoNZealand member in your household has a unique email address. You can update email addresses for each person in the CoNZealand membership area.

The Code of Conduct will be strictly enforced throughout virtual CoNZealand. Listeners will be available if you have any problems you want to discuss.  Deliberate trolling will result in ejection from the virtual CoNZealand item you are attending, your CoNZealand attending membership may be revoked and we may report you to Zoom and DIscord.

Understanding Time Zones for a Virtual Convention

Virtual CoNZealand will begin on Wednesday, 29 July and end on Sunday, 2 August. The convention will be based in the New Zealand Time Zone. For pre-con activities, use the Time Zone Converter to convert between NZT and your time. For the convention, you should be able to enter your time zone into the Grenadine Guide to have all times display in NZT as well as your time zone.

In general, CoNZealand will run items in real time between 09:00 NZT and 19:00 NZT. The Events, including the Hugo Ceremony, will start at 11:00 NZT. There may be a few real-time items during “overnight” NZT so our members in Europe, West Asia and Africa are able to attend items in their time zones. We expect Discord will be available most of the time during the virtual convention.

We plan to record most programme items and events. We will make them available to CoNZealand attending members online until 9 August.

CoNZealand Events will webcast the Hugo Award Ceremony. As in the past, the webcast will be available to the public online.