metropol » influencers

Tag: influencers

The Influencers: Marian Johnson

Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

We have around 530,000 small businesses in New Zealand.

This represents 97 percent of all commercial ventures, 28 percent of employment, and 25 percent of GDP – proving that the Kiwi entrepreneurial mindset is alive and well.

Why then do we have so few start-up versus small business founders?

What’s the difference between a small business and a start-up?

Start-ups are only temporarily small and usually based around innovation with global scale.

The intention from the beginning is to ‘Go Big’. But, while there are 530,000 Kiwi small businesses, there are only around 500 high growth start-ups.

Why? Is it more challenging to grow a start-up than a small business?

Not necessarily. Plenty of small business owners work 14-hour days, carry immense amounts of stress, and are equally ambitious.

I believe, for the most part, the reason we have so few start-up versus small business founders is in the vision.

This is not a criticism, but, in the long term, high growth start-ups will create our future economy and drive national job growth.

In the US, almost every new job created since 1977 was created by a start-up. Now, more than ever, New Zealand needs more start-up founders to alleviate our reliance on primary industry exports and invent our future world-leading industries.

So, if you’re already in the entrepreneurial trenches, begin your 2022 strategy planning session in thinking what value your business might offer the world.


The Influencers: Paul Lonsdale

Central City Business Association Central City Manager

Going back into Alert Level 2 certainly re-tested the resilience of our business community. Survival seems to be the theme as 2020 continues to test us all in one way or another.

That said, watching any of the David Attenborough Planet Earth series, I am always in awe of what the animal kingdom has to do on a daily basis just to survive. It’s survival of the fittest, smartest, strongest, the most determined every second of their lives.

In my view, determination and having a goal are key aspects of business survival and often these attributes drive certain people to overcome adversity.

I recently spoke to one businessperson who said “failure is not an option” as he has a young family and cannot afford to fail.

He has had to rethink all he does within his business and look for additional opportunities to help overcome Covid-19 related adversity.

However, you should never be afraid of failure, as often this can be a precursor to success.

Successful people often have a multitude of failures before finding the right mix to success.

Having determination and an end goal drives them to pick themselves up and start again.

With the work I do, I get to see firsthand how difficult it is for people out there at the moment.

I have said this before but I will say it again, support your local, and be kind to each other, as you never know what someone is dealing with.


The Influencers: Paul Lonsdale


Mainstreet Management Ltd Managing Director

Earth has flipped the proverbial reboot switch, something none of us were expecting, well not this year anyway.

As I sit here in my isolation, I reflect on a song by one of my favourite artists, the late great John Lennon and his song Imagine.

The words of this song could fill the many holes created by our global economy rather than the buckets of tears we seem to fill them with.

COVID-19 has illuminated the holes in globalisation as we are forced back into our own corners of this world… and herein lies an opportunity, the importance of supporting ‘your local’ and creating our own circular economy.

Our small to medium businesses make up 97 percent of all businesses in New Zealand and are the backbone of our economy, contributing to more than a quarter of our GDP.

As a country we are currently facing a complete loss of an entire industry ‘tourism’, which is our biggest export industry so without it, our local businesses will need your support, now more than ever.

Our small to medium business owners are people just like you and me, they have families, mortgages, but they employ our people.

So, I ask all of you to consider supporting your local business in the coming months and in particular over the winter period.

I personally believe, if we pull together and support each other over the next couple of years we will help reduce the amount of pain in our community.

Kia kaha people and don’t be afraid to imagine.


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

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.


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: 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.