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Christchurch venue management organisation looks forward to independence

Christchurch venue management organisation looks forward to independence
September 10, 2014

With a recent consultancy report recommending that Christchurch City Council looks to the partial sale of its wholly owned assets (council controlled organisations) including the Canterbury Development Corporation, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism and venue management organisation VBase, recently appointed Vbase General Manager Darren Burden is encouraged by future opportunities that independence might bring.

With Vbase potentially set to become a commercial standalone entity partially owned by the Council, Burden is enthusiatic about being able to find what he refers to as "clear financial model” for the venue management organisation, attracting more events, generating new business and increasing staff numbers.

Vbase is the venue manager of Christchurch's premier convention, entertainment, cultural and sporting venues. Before the 2011 earthquakes it ran the Convention Centre, the Christchurch Town Hall, the old AMI stadium and the former CBS Arena (now named the Horncastle Arena).

Brought under the direct management of the Council following the earthquakes, Burden joined Vbase from Dunedin Venue Management earlier this year, tasked with what he calls a “fantastic opportunity.”

He explains “before I accepted the position I noted that the role was not wide enough as it was focussed on business as usual in existing venues. 

“However, Christchurch has a fantastic opportunity with the rebuilding (of its new venues) and with my past experience I wanted to have an involvement in that and negotiated my job description accordingly.”

Before the 22nd February 2011 earthquake, Vbase had 99 fulltime, 96 part-time and more than 700 casual staff. With its reduced post-earthquake role, it now has about 45 staff and employs 400 casuals.

Since the earthquake, Vbase has taken on additional venue management roles of a new space in the Wigram Air Force Museum and will be involved with the reconfigured Christchurch Town Hhall.

It has also recently taken on a new boutique function venue, the ilex cafe at the Botanic Gardens which opened in early May.

Upcoming management roles include the preparation period leading up to the Cricket World Cup 2015, during which seven will be staged at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval (pictured).

Vbase will look after hosting at the new pavilion at the Hagley Oval able to cater for 250 people, and is also bidding for food and beverage rights for the cricket event.

2015 will aslo see Vbase host nine FIFA under-20 world cup matches at AMI Stadium, including one of the semi finals.

At the time of his appointment, Burden explained “it is an exciting and challenging time and I am really looking forward to playing a role in the future economic success of Christchurch by attracting new events and business to Vbase's impressive line-up of venues.

“There are fantastic facilities in this city for high-value sporting, entertainment, business and convention events and I'm determined to ensure that Christchurch corners its share of these very important markets.

“I am also very excited about the opportunity to work on the city's future venue and anchor project developments.”

For more information on Vbase go to





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