June 3, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Te Pae Christchurch, the New Zealand city’s new convention centre will be operating by the end of October this year, with the venue announcing a late October opening timeframe.

The centre’s General Manager Ross Steele said the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble in April was a good confidence boost for event planners.

“We hope the confirmation of our opening will provide further assurances that Ōtautahi Christchurch, and in particular Te Pae Christchurch, is the ideal location for their events,” he said.

“As the first of New Zealand’s new generation of convention centres to open we have a unique opportunity to put New Zealand business events back on the world stage, while at the same time showcasing the very best Ōtautahi Christchurch has to offer.”

Te Pae has 70 events already confirmed for the centre, which will bring 129,000 delegates through its doors, and more than a 130 in the rolling business pipeline for events until 2024.

Steele says the events vary in size and format, ranging from a degustation dinner for 24 to multi-day conferences for hundreds of delegates.

“While there are a number of domestic events, due to the border situation, we are also pleased to have several Australian conferences, including the Australasian Coast & Ports convention later this year,” he said.

“The bubble has given our Australian clients a confidence boost to look at Christchurch for their next event.

“Australia is a really important market for us and for the past several months we have had a dedicated resource in-market in Heidi Heming; now that the bubble has opened the doors so to speak, we are also looking forward to some of our Christchurch-based team heading over to re-connect with clients.”

Steele says confidence domestically within New Zealand has also continued to improve.

The centre’s recent Taste of Te Pae Activation Hub, which saw the venue’s Executive Chef Desmond Davies cooking out of a food truck next-door to the venue’s evolving site, has seen success in engaging with the local community and in attracting new clients.

“We had really positive feedback from both potential clients and members of the community,” said Steele.

“Through our activities at the hub, nine companies have made enquiries about 28 events ranging from multi day conferences, to meetings, gala dinners and functions with a potential economic value of $1.5 million.

“The activation hub has demonstrated to our community and clients that the new centre will be their meeting place – an asset for all of us, they can feel proud of and a part of.

“Based on our experience and results, we would recommend a similar initiative is undertaken for all new centre openings.”