Christchurch’s $450 million convention centre, Te Pae, is officially open after years of planning and four long years of construction. Te Pae is forecast to bring $60 million a year in the economy in Christchurch.
Chief executive of Crown company Ōtākaro, John Bridgman, which has been in charge of getting Te Pae built, said it was “very exciting” to have the building completed.
Bridgman said the numbers attending Te Pae in the next year, along with the partners and families they would bring to the city, “translates into a lot of accommodation and hospitality – a lot of people spending in Christchurch as they come to visit”.
Before the start of 2022, Te Pae already had 100 event bookings for the year including 50 multi-day conferences and 14 medical conferences. The general manager of Te Pae, Ross Steele, said there is “a solid roster of events” booked from 2023 onwards, and they are looking several years ahead at long-term bookings.
Te Pae overlooks the Avon River, Victoria Square and Cathedral Square, and while the building is large for Christchurch, on a global scale it is a boutique convention centre. It came in slightly under budget at just under $450 million, of which $240 million was spent on construction, $74 million on land and $34 million on professional services.
On the exterior of the building, the 43,000 exterior tiles represent Canterbury’s braided rivers, with the river theme carried through to the shape of the windows and the carpet design.
Inside, the reception area has a 2-tonne marble reception desk and timber columns, while the 1400-seat auditorium has a 9-metre by 18.5m screen and can be divided into two 700-seat spaces. Next door, the banquet hall can seat 1000 people and can be used for meetings and seminars.
Downstairs are several meeting rooms, and a 2800-square-metre exhibition hall that can be expanded to 3300m², or divided up.
Megan Crum, head of business events for ChristchurchNZ, called the Te Pae opening “a momentous shift in our city’s capability to host business events”.