News briefs from NCC (NZ) Ltd                     June 2005


Images are available as jpef.files on request to




  1. Mike Kelly acting Director Sales & Marketing
  2. Cathy Hemsworth takes new direction in meetings industry
  3. Research-driven marketing gets new boost
  4. Town Hall prepares for Christchurch Arts Festival 20 July - 7 August
  5. ONSTAGE  - special newsletter devoted to performing arts at Christchurch Town Hall
  6. Round the Block - a walk round the Convention Centre neighbourhood



1.            CHRISTCHURCH CONVENTION CENTRE: Executive Director Mike Kelly is also acting director sales & marketing following the resignation of Cathy Hemsworth, who has joined The Conference Company as a shareholder/director. Mike filled that role 1996 - 99 before Cathy's appointment.



2.            CHRISTCHURCH CONVENTION CENTRE: Cathy Hemsworth takes new direction in meetings industry


 On 30 June Cathy Hemsworth stepped down as Director Sales & Marketing after six years. She has joined The Conference Company as a shareholder/director and will open a Christchurch office later in the year.


Executive Director Mike Kelly: "Cathy has done a terrific job for us positioning and selling the Christchurch Convention Centre, the Westpac Centre and Christchurch Town Hall to the national and international meetings and events industries. NCC is very proud of what Cathy had achieved. A measure of her commitment to the company and the community was her term as Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Paralympics team that went to and competed so successfully in Athens. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the staff we wish her every success with her new ventures. We know she will be successful."


Cathy chaired the Host Organising Committee for Meetings 2004, which returns to Christchurch in 2006. "Hosting MEETINGS 2004 in Christchurch was a real highlight because it represented an incredible new opportunity for South Island businesses to showcase their goods and services to the international meetings industry. Hosting TRENZ (the National Tourism Trade Show) in 2004 and 2005 was another highlight, as was the 2001 International Union of Physiological Sciences, at the time the biggest conference of its type ever to have been held in New Zealand with 2500 delegates from 70 countries. As we now know, following a recent announcement by TIANZ, TRENZ will again be presented in Christchurch in June 2006. And in their own way, just as special, have been all the smaller clients who have been delighted with their event, and found it more than they had hoped for - getting that WOW factor is always a highlight."


Mr Kelly commented that alongside the growth in events - and there have been more than 10,000 events  held at the three venues during the last six years -  there has been a growing number of small companies supplying specialist sound, audio-visual, signage, staging and other technical goods and services, and creative and professional services, such as event theming, that have evolved into larger going concerns in Christchurch. 



3.            CHRISTCHURCH CONVENTION CENTRE: Research-driven marketing gets new boost


 Research Andrea Mitchell and Australian Sales Executive Jo Robinson attended the International Conventions Congress Research Meeting (ICCRM) at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, 6 - 7 June 205. It is the only industry-based research training module and is held bi-annually once in each hemisphere. This meeting is the gathering of key drivers in the Conference Industry.


Executive Director Mike Kelly said research is becoming a science and with the ten's of thousands of events held worldwide, it is imperative that those working in a research role learn how to sift through the masses of information available and identify the exact opportunities that will result in an organisation considering their country then their venue as the event destination.


"Good researchers are like hen's teeth and we are fortunate to have Andrea who has readily embraced the complexity of the role and is already providing results from her research. It is a role that requires total understanding of the sales process. It strengthens our team driving business into Christchurch."


"The meeting covered different methods of research, quantifying leads, event analysis, and bidding process for international conferences. One of the best things about it was meeting researchers and managers of research teams from other venues and learning about how they work," Andrea Mitchell said.


" What I am doing now, as a result of going to the meeting, is restructuring how I work, adding more structure to my research, and focusing on particular conference topics. For example, I have divided my time up so that I spend some time every day on the main markets we are interested in. With the international conferences I decide on a topic or area to focus on, and research those conferences. Quantifying the lead just means having criteria that we agree on and applying that to every lead I look at to see if it is worth following up. Next I contact the international organisation in order to get more information, partly to help quantify the lead and partly so when we go to the New Zealand contact or organisation we have a lot of information for them. "


 This year 30 delegates from Australia, Korea and New Zealand attended. The other New Zealand delegate was Anne Bickers from Auckland Business Tourism Bureau.






4.            CHRISTCHURCH TOWN HALL: Christchurch Arts Festival 20 July - 7 August


The Christchurch Town Hall is hosting several highlight performances during Applaud 2005, the 6th Christchurch Arts Festival including Canterbury Opera's season of Tosca, Christchurch City Choir's Carmina Burana, the NZSO, Chamber Music New Zealand and the Festival gala closing concert Timeless Land. The Soweto Gospel Choir attracted early ticket sales. The Omar Sosa Quintet brings the sounds of Cuba to Christchurch. Details of these can be found on and in our special publication celebrating the performing arts, Onstage 1 July - 31 December. It is available at the Town Hall.


A banner display capturing the beauty and intensity of the performing arts is adding considerable colour to the Town Hall foyer.



5.            CHRISTCHURCH TOWN HALL: ONSTAGE covers performing arts, 1 July - 31 December 2005


The latest edition of ONSTAGE, an eight page newsletter covering the performing arts at the Christchurch Town Hall, shows a very vibrant, varied and international range of concert options. John Chen, winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition, plays Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with the Christchurch Symphony (2 July) and celebrated pianist Roger Woodward makes his debut with Christchurch Symphony in Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 3 (3 Sept). There's a New Zealand premiere of Gareth Farr's Triple Concerto (1 Oct).  Three chamber music groups visit, the Australian clarinet, piano and viola trio Dean-Emmerson-Dean, the Petersen Quartet from Germany, and  three of Germany's finest female musicians perform as the Xyrion Trio ('X' pronounced like 'Xena'!). Popular performers return, such as Shaun Dixon, Dame Malvina Major, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, David Hansen, Ann Lamont-Low and Theresa Thomason, and there's the favourite concerts such as Last Night of the Proms, Messiah, and Christmas Proms


7.            CHRISTCHURCH CONVENTION CENTRE: A Walk Around the Block (we have a wide range of images to go with this item)


Got a few minutes free? Lucky you - within moments you can be in one of Christchurch's eclectic shopping and food precincts. At the door of the Convention Centre turn left (east) and after only a few steps you are on Colombo Street - turn left again.


This gastronomically diverse area serves food from around the world - two Japanese restaurants, three Thai, a seafood kitchen,  an award winning pasta and beef restaurant, Burmese food, Mexican, Chinese, Mediterranean cuisine, and, at Mainstreet, they serve vegetarian and vegan dishes. Add a bottle from Whisky Galore, or drink superb coffee at any of the coffee shops, and it could be hard to go back to your conference or seminar.


As well as a cornucopia of flavours, this portion of Christchurch's longest straight street has fine art from Studio Works Gallery to tempt you to add a painting or sketch to your luggage, and both antique shops could just persuade you to buy something from their fine collections.


The Cook Shop, with its wide range of tools and gadgets, may also entice you if you aspire to be a domestic goddess - or maybe you want a gift for a chef you know. A few more steps along the road are a shop full of crystals and mystical items, Petals - a florist shop where Bronwyn has bunches of great ideas - and a health shop, while across the road your nails or hair can receive attention before you have a look at the designer clothing in Sonya Smith's boutique.


Take a step back in time at Johnson's Grocers. This is a must-visit shop, a Christchurch institution and purveyor of fine food since 1911. Migrants and visitors to New Zealand find items like Jaffa cakes, salted liquorice, Swiss chocolate, and Jelly Belly's to give their taste buds a treat from 'home'. Check if you can buy your favourite food there.


Shopping and browsing not your thing? Want to escape outdoors briefly? Take a walk across Kilmore Street past the Christchurch Town Hall and into Victoria Square - site of an ancient Maori village called Waitaka and market square for settlers in the 1800s. A poupou, (totem pole) carved by Rikki Manuel in 1994 is a reminder of the history and significance this area has to Maori. Beside the Avon River, the fountains and flower gardens, under the gaze of Queen Victoria, join locals over a vanilla ice from the cart that has been operating in Christchurch for generations.


For those who turned right when leaving the Convention Centre, Victoria Street provides a totally different shopping experience. The Children's Bookshop has educational toys, puzzles, games, music and audio books for the young person in your life. This specialist shop has all the leading New Zealand and international writers' books on their shelves. As with many of our city streets this area too will excite your taste buds with Creole, Cajun, Japanese, Thai, pizza, salads, and at the Indian restaurant you will find Halal food. The bars and cafes are also guaranteed to appeal to your palate and further along from the casino you can buy wonderful household linens, elegant items for your home, jewellery, or antique china.


Exploring out the back entrance you can indulge in delicious desserts at Strawberry Fare; art at the Dobson Bashford Gallery and admire the hand-painted ceramic tiles at Artiles Studio before returning to your hotel, work, or conference.


We hope you enjoy these favourite shops right here in our neighbourhood.

(written by Heather Hapeta)