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Growth Marks One-Year Anniversary Of Tūwhana Business Events Programme

Powerhouse city champions have joined the Tūwhana business events advocate programme, elevating the initiative to new heights at its first anniversary.

Designed to attract prestigious international conferences to Christchurch, Tūwhana brings together thought leaders from multiple sectors and communities who work to promote Ōtautahi Christchurch as an international destination for business events.

Tūwhana means to advocate and is inspired by a common phrase used in waka ama to urge people to work together: “Tūwhanawhana mai, tū hāpainga”.

Business events play an important part in the city's ambition to grow a regenerative economy that brings prosperity to people and the planet. They are key drivers of long-term, sustainable economic development for Christchurch, and act as a conduit for global connectivity, knowledge sharing and accelerated innovation.

One year into the Tūwhana programme, positive outcomes are already evident, with advocates supporting and endorsing conference bids, attending events to connect with clients and showcase the city, connecting with their networks and other bid champions and building a long-term pipeline of business.

ChristchurchNZ Head of Business Events Megan Crum says, "Reflecting on the first year of Tūwhana, the whole team feels so proud of the work and positive outcomes we are already seeing. It is great to see the momentum the programme has created, with our incredible advocates forming that important connection with their industries and networks to the business events sector."

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The programme's first anniversary was celebrated during an evening event where new advocates Mark Rocket and Professor Alex Tan were welcomed to Tūwhana by the programme patron, Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger.

Internet and aerospace entrepreneur Mark Rocket is the current President of Aerospace New Zealand and as CEO of Kea Aerospace is leading the way in the emerging aerospace sector in Aotearoa.

Professor of Political Science and International Relations and the coordinator of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University of Canterbury, Alex Tan has a remarkable collection of awards, research accolades, and connections to top-tier universities across the globe, he is an established thought leader in the fields of Taiwan and Asian politics and international relations of the Asia-Pacific.

Rocket and Tan will work alongside the existing Tūwhana advocates to promote Christchurch's industry and sector strengths, helping to boost focus areas and create a long-lasting legacy with their wealth of knowledge in their respective fields.

Tūwhana’s current advocates include a range of business leaders and specialists who are passionate about their sector and the future potential of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

  • World Economic Forum Global Shaper and Christchurch City Council Community Board member, Bridget Williams is the founder of Bead and Proceed, an organisation that educates people about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Tanya McCall, chair of Tangata Atumotu Trust, a not-for-profit Pasifika health and social services provider, is a knowledgeable leader in Christchurch’s health sector. She is also the Kaiwhakahaere Umanga/Group Manager of Strategy and Operations in the Te Waipounamu regional team at Te Whatu Ora.
  • Former President and Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education, Tanja Mitrović specialises in intelligent tutoring systems, student modelling and learning analytics, and is a Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury.
  • Awarded with a Queens Service Medal for services to palliative care, Kate Reid is chair of the Cancer Society of New Zealand’s Canterbury/West Coast Division, sits on the board of Governance New Zealand and is a senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury, specialising in palliative care and oncology nursing.
  • Recipient of the NZSAR Award for collaborative rescue operations in Antarctica, Graeme Ayres is an Antarctic legend and natural environment champion. He is the former Operations General Manager at Antarctica New Zealand and former officer of the Government of The Ross Dependency and is currently a naturalist at Ms Oosterdam - Holland America Cruise Line.
  • Former Mayor of Christchurch, The Honourable Lianne Dalziel served as an MP for 23 years and is a globally respected leader in disaster resilience and developing sustainable communities. Last year, Dalziel was named as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government.

With the achievements seen in its inaugural year, The Tūwhana advocate programme paves the way for an incredibly promising future of business events in Ōtautahi Christchurch. The city and local community will reap the long tail effects and see the profound impact of the advocates' work unfold for years to come.

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