About Us

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre has been designed as Ōtautahi Christchurch’s ‘gathering place’. A key part of the regeneration of the city, the Government’s investment in Te Pae Christchurch is set to act as a catalyst – not only for the growth and development of the city, but as a way of building lasting social, cultural and economic connections between the region and the world.

Meet the team

Ross Steele

General Manager

About Ross Steele:

Ross was appointed general manager in early 2019, and is responsible for successfully marketing the centre to the national and international convention market. He brings more than 20 years’ convention centre business experience to the role. Prior to joining Te Pae Christchurch, Ross managed the Cairns Convention Centre in Queensland for 12 years. Cairns Convention Centre was regularly voted amongst the top convention centre’s in the world (AIPC World’s Best Congress Centre’s Awards, including World’s Best Congress Centre in 2014).

Danielle Thompson

Director of Business Services

About Danielle Thompson:

Danielle has held a number of hospitality roles in New Zealand and Australia over the past 20 years – including working as part of the pre-opening team for two hotels in Sydney – and also spent time at the New Zealand High Commission in Singapore. Initially working in culinary front-of-house, it was while completing her hospitality qualification she realised finance would be a great fit. Danielle has been a part of the Te Pae team since 2019, and outside of work holds a number of local and national governance roles.

Gillian Officer

Director of Business Development

About Gillian Officer:

A business events professional of more than 20 years, Gillian specialises in venue management and has worked for a number of well-known New Zealand venues, including the SKYCITY Convention Centre, The Edge Auckland Convention Centre, and The Wellington Convention Centre.

From kitchen management to event planning, right through to business development, Gillian has a wealth of knowledge in events and venue management.

Darren Tait

Director of Culinary Services

About Darren Tait:

Darren has more than 25 years’ senior management experience in both New Zealand and the UK, where he worked in the finest country house hotels in Scotland and large function venues in England, as well as the largest entertainment venue in Christchurch. Prior to joining Te Pae, Darren was the food and beverage manager at Christchurch Casino where he managed six restaurants and bars and a large function space.

Nicolette Elia

Director of Event Services

About Nicolette Elia:

Nicolette has more than two decades of experience across venues on three continents, including her most recent event role as Director of Operations for Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.

Specialising in venue management and operational and event services management, Nicolette oversees the event planning, audio-visual and floor coordination teams.

Vanessa McBean

Director of Human Resources

About Vanessa McBean:

Vanessa began her career in hospitality at the Regent Auckland Hotel more than 30 years ago. Vanessa has held various hotel operations and food and beverage management roles in locations across New Zealand – including Turoa Ski Field. Vanessa moved into human resources in 2011. Before joining Te Pae Christchurch, she was the regional HR manager at Farmers for six years.

Troy Williams

Director of Building Services

About Troy Williams:

Troy was previously responsible for asset management, sustainability and safety at Dunedin’s
Forsyth Barr Stadium and Dunedin Town Hall. During his tenure, these venues played host to some of New
Zealand’s biggest events, including All Black rugby tests, FIFA World Cup games and major international
concerts, as well as a wide range of conventions and meetings. Troy also has a background in managing
major infrastructure and large buildings for significant manufacturing businesses.

Nathan Gardiner

Director of Technology and Innovation

About Nathan Gardiner:

Nathan brings key leadership experience to the Audio Visual and ICT innovation industries. Prior to joining Te Pae Christchurch, Nathan worked at the University of Canterbury for over 20 years to help implement converged network solutions and shape new and emerging technologies across teaching & learning spaces. Nathan also led the large-scale AV remediation projects spanning several years post-earthquake throughout the entire campus.

Rau Paenga Limited

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is owned by Rau Paenga Limited (formerly Ōtākaro Limited) on behalf of the New Zealand Government.