I had an opportunity a few weeks ago for a sneak preview of this building.
But it is wonderful to be here today to formally celebrate the return of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce to our city – back where it belongs, back in the centre of town where it has served the city for so many years.
The Chamber has worked so hard over the past six years to support that business community and to ensure they could continue to operate. Setting up Recover Canterbury with CDC was hugely beneficial – and the Government’s decisions to fund staff wages for businesses displaced by the earthquakes for 6 weeks while they sorted things out and to enable exporters to travel to reassure nervous markets – they were gold.
There’s been a huge journey to get here. I would imagine that commuting each day to his living room probably saved a lot of time for Peter but it can’t have been easy – not just working from home but having everyone working from your home.
Then of course, what was actually a large tent over in Addington, then back into town to temporary premises and now finally home again to Kilmore Street.
The challenges have been enormous and I would like to pay tribute to the dedication of the Chamber team during this time.
Their work over the past 6 years mirrors the Chamber’s long and distinguished history of service to our city.
It was founded in Lyttelton in 1859, 157 years ago, and then moved over the hills to Christchurch in 1862.
And ever since its founding, the Chamber has been an active participant in many of the historic events of our city.
I mention this because Christchurch is New Zealand’s oldest city – founded by royal charter back in 1856.
Now we are becoming New Zealand’s newest city as well.
It’s an exciting time to be moving back to the heart of the City. Congratulations to you Peter, your Board and your\ entire team. Well done.