INDEPENDENT NEWS

Te Pae Christchurch targeting pre-Christmas opening

Published: Tue 31 Aug 2021 03:56 PM
Due to the latest COVID-19 disruption, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is now aiming to hold its first events in the lead up to Christmas. The building was on track to hold its first events in October but will now be delayed as many of the specialists necessary to complete the facility are unable to travel down from the North Island.
“At least 30 experts in areas such as fire systems management and other aspects of commissioning and compliance for a venue of this scale are based in Auckland and Wellington,” says Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive, John Bridgman.
“It’s understandable these people won’t be able to travel outside their regions for some time. Also productivity on-site will be reduced with the Level 3 personal distance requirements. With all the unknowns, we can’t yet provide a firm opening date but we are aiming to provide event organisers with as much clarity as is possible at the moment.”
Te Pae Christchurch had events booked from mid-October onwards. “This is a large facility and we’re unlikely to be able to host the most complex events such as big conferences and exhibitions this year but we are optimistic of holding meetings and banquets before Christmas.
“We really feel for everyone who continues to be impacted by COVID-19. It’s been a tough year and we are really hoping to end it on a positive note by hosting some festive season events at our impressive new venue.”
John Bridgman says it’s important to remember that Te Pae Christchurch is being built for the long-term benefit of the city and the region.
“While we are very keen to get the doors open as soon as possible, this will be a key city asset for decades to come. Even allowing for COVID-19, it’s likely to provide about $600m of direct economic benefit in the next ten years.
“We are designing the facility to hold hybrid events, which will enable those unwilling or unable to travel to take part online, but it’s really pleasing to know that people still want to meet in person.
“Just as we all look forward to catching up with family and friends after lockdown, businesses and sectors are still very keen for face-to-face events.”
Te Pae Christchurch General Manager Ross Steele says COVID-19 continues to be disruptive to the business events industry in many ways.
“We certainly support the health direction to get New Zealand back to Alert Level 1 particularly while the vaccination program continues to be rolled out. The vaccination program is the key to unlock our borders, which will allow incremental growth in the New Zealand business events industry for the long term.
“Generally, as we move through alert levels we are seeing a knock-on effect from our clients where events which are currently unable to be hosted are being moved to the future.”
Mr Steele says due to the delay, the Te Pae Christchurch team are working with affected clients to find the best solution to host their events.
“We also have around 90 further confirmed events which we look forward to hosting as we open Te Pae Christchurch for the benefit of the region,” he says.
The latest COVID-19 disruption has also impacted work at the Parakiore Recreation and Sport Centre. Construction will now not be completed until at least a couple of months after our pre-lockdown target of the end of 2022.

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