I recently had the pleasure of attending a Christchurch famil hosted by the ChristchurchNZ in January 2023.
The last time I had travelled to Christchurch was with a 700 pax pharma event prior to the earthquakes, which basically took Christchurch off the radar for meetings and events for a decade. All of the hotels and the convention centre we used back then have been replaced with new and exciting assets.
Christchurch has been rebuilt and reborn!
The heartbeat of the re building of Christchurch is indeed the convention centre aptly named Te Pae. www.tepae.co.nz
This new build is perhaps the best convention centre in the Southern Hemisphere. It was also good to see Ross Steele who is the very proud GM of the centre and whom we have worked with before at the Cairns Convention Centre way back when.
In addition to the new builds throughout Christchurch, most of the heritage listed buildings have been beautifully restored including the Town Hall, The Isaac Theatre Royal and the gothic old University Arts precinct where we had excellent site visits with their very proud custodians.
We got to experience so much that Christchurch has to offer for meetings and events during our visit. We stayed at both the Crowne Plaza and The Observatory Hotels which were both great totally different experiences. We had an excellent afternoon at Juniper Collective tasting many different gins distilled in NZ, which I can highly recommend for optional activities. We dined at INATI Restaurant, Cellar Door and the divine private room upstairs at Miro. We visited the Riverside Markets, Paint and Sip and one of my highlights was definitely the Amiki Tour where we were embraced in Maori culture and got to row a traditional Waka down the Avon River.
We also experienced the “Black Clash” on the Friday evening where past and present All Blacks rugby players and NZ cricket greats come together for a fun but hotly contested T20 match and we were well looked after in one of the corporate hospitality marquees.
This famil also had a wonderful twist to it where we were all given a rental car and had the choice of either travelling to Kaikoura or Hamner Springs for the weekend with our partners. We chose Kaikoura as I have never visited there before and the 2.5 hour drive north from Christchurch had spectacular scenery at every turn. We stayed at the new Sudima Hotel right on the waterfront, had lunch at a great heritage listed pub and a wonderful dinner at Hapuku Lodge Restaurant. I highly recommend Kaikoura as a pre or post conference destination. Kai means food in Maori and Koura is crayfish so we got to sample crayfish that the area is renowned for.
What struck me throughout this famil was the wonderful hosts who came together to sponsor this famil and were all so passionate about their region. Everybody we met were so friendly and happy to showcase everything Christchurch has to offer.
Nothing in Christchurch is more than 15 minutes walking distance which is great for meetings and events and it is a very safe city.
I certainly recommend Christchurch as a meetings and events destination and we are putting it forward for some of our larger 2024 events.
Ōtautahi, tēnā koutou mō tō manaakitanga - Christchurch - thank you for your hospitality and to Edwina, Megan and Jen from CCB and everyone who hosted us, you were brilliant, what a great experience. We will definitely be back!
Director, Face to Face Event Management