Published: Jan 19, 2022, 1:15 PM
The $475 million Te Pae convention centre is already booked to host 150 events next year, but managers concede they are not expected to be money-makers.
The design draws inspiration from the braided rivers of the Canterbury Plains, the neo-gothic architecture of Christchurch city and patterns and colours of Ngāi Tahu tradition.
The riverside building features a 1400-seat auditorium, 1000-seat banquet hall, vast exhibition space and 24 meeting rooms.
Te Pae replaces the original Christchurch Convention Centre, which was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake and demolished the following year.
Despite ongoing uncertainty about the opening of international borders, the rise in virtual conferencing and competition from other cities, centre managers are anticipating strong demand from the domestic and Australasian market.
Crown company Otakaro is in charge of the project, which was designed to help revitalise the city and stimulate the Canterbury economy.
Ōtākaro's general manager Keith Beal said Te Pae was expected to generate $60m a year in economic benefits to the region.
"Convention centres are not built as profit centres," Beal said.
"It's not designed as a money-making venture, it's an anchor project and the key thing about anchor projects here is Christchurch is really to drive that regeneration of the city post-2011.
"Anything that is capable of generating $60 million a year for a region is unlikely to be a white elephant."
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