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ChristchurchNZ shows off city to conference organisers

16 May 2018

Christchurch’s excellent conferencing facilities and its exciting and evolving central city will be in the spotlight this month.

ChristchurchNZ’s Convention Bureau is hosting a group of professional conference organisers and other clients in the city from 25-28 May, before the MEETINGS trade show in Auckland.

ChristchurchNZ Destination Manager Caroline Blanchfield says the visit will focus on the re-emerging city, showing key conference infrastructure – a mix of stunning restored heritage venues and brand-new event spaces.

“Christchurch is a thriving city and the wider Canterbury region is full of incredible experiences suitable for conference and incentive groups from Australasia and further afield. Hosting is a great way to show off all that is happening here, supported by our attendance at MEETINGS on 30 and 31 May – where we can showcase Christchurch on the national conferencing map.”

The ChristchurchNZ Convention Bureau has a strong contingent of city and regional operators exhibiting independently and alongside it at MEETINGS this year. Partners exhibiting on the regional area include: the Christchurch Convention Centre, Vbase, Addington Raceway & Events Centre, Distinction Hotel, Quality Hotel Elms, Red Travel, Sensational Selwyn, Heritage Hanmer Springs and Hanmer Springs Pools/Hurunui District.

“We’re located at stand numbers 127 through to 136 and we’re keen to connect with everyone interested in the Christchurch and Canterbury region.” Caroline says.

New conference infrastructure in the city includes the recently opened Distinction Hotel, which has added 179 rooms at 4*+ level right in the heart of the central city and conference and meeting spaces for up to 200 delegates.

Also progressing well is the Christchurch Town Hall, which is undergoing a complete redevelopment and will be opening in early 2019, and the Christchurch Convention Centre, with construction progressing as planned.

The Town Hall is one of New Zealand’s leading performance venues and is located on the banks of the Ōtākaro Avon River, overlooking Victoria Square and across from the Convention Centre site. It can seat up to 2,250 people in the auditorium, with multiple other spaces seating between 100 – 700 people.

The Christchurch Convention Centre is due to open in mid-late 2020, with capacity for 2,000 people and the tiered 1400-delegate auditorium able to be split to host two 700-delegate events simultaneously. A 3,300sqm exhibition hall, 4,600sqm of pre-function space, and 24 meetings rooms totalling 2,200sqm will allow seamless flow and plenty of flexibility.

“Christchurch’s reputation as a fantastic place to conference is reinforced by other exciting developments in the central city. Having The Terrace hospitality hub on the banks of the Ōtākaro Avon River, with 17 bars and restaurants, offers incredible hospitality options for visitors, and retail in the central city is also thriving with The Crossing development open, as well as other hot spots popping up,” Caroline says.

There have been several significant conference wins for the city in recent months, including Linux.conf.au, SCAR International Biology Symposium, Intecol Wetlands Conference, FAOBMB (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Symposium, and Learning Environments Australasia. Several other conferences are in the pipeline.

“The city is a living laboratory for many industries, and provides international delegates with unique opportunities to explore new ideas and new thinking in their area of interest and expertise,” Caroline says.