Explore Christchurch, or Explore Christchurch and Canterbury?

The recent launch by ChristchurchNZ of the new marketing plan themed “Explore” opens up a far wider discussion, and opportunities, for a pan Canterbury approach.

The relevance and potential of the brand’s invitation, “Explore”, extends far beyond ChristchurchNZ’s initial design and thinking.

Three such opportunities immediately come to mind: firstly, the intra regional aspect of the residents of wider Canterbury being drawn to explore the new Christchurch; secondly, stimulating Christchurch residents to spend more time exploring and enjoying the beauty and opportunities in their own region; and thirdly, combining both Christchurch and Canterbury within the call to action to “Explore”, thereby bringing all Cantabrians together into one compelling story to the target market domestically and internationally.

This opportunity for a wider Canterbury approach intrinsically reflects who we are as a region. The historical context of our pioneers as explorers, as used by ChristchurchNZ to shape their marketing plan, is in fact a Canterbury wide story. Ngai Tahu were not Otautahi centric; their reach and stories cover all of Canterbury and beyond. The Deans family quickly moved far to the west of the plains (Hororata) soon after their time in Riccarton. The families of the first four ships soon spread across the province. And so on.

The foregoing points are not a criticism of Christchurch NZ. Their scope is a natural reflection of their mandate and funding. And their foundation concept, “Explore” deserves credit for its synergy with our history and our future.

But we should also recognise that these same points create the opportunity for wider discussion and debate, and potentially a more expansive strategy and marketing execution. The historical strength and success of Canterbury on nearly every front has always reflected a seamless town and country, a one province approach.  The opportunity to create a strong regional marketing identity, seamlessly bringing together Christchurch and Canterbury with a compelling invitation to “Explore” what can be NZ’s leading region, is at hand and deserves such wider consideration. 

Opportunities such as this are rare. All Cantabrians are stakeholders in tourism and the marketing plans being developed, either directly or indirectly. The Committee for Canterbury urges further consideration and wider discussion, so that the thinking and creativity shown by ChristchurchNZ can be leveraged for the benefit of the whole of Canterbury.  

Garry Jackson

Chief Executive, Committee for Canterbury.

(Committee for Canterbury is an independent, apolitical strategy group working to shape the long term social, cultural, environmental and economic prosperity of Canterbury)


For further information:

Garry Jackson

Chief Executive

Committee for Canterbury