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The Influencers: Lianne Dalziel

Is there a building that you’ve walked past and wondered what it is like inside? This month, for one weekend only, the doors to 46 of the city’s buildings will be thrown open to the public as part of a new festival of architecture, Open Christchurch.


Mayor of Christchurch


The festival on May 15 and 16 is being led by Te Pūtahi Centre for Architecture and City Making as part of a global initiative celebrating urban landscapes.

Building owners will literally be opening their doors so that you can experience great design from the inside.

We’re the only New Zealand city taking part and it’s going to be a fun weekend of discovery, with buildings of all different types, ages, architectural styles, size and construction open for you to have a look around.

Te Hononga Civic Offices is one of the buildings. Originally home to NZ Post, the building was redeveloped into the Civic Offices 11 years ago, earning its status as the first building in New Zealand to achieve a 6 Green Star triple honour.

I look forward to being part of this visit.

I hope to see lots of people out and about during Open Christchurch, discovering the city through architecture and satisfying long-held curiosities about what lies behind the doors of many of our exceptional buildings.

Details on the website.


The Influencers: Joanna Norris

Working in partnership with public, private and community organisations means we’re able to achieve more for the city by leveraging different strengths and resources. Partnerships sit at the heart of the Ōtautahi Christchurch Recovery Plan, which details the city’s collective efforts to ensure our economic and social recovery is deliberate, strong and fair.


ChristchurchNZ CEO


As we head into winter we’re mindful of the challenges. Closed borders and a moderation in retail spending means the winter will be tough for many businesses.

So, we’re delivering initiatives with city partners to stimulate economic growth, create more high-value decent work and build resilience into businesses and our economy.

With the Ministry of Social Development we’re supporting over 200 jobseekers to start a business, and learn how to draw support from the city’s innovation eco-system.

With the Crusaders we’re changing perceptions of Christchurch and driving visitors to the city, by helping them come to a game, and explore the city while they
are here.

With ThincLab, Te Ōhaka Centre for Growth and Innovation and KiwiNet we’re uncovering some of the most exciting and future-focused business ideas in the food, fibre and agritech sector.

With the Regional Business Partner Network, Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, and Business Mentors New Zealand we’re supporting thousands of businesses each year – connecting them with advice, funding, support and resources.

Our aim is to continue to strengthen and grow these partnerships and deliver value back to Ōtautahi Christchurch.


The Influencers: John Bridgman

Two brilliant white wing-like structures will begin making their way out of the ground mid-year, outside what will be the main entrance to Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.




Standing about eight metres tall, these will create a modern day ngutu or ceremonial entranceway.

This will be where event visitors for formal cultural ceremonies can be welcomed into the venue.

Called Te Aika, which means “the home people,” the artwork recognises the mana of local hapu, Ngāi Tūāhuriri.

I encourage you to visit the Ōtākaro Limited website and take a look at the design.

It has been inspired by the distinctive southern maihi, or diagonal bargeboards, on whare on the bank of the Cam River.

Other influences include the kōtuku, which is considered a good omen and the kahu huruhuru or cloak as a symbol of welcome, warmth, mana and protection.

Commissioned by Ōtākaro, Te Aika has been designed by artists Rachael Rakena and Simon Kaan and is being produced by SCAPE Public Art, in collaboration with Matapopore.

We are proud to be able to place what will become an iconic piece of Christchurch art outside an equally iconic building.


The Influencers: Leeann Watson

The recently announced trans-Tasman travel bubble has come as welcome relief. Prior to Covid-19, Australia was our largest international visitor market, accounting for almost half of all international visitor arrivals, and spending approximately $2.7 billion.




So as we head into the colder months, an influx of visitors from Australia will have a significant positive impact on many businesses, particularly in hospitality and tourism.

It will also be a boost for small businesses that rely on international tourism spend, and are shouldering additional costs of operating in a Covid-19 environment and with the recently increased minimum wage.

Our ski season is a drawcard, and with 53 percent of Australian holiday visitors flying direct to the South Island pre-Covid-19, this will help to spread some economic benefits to smaller tourism-reliant regions that are really hurting – as well as Ōtautahi Christchurch as the gateway to the south.

A safe travel zone will also remove a significant hurdle for businesses reliant on trans-Tasman travel, particularly under-pressure exporters and manufacturers.

We know how important this travel bubble is for the health and wellbeing of those unable to visit with friends and whānau across the Tasman for over a year.

With the vaccination roll-out gaining momentum, we are optimistic we are reaching a turning point in our response to one of the most significant economic disruptors of a generation.


The Influencers: Peter Townsend

For as long as I can remember, the need to improve the interface between education and the workplace has been an issue. How can we better equip those in education to be as well prepared as possible for life beyond the classroom?


Te Papa Hauora Advisory Council
Independent Chair


Given its unique grouping of key stakeholders, (Canterbury District Health Board, Ara, Otago University, University of Canterbury, supported by Ngāi Tahu) Te Papa Hauora is well predisposed to address that interface.

In May, Te Papa Hauora is hosting The Future Leaders programme. This involves health students who are advanced in their training, being exposed to a wide range of topics and engaging with a variety of leading health professionals.

The students will be exposed to challenges they will face in leadership roles in their future work. The week long programme is about gaining a better understanding of the Canterbury Health System, its key drivers, and how it compares to other health offerings in New Zealand and beyond. There is strong emphasis on future scenarios and how to engage in new ways of working to shape our health system.

The students are challenged to consider patient demographics, culture, equity, funding models, infrastructure and politics, amongst other things.

We know from past experience that participants are better equipped to adopt leaderships roles, and we would like to see more of this type of bridge building in our community.


The Influencers: Leeann Watson

Over a year after the first cases of Covid-19 hit our shores, we continue to see considerable strain on our global supply chain, which could have significant long-term repercussions for both businesses and consumers.


Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive


The concern around freight is a “perfect storm” of supply chain challenges. The global surge in demand for goods teamed with factory supply issues has seen shipping lines changing tack – putting containers geographically out of balance around the world.

National ports too are struggling with issues around skills shortages and infrastructure. This has caused cargo operators to re-think their services to Aotearoa.

So how does this impact us? The products we see on shop shelves and the price we pay for them; our agriculture, manufacturing and construction sectors, and exporters who need certainty around delivery. It also puts strain on the transport industry – costing everybody more to do the same job. That increase will need to be passed on to the consumer.

As a small nation reliant on international trade for our way of life and to help turn the cogs of our economy, we need to ensure everything is being done to provide a long-term, resilient supply network.

The key will be taking a more collaborative approach between businesses and government to ensure our location doesn’t put us in the too hard basket, impacting our country’s trade competitiveness and consumers’ pockets long-term if left unchecked.


The Influencers: Joanna Norris

ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

A growing number of Kiwis are eyeing up Ōtautahi Christchurch as a tempting place to live.

Twenty per cent of those recently surveyed said they were open to relocating to Christchurch within the next five years.

This is a great indicator of the vibrancy and profile of our city.

We regularly gauge the perceptions of people outside of the city, including their willingness to travel or move to Christchurch.

Perceptions are important. How people view our city, what they know, what they don’t know and how they speak about it influences our economic growth.

Waitaha Canterbury requires an additional 70,000 workers over the next 15 years to fill vacancies created by an aging population. We’re competing not just nationally, but globally, to attract a strong workforce.

If we want to maintain and grow our market share of the national economy, we need to work hard to attract people to the city and to understand what drives behaviours and perceptions.

Some of the most important factors are the cost of living, housing affordability, housing quality and ease of getting around – all areas in which Christchurch outperformed both Auckland and Wellington.

These results are hugely positive for the city, but there is always more work to do.

We know people want to see more employment opportunities available in the city.

So attracting businesses, supporting innovation and creating more high-value decent jobs will continue to be a priority for us in 2021 and beyond.


The Influencers: John Bridgman

Ōtākaro Limited
Chief Executive

This month we will take a moment to remember all that Christchurch lost on February 22 a decade ago.

It’s also a natural point to consider how far we have come in that time.

Responsibility for the delivery of the Crown-led anchor projects was handed to Ōtākaro Limited in 2016.

While a significant amount of demolition and planning work had been done by that time, a lot of land sat bare.

By February 2017, though, the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial was opened.

Construction began on the first homes in One Central a few months later and the adjoining Rauora Park opened later that year.

We’ve enjoyed the River Promenade for three summers now and Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and the South Frame are nearing completion.

No one will tell you the process has been perfect.

Tricky ground, a strained construction sector and now a pandemic have all played a part. But the scale of what has been achieved is noteworthy.

We are on the cusp of something special with the Avon River Precinct finishing around April, Te Pae on track to open later this year and the Metro Sports Facility around a year later.

Christchurch will then be home to some of the finest facilities and public places you’ll find anywhere in the country.


The Influencers: Leeann Watson


Ngā mihi o te tau hou Happy new year! As I write my first Metropol column of 2021, I strongly believe the year ahead is full of possibility.

We have come off the back of a tumultuous year, our lives upended by Covid-19 heralding a new normal in the way we live, and the way we conduct business.

Almost overnight, there was a change in what was possible, with many shifting to remote working, virtual learning and online shopping.

There was also not the predicted economic freefall. After the initial shock, economic activity proved far stronger and more persistent than first thought.

Many key sectors fared better than expected, with the city seeing an overall spending increase of 4 percent for December 2020 to $604m compared with the same month last year.

Spending in the central city was up 9 percent to $51m for the same period. Domestic visitor spend was also up 20 percent, reaching $54m (although unable to offset the 76 percent drop in international spend).

As we leave the holiday season it is important we continue to honour the mantra of buy and support local, and embrace our uniqueness, building on existing strengths and stay willing to incorporate new approaches.

If we leverage Covid-19 as a catalyst for positive change, we can accelerate our transformation to a more productive and sustainable economy, living up to the promise of a happy and prosperous new year.


The Influencers: Lianne Dalziel

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel

This month sees the 10th anniversary of the earthquake that changed our lives and our city forever.

We will always honour the memory of the lives who were lost, and we will always ensure the lessons we have learned remain embedded within our city’s way of doing things for the future.

Our experience in the past decade has left us much better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, and we can face the future with optimism and confidence.

At the same time, we are grateful for the opportunity reimagining our city has allowed. We know there is more to be done, but we have turned the corner.

We know a vibrant city centre is vital to the whole city’s wellbeing.

Te Papa Ōtākaro /Avon River Precinct is almost complete and has already turned our central city to face the river. It is wonderful to see so many people enjoying themselves and the natural environment that makes us so special.

I’ve been talking to many people who have visited our city for the first time in a long time. And they tell me they can see we are truly the city of the future.

For many New Zealanders returning home from overseas or shifting out of the Auckland housing market where the average house price has hit $1m, this is making us their city of choice right now.

We will build on that as more people see the opportunities that are our city’s legacy of what happened a decade ago.