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Author: Guest Columnist

The Influencers: Paul Lonsdale

There is a lot happening in our city and one of the key things that differentiates us from the suburban shopping centres, aside from our unique retail and hospitality offer, is our ability to activate the streets with events, festivals, buskers and street performances.


Mainstreet Management Ltd Managing Director

We are seeing new businesses opening every day filling in the gaps and progress has now reached tipping point.

From 23 January to 16 February our central city streets will be full of colour and spectacle. Building upon 25 years of history, the Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival will garner our streets providing a platform for a diverse range of local, national and international performers.

This is an opportunity to experience some of the best street performances the world has to offer and to explore your new city. We are seeing new businesses opening every day filling in the gaps and progress has now reached tipping point.

There are a lot of myths about how much parking we have in the city but to help break that myth, I can tell you we have way more parking than pre-earthquake with over 15,000 parking spaces available… and access is easy. See you there.




The Influencers: Marian Johnson

It’s hard to say goodbye to that most wonderful of things – the Kiwi summer holiday. In between the pavs and beach cricket this year, it was hard to miss the horror of the human and ecological tragedy unfolding in Australia giving us all a window into the impact of climate change.


Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

With the passing of the Zero Carbon amendment last year, New Zealand is taking a lead in the global charge against climate change. And Christchurch, with its aggressive goals of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, is a part of that charge.

Behaviour change will certainly be required to hit these targets; innovation and technology breakthroughs will also be critical to their achievement.

It’s encouraging then to note that Callaghan Innovation’s CPrize, a national innovation challenge, chose environmental sustainability as its 2020 challenge theme.

Just as we broke for the holidays at the end of last year, 10 finalists were chosen from the national entries.

A quick look at the teams show solutions in agriculture, waste management, packaging, and aquaculture – each driving sustainability across mega industries or individual behaviours.

We’re very proud to count three of the 10 ventures are Christchurch-based including Radius Robotics who are part of the startup cohort at Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth & Innovation.

Miraculous innovations aside, we’re all facing an individual challenge in this battle.

Our city’s carbon emissions break out thus: transportation 53 percent, stationary energy 23 percent, agriculture 11 percent, waste nine percent, and industry four percent. What can each of us do to reduce our own emissions?


The Influencers: Joanna Norris

This year marks a watershed moment for our city, our place, Ōtautahi Christchurch. There are few years I’ve been more excited for than 2020.


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

We are emerging as the country’s premier urban destination, a basecamp for exploration and a hub of South Island adventure. Our rebuilt infrastructure is the envy of cities with worn out facilities, while our city is new, exciting and stronger than ever.

In 2020, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre will open, set to be an absolute game-changer for the city centre and our ability to host major business events.

We’re also excited about He Puna Taimoana, the hot pools development in New Brighton opening this year, which will bring a new energy to this beautiful white-sand beach just 15 minutes from the city centre.

In May, we welcome the world’s tourism industry to the city at TRENZ, an incredible chance to showcase our new city to the world and we plan to leverage this in a big way.

We also welcome the inaugural South Island Moon Festival in October, a new celebration of our links to China and the rest of Asia.
ChristchurchNZ has come of age and in 2020 we’re hitting the ground running.

We stand confidently as your gutsy economic development and city profile agency, with a deep commitment to serving the public interest, igniting bold ambition among our businesses, our people, and those visiting our beautiful home.


The Influencers: John Bridgman

It’s not just the number of seats in the auditorium that the organisers of international conventions look at when selecting their next venue in a globally competitive sector.

John Bridgman
Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

Transport, hospitality and quality of accommodation are also crucial in the decision-making process. So, it’s great for Christchurch that Ōtākaro recently secured a development agreement with the Carter Group for up to four hotels on the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre site, including one five-star hotel.

A five-star hotel near the venue is a requirement for what are considered marquee international events. These sorts of events will help Te Pae Christchurch stimulate the nearly $100m worth of economic activity each year it’s estimated the city is currently missing out on.

A five-star offering will certainly add a string to the marketing bow of our operator ASM Global, which now has 40 confirmed events and around another 120 interested in coming to Christchurch once Te Pae is open in October.

Our agreement with the Carter Group also enables new developments by the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch to the north of Armagh St, along the Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. This will allow this award-winning Anchor Project to reach its full potential as a place for people.

These new developments will use a third of the vacant private land in Christchurch’s CBD east of the Avon River and serve as a fantastic example of how Ōtākaro can meet its dual objectives of delivering both commercial and regenerative outcomes for the city.


The Influencers: Lianne Dalziel

I love the fact it’s 2020! When applied to eyesight, 20/20 refers to clarity of vision and that is what I am sure the year 2020 will deliver to our city and region. I am hugely optimistic for what this year holds.


Christchurch Mayor


Not only will we continue to see the benefits of private and public investment in our city, we will see major projects fully completed and others underway.

Christchurch’s Convention Centre, Te Pae, will open in 2020 and what a difference that will make for the region as a whole.

When I think of the conferences we will be hosting, I don’t just think about the delegates attending, I think of the extra days that they pack in on either side of the conference, the family they might bring along for the ride, or bring back after the conference when they’ve had a taste of what the region has to offer.

And what about the American Airlines announcement that will connect North America and our region with Los Angeles to Christchurch direct flights three days a week?

I am so grateful we have such an active airport company that continues to invest in building international connectivity.

We will see the Metro Sports Facility starting to rise from the ground this year, and this will bring huge benefits, especially to the accommodation sector, due to the national events that will be held there.

The signs of visible progress we will see this year will really help to restore confidence in what is the heart and soul of our city.


The Influencers: Leeann Watson

The last year was one of steady evolution. There was the release of a Government Budget focused on wellbeing, as well as the announcement of a $7.5 billion surplus. There was also the reversal on the tabling of a capital gains tax.


Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive

There were various changes to employment legislation, with Fair Pay Agreements one of the more highly publicised issues through the year. Immigration was also in the spotlight, with changes to employer-assisted temporary work visa settings.

There were the local body elections, and the appointment of a new Chief Executive, which we hope will provide a fresh burst of energy for the council to gain traction on key issues and developments this year.

In the education sector, the big news was the launch of the Reform of Vocational Education, which aims to encourage collaboration between the business community and education providers to ensure we have a fit-for-purpose future workforce.

As we stride into the New Year, I think we will see more of these ‘big picture’ issues being addressed, largely driven by the 2020 general election.
With low unemployment rates – and interest rates – and a housing market that is starting to turn, the economy may not be such a big issue and other key drivers, such as the future of work and climate change will really come to the fore.

I look forward to a transformational year ahead and helping to shape Canterbury as a vibrant, dynamic region that supports local businesses and provides a strong quality of life and community outcomes for all.



Centres of vocational excellence on the horizon

The great inventor Thomas Edison once said that opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.




The construction sector in New Zealand, made up of 250,000 workers, is an industry where it is wonderful to see workers ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and embrace new challenges and opportunities.

Our country and our economy benefit significantly from the industry’s admirable work ethic.

In light of big technology changes on the horizon and the shortfall of 80,000 new construction workers expected over the next five years, we need to ensure that the construction landscape is ready and resilient for what today and tomorrow bring.

Education is a crucial part of a strong industry and this is why the Reform of Vocational Education is underway; the biggest change to vocational education in 25 years.

During extensive engagement and consultation this year, New Zealanders told us they agree that we need a strong, unified and sustainable vocational education system fit for the future of work and capable of delivering the skills learners, employers and communities need to thrive.

An important part of the reform is the Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs).

A CoVE is a consortium of industry groups, subject matter experts, researchers and regional representatives from across a sector who collaborate to support the growth of excellent vocational education provision and sharing of high-quality curriculum and programme design across the vocational education system.

In August 2019, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the first two pilot CoVEs – primary and construction.

The Government will set the general parameters for these CoVEs while the specific design, functions and detailed subject matter will be determined by members of the successful consortia who will be chosen through a selection process starting with a Registration of Interest (RoI).

Consortium applications will be assessed by an independent evaluation panel made up of industry experts in the relevant sectors.

The panel will provide recommendations to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) Board who make the funding decisions.

The intent is that successful applicants will be selected and have funding agreements in place for CoVEs to commence establishment from mid-2020.

There is $2.5 million of funding available per year, for up to five years, for each of the first two pilot CoVEs.

While funding is for a defined period, it’s expected CoVEs will be an enduring part of the vocational education system.

Each CoVE will include one of the new Workforce Development Councils; four to seven industry-governed bodies that will take a skills leadership role working with both the industry and providers to ensure the right type of qualifications and programmes are in place.

A series of thought-provoking workshops and webinars were recently held to discuss the potential scope and functions of CoVEs.

Approximately 170 stakeholders from the primary and construction sectors were involved, including representatives from industry groups, peak bodies, iwi, institutes of technology and polytechnics, Industry Training Organisations, wānanga, private training establishments, schools and universities, employers, unions, the institute’s establishment board, and government agencies.

A summary of findings and new Q&As from the workshops and webinars are now live on the TEC website. If you are interested in the RoI process, visit their website.


Merry Christmas!

Award-winning interior designer Angelique Armstrong has been sharing her top tips for creating successful interiors throughout 2019.

This issue, she simply wants to wish all her readers a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

“Enjoy the break with your family and relax!” she says.

“It’s been a fabulous year and I thought I would inspire you all with some images we have worked on.”

If you’re looking for something special for friends this Christmas, there’s plenty of options at Armstrong Interiors. “Come in and see what we have,” Angelique says.

“We also have some special works in from ceramic potter Kim Henderson if you’re looking for a one-off, original piece.

“In the meantime, we wish you all a Merry Christmas, from the Armstrong Interiors team.”

Visit, phone 03 356 2636 or check them out on Instagram armstronginteriorsltd

Find Armstrong Interiors at 27 Papanui Road, visit, phone 03 356 2636 or check them out on Instagram, armstronginteriorsltd


Summer of discovery in Otautahi Christchurch

Our urban city centre is becoming a vibrant, interesting place. As you prepare for the summer break, architect Craig South, of Allfrey + South, recommends including Christchurch in your plans.

If you haven’t visited the central city for a while, I’d suggest making some time over summer to go and explore it. You’ll find a lot has changed for the better, with so many new buildings and developments up and running.

A good starting point is Tūranga, the city’s new main public library. Tūranga is the largest public library in the South Island, so there is plenty to see and do just in this building alone.

Our practice recently hosted one of our social forums on architecture (ArchiChat) there at Auaha Hīhī (Spark Place), a ground-floor meeting space.

This world-class facility is truly multi-purpose, serving not just as an information hub, but also as a fit-for-purpose centre of engagement and interaction.

Christchurch’s new waterfront is flourishing. The City Promenade – part of Te Papa Ōtakaro/Avon River Precinct – opened just over a year ago, running along Oxford Terrace.

If you do nothing else this summer, do take a stroll along this well-paved riverside walk that passes by the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial, the Bridge of Remembrance, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre (scheduled to open in October 2020) and Victoria Square to the Margaret Mahy Family Playground.

Along the way, you can stop and visit Christchurch’s hospitality hotspots at The Terrace or the bustling new Riverside Market development that boasts an indoor farmers market, linked with boutique shops, restaurants, cafés and bars.

The market’s lively mix of local growers and small traders makes this place a real stand-out. It’s on an intimate scale that people just love and it certainly makes a change from the suburban malls.

It’s exciting to see Christchurch evolving into an innovative, liveable city that includes these sorts of hubs or small communities of businesses offering something different to the big chain retail approach.

The Welder complex on Welles Street, with a health and wellbeing focus, is another great example of this.

You’ll also find a dash of character in the SALT district, home to some cool heritage buildings and alternative eateries such as Little High Eatery. The inner city is now generally well set-up for shopping, enlivened by Melbourne-style laneways.

Of course, the Arts Centre, Christchurch Art Gallery and Canterbury Museum are other familiar drawcards, along with the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Not everything has happened as quickly as hoped in the city. Yet at least the end is in sight for some big projects, such as Te Pae and the new Metro Sports Facility (due to be finished in late 2021). Stabilisation work is soon to begin on Christ Church Cathedral and the council plans to put an investment case to Cabinet for Christchurch’s new stadium by Christmas.

There is much else to be excited about, such as the planned new Court Theatre in the city’s performing arts precinct. While we wait, there’s a nearby colony of black-billed gulls, tarāpuka, in the flooded foundations of the former PWC building site providing quite a show.

If you’re here over summer with family, I recommend adding it to your itinerary of things to see and do in Christchurch!


Here comes the bride!

Yes, we’re in wedding season again with sunny skies ahead and long balmy evenings just made for celebrating outdoors.


We get regular requests from the hassled bride’s mother about having the garden picture-perfect for the big day, or for the next day’s after-match function. So here are a few pointers to get the wedding look – easily.

First pointer, don’t let ‘garden stress’ spoil what should be a fun party for everyone, including the hosts. Everyone’s there to have a memorable time, not to pick over the garden looking for weeds. Talking loudly, laughing and inhaling your expensive bubbly will blur any detailed memories of the garden.

Green lawns, trimmed edges/hedges instantly give the garden a manicured look and mowing regularly for the three weeks prior avoids the ‘scalped’ look. Feed the lawn six weeks before the big day and water deeply if there’s no rain around. A final mow three days before the wedding gives the best look.

Focal points of massed colour are the easiest way to create the ‘wow!’ factor as guests arrive and mingle. Large tubs of a single colour of flower are the most eye-catching and place them where they’ll have the most effect. Make sure there’s enough room for two people to walk between them – very important for the bride and groom!

The front gate, the front door, entrances to pergolas or marquees, beside gaps through hedges and gates to pool areas are all focal points. The scale changes with large numbers of people, so large tubs have more impact.

Roses really set the scene and “How can I have the perfect roses just at the right time?” is probably the pre-wedding question we get asked the most. Water is the basic requirement of roses and it’s almost impossible to over-water them.

Trickling a hose steadily at the base is the best way to water, rather than on the foliage, but if you can’t avoid overhead watering do it first thing in the morning, rather than the evening.

Feeding six weeks before the required date promotes fresh, new, clean growth, and the period from pruning to flowering is around six weeks. Regular spraying halts pests and diseases – if you need any advice on roses just ring or call us.

Flower beds can easily be a riot of colour all through summer with a bit of TLC and the good old reliable varieties are still the way to go – white petunias, white alyssum, lobelia, blue cornflowers, cream marigolds, white cosmos, blue salvias, and white impatiens in shade.

Pockets of summer annuals will reinforce your colour schemes and larger numbers of less varieties will have maximum impact. Rows of geraniums in terracotta pots are simple and effective. Weddings can be a once-in-a-lifetime event – enjoy the fun!