Christchurch Convention Centre Guide

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“From a phenomenal location to world-class purpose-built facilities, Te Pae offers an experience like no other. Centrally located within Christchurch, New Zealand’s most hospitable business-events city, Te Pae is much more than a traditional convention centre. It is a gathering place for the 21st century, where the world comes together to share, learn, be hosted and entertained.”

With an anticipated opening date in October 2020, the Christchurch Convention Centre is poised to be an awe-inspiring landmark in a regenerating city. Not only does this $475 million development offer a stunning venue for events to be held, but it is also designed to attract plenty of new opportunities and business to the Canterbury region.

In this guide, we dig into the details of Te Pae and explore the past, present and future potential of this space.

Table of contents:

  • An overview of the project
  • The past
  • The present
  • The future
  • Enjoy tasteful hospitality during your stay in Christchurch

An overview of the project

‘Te Pae’ is a Māori term that translates to ‘a gathering place’. Located in the heart of Christchurch City, the convention center takes its pride of place right next to the Avon River.

“In a competitive environment where convention centres around the world are expanding their capacity to accommodate larger events, Te Pae will be a boutique facility, set in a well organised and compact, regenerating city.”

Unlike many other convention centres that are often located away from the city, Te Pae is situated in the center of Christchurch. This gives visitors the opportunity to explore the area in between meetings, and also benefits local businesses that are able to capture more of the visitor spend.

“People who attend conferences tend to stay longer than the average tourist… it’s estimated that they spend about twice the amount of the average tourist here in Christchurch.”

Where

Spread over two city blocks, the new Christchurch Convention Centre will be located at the intersections of Colombo Street, Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace. This is a few blocks away from where the original building stood, on Kilmore Street. The new venue is set to be significantly larger and more modern than the old convention centre, which was opened in 1997.

Here is a map that details where the new convention centre will be located:

The venue is situated right next to Cathedral Square, which means that visitors will be able to take in some of our top attractions during their breaks. For more information on the Christchurch Cathedral, check out this article.

Who

Te Pae is being funded by the Crown through its rebuild company – Ōtākaro Limited. In the aftermath of the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, the New Zealand government purchased vast tracts of land throughout the city center and surrounding suburbs.

These landholdings were acquired with the intention to redevelop Christchurch into a city of the future. In other words, Ōtākaro is responsible for managing the regeneration of the city and ensuring that the best outcomes are achieved for everyone involved.

“The Christchurch Convention Centre Precinct is one of the few Christchurch Blueprint anchor projects that will be utilised on a daily basis by both the people of Christchurch and visitors to the city, and therefore must be meaningful to both audiences.”

Once completed, Te Pae will be managed by ASM Global, an international venue management company that looks after everything from finding customers to staffing the venue. For more information about booking your event here, upcoming career opportunities and general enquiries, click here to contact the team at Te Pae.

Why

“Christchurch lacks appropriate convention facilities which limits the city’s tourism potential, economic activity and diversity… This new facility is significantly larger than the former convention centre and will be able to accommodate two or more simultaneous events.”

One of the clear benefits of Te Pae is the income that will be injected into the local economy. However, the new convention centre is also expected to provide more opportunities for local businesses by bringing valuable knowledge and skills to the Canterbury region.

“Te Pae Christchurch has been established to showcase the best of Canterbury and the wider South Island – supporting the exchange of knowledge, fostering new business and research collaborations, and generating ideas and innovation that will create lasting, shared benefits.”

The venue

Whilst Te Pae is not a large convention centre by international standards, it is certainly much bigger than other local developments. 

Here is an overview of the facilities that will be available later this year:

In total, Te Pae offers around 28000m2 of space, which is highly flexible and can be adapted to the unique requirements of each audience – both small and large.

The Past

The original Christchurch Convention Centre was opened in November 1997 by the mayor at the time, Vicki Buck. This building had a capacity 2,500 people, which was used as the venue for many notable events such as the APEC and New Zealand Law Society conferences.

However, it sustained significant damage during the February 2011 earthquakes and was later demolished between March and April 2012. As a result, less business travellers and delegates visited Christchurch in the years that followed, which cost the local economy from lost business.

“The city’s share of New Zealand’s ‘business event’ market has dropped from >20% pre-quake to less than 10% now. As a result, ChristchurchNZ estimates we are currently missing out on about $90m of direct economic investment every year.”

The Present

  • Source (progress as at December 2019)

Construction of Te Pae began around the end of 2017, with a cost and timeline that was greater than originally anticipated. It has been noted that this development will play a key role in attracting investors and businesses to Christchurch by creating the space for commerce to thrive. Accordingly, a great deal of attention has been paid to ensuring that it is done right from the outset.

Designed to leave a lasting impression

“The design draws inspiration from the braided rivers of the Canterbury Plains, the neo-gothic architecture of Christchurch city and the patterns and colours that are part of the local Ngāi Tahu iwi tradition… the project provides comfortable human-scaled ‘microclimates’ to maximise dwell time. The concept of braided rivers was a key driver for the façade of the building. Fluid and organic in nature, they wrap their way around the building defining entryways and revealing framed views of the surrounding context.”

Surface impressions aside, Te Pae is built to last. Check out the video below for more information on how seismic joints and separations have been used to withstand unexpected movement in an earthquake scenario:

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The team responsible for making it happen

Construction of the Christchurch Convention Centre is being carried out by CPB Contractors. This Australasian infrastructure company is known for managing large scale infrastructure projects such as motorways and buildings.

Once the development of Te Pae is complete, management of the venue will be looked after by ASM Global. Whilst it is not quite ready to be opened yet, they have already started booking events and hiring staff in preparation for the grand opening later this year.

Upcoming conferences and gatherings

The first event to be held at Te Pae is expected to take place on October 18th, with a busy lineup of conferences in the months that follow.

“The International Association of Ecology international wetlands conference is expected to have 1000 attendees. It is one of 65 conventions or exhibitions already booked in for the anchor project, which will bring about 54,000 people into the city centre.”

The Future

It is often said that good things take time, and the Christchurch Convention Centre is no exception. With a tasteful design aesthetic and competent partners in place, it is expected that Te Pae will become a landmark that puts Christchurch back on the map for international conventions.

Through attracting high-quality delegates to the Canterbury region and fostering partnerships in a diverse range of sectors, we hope to welcome high-value visitors and more opportunities for our community to prosper.

Imagine a future where our local businesses enjoy a resilient selection of customers from all over the world, and more visitors have the opportunity to experience the southern hospitality that Christchurch is renowned for… That’s what we are excited about!

Enjoy tasteful hospitality during your stay in Christchurch

If you’re planning to visit our beautiful city, then we would love to accommodate you. Hotel115 is a boutique hotel located right in the heart of Christchurch central. 

Check out our blog for a wide range of guides on things to do during your stay, or click here to book directly with us.



February 4, 2020 by Denym Bird



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