Case Study: Asian Seed Congress

Case Study: Asian Seed Congress


The world’s largest seed industry event, the Asian Seed Congress, was held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre for the first time in late 2023 – bringing over 1,000 delegates from more than 45 countries to the Canterbury region and contributing an estimated $2.5 million to Christchurch’s visitor economy. 

New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) Operations & Events Manager Sharon Dawe says the opportunity to showcase the country’s major seed growing region was made possible in-part by the ability to host the event at Te Pae Christchurch. 

“Te Pae was definitely a significant part of the bid. Being in Canterbury – the heart of the local grain and seed industry – was quite a drawcard, but if we had not had the venue, it wouldn’t have come to Christchurch,” says Sharon. 

A flavour of Aotearoa 

Having won the bid, the organising committee were determined to put a local stamp on it. “We recognised we needed to put a New Zealand flair on it, to really make it our own,” says Sharon. 

Despite the scale of preparations required, Sharon was confident that she had the right support in the events team from Te Pae Christchurch.  

“As a Te Pae customer, whatever you want, they will make it happen – the staff just go out of their way in their commitment to every single detail,” says Sharon.  

The taste of a region 

As a significant contributor to the local agricultural sector, the NZGTSA was also proud to showcase food sourced from Canterbury and the South Island – an integral part of Te Pae Christchurch’s food philosophy. 

“That was a huge hit with the delegates – to know that we could source so much of the produce locally and that some of the food on the menu was produced literally an hour from here.” 

The business of meetings 

The Congress is notable for the sheer volume of business conducted over the course of the 5-day event. Organisers estimated nearly 10,000 meetings were held during the Congress, with up to $200 million of new business generated during trading sessions. 

“One of the key parts of what Te Pae offers is the versatility they can provide any event,” says Sharon. “We have our own national conference and the Arable Awards at Te Pae, so we knew that they could cater for anything from our own event of 150, to a major Congress hosting over 1,000 delegates.” 

Located for success 

Another drawcard for the venue is Te Pae’s proximity to Christchurch’s vibrant inner city entertainment centre, and a range of hotel accommodation. 

“The delegates loved how close they were to the venue,” says Sharon. “Having a choice of a range of quality hotels within walking distance not only means that you don’t have to coordinate transport, but it also encourages people to go outside and get more of a genuine experience of the city.” 

Four fully subscribed post-event tours, as well as a dedicated tour for partners and families, not only showcased the local industry but also highlighted the broad range of tourism experiences in close proximity to the city.  

A landmark event 

Sharon says the post-conference feedback from delegates has been amazing. 

“Overall, the feedback has been incredible,” says Sharon. “People were saying to me that it was the best Congress they’d been too, how much they loved their experience of the country, and that they want to come back and visit or stay longer.” 

Meet our people: Marzena Orlecka, Food and Beverage Manager

Meet our people:
Marzena Orlecka, Food and Beverage Manager

19 October 2023

Marzena Orlecka joined Te Pae in May 2022 as an Event coordinator and was recently promoted to our Food and Beverage Manager.  

Marzena brings a broad range of experience and skills which she acquired from her career in Poland and South Africa.

Marzena’s career in the hospitality world started in Poland while she was studying to become an Accountant. What was supposed to be a short-term opportunity turned out to be a career, as she completely fell in love with the industry.  

Her energy and passion led her to climb the ladder in the hospitality and events industry. In 2010, she joined the Soccer FIFA World Cup as the Food and Beverage Manager in South Africa.   

“I witness how much joy it brings to people when they get to experience a “social event” regardless of what type of event it is. It is where I learned that I like to “take up the stress” of planning and organising for weeks or months, just to see the smile on people’s face for a day or an hour.” 

Her personal life brought her to New Zealand in January 2020. After working for The Christchurch Club and at the Botanical Gardens, she felt the need to get back into a large events environment and could not think of a better place than Te Pae Christchurch. 

“Being part of this team makes me very proud. It was amazing to experience all the steps to where we are today and to be part of the Te Pae culture and family. Everyone working in this place has been a rock and great support to each other and the achievements we made have been a collective success of all of us coming together.” 

Passionate about her work, it is Marzena’s curiosity and desire to make people happy that makes her stand out and led her to win the “EVANZ Raising Star of the Year” award last year.

“Winning the award was very unexpected. There is such exciting potential for young people in this country, they are all amazing. I dedicated the award to my team who worked really hard alongside me to deliver exceptional events.” 

When she is not working, you will find Marzena out hiking, skiing or fishing and spending time with her family. Marzena is always on the hunt for a new activity that connects her to nature and reinvigorates her energy for managing the next event!

Te Pae team in action at AIME Tradeshow

Te Pae team in action at AIME Tradeshow

28 February 2024

Four members of our Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre team joined a strong New Zealand contingent at the 2024 AIME (Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event) Tradeshow held in Melbourne 19-21 February.

The leading trade event for the meetings and event industry in the Asia Pacific region, this year’s AIME event was a vibrant celebration of the business events community.

Our Business Development team returned feeling inspired and excited about new opportunities and connections made. Over the three-day conference, Heidi Heming and Gillian Officer were busy with 37 appointments with a variety of Australian buyers.  These meetings, along with the amazing Neon Carnival welcome event and the numerous valuable knowledge sessions, were all highlights for AIME 2024. It was fantastic to be part of the largest ever 100% Pure New Zealand team stand.

Te Pae Christchurch is already well-known for our leadership in sustainability, and it was with great pride that our General Manager Ross Steele attended an AIME media presentation to announce that we have achieved Toitū net carbonzero certification. We believe Te Pae Christchurch is the first convention centre in Australasia to achieve this certification, which is a credit to our entire team. Also presenting this media session was Megan Crum, Head of Business Events at ChristchurchNZ, who shared the exciting news about the launch of their Conference Legacy Project.

“The Australian buyers we met enjoyed the stories of our building design and our connection to place, and they shared with us some great new opportunities for our venue and the city of Christchurch. There was such a positive vibe on the show floor, and the New Zealand stand drew a strong crowd of interested buyers,” said Heidi Heming, Te Pae Business Development Manager Australia.  

AIME Tradeshow

Why conferencing in Christchurch can be impactful?

Why conferencing in Christchurch can be impactful?

19 October 2023

Recently Te Pae Christchurch hosted the 14th Annual TravelManagers Conference.  One of the conference’s key goals was to make this event Carbon Neutral.

Michael Gazal, Executive General Manager from TravelManagers, working with local-host HOT-founder Chris Paulsen wanted to make sustainability a key focus, and choosing a sustainable destination and venue for their first annual conference in New Zealand was important.  

“Te Pae Christchurch helped us deliver on making this a green event with several sustainable operations, like no-waste-to-landfill coffee-carts, recyclable and reusable water stations, and no single-use plastics”.

TravelManagers also partnered with local The Christchurch Foundation to help meet their carbon-neutral goals.  They provided practical and hands-on solutions, and rather than buying carbon credits to offset emissions, they helped the conference find and choose a local tree planting activity that is encouraging the return of native tui birds to the central city.  Planting enough trees to cover travel emissions for all 370 delegates.

“Monetary wise it may have been a more expensive option however the value of bringing a group of our key partners together in a special part of Christchurch in the city’s red zone made the investment more than worthwhile.” said Michael Gazal

Fun and powerful, this experience was welcomed with excitement and pride by the attendees.  “The smile on people’s faces said it all!!  Although it was a physical exercise digging holes and planting trees, you could feel the energy and satisfaction of our participants with plenty of laughs in the mix!”

Alongside this sustainability exercise, delegates spent time around Christchurch, discovering and enjoying various activities within the city including zip lining, punting on the Avon, cultural walking tours, and cooking classes amongst others that showcased the diversity of the city offerings.

Our journey towards carbon neutrality  

Our journey towards carbon neutrality  

19 October 2023

Te Pae Christchurch is committed to reducing its environmental impact, leading by example to generate meaningful change for the future. 

While we are only in our second year of operation, our sustainable journey has been going for four years.  Te Pae Christchurch partner with New Zealand government-owned Toitū Envirocare to help us on our journey.   

Following our third successful audit for Toitū Enviromark Gold Certification, our next ambitious target is to be carbon-neutral by the end of 2024, and Toitū Envirocare are guiding us on the journey. 

What is helping us on our sustainability journey?  

Green Building Design:  Te Pae Christchurch was designed with a focus on sustainable building practices.  It has been built with environmentally friendly materials, effective insulation, and natural lighting that all help reduce energy consumption.  

Energy Efficiency:  We operate with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting that further reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions.  

Sustainable Catering:  We partner with sustainable local suppliers.  To minimise the carbon footprint associated with food transportation, we choose seasonal and locally produced food options wherever possible.    

Standing by Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:  We donate any unused food from our events that can be re-used to local charity ‘Foodbank Canterbury’, and we use the GAIA food dehydrator that turns food-waste into a rich garden fertiliser that is gifted to local gardens.  We have also installed an eWater system that produces a natural cleaning product, reducing reliance on traditional cleaning products.  We are 100% free of single-use plastics.  

Water Conservation: To minimise water consumption, we use efficient equipment and landscaping practices.

Meet our people: Nathan Gardiner, our new Head of Technology and Innovation

Meet our people:
Nathan Gardiner, our new Head of Technology and Innovation

19 October 2023

Nathan joined Te Pae Christchurch three months ago in the newly created position of Head of Technology and Innovation.

He brings a wealth of experience to the role and has made an immediate impact leading the highly skilled team of Audio Visual (AV) and Information Communications and Technology (ICT) specialists at Te Pae Christchurch.      

Nathan has been involved in AV and ICT management in the education sector for many years including at the University of Canterbury where he managed several critical AV and ICT projects.     

“I was seeking new career opportunities and was attracted by the opportunity of the role. From the moment I walked into the building I wanted to be part of Te Pae Christchurch.   The passion of the team and the Te Pae Christchurch values and manaakintanga (hospitality) aligns completely with my own values.”  

Even though Te Pae Christchurch is only eighteen months old, Nathan has already set about working on an innovative technology roadmap to heighten the customer journey.     

“I have been so impressed with the team at Te Pae Christchurch.    It’s wonderful to be a part of this incredible work whānau, where passion, innovation and our customers are at the forefront.  I feel right at home here!”  

On a more personal side, when Nathan is not spending time with his active family including his wife, five teenagers and two cats, you can find him riding his motorbike throughout Aotearoa.  

Our People: Jack and Archie MacDonald – TotalCard

Our People: Jack and Archie MacDonald – TotalCard

28 February 2023

At Te Pae Christchurch, we are fortunate to employ a number of talented individuals who not only contribute to the success of our events but who also strive for excellence outside of the organisation.

Two such innovators are twins Archie and Jack MacDonald, who when they’re not working at the Centre in our Event Sets team, are out developing sustainable business cards made of sheep wool.

The pair recently received the National Excellence Award for Business Innovation at the national Young Enterprise Scheme awards, for their TotalCard “tap and go” sheep wool cards that instantly transfer contact information to any smartphone.

The cards were developed in conjunction with Christchurch-based Shear Edge, a state-of-the-art materials engineering company, which seeks to create products with purpose that unleash the potential of wool and natural fibres.

By integrating Near Field Communication (NFC) chip technology with the wool-based, plastic-like material from Shear Edge, the resulting product is stronger and more durable than synthetic plastic, and has the potential to support a reduction in paper business cards and PVC plastics.

The two young entrepreneurs have high ambitions for their enterprise, hoping to eventually expand into sustainable alternatives to bank cards, gift cards and loyalty cards.

To find out more visit their website TotalCard.

Events at Te Pae Christchurch

Events at Te Pae Christchurch

28 February 2023

Our events calendar for 2023 has already kicked back into gear, with Game On Canterbury – a new sport and active recreation expo – one of the first to take place in mid-February.

This whānau (family) friendly event attracted over a thousand members of the community, with participants spending the day trying a host of new activities from the traditional (rugby, cricket and netball) to the not-so-traditional (roller derby, pickleball and fencing).

Next month we have a wide array of events from the 8th Biennial Whisky and Dram Festival to the Southern Women in Public Service Summit, as well as our first live music event. We’re thrilled to welcome world renowned house DJs, Basement Jaxx to Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on Thursday 30 March 2023. With well known tunes like ‘Romeo’ and ‘Where’s your head at’, Basement Jaxx have been a crowd favourite for almost 15 years. Tickets are on sale now via Endeavour Live.

In April, we welcome Armageddon back for the second time. The first event with us in December 2022 also marked the first time the expo has been back to central Christchurch since 2010.

We are also delighted to be the host venue for a series of charity events, including the Child Cancer Sparkle for Hope Ball and Gala Dinner in early May.

For more information about upcoming events, visit the Events page on our website.

Making a difference now and for the future

Making a difference now and for the future

23 December 2022

Corporate social responsibility and sustainable operations both remained an important focus for Te Pae Christchurch over the past 12 months, with the whole team engaged in making a difference to our community.

Among the CSR initiatives we have held or supported during the year:

• A partnership with the Canterbury Community Garden Association and the Just Dirt Trust to supply “soil food” generated by our onsite food dehydrator to their network of community gardens
• The donation of surplus food from events to Foodbank Canterbury
• Donation drives to support AVIVA in their pursuit to support families and communities to live a life free from violence.

Our most recent initiatives took place in conjunction with the ASM Global Month of Giving, one month dedicated to providing the opportunities and resources for team members to volunteer, give back and engage in local community initiatives.

• The collection of Christmas gifts that will go to families most in need as part of our continuing support of AVIVA
• Attendance at an afternoon tea in support of The Christchurch Foundation’s Women’s Fund, a fund that supports girls and women in Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri who are actively leading change
• Participation in Movember, raising $679 that will go towards helping and raising awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.

In the area of sustainability, Te Pae Christchurch is well on the way to becoming a leader in sustainable operations, with the team carrying through the sustainability management focus from pre-opening to the first year of operations.

Among the achievements in 2022:
• Achieved a Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award from Qualmark
• Recertified Toitū Enviromark Gold
• Awarded the Toitū Brighter Future Award 2022 for Exceptional Achievement in Environmental Management.

This year has been a huge team effort and we’d like to acknowledge our entire Te Pae whanau for their manaakitanga and continued effort in setting environmental standards and helping to foster an internal culture which seeks to limit our impact on the environment and make a difference to our community.

VIP Dinner Raises $21,500 for Charity

VIP Dinner Raises $21,500 for Charity

30 September 2021

Earlier this year, our charity partner Cholmondeley Children’s Centre held its Sparkle and Shine fundraising event, where guests could bid on an exclusive, one-of-a-kind dining package – the first dinner in Te Pae Christchurch.

We were thrilled to witness an auction result of $21,500 for this incredibly worthy charity, part of the $95,000 raised overall.

Planning is well underway for the dinner and we hope the successful bidders enjoy their exclusive dining experience later this year.

To find out more about how this charity help local families, please visit their website here: