December 16, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

The first of New Zealand’s new generation of convention centres will have its ceremonial opening this Friday ahead of test events this month and next and its first client events in early 2022.

With Te Pae Christchurch’s final stages of construction and fit-out delayed by the country’s COVID-19 outbreak in the second half of the year, the team of a little over 50 permanent staff moved into the building just this week.

Test events include a VIP charity dinner auctioned off by the venue, raising $21,000 for charity, a large scale dinner with 500 invited guests and Te Pae’s public open day.

The first client event in the venue will be a dinner for a large national New Zealand organisation. The first exhibition at the centre will be the Smart Christchurch Innovation Expo in February, with the Christchurch Art Show and Armageddon Expo also amongst the first consumer events to take place.

The new convention centre has a 1,400 tiered seating auditorium, 24 meeting rooms, 2,800m2 of exhibition space and a space overlooking the Ōtākaro Avon River which can seat 1,000 for a dinner.

“With capacity to host 2,000 people, Te Pae Christchurch will attract significant national and international business events that Christchurch hasn’t been able to host in the past,” said Te Pae’s General Manager Ross Steele.

“As the first new generation convention centre to open in New Zealand, we’re looking forward to playing our part in the regeneration of our city, but also in the regeneration of our industry post-COVID.

“We have a very busy year planned in 2022 with over 50 confirmed conferences and we expect around 100 other events, including exhibitions, banquets, meetings and seminars and live performances.”