Thursday, 27 March 2014

Leeann has her say on our leader

It’s my turn to write Peter’s Blog because this week we want to acknowledge and share with you Peter’s recent achievement in being awarded the Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to the business and the community, which he received in an investiture ceremony at Government House last week.

When it was suggested that Peter should write about this for his blog, his response was “No, that is too much about me” and he is exactly right. It should be about Peter, as we are very lucky to have such an inspirational leader in our city.

Peter has been CEO of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce (CECC) since 1996, and since 2010 he has been heavily involved with earthquake recovery issues for Canterbury business.

His unique leadership style for both our organisation, our members and across the wider community has always been well received. He is known for this forward thinking, positivity and his infectious enthusiasm and ‘glass half full’ attitude.

Peter has a unique ability to interact with and engage with individuals across all walks of life, all business sectors and sizes and the wider community, and is well respected for his ability to see a clear vision and direction and identify the way to reach it.

Since the day Peter started in his role as CEO, he has created a unique environment for the team at CECC.  In many respects, Peter was ahead of his time introducing things such as flexibility in the workplace, empowerment of staff and workplace wellness – all of which are fundamental parts of the workplace ethos at the CECC and being led from the top by Peter.

Peter’s level headed approach, forward thinking and optimism have inspired many and provided clarity and certainty at a time when this city really needs it.

We are extremely proud of what Peter has achieved in the Canterbury business community and further afield through the many external activities he is involved in, but we are particularly proud and feel privileged to have him as our leader.

Well done Peter!
Leeann Watson and the CECC team

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Stimulate project based learning and innovation in electric transport among high school students

A new programme aiming to stimulate project based learning and innovation in electric transport, while also nurturing science, technology, engineering and mathematics interest among high school students is being launched in Canterbury and I encourage your support.
The programme, named EVolocity, has been developed by the Association for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles (APEV). Electricity network company Orion is naming rights sponsor, while CPIT, Enviroschools and Electroflash are all partnering with APEV in the rollout of the programme.

At the high school level, student teams will have the option of building an electric motor controller to be fitted to an electric go kart for performance testing, and/or building an electric vehicle of their own design using a kitset of electric bike components.

At the tertiary and corporate levels, teams will have the option of building an electric car or motor bike, or entering in an innovation competition themed “Smart innovation in electric transport.”

Teams building vehicles will bring them to Mike Pero Motorsport Park (Ruapuna) on November 30 for competitions, as part of a day long programme featuring electric vehicles and offering public opportunities for test drives. Teams entering in the innovation competition will compete in a Dragon’s Den style event.

There are a number of things I like about this programme:
  • The most conservative numbers I’ve seen for growth in the electric vehicle sector project 80 million electrified vehicles on global roads by 2040, up from around 300,000 today. So this is a high growth sector with innovation and export opportunities in electronics, ICT, componentry and niche vehicles – a good fit for Canterbury 
  • Regardless of whether the high school team participants pursue a career or innovation path in electric vehicles, the programme is a novel way of engaging interest in science, technology, engineering and maths and encouraging more high schoolers to pursue related tertiary qualifications. 
  • It’s a good fit with the current aspirations of many Cantabrians – to see our city emerge from the rebuild as a 21st Century global exemplar.
APEV is seeking sponsors for the programme at various levels. Get in touch with Jake Miller –

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Town Hall

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a detailed guide tour of the Town Hall.

It was a strange sensation, seeing a compromised building, twisted and leaking, where previously I had spent so many enjoyable times at so many events, being entertained in style.

The Town Hall is definitely being repaired. It will cost a lot more than its insurance will cover but our council has decided that it is to be saved.

Despite the Limes Room being tilted, the concrete floor below the auditorium ruptured and therefore bowing the auditorium's wooden floor, the basement flooded and the James Hay Theatre looking very broken, I was surprised as to how well the core of the building has stood up to the earthquake ravages.

The repair bill is expected to be around $127 million and will involve amongst other things, a new concrete foundation and platform for the building to stand on, to tie it all together again. It will be a challenging engineering feat but as was explained on the tour, the heavily engineered tubular structure of the auditorium remains basically sound. It just needs something new to sit one, The James Hay theatre is in for a serious revamp to improve some of its historical design and acoustic inadequacies. The Limes Room is to be stripped out and the restaurant below it completely redesigned.

Of course all of this is happening to a sensitive heritage building, with all the disciplines that involves.

So we are getting our Town Hall back. It will take a couple of years of full on repairs and it will be interesting to see how it is incorporated into the Arts Cultural precinct, given its location.

There is to be a lot more emphasis on accessing the building from the south side and less than impressive northern entrance is in for a serious bit of cosmetic work.

I suspect the rebuild will become a symbol of spending more than we should to protect something important to us.

I also predict that the repaired building will accommodate significant design improvements to improve over functionality.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge are coming to lunch!

We were excited to learn this week that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be attending a lunch hosted by CECC, in Christchurch on Monday April 14.

The lunch will be themed on “looking forward” and will be an opportunity to inform Their Royal Highnesses of our progress to date and our aspirations post-earthquake.

Prince William has taken a personal interest in Christchurch, especially since the earthquakes and it is a real honour to be asked to host the lunch.

We want to make it a highlight of their visit to New Zealand and ensure they are well briefed on our future.

The lunch will be held at the Air Force Museum which is a poignant venue for a variety of reasons.
  • The Museum has played a pivotal role in protecting and archiving treasures rescued from various locations around Christchurch
  • It is also acting as a convention venue until a permanent convention centre is built in the central city
  •  Prince William has very strong links to aviation and will no doubt be impressed with the collection in the Aircraft Hall
  • The history of the New Zealand Air Force has strong links with the Commonwealth
  • One of the planes on display is the DC3 which acted as the Royal Aircraft for Prince William's grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, from 1953 through to 1976!
We are now involved in careful planning to ensure this is a memorable occasion. It will be a grand event which we know will attract wide media attention.