Changing Face of Christchurch

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Changing Face of Christchurch

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

The Garden City is getting better and better with new fashion retail stores, bars, and restaurants opening up.

The latest fashion will be on the streets of Christchurch after the opening of the new H&M store in Cashel St. This is the first H&M store in the South Island and will have the Homeware brand, exclusive to this store. Almost 1000 people filled the streets up to 4 hours before the official door opening.

The other grand opening of the week was Fat Eddies. The Terrace looks more stunning each day and most of the works at the Strip are almost completed. Some of the major restaurants have planned to open in this area by the end of the year. This part of town has big potential and will be one of the premiere hospitality districts in the country.


The new look.

Summer selfie time at our iconic attractions!

Friday, March 20th, 2015

We decided that summer was the perfect time to hold a photo competition at our Welcome Aboard attractions – and with much mention of selfies lately, we couldn’t think of a better type of photo!

Our Summer Selfie Competition began in mid-January and ran through until the end of February. Our Welcome Aboard office staff enjoyed checking up on the entry page on our website every few days to see the great new shots that had been uploaded by our happy customers, and the staff at our attractions could be seen getting involved in the photos too: we spotted a few selfies taken by customers with our Christchurch Tram drivers, and a few more photos taken at Punting on the Avon where punters could be seen posing in the background!

Tramway Selfie - Thomas Fuchs   Punting Selfie - Abby Hayes   Gondola Selfie - Katie Harvey

A few of the great selfies entered in our competition by Thomas Fuchs, Abby Hayes and Katie Harvey

By the end of the competition we found it difficult to narrow the images down to a short-list of our favourite entries. However, one photo stood out in the end, and we decided that Greg and Rachel Brocherie had to be our Summer Selfie Competition winners – we just couldn’t go past their smiling family selfie on board one of our Trams. The family were very happy to hear about their win, and were pleased to receive their GoPro!

Tram Selfie - Greg Brocherie & Family    Selfie - GoPro

The Brocherie family’s winning selfie and their GoPro prize

Welcome Aboard would like to thank everyone who entered images and voted in our Summer Selfie competition.

Christchurch Trams on Track Along our New Extension!

Friday, February 20th, 2015

After many years of planning, our Christchurch Tram track extension was officially opened last week on 12 February. Our staff (especially our drivers) were all looking very gleeful, as the opening had been a very long time coming after it was originally planned for 2011!

The Prime Minister, the Right Honourable John Key, stopped by to open the tram route extension and then took Tram 152 for a quick drive along Cashel Street.

Christchurch Tram Drivers

Rt Hon John Key, Wood Scenic Line Managing Director Michael Esposito and Mayor Lianne Dalziel with our tram drivers Barry, Ken, Alan, Ian and Joe

Our driver trainer Joe Pickering gave Mr Key a very brief tram driving lesson and they were soon off, hampered only by a momentary loss of power when the tram’s electricity supply disconnected itself from the overhead wiring (before it was quickly reattached).

John Key

Rt Hon John Key on board Tram 152

Customers were soon queuing up at our new tram stops and the tramcars were bursting at the seams!

Tram 15 Restart Mall

Busy Tram 15 in Christchurch’s Re:START Mall

The latest extension to the track had been in the pipeline for many years. Work originally began on the extension in 2010 for a planned opening in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but unfortunately the Canterbury earthquakes put a stop to this and the tracks were left unused for several years in the then-Red Zone. At that stage the majority of work had been completed, and there was very little left to do. With the re-opening of the Christchurch Tram in late 2013, plans were once again put in place to open the extension along with our original circuit.

Tram 178 Stranges Building

Tram 178 by the new Stranges building in High Street

Every tram now completes a trip along the new track along Oxford Terrace, Cashel Street and High Street before returning to our original circuit, and a return trip takes approximately 50 minutes to complete. The trams will be operating daily, and our Tramway Restaurant will also be completing a few laps of the extension every evening. The new track is proving very popular – why not pop down to take in the new sights from our historic tramcars?

Book a ride on the Christchurch Tramway online now!

Worthy Recipient of our Annual Pass

Friday, November 21st, 2014

We tracked down Kylie Ehrich who wrote an inspiring letter to The Press last week expressing delight at seeing the trams running on the complete city loop.

She called in on us earlier this week, when we took some photographs on tram No. 178 and presented her with a complimentary Annual Pass for unlimited rides on the trams and Christchurch Gondola.

Kylie told us about her fantastic office view overlooking Victoria Square.

“I knew the trams were coming back to their original loop. But to look out and actually see them was a sentimental moment. It was so special to hear their distinctive sounds.”

Kylie says “love” brought her to Christchurch 11 years ago. She grew up in Queensland and thought Christchurch was wonderful while here on holiday. She was determined to return.

Kylie was in the city on that horrible February day in 2011. As with all of us she was devastated by what was lost. Anything that returns therefore becomes that much more precious.

Kylie was delighted to have an Annual Pass, but says her husband was even more excited when he heard.

“He’s a real nerd when it comes to train spotting, Ferrymead and all that.”

Kylie and her husband enjoy walking on the Port Hills, so they intend to use the pass to ride the Christchurch Gondola.

Kylie Tramies Kylie and Ken

Christchurch Tramway Wins Heritage Tourism Award

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Christchurch Tramway nailed a prized Heritage Tourism Award, announced at the Vero Canterbury Heritage Awards ceremony held in the brilliantly-rebuilt Knox Presbyterian Church last week.

The Tramway had previously entered in the Heritage Tourism Award prior to the earthquakes, only to be beaten by the DC3-Pionair entry. On that occasion they had to accept second place and a highly commended certificate, before sinking another glass of wine and ambling home with tails between legs.

Christchurch Tram - New Regent St

The Christchurch Tram is a heritage tourism icon

Last week Tramway Operations Manager John Smith was beaming as he carried away not only a framed certificate, but also a classy trophy designed by sculptor Neil Dawson. Both have found pride of place in Welcome Aboard’s new Cathedral Junction office.

This year the awards coincided with Beca Heritage Week to provide that all-important community involvement. The Heritage Tourism Award, sponsored by Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism, recognised the effort of the heritage Tramway returning to the central city. The sights and sounds of the trams were much loved prior to the earthquakes and an iconic visitor attraction.

The citation also mentioned the useful commentaries on the earthquake and rebuild and the Tramway’s contribution to preserving Christchurch’s heritage transport.

Christchurch Tramway was up against other high profile entries for the award. It was therefore a nail-biting few moments until the spectacular Tannery and Atrium, Heritage Christchurch and another finalist were awarded highly commended and were thus eliminated from the top spot. The Tramway entry had a clear track to heritage fame.

John Smith received the award and spoke briefly in gratitude, stressing the Tramway staff’s contribution to winning. Accompanying John at the awards ceremony were Emma Thomson, reservations and functions co-ordinator, and Roy Sinclair, writer of blogs and other media.

Heritage Tourism Award

Welcome Aboard’s Emma Thompson & John Smith with the Heritage Tourism Award

Welcome Aboard was left with just one minor dilemma. John had said if Christchurch Tramway did not win this time, he would be so distraught he would take a job washing dishes at the Christchurch Gondola Cafe. Question is, who is going to wash those dishes now?

Christchurch Tram Drivers Trophy

Christchurch Tram Drivers proudly showing off the Heritage Tourism Award

500 Annual Passes To Give Away

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Tune into More FM 92.1 and be in to win a Welcome Aboard Annual Pass as one of the radio station’s promotions.

The much valued pass provides unlimited rides on Christchurch Tram and Christchurch Gondola for one year. It also offers discounts on other company attractions. Welcome Aboard is giving a lot away but believes, in addition to promoting its attractions, winners may wish to renew their passes the following year. The radio promotion will be aired at various times during the broadcasting day to capture a range of listeners. The promotion is scheduled to run through the winter months.

It is a great time to have an Annual Pass to use when opportunity permits. The trams are set to improve with the re-instating of the complete city loop in late 2014 and further extending of the track in 2015.

The Gondola experience has had a makeover with improved cabins and facilities, including the Red Rock Café at the summit station. It is the ideal spot for an impromptu coffee or lunch visit.

Feedback from More FM has been excellent. People having won a pass have emailed stating they did not expect such an attractive prize.


Enter Flat Man and Phoenix

Friday, April 4th, 2014

They arrive, one tall and one short. Both wear flowing cloaks and face masks.

The Spiderman-like duo do not soar self-propelled to the heights of Mount Cavendish. They step aboard a Christchurch Gondola cabin and glide up the wire. 

The taller one checks in as the mysterious Flat Man, and the small guy as five-year-old Phoenix. He might be Flat Man’s apprentice?

Flatman & Phoenix In Christchurch Gondola Cabin

Flat Man, a University of Canterbury student, keeps his real identity secret even from his flatmates. Following the Christchurch earthquakes he promoted himself as Christchurch’s superhero, dressed for the role, and began distributing food parcels to those in need. He visited schools and families, spreading a philosophy of kindness and generosity.

His apprentice Phoenix is distinguished by his different mask. It is part of a bandage covering much of his body. He suffers from chronic eczema.  Bandages help to eliminate itching and scratching.

It is Phoenix’s big day out. It began with a medal presentation by assistant Christchurch mayor, Vicki Buck. A visit to the Antarctic Centre followed.

They were heading up for lunch at the Red Rock Café when I spotted them. It is the perfect day.

“The Gondola is just an essential part of Christchurch,” Flat Man says. “The views are spectacular.”

Also spectacular is the table awaiting Flat Man, Phoenix, Grandma and one or two others. The centrepiece is a cake encircled with chocolate and iced with a Spiderman image.

Super Hero Cake For Phoenix

Grandma is Phoenix’s guardian for his special day out. She says chronic eczema is a terrible condition too many children suffer from. Phoenix does not go to school, and is instead schooled at home.

She recalls the evening Flat Man appeared on TV 3 Campbell Live.

“Phoenix became an instant admirer. His eyes lit up. It was amazing. I started to dress him in a cloak to help take his attention away from his uncomfortable, painful condition. He is well known in the community. When we go shopping people will say, ‘Good morning Phoenix.’ Depending on his mood he will say, ‘No I am Spiderman,’ or, ‘I am Superman.’”

Phoenix In His Superhero Costume

“A friend got onto a computer, found the Flat Man website, and sent a message. Flat Man got in touch and Phoenix found a friend and mentor. So here we are up here on this beautiful day. I cannot believe how kind the Gondola staff have been to us. Look at this wonderful cake.”

Phoenix is a likeable, lively kid. Rather than having him sit for a long time, Flat Man takes him for a run around the Gondola building balcony. A convenient circuit can be made with an occasional pause for the view. On one side of the hill a paraglider takes to the skies.

 Meeting Flat Man, Phoenix and Grandma is an inspiration.

Inspired by emergence of the Student Volunteer Army following the Christchurch earthquakes, Flat Man says he is getting out there and helping others in any way he is able. His Flat Man costume has a distinctive lightning bolt logo. Initially he funded his philanthropy himself, but as his profile has grown he has been overwhelmed by donations and support.

Flat Man & Phoenix At Gondola Summit

“If I can do something to bring just a little joy to those in need, then why not?”