Chch hosts International Inner Wheel Convention
28 April, 2006
Christchurch hosts International Inner Wheel Convention
Close to 1400 delegates from 33 countries, mostly women, are arriving in Christchurch next week for the International Inner Wheel Convention from 3 to 6 May.
This is the first time New Zealand has hosted the international tri-enniel Convention of Inner Wheel, an international service organisation and part of the Rotary family, formed in Manchester, England in 1923.
Cecile Pierce, IIW Convention 2006 Co-ordinator says Christchurch secured the bid ahead of Turkey, and follows in the footsteps of Florence and Stockholm in hosting the event – from the old world to the new.
“We chose Christchurch because of the wonderful facilities available in the Convention Centre and Town Hall complex, with excellent proximity to quality inner-city hotels and a variety of attractions, and accessibility to an international airport,”she said.
Flags of welcome at the airport and Cathedral Square will greet delegates, flying in from as far away as Iceland, Nigeria and Japan.
Under the theme of Support Gives Strength, the convention will be opened by New Zealand Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright.
The Dame Malvina Major Foundation is providing guest artists for the opening ceremony, including promising young New Zealand musicians. Sixty white doves will be released in Victoria Square, symbolising peace and the continuing presence of women caring for people throughout the world.
Christchurch’s Garden City reputation will come to the fore at the convention, with local artist Jenny Gillies closing the conference with her Flower Fantasia parade of wearable flowers.
Tech-savvy Inner Wheel delegates have opted for Christchurch via the internet. The convention’s Christchurch conference management company, Conference Innovators said more than 50% of Inner Wheel delegates had chosen to register on-line for the Christchurch convention.
Conference Innovators Director, Megan O’Brien said this was the first time Inner Wheel had provided internet registration for its members. “As well, an internet café is being especially set-up in the convention centre with six computers available for delegates to keep in touch via email. Mobile phone pockets in conference satchels were also a prerequisite for the Christchurch convention,” she said.
Delegates have already pre-booked over $500,000 worth of optional touring activities after their visit to Christchurch, and their contribution to the local economy includes business for catering venues, local shuttle and taxi companies, and hotels. Many are expected to make the most of retail experiences here and shop for clothes and gifts in Christchurch stores.
The Christchurch base gives delegates an ideal opportunity to take extra time after the event to tour the South Island, and New Zealand. Touring options include an 18-day full New Zealand tour, and nine and 10 days South or North Island tours. During their stay in Christchurch delegates have nine different options for day and half-day tours, including visits to Akaroa, Hanmer Springs, Kaikoura whale watching, wine and food tours and city walking tours.
For more information, see www.iiwconvention2006.org.nz. For more information about conferencing in Christchurch, go to www.christchurchconventions.co.nz.
About Inner Wheel
International Inner Wheel goals are friendship, service in the community and international understanding.
Inner Wheel Clubs work together in the community supporting a huge variety of activities particularly concerning children, the elderly, and wherever a need through emergency may arise. The international project concluding at this convention is funding for UNICEF Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus programme (MNT), immunising women against tetanus before or during pregnancy. UNICEF is working towards eradicating MNT globally within the next few years.
New Zealand has 2000 Inner Wheel members. The oldest Inner Wheel Club is in Napier, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and the latest was formed last year in Rangiora.