Media Release 8 January 2005


Public Venue Management School inspires Christchurch graduates


Christchurch-based venue manager NCC (NZ) Ltd has sponsored two staff members to the Public Venue Management School (PVMS) for professional development. The course takes place over 5 days each November in Australia. Students graduate at the end of Year 2. Both of the NCC graduates has returned inspired anew with the challenges and opportunities offered by the industry.


Event and Project Manager Manager Helen Glengarry recently completed the PVMS Certificate at Kooralbyn in November 2004 - and returned to Christchurch convinced her job working at three different venues with 3 very different markets is as varied and diverse as any venue management job in the industry.


“I really appreciate the scope of work I cover with NCC - from the Crusty Demons and their extreme arena motorsports to Neil Diamond and the concert market the very next day; from tennis exhibitions to civic awards; and, from international trade shows to gala dinners with heads of state. In Christchurch we’re almost spoiled for our range of purpose built venues and their advantages have certainly been hammered home to me by comparison with other centres. There’s no doubt that having the Westpac Centre and the Christchurch Convention Centre puts Christchurch at the top of the league for New Zealand,” Helen said.


Each year up to 40 mid career venue management professionals, primarily from Australia but also the wider Asia- Pacific region, attend the PVMS. It is operated by the Brisbane-headquartered Venue Management Association (Asia and Pacific) Ltd. It is modelled after the Oglebay School (established 1987), run by the International Association of Assembly Managers.  PVMS operates annually at Wheeling, West Virginia. The PVMS programme is supported with course materials and an instructor, and is designed to prepare managers to better market and manage their buildings.


In November last year Helen Glengarry completed her second year of residency. Richard Maffey, Director of Operations & Client Services, the other NCC (NZ) Ltd graduate, completed the 2 year PVMS Certificate Programme in 1995 and 1996.

Both NCC staff members were impressed by the comprehensive and focused quality of the course work and the host Queensland resort destination. The quality of the experienced overseas instructors many of whom are themselves venue managers was of great benefit since it wasn’t just an academic look at the industry. They were inspired by the opportunity to network with other practitioners and the chance for an overview perspective of what the industry demands day to day as it affects theirs buildings and their careers. They got to see where their careers and fit into the global venue management marketplace.


Richard said the Kooralbyn Resort in Queensland is an excellent facility, very relaxing and conducive to sharing knowledge and learning. “It was a most enjoyable experience, sharing ideas amongst the same interest group and it was valuable to compare operational standards against others in the industry, and noting the differences in the Australian approach. It reinforced the good benchmark standards we have established in our Christchurch venues.”


Richard appreciated the opportunity to focus on an overview of the operations he’s involved in with the Christchurch Convention Centre, Christchurch Town Hall and Westpac Centre for sport and  entertainment, and – not least – the chance to forge long term relationships with other performing arts, convention and sport and entertainment venue operators.


Helen said the content was comprehensive covering catering, risk management, accounting, operational management, sales, safety and security, legal issues, contract negotiations, issues around alcohol, dance parties and other topics of common interest and concern. One of the topics of particular interest was the course abstract on presenting food and beverage concessions in the best light, ensuring consistent quality food and achieving the best yields.


“It was really great to gain that truly international overview because we are all dealing with much the same clients, and we all get absorbed in the day-to-day details of our own venues, so it’s both refreshing and valuable to talk to other people about how they deal with things we deal with too.”


Venue and event management employs a high proportion of women. Helen’s view is that women enjoy meeting the challenge for multi-tasking, attention to detail, constant communication and liaison and being able to respond immediately to the unexpected.


Mike Kelly, Executive Director of NCC (NZ) Ltd and immediate past president of International Association of Assembly Managers (IAAM) is a long time advocate for targeted professional development and industry education. “It is excellent for us to have such a credible course and learning experience so close to New Zealand as most of the advanced industry education takes place in Europe and North America. As the value and significance of the Asia Pacific region grows so will the demand for regional training. I’m pleased we can support such an excellent development – it’s proving its value to our staff, the operations of our buildings and the company.”


NCC (NZ) Ltd is the private venue management company contracted to the Christchurch City Council to manage the Christchurch Convention Centre, New Zealand’s only purpose built international convention facility, the 8888-seat capacity Westpac Centre (the country’s largest indoor arena) and the Christchurch Town Hall.


January 2005




For more information contact Helen Glengarry on + or or Richard Maffey on + or