Returning the "War Memorial Centre" name to the Marine Parade building at the middle of a year-long stoush could cost Napier ratepayers nearly $150,000.

In 2016 the Napier City Council agreed to rename the "Napier War Memorial Conference Centre" the "Napier Conference Centre" during a multi-million dollar redevelopment, which also saw the buildings commemorative items removed.

Doing so was hoped to attract more commercial conference opportunities, and clear up marketing confusion about the centre's purpose.

After public outcry, a majority of ten councillors last month voted to recommend renaming the centre the "Napier War Memorial Centre".


However at an extraordinary meeting next week councillors will be warned against removing "conference" from the title, in a report written by council director community services Antoinette Campbell.

There were a number of risks, and financial impacts which could stem from such a name change, she wrote.

Citing strategy and marketing consultant Lucy Dobbs, Ms Campbell notes the proposed name could put both the commercial viability, and community accessibility of the facility "at significant risk".

The word "conference" was key to attracting new clients, as not including it could give a perception the venue's services had changed, which could raise the risk of losing existing clients.

Not being able to attract bookings would in turn have a significant impact on the benefits that the facility was forecast to return to the local economy.

It had been estimated a redeveloped facility would provide a $7.1million overall economic boost to the local economy.

As well as the title, memorial advocates have urged for the centre's primary focus to return to being one of community, rather than commercial use.

This too is warned against in the report.


"This change in focus would have a direct impact on revenue from the facility, with flow on effects the community would have to pay," Ms Dobbs is cited as saying.

With commercial activity contributing to 85 per cent of the centre's bookings, a shift in focus raises the risk the venue may become unaffordable for community hirer's - as commercial revenue provides a 40 per cent discounted rate for community users.

The paper also notes rebranding the centre was estimated to cost $142,500, which was currently unbudgeted for. There were further costs for digital advertising and trade shows.

Memorial advocates have argued that as the hall's original funding required it to be for non-profit, community functions, the centre's name should reflect this, rather than its new commercial focus.

- The extraordinary council meeting will be held Monday, April 9 at 3pm at the Hawke's Bay Regional Council chambers.