Christchurch's new $450m convention centre, Te Pae, has officially opened.
The facility was originally expected to open about a year ago but was delayed due to Covid-19.
It has taken four years to construct the 28,000sq m building with the first concrete pour in November 2017.
It can host up to 2,000 people and the tiered 1400-delegate auditorium can be divided to host two events simultaneously. The exhibition hall can also accommodate 200 exhibition booths.
The banquet hall has the capacity to seat 1,800 people.
General manager Ross Steele said it feels fantastic to see the building finished.
"All the hard work has paid off. We've been delivered a beautiful building and now it's our turn to take over and really make a difference to Christchurch," he said.
Steele said the architect, Bruno Mendes from Woods Bagot, was inspired by the braided rivers in Canterbury.
"The 40,000 odd tiles on the outside represent braided rivers. The architect took a photo when he came in and that resonated with him and its been built into the visage."
The first events planned for the convention centre are private Christmas parties, he said.
"Then we get a chance to clean up and in the new year, it's going to be a very busy 2022.
"We've got over 100 events confirmed on our books around 50 conventions within that."
Steele said the domestic market has been strong and in the second half of next year they are hoping to host some Australasian events.
Ōtākaro Limited General Manager of Operations Keith Beal said the build had been delayed due to Covid-19.
"We would've liked to have been in sooner. Covid has impacted not just New Zealand but all of our global suppliers.
"At the end of the day, we think taking four years from starting to opening is reasonable in the current climate," he said.
Beal said they estimate the convention centre will bring in about $60 million to the local economy.
"We believe the demand globally to come to New Zealand justifies the centre in Christchurch.
"We're smaller than The New Zealand International Convention Centre. We believe we pitched at exactly the right size for the audience and conventions we are looking for."