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Media release from NCC (New Zealand) Ltd, venue manager for Westpac Centre for Sport and Entertainment in Christchurch 13/2/04

Wellington had Lord of the Rings but Christchurch has worldwide premier of Disney Live! presents Winnie the Pooh and the Perfect Day, a brand new family interactive stage show

Venue manager NCC (New Zealand) Ltd preparing for this major entertainment event, 16-20 June 2004

It took six years but at last venue manager NCC (New Zealand) Ltd can claim it - hosting the world premier of a major international stage production in Christchurch, New Zealand!

When the venue opened in 1998 Executive Director Mike Kelly had booked "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat" for a two week run shortly after opening. It was playing successfully in Hong Kong at the time and looked a winner.

"But as with so many things in the entertainment business the show proved not to have the legs and did not make it to Christchurch," Mike Kelly said." It's been a long wait but we've been very patient!"

"We did have a wonderful seven show run of "Cinderella on Ice" around opening but the lack of an ice floor continues to limit the logistical and cost practicality of staging one-off ice shows in New Zealand. Only Christchurch has an arena suitable for a built-in ice plant. That has limited the country's ability to attract major international ice based tournaments and shows."

"That aside, this new Disney product is going to be marvelous and right up our alley. It's exactly the sort of family entertainment we know audiences love. Disney Live! presents Winnie the Pooh and the Perfect Day at the Westpac Centre 16 - 20 June, finally exposing New Zealand to that wonderful Disney creativity and the production values of Feld Entertainment."

After its premier in Christchurch the show will go on a national tour before crossing the Tasman to tour Australia, then Bangkok, the Pacific Rim and on to the rest of the world in 2005.

Feld Entertainment, the company that produces Disney on Ice shows, will introduce this new brand of interactive family entertainment with this show featuring Winnie the Pooh and all the characters of Hundred Acre Wood originally created by the beloved author, A A Milne.

NCC (New Zealand) Ltd has used every enticement and strategy possible to get the biggest name in family entertainment to Christchurch, and tapped their international network of contacts to help make it happen. And finally, it's paid off! "This is huge for Christchurch. It's great for the venue and it's fantastic for the South Island. Shows of this global magnitude and importance to the Disney marque are rarely staged in New Zealand so it will truly be a once-in-a-childhood opportunity for a generation."

"It's the first time Feld Entertainment has launched a new stage show internationally, and Disney Live! is a new brand of live family entertainment. We can guarantee it will have all the hallmarks of classic story telling and state-of-the-art technology of their other international hits such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast," Mike Kelly said.

Feld Entertainment spectaculars are seen by 25 million people a year, in 48 countries. The company has been producing Disney on Ice shows for 20 years, combining professional figure skating with stories, music, lighting, costumes and scenic designs.

CEO Kenneth Feld describes Winnie the Pooh and the Perfect Day as a "new realm of spectacular family entertainment. "It's a new adventure for us and we look forward to bring classic Disney characters and stories to lie for audiences around the world in a way they've never seen before."

Christchurch will offer the world the first chance to see Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit and all their friends from Hundred Acre Wood. Pooh's Perfect Day will go into final rehearsals at the Christchurch venue in early June. Mike Kelly said it will be perfect mid-winter family entertainment.

"Feld Entertainment chose New Zealand for the launch of the first Disney Live! show because people here have had a tradition of supporting live family entertainment and a love of Disney. Winnie the Pooh is very special and popular, with New Zealand youngsters but also a lot of adults have a soft spot for Pooh!"

2004 looks great The Westpac Centre had a great start to 2004 with two international basketball games with Townsville Crocs and Perth Wildcats playing the NZ Breakers, the Mercedes Challenge exhibition tennis featuring John McEnroe v. Pat Cash, two Billy Connolly Sold Right Out Concerts (13 & 14 Feb) and four shows from Cirque Dreams (18 - 20 March) in the first quarter.

The venue, opened in November 1998, is surrounded by 3000 car parks on a site less than 10 minutes from the CBD. There are 18 corporate suites and up to 20 courtside boxes for special sporting events and a variety of concert modes up to 8888 capacity. It is New Zealand's only purpose built indoor arena, with a gross stadium area of 14,500 m2, and a main arena flat floor area of 4000m2. NCC (NZ) Ltd manages the venue for the Christchurch City Council.


For more information email Mike on Images of the venue and Mike (as jpeg files) are available on request to Emma Milne, on z