There aren’t many cities in the world that get the opportunity to redesign their topography for a new age. Christchurch now has that chance.
BY EDWINA STORIE
The blueprints of the future Christchurch were recently unveiled by mayor Bob Parker and show an accentuation of the area’s environment and history, with the size of the CBD significantly decreased.
CEO of Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, Tim Hunter, said the blueprint accentuates the stunning garden city attributes of Christchurch.
“It shapes Christchurch as a city of the future – a place where people will want to come and visit once again,” Mr Hunter said.
The Christchurch Central Development Unit developed the plan with the lightning speed of just 100 days, including input from residents, community groups and government authorities.
The newly compact CBD will be framed with parklands, allowing the space to become more people-friendly. The banks of the Avon River will become a focus, with public art telling the history of the Maori culture and waterway, drawing people to the city’s entrance.
The redesigned city is guided by its natural environment with Cathedral Square to be closed to traffic, making it a public parkspace filled with trees and plant life.
Another major difference will be the new covered stadium with natural turf to replace the earthquake-damaged AMI Stadium. It will have a capacity of 35,000 people and be within walking distance of the new convention centre and the city hotels. For those more eager to participate in sports rather than watch them, a metro sports hub will house a competition-size swimming pool with seating for up to 500, leisure pools and eight indoor courts.
An earthquake memorial will also feature in the new city vision to commemorate those who lost their lives in the 2011 tragedy, with an international competition to select the memorial’s design.
An advertising campaign to attract Australian travellers back to Christchurch was hotly vied for by 50 Australian agencies, and named the ‘most challenging brief of 2012’. The campaign kicked off in late September with the heartening slogan ‘Christchurch Reimagined’ with traditional and digital media encouraging visitors and locals to share their experiences of the city’s positive changes.
The city’s mayor and former host of This is Your Life, Mayor Bob Parker, will feature in the first wave of ads, where the future of Christchurch will become the focus. Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism CEO Tim Hunter said new images of Christchurch will be the primary driver of perception change.
Christchurch will aim to attract up to 70,000 Australian visitors after numbers fell from 3.2 million in the year leading up to the quake, to 2.26 million for the year following.
ibis is the first hotel to reopen in christchurch
After two years of mourning, recovering, replanning and rebuilding, the first hotel has opened up in Christchurch, signalling a new beginning for the city. The Ibis Christchurch Hotel has been closed since the 6.3 earthquake of 2011, but is now happily welcoming business travellers and tourists back to the city to see its progress.
The hotel has restored its 155 rooms and installed strengthening materials to fulfil the city’s new building codes. The property was only four years old at the time of the earthquake, and is practically brand new again with the restoration. With the typical reliability of an Ibis, it houses a new restaurant, lobby bar and meeting room for business travellers.
It’s just steps from the quiet parkland area of Cathedral Square, along with Project Re: Start which quickly became a cultural hotspot when the city began taking steps to heal soon after the event.
Accor’s Novotel is scheduled to reopen along with the rest of the city in mid-2013, while the future of the group’s two All Seasons hotels have yet to be determined.
vbase christchurch’s first conference venue
The Air Force Museum is the newest events venue to open in Christchurch, and is now servicing the local and international business events market. Just 10 minutes from Christchurch International Airport and 15 minutes from Christchurch central, Air Force Museum is surrounded by the Historic Wigram Air Force Base, making it a unique spot rivalled by few.
It has breakout and meetings rooms, an atrium hall featuring four generations of aircraft, an Aircraft Hall, and a Brevet Lounge of gentleman’s style with leather lounges and a fully stocked bar.
Its offerings will continue to diversify in January 2013 with the completion of the new conference and events hall. It will boast a floor space of 1500 square metres which offers seven different function rooms catering for two to 1300 people.
The venue has the ability to accommodate day conferences, breakouts, trade and gala dinners, while ample complimentary parking and full function catering facilities will be available.
For more information contact business development manager Catherine Lee on
firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.airforcemuseum.co.nz
claudelands hosts “best ‘first event’ ever”
Moving away from Christchurch, Hamilton was recently rated one of the best conference destinations in New Zealand, and the new Claudelands Conference and Exhibition Centre is quickly winning recognition for its refreshing approach to events.
Claudelands hosted its first trade-only expo, which saw thousands of Foodstuffs’ delegates gathering in the region, and has been singled out for praise from conference organisers.
The New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology three-day conference was a demanding event with four concurrent streams of activity taking place on each day, but NZIFST executive manager and event organiser Rosemary Hancock, said Claudelands performed well under the pressure.
“We very much liked the new venue. We have been to Hamilton before, but no other venue could accommodate our needs like Claudelands,” she said.
The versatility of Claudelands was further proven in April when Armageddon, the country’s largest pulp-culture expo, was held in Hamilton for the first time. More than 12,000 fans of comics, sci-fi and zombies visited the venue, testing the exhibition hall, arena, grounds and staff with such promising results that Armageddon Expo owner Bill Geradts described it as the “best ‘first event’ at a venue we’ve ever had.”
The director of business development and marketing for Claudelands, Murray Jeffrey, says the success of Claudelands is expected to continue, and the response so far has illustrated the high-calibre features of the facility.
“It’s exciting to see Waikato continue to grow as a destination of choice for conferences and for Claudelands to be central to that success,” he said.