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Author: Guest Columnist

The Influencers: Joanna Norris


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

As this issue goes to print, we are due to release the latest Quarterly Economic Report, a key metric used to track our economy and focus our own programme of work.

We aim to build and maintain a future-focused economy that raises the standard of living for residents.

A key way we drive economic growth is attracting business events to the city. We recently launched a new brand to do this – Business Events Christchurch – a partnership between Tourism New Zealand, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and ChristchurchNZ’s Convention Bureau.

Our city is primed to host large-scale business events with world-class venues, a humming business community, and a deep pool of expertise in our universities and public sector.

Another driver of economic growth are the city’s existing strengths helping to future-proof our economy.

We have worked with local industry and education experts to create our Supernodes initiative – areas of sustainable growth and high-value employment.

We’re working to attract talent in these areas, build career pathways and foster collaboration, and we’re looking forward to sharing more on this soon.

And there is little doubt IKEA’s recent announcement about opening a store in Ōtautahi Christchurch spurred excitement among our residents, and should create numerous jobs in the city.

We continue to drive economic growth during these exciting times for the city. We are well and truly regaining our status as a major New Zealand urban centre.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

On a recent Saturday morning, walking to the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial service, I was struck by the importance of ‘people spaces’ to our central city.

A space like Worcester Boulevard, which existed before the quakes, connects the river and city centre at one end with the Christchurch Art Gallery, Museum, Botanic Gardens and the Arts Centre. On this mild, Saturday morning it was bustling with visitors and locals alike, many bound for Electric Avenue.

Along the Avon River Precinct, people were sitting on the leafy inclines of the riverbank. On the adjacent City Promenade, which is probably the most popular amenity we have completed to-date, a steady flow of cyclists, pedestrians and joggers were making use of this pleasant new central thoroughfare.

Heading upstream, I started to hear the buzz of the vibrant new Riverside Market, where happy diners were enjoying brunch in the sun on the seating that spills out onto the Promenade.

Contrast that with the sombre but serene feeling of the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial, where I was honoured to place a wreath.

Together with the grassy, tree-lined north bank side of the memorial, this is a great space to both sit and reflect, and for our city to host large, commemorative events.

My team at Ōtākaro is really proud of these ‘people spaces’ we are building in central Christchurch.

Clearly these places, where we get to experience the whole gamut of emotions, are important to us.


 

The Influencers: Lianne Dalziel


  Christchurch Mayor

I remember the Commonwealth Games in 1974. I was a young teenager and the city was abuzz with excitement. I can still remember the song:

We’ve got to join together,
let our laughter fill the air
It’s time for every race and creed
to throw away their every care
Let sport unite us all as one
in the spirit of the lord above
And let us all remember
The games are for the fostering of
peace and love

Never would I have imagined 45 years later that the spirit of these words would be invoked in response to an atrocity such as we experienced on 15 March last year.

Although we will never forget the 51 people whose lives were taken, our memory of that time will always include the way we ‘joined together’.

We stood side-by-side regardless of ‘race or creed’. We were ‘united as one’, and the ‘fostering of peace and love’ was made real.

This act, which was inspired by hatred and was designed to divide us and tear us apart, instead united us with all our communities and embraced us in compassion and love.

The words of our Prime Minister and that of our local Muslim community leaders, who spoke of peace, love, compassion, unity and forgiveness, helped us through this time.

In a time of crisis, this is what the world needs to see and hear, and that’s what makes Christchurch such a special place.


 

The Influencers: Marian Johnson


Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

International Women’s Day just passed and I’m thinking about why it’s hard to get a long list together of female startup founders in Christchurch.

The scarcity of female founders is a global issue and to appreciate the size of the problem here’s a few stats to consider: 83 percent of all venture capital investment goes to all-male founder teams, 12 percent goes to mixed gender teams and only a tiny four percent goes to all-female teams.

We also know that investor teams are mostly male. In the UK, 48 percent of VC teams are all-male with only 13 percent having a female senior executive.

The majority of startups attracting capital are technology-based and fewer than 26 percent of tech employees are women.

Attitudes to risk differ amongst the sexes, with men showing as more pro-risk than women.

High growth startups are inherently risky so maybe an aversion to risk is also one of the factors for why female founders are rarer than male.

But companies with female leaders are 12 percent more profitable than their counterparts.

We also know that, according to Pew Research, women are 34 percent better at working out compromises and 34 percent more likely to be honest and ethical.

Whether the problem is unconscious bias, lack of representation in ‘startup’ sectors, or gender profiles, we must get behind our female founders and give them the connections and opportunity they need to level up and, in doing so, benefit us all.


 

The Influencers: Lynette McFadden


Business Owner of Harcourts Gold

A new decade and a fresh feel is evident in the Christchurch real estate market as we continue our march into 2020.

I love this city, it’s my hometown and I’m excited about our future, our growth, and the variation of design that has started to occur in numerous suburbs and streets.

The definitive market drivers include lower than usual numbers of listings – 1906 listings in January 2019 and 1459 in January 2020 (realestate.co.nz stats) and this is pre-empting an increase in the number of auctions being requested, conducted and sold.

Historically this occurs when vendors feel they can capitalize on the competitive attentions of buyers limited for choice.

I note Christchurch median house prices provided by REINZ also demonstrated an 8.1 percent increase over the January period proving a seasonal win for vendors, some of whom have waited a while to see the benefits of a market favourable to them.

Heading gently into autumn has yet to indicate a change in the current market but with 25 years of experience I’ve never seen a property cycle that didn’t continue to change or adjust to local and national conditions.

I’m also noticing an increase in the nature of property investment as interest rates refuse to provide many with the comfort or growth they’re looking for and this opens up significant opportunities in the months ahead. No doubt I’ll continue to discuss this further.


 

The Influencers: Leeann Watson


Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive

We all know climate change is the biggest environmental issue facing our planet, so what changes can we make locally to make a difference globally?

Some people have chosen to make their contribution by switching to electric vehicles (EVs).

While these aren’t a new invention, today’s versions continue to evolve due to significant technological developments.

In fact, automaker Volvo says half of its vehicles will be electric by 2025; Ford says a third of its offering will be electric by 2030.

Hopefully, as EVs become more mainstream, the pricing will also become more affordable.

In Ōtautahi, more than half of our carbon emissions come from transportation, so a switch to EVs is another way in which we can help reduce greenhouse emissions.

Combined with the fact that 85 percent of our electricity is renewable, the sustainability story behind EVs continues to evolve.

The Chamber is working in partnership with Orion to offer businesses the opportunity to test drive one of the latest EVs for a week, the new Hyundai Kona.

The initiative has been so popular that the vehicles are already booked well into 2021.

Orion is also installing vehicle chargers across the region, keeping EV users close to plug-in sources – we even have one in our Chamber carpark!

This complements Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods’ recent announcement about the EECA Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, which is investing to help establish a network of over 1000 EV charging stations nationwide.


 

The Influencers: Paul Lonsdale


Mainstreet Management Ltd Managing Director

I cannot believe we are already in February with the Christmas rush and holiday now a distant memory.

We are now fully launched into this new decade and I believe we, as a city and region, are ready to own it.

The last 10 years were tough on our city and our people, but in true southern style, we rose from that challenge and showed the world what we are made of.

“It’s a new city built for a new era and we should be proud that we are ready for all the opportunities it will bring.”

We started the new decade on a positive note with Christchurch landing a spot on the New York Times prestigious travel list, which is a fabulous accolade to our rebuild efforts thus far.

There is a positive vibe amount the business community for the new decade, with some large-scale projects being completed this year, including the Convention Centre and new-dedicated Cruise Berth in Lyttelton… and hopefully a decision on the long-awaited multi-use Arena.

It always surprises me to hear that some of our people have only just ventured back into the city centre for the first time in years but heartened they enjoyed the experience.

It’s a new city built for a new era and we should be proud that we are ready for all the opportunities it will bring.


 

The Influencers: Marian Johnson


Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

The second month of the year has almost gone and there is no better time than the present to make good on the resolutions you’ve made for yourself.

Whether you’re thinking of launching your own startup, joining an ambitious new startup team, or really getting into the Christchurch and Canterbury innovation scene, you’ve got some incredible opportunities coming up to meet your new tribe.

Dip your toes in by coming along to the startup ecosystem fixture – Coffee & Jam.

Coffee & Jam takes place on the second Tuesday of every month from 12:30pm to 1:30PM at EPIC.

Here, you’ll find a broad cross section of people all focused on entrepreneurship, startups, and innovation in our region.

Just Google ‘coffeeandjam’ to find upcoming event details.

Also check out Canterbury Angel’s Pitch & Pizza event.

Canterbury Angels had a record 2019 with $845,000 raised and nine deals done.

2020 looks to surpass if momentum is anything to go by.

At Pitch & Pizza, you’ll get to hear some practice pitches from local startups then eat pizza with the crowd afterward.

Check it out at www.canterburyangels.nz.

Finally, if you’ve always wanted to be part of a startup team but didn’t have an idea (or a team), we’ve got you covered!

This year’s ultimate intro to entrepreneurship, Startup Weekend, will take place on 22-24 May.

Christchurch is a city that has rolled out the red carpet for startups and innovators – so get amongst it! We’re looking forward to meeting you.


 

The Influencers: Joanna Norris


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

The start of 2020 has been dominated by global concern for the outbreak and spread of the new coronavirus.

The situation is expected to have a significant impact on the economy.

Christchurch and the South Island have a strong, warm and mutually valuable relationship with China and we hope for an early end to this unique global health event.

Ōtautahi continues to thrive as New Zealand’s second largest city and people are taking notice of what we’ve been up to here.

Our city is the obvious yet understated place to live, work, visit and invest, and we at ChristchurchNZ feel lucky to be playing our part in its future.

The latest statistics show 2019 spending in the central city was up more than 10 percent on 2018, and international visitor spending was up 15 percent.

Both visitor and resident spending continues to trend upwards, and we are pleased to help drive this through promotional campaigns.

ChristchurchNZ aims to ignite bold ambition across our resident and business communities and has set measurable goals to make Ōtautahi Christchurch a fantastic place to live and work.

We’ve called these our Prosperity Framework, setting aspirations for the future of Christchurch’s economy.

We’re excited to continue to promote the city and share this great place nationally and globally.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

We recently completed the first quarter of Christchurch’s biggest jigsaw puzzle, which at first may not seem like a major achievement but it has 43,000 pieces!

The façade on Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is a significant feat of architecture and engineering.

Each of the fibre cement tiles is placed individually on a panel in a layout that creates the look of a braided Canterbury river.

But colour is only one part of the equation, with a complex curved steel structure to support the 1,604 panels required to deliver the full effect.

Designed by Woods Bagot in association with Warren & Mahoney, and Matapopore, the five varied tones of grey and different surface textures in the façade give the building the characteristics of a ‘living surface’.

This intricate façade was selected because Te Pae Christchurch sits on a prime central city site, chosen because it’s on the doorstep of some of the best dining, shopping and accommodation Christchurch has to offer.

So, we had a responsibility to deliver a facility befitting this prominent riverside site and the significant buildings surrounding it.

It is great to see that vision coming to life as this iconic facility will be around for a long time.

The tiles are expected to last for more than 50 years and are fully recyclable, as it’s unlikely anyone will want to take a second go at putting this puzzle together.