14 April was a big day, in light of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (CECC) hosting 500 guests at the Future Focus of Christchurch luncheon, in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
CECC was selected to host the Royal luncheon because of our experience in running large events and a proven track record through the eyes of the Department of Internal Affairs and the Royal Visit Committee.
As part of the event the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge entered the Aircraft Hall at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum where the lunch was held. Of particular interest to the Duke on the walk into the Hall was the DC3 Aircraft that was used as the Royal aircraft for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from 1953 to 1977. After they entered the room the Duke and Duchess were welcomed, the Duke spoke, and then a six minute video prepared especially for event was shown (http://www.cecc.org.nz/news/video-from-royal-lunch/). This was followed by a light lunch with a choice of salmon or chicken. The Royal couple departed after approximately one hour to attend a dedication at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum Memorial Wall.
We have received incredibly good feedback from the attendees at the lunch. The highlight from my perspective was having the opportunity to spend some “one-on-one” time with the Duke and Duchess, bringing them up to speed on what is happening in Christchurch and hearing a little bit about their impressions of New Zealand to date. They are a delightful couple who are very relaxing to be with.
The big impact on Canterbury is that we have now received world coverage of where Christchurch City is at in the context of its rebuild. The video created for the event has gone viral. There has been significant coverage in English newspapers of the luncheon and it has really put Christchurch and New Zealand on the map.
It was a great privilege to host the Royal couple. I cannot recall any other business support agency being asked to perform this function in New Zealand and it was wonderful to see my talented team perform so well to make the occasion such a success.