Hospitality Business September 2021

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EVENTFUL POSSIBILITIES

Positive Vibe With Te Pae Convention Centre Opening

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Christchurch welcomes banquets, conferences & seminars.

nner city Christchurch restaurants, bars and hoteliers are hanging out for the opening of the city’s grand new Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, due in late October. Hours before news of last month’s August 17 snap national lockdown, centre general manager Ross Steele and his team were celebrating with more than 100 confirmed events on the books already. These included conventions, exhibitions, large gala banquet dinners, seminars and live performances. Once the borders re-open in times ahead, Ross says there will be a huge spill over to the city’s surrounding restaurants, cafes, bars and retail outlets. “This is all about driving the local economy,” he says. Both the new state-of-the-art convention centre, for which construction began in November

2017, and the city’s proposed new Canterbury Multi-Use Arena, also in the central city, are being built as economic drivers, says Ross. They’re part of a structured, long-awaited rebuild of the city centre following the devastating 2010/2011 earthquakes that hit Canterbury. Long Lead Time The Christchurch City Council voted last month to restore the Multi-Use Arena seating size to 30,000, with capabilities to host up to 41,000 people for concerts. The council was responding to major concerns from central city businesses, including many

“There will be a huge spill over to the city’s surrounding restaurants, cafes, bars and retail outlets.” – Ross Steele.

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in hospitality, when the arena had previously been downsized by 5000 seats. “The convention business has a long lead time and we’re already chasing bookings out to 2027, with some already secured for 2024 and 2025,” says Ross. Prior to last month’s lockdown the excitement was starting to build. “It’s the first of these international convention centres for New Zealand coming on line,” he says. “Our clients are really excited about it as they can see the quality of the build and construction. There’s a real buzz.” The 28,000sqm centre offers all sorts of seating and break-out configurations, including a 1400seat auditorium, divisible into two autonomous spaces of 700 and 14 separate meeting spaces in different configurations. Not to mention, the 2800sqm Exhibition Halls, which can be expanded to 3300sqm. “We have our beautiful Conway Rooms which can hold up to 500 or be set as individual conference rooms. The Rivers Rooms can seat up to about 1000 people for banquets.”