Christchurch locals get first look inside new convention centre Te Pae

Christchurch locals have had their first chance to take a look inside the city's new convention centre Te Pae.

It's an opportunity that has been a long time coming after COVID-19 scuppered the original open day.

Te Pae stretches across two blocks of the central city - taking up 28,000 square metres. And every metre has been met with delight.

"I think it's breathtaking," one person said.

"It blows the old one out of the water really," another added.

Curious locals have had to wait seven months to get a look inside due to COVID-19 complications. But it's not just a pretty façade.

"Ernst and Young have projected that around $600 million in the first 10 years of economic operation will be driven to Christchurch and we're well on the way to doing that even in our first year," said Te Pae Christchurch general manager Ross Steele.

Te Pae's position in the city centre encourages visitors to contribute to the local economy.

"Almost overnight when the centre opened we heard from our members in the city that they saw significant additional people in the city, they had extra business, so our bars, our restaurants, our cafes, our retailers," said Leeann Watson, CEO of Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce.

It's estimated Christchurch's economy will get $60 million a year.

"That's a significant boost for the businesses of Christchurch," Watson said.

And it helps put the city back on the map.

"To make sure Christchurch can puff its chest out again and have an international standard convention centre and I think that's really all it's about," Steele said.

In the same week the stadium finally got the go-ahead, the first public open day for Te Pae is definitely another reason Christchurch people can puff their chests out again.