Hon Megan Woods
Ngai Tuahuriri representatives
Venue clients and suppliers
I was invited to give the first official speech here at Te Pae five months ago, almost to the day – 17 December 2021.
It is not surprising I feel this year has been slipping away. It’s a shared experience.
I went back to my speech notes from last year and thought I would repeat some of them.
I remember when the government released its blueprint for the rebuild of our central city; it was hard to imagine the scale of a convention centre that could connect Victoria Square to Cathedral Square.
And here it is Te Pae, Ōtautahi Christchurch, the place where people will gather together for conventions, conferences, business events, trade exhibitions and meetings.
I said the other night that I was attending a conference in Sweden this week, and I am. I can manage the mornings – 7pm – 10.15pm, but not the afternoons. The advantage is that I can play back the sessions I am interested in, but what I love about conferences no Zoom experience can give me.
It's not the keynote speakers – I can watch them online – it’s the spaces in-between – it’s where you bump into someone you want to meet – it’s the chat about the keynote speaker – it’s the exploration of ideas that start to swirl when we are listening – listening together – and that’s what makes the magic of a conference.
And that’s what Te Pae is inviting here and all of you who are suppliers and contributors in one shape or another help make the magic happen.
The commitment to local produce and local suppliers – that’s what creates a unique experience that is ours and that we invite the world to share.
When I spoke at the earlier opening, I said people who come here will see our past meet our future – the juxtaposition between the two squares that now also reflect our pre-European history – and the outlook to our river as familiar to us today as Ōtākaro – the place of play – as it is the River Avon.
This place is already known as Te Pae – as is Tūranga across the road – our extraordinary city library.
And across the other side of the river on Conservation Land, we see the last remaining example of the seat of Provincial Government in New Zealand – a category 1 heritage building. Its reinstatement will add enormous interest to the area.
And all around us we see the new architecture of our city, alongside that which we have been able to preserve, with an incredibly diverse and rich range of dining and venue experiences all within walking distance of here.
Our oldest city by Royal Charter is now our newest city as well.
It really is an exceptional location.
Our international airport means we are also a gateway to our region and the whole of Te Waipounamu.
This means that Ōtautahi Christchurch is now the complete package with today’s opening of Te Pae, the first new generation convention centre in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Coming together to celebrate not just the opening, but this time the operating of Te Pae, is an enormous pleasure.
I look forward to seeing Te Pae and our city go from strength to strength.
No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa