Prospects bright for Hawke's Bay business events industry

A familiarisation tour of local venues and experiences by visiting professional conference organisers (PCO) is the latest regional collaboration designed to grow the value of the business events industry for Hawke's Bay. Last week's two-day PCO famil closely followed dual announcements which unveiled Hawke's Bay as the host region for two major events industry annual conferences in 2020 – the New Zealand Events Association's 'Eventing the Future' conference in September, and Conference and Incentives New Zealand conference in October. Hawke's Bay Tourism's chief executive Hamish Saxton said the region's events industry united behind all three collaborative efforts which have showcased Hawke's Bay as a highly-capable business event destination. "Business events offer considerable potential for a region like Hawke's Bay, particularly as they tend to occur during our shoulder visitor season between about May and October. Saxton says the imminent availability of the redeveloped Toitoi – Hawke's Bay Arts and Events Centre, alongside the well-established credentials of the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre and a host of other venue, dining, and experience options, means the region has the necessary infrastructure to increase its share of New Zealand's business events market – estimated at about 2.3 per cent in the year to June 2019. "The final major piece in the puzzle is a regional approach in bidding for events under the Hawke's Bay banner, where relevant. Based on my experiences to date, I have every confidence that the local events industry are completely on board with this approach."

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NOW Broadband take home top award

NOW Broadband, for the second year in a row, picked up the award for New Zealand's Best Customer Support in Auckland at the annual Broadband Compare & TUANZ awards. Fresh off the back of winning the award, NOW CEO Hamish White reflected on what this means for what they set out to achieve back in 2012. "At the time, we looked at the broadband market and saw one big issue almost every Kiwi was facing, being able to get hold of and help from their provider. So we made a promise to ourselves and our customers – to push the boundaries of what they'd come to expect because every customer deserves more." A proud product of Hawke's Bay, NOW points to its regional roots for why the brand strikes a chord with everyday Kiwis. "We're a little bit unique in our industry, being based in Hawke's Bay, and we think this gives us an edge. It enables us to get closer to our customers and connect more in the community, who have been our best source of ideas as well as being our most loyal customers." The other benefit White points out is it makes it easier to attract and retain great employees. "With a 15-minute commute to work, a few short steps away from the nearest beach and endless hours of sunshine, Hawke's Bay makes for an easy sell when it comes to getting top talent to move here."

Heretaunga Kindergarten Association to give local families a helping hand with extended hours

Heretaunga Kindergarten Association is offering more choice to families, announcing extended hours at two of its sites, Lucknow and Mayfair. The change means families now have four options: they can continue with their usual hours, decide on a longer kindergarten day (8am to 3.30pm at Lucknow and 8am to 4pm at Mayfair) or choose a morning or afternoon session that fits the needs of them and their child. The associations' centres only normally operate from 8.30am – 2.30pm. Lucknow Kindergarten, situated in Havelock North and Mayfair Kindergarten in Hastings will also be open during school term breaks, with all changes taking effect from Monday, January 20, 2020. General manager Fiona Mason said the changes provide a more straightforward option for the many parents managing work commitments and busy family life. "Having recognised that a number of families can be restricted by the hours that kindergarten settings typically offer, we have worked in consultation with parents, whānau and of course, our amazing teams within these two communities to see how we can address this and provide a more flexible offering," Mason said. "So far, there has been a really positive response to the upcoming changes from our whānau, staff, and the individual kindergarten communities."

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One of the pilot 'Entertainment Precinct' projects in the East Blocks is kicking off in the 200 block. Photo / Supplied
One of the pilot 'Entertainment Precinct' projects in the East Blocks is kicking off in the 200 block. Photo / Supplied

Hastings Alive project set to get going

Hastings District Council is gearing up for its city revitalisation project. One of the pilot 'Entertainment Precinct' projects in the East Blocks will be in the 200 block. Workshops have been held with business owners, the Landmarks Trust and wider creative community to ensure that the concept and design expresses the identity of this place, and the culture and values of its passionate, local people. Construction plans are nearly complete, prepared by a design team led by Jacob Scott. Given the construction restrictions in the city centre after December 1, work will now start in the new year. The Hastings City Centre Revitalisation Plan was adopted by council in February 2019 following extensive consultation with stakeholders and the community. The plan will help improve the performance of the city centre through urban design initiatives, to create a distinctive and vibrant city centre and identifies 23 enhancement projects that council will develop over the next five years.