New head of The Antarctic Office appointed

A new head of The Antarctic Office has been appointed and will join ChristchurchNZ on 12 November. 

David Kennedy, who is coming from a role as Chief Executive Officer at Lincoln Hospitality, has extensive experience collaborating across local and central government, community and business stakeholders to deliver high impact initiatives.

He also spent 10 years as CEO of Destination Queenstown and eight years as Regional General Manager – South Island at Ngai Tahu Tourism.

“It is an exciting time to join The Antarctic Office, which is focused on helping Christchurch realise greater economic, community, cultural, scientific and environmental value from its connections to the Ice,” David says.

ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive Joanna Norris says it is fantastic news to have someone of David’s experience and calibre joining The Antarctic Office.

“We are very excited about the highly professional city leadership experience, deep relationship and stakeholder management capability and ability to implement and make things happen that David brings to the role."

“Christchurch is one of only five gateway cities to the Antarctic in the world and The Antarctic Office is responsible for implementing Christchurch’s Antarctic Gateway Strategy with local and national partners – so his appointment is key.”

Joanna Norris, Chief Executive, ChristchurchNZ

The strategy, which was approved by Council in May this year, sets out a vision for Christchurch to be an Antarctic city that celebrates and realises the value of its gateway status for the benefit of the city and the nation, for current and future generations.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel is very pleased with the appointment.

“David brings a wealth of experience and coupled with his passion for our history of association with Antarctica, he will ensure we achieve the vision set out in the strategy.”

The four priorities of the strategy – which is built on three themes of kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and exploration – are to welcome and deliver excellence, connect and excite, advance knowledge, and champion sustainability.

ChristchurchNZ will take the lead in implementing it but will work closely with the Christchurch City Council, Antarctica New Zealand, Christchurch International Airport, the Lyttelton Port Company, the scientific community, tertiary institutes and arts organisations as well as other stakeholders who ensure that Christchurch is an exceptional Antarctic gateway city.

The appointment comes on the back of the successful Antarctic Season opening last week, which included the ever-popular Antarctic Air Day that drew a huge crowd of 6500 people to view the two C17’s on display. A record of 20 countries were represented by the diplomatic and consular corps at the Antarctic Season Opening Civic Reception.