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Behind the Scenes - Number 8  July 2000

Seasonal newsletter from NCC (New Zealand) Ltd
Venue manager for the Christchurch Convention Centre, Christchurch Town Hall, and Westpac Centre

Christchurch waited a long time to host the country’s premier and biggest tourism trade show, TRENZ, Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand. It finally had its opportunity 22–24 May – and the show was such a spectacular success that TRENZ is returning next year, and again in 2004 and 2005. TRENZ brought about 1400 wholesale tourism buyers, sellers, visitors, international and domestic media here for the country’s busiest tourism market. It is worth millions of dollars in visitor business activity to the South Island, with an estimate of $1 billion worth of business done in the three days. Most of the overseas business tourism earns is negotiated at TRENZ. Optimism was strongest in the European and North American markets. We can look forward to the wide economic, social and cultural benefits of their increased visitor numbers. TRENZ organisers, the Tourism Industry Association, were impressed with the city’s infrastructure and venue facilities, particularly the Westpac Centre, Christchurch Convention Centre and the International Airport. The excellence of the Convention Centre’s service and high quality banquet food won special praise. This is another example of how the city and the South Island is benefiting from the Christchurch City Council’s investment in world class purpose built facilities. As venue managers, we are committed to making them work to their full potential. Getting TRENZ back to Christchurch is a pleasing reward.

Mike Kelly CFE
Executive Director Executive


Cooking Up A Feast At TRENZ

Chef Lakshman Jayawardena certainly showcased the best of New Zealand food for TRENZ in May. During 12 busy days, he oversaw the production of more than 7000 meals, using:

  • 3 tonnes of fruit and vegetables – aubergines, peppers, courgettes, kumara, shallots, pumpkin, yams, bok choy, broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, grapes, melon, strawberries
  • 1427 kgs chicken
  • 1141 kgs beef and lamb.

Most of the food was bought from local suppliers, and drew praise even from the Australians: “ You guys are miles ahead of Australia when it comes to food.” Chef Lakshman said they’ve had some good events to cook for recently, including the Aoraki (Jade) and Harcourts conferences and the Tom Jones concert. “We have the great advantage of our space and modern state-of-the-art equipment. Also, we have some great talent in the kitchen, as several award-winning chefs followed me here from the Millennium Christchurch.”

“The fact that we could feed 1400 people to the standard we did and turn them around in an hour is outstanding. It’s good having three high-quality venues that say to buyers New Zealand is a well-developed, sophisticated visitor destination.”
Glenys Coughlan
Chief Executive, Tourism Industry Association, on TRENZ being held in Christchurch for the first time

TRENZ Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand 22–24 May TRENZ was such a spectacular success that it is returning next year, and again in 2004 and 2005.

ZZ Top
and a crowd of 4000 at the Westpac Centre, 30 April
Anna Crighton

Billy Gibbons (guitar), Dusty Hill (bass) and Frank Beard (drums) revisited the mid 1970’s – 80’s with musical nostalgia, classic rhythm and blues, their past and new hit tunes Just Got Paid, Cheap Sunglasses, La Grange, Tush and Legs. Added to that was heaps of energy, a lot of noise, plenty of action, cheap sunglasses, long beards, a hint of the Rio Grande and an enthusiastic crowd to make another great night to remember at the Westpac Centre. Photo courtesy: Tony Stewart


Recent Highlights

  • Canterbury opera’s magnificent autumn season of Gounod’s “Faust” starring Jared Holt, Sally McGregor and Seamus Casey with the Canterbury Symphony Orchestra and Canterbury opera Chorus was in full force, 6–17 June at the James Hay Theatre. Prime Minister Helen Clark attended on the opening night.
  • Thirty six bands from throughout the land competed in the New Zealand Brass Bands Championships at the Christchurch Town Hall, 11 April, attracting crowds of up to 1500 for the Band of the Year competition in the Auditorium, and many more spectators along Colombo Street during the Street March section.
  • More than 10,000 people visited the Canterbury Development Corporation Careers Expo 2000 at the Westpac Centre, 14–16 May.
  • The Christchurch Town Hall again resounded with the quality of top local and international talent in this year’s TV2 International Laugh Festival, which included hilarious entertainment by Ewen Gilmour, Raybon Kan and a host of other top class New Zealand and international performers.
  • The Westpac Canterbury Rams have kicked off this season of foot-stamping sport and entertainment combined at the Westpac Centre.
  • The Smokefree Stage Challenge held at the Westpac Centre on 29 and 30 May, is New Zealand’s No. 1 youth culture event crammed with exciting, talented and inspiring performances. This secondary school drama and dance extravaganza was set to contemporary music.
  • Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize winner and internationally acclaimed best selling author of Angela’s Ashes and ’Tis, featured in a special evening in the Town Hall Auditorium on 31 May as part of 2000 Books & Beyond – The Christchurch Book Festival.
  • Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals performed at the Christchurch Town Hall in June. Since their first visit to New Zealand in 1996 they have built an incredibly loyal following that grows with each tour, producing songs infused with passion, sincerity and conscience


more cutting edge contemporary art in Christchurch

A large abstract neon sculpture entitled Blue is being installed along the Kilmore Street frontage of the Christchurch Convention Centre. It has been created by renowned New Zealand artist Bill Culbert, who has exhibited widely and internationally. It is the largest neon work he has produced in this country. Installation will be completed by 28 July. The work was chosen for the Christchurch Convention Centre through a limited competition under the auspices of the NCC (New Zealand) Ltd Art Committee, working with Warren and Mahoney architects Barry Dacombe and Thom Craig. The Christchurch City Council commissioned Blue with sponsorship provided by Signtech The Signmasters, who are supplying materials, fabrication and installation. Art Committee Chair, Cr Anna Crighton, said they are continuing their exciting programme of presenting cutting edge contemporary art at the Christchurch Convention Centre with Blue. “The neon is manipulated to form an abstract, linear shape. It is held in space by rods and cables, fitted on to sweeping glass facade of the south west wall. With its high-tech material and contemporary design Blue, complements the modern material and form of the Centre,” Anna said. “The design brief included reference to the light of the new millennium. Culbert’s Argon neon, combined with the steel of the Convention Centre, reflects the official millennium colours – blue and silver.”


Rieger Pipe Organ
The glorious sound of the Christchurch Town Hall’s pipe organ is captured on CD, Let the Pealing Organ Blow! which is available from the Christchurch Town Hall, P O Box 13-144 Christchurch. It has a large number of international visitors to its web site.

The Christchurch Town Hall Rieger Pipe Organ web site address


More world class entertainment
“We said we’d bring world class entertainment to the South Island – and we take great pleasure in hosting some of the biggest names in the world of entertainment here in Christchurch,” said Mike Kelly, Executive Director of NCC (New Zealand) Ltd.

The Voice – Tom Jones at the Westpac Centre, 3 June
The Christchurch audience loved him, the media gave him great reviews, and the Westpac Centre smouldered with sex appeal … and someone got the underpants to take home! Born in Pontypridd in South Wales in June 1940, the son of a coal miner, the young Tom was a building site labourer after two years of Tb in his early teens. It’s Not Unusual was his first hit in 1965, followed by What’s new Pussycat?, Detroit City, Delilah and The Young new Mexican Puppeteer … and on through the pop of the 1960’s, 1970’s disco, to the new wave and contemporary dance sounds of the 80’s & 90’s. Through it all there was Tom Jones, reworking Kiss in 1988 and finding a new generation of fans. The X-factor is Tom Jones! Photograph Courtesy Tony Stewart

Mr Tony Bennett at the Christchurch Town Hall, 12 March 2000. Photograph Courtesy Graeme Hood
The man maketh music and he makes an audience want to stop their clocks, locking in the sound, performance and sheer enjoyment of being entertained by a living legend. Mr Tony Bennett wears a lifetime lightly, his stage mastery a superb tool he uses to reach his audiences. Christchurch finally had to let him go, but it keeps the memory of a superb event.


Danza Latino

For the third successive year the Christchurch Convention Centre was transformed into another world for this highlight of the city’s social and charitable calendar. This year’s theme was Latin American, from the hot rhythm music and flurry of pink flamingoes which greeted the 1000 guests, through to the baskets, mats, grasses, yuccas, and large cacti in the foyer. The main room, entered through iron gates, was a fusion of hot colours, palms, a splashing fountain, and tables set with peppers, flowers, palms, gerberas - another stunning concept created by Patricia Proctor Design. The Cancer Society Ball 10 June 2000


New Appointment

Erin Cassidy, newly appointed sales & Marketing Assistant, is accustomed to attracting people to Christchurch after working in the Marketing Division of inbound tour operator, THL, for the last few years. However, she is finding new challenges in her role based at the Christchurch Convention Centre. Erin’s background includes 10 years in Ireland and Melbourne and a year with Crop & food Research in Lincoln. Her interests are squash, gym and walking.

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