Love the Centre bringing life back to the CBD


Hamilton Central Business Association and Hamilton City Council are working together to inject life back into the central city.

With support from the local business community, the Love the Centre campaign draws on the best of what the city has to offer and takes it to the next level.

Hamilton Central Business Association general manager Vanessa Williams says many businesses and organisations are getting behind the campaign by donating prizes and giveaways, from spending sprees to overnight stays, as well as in the creation of free public events and activities including movies in Garden Place, Boon After Dark art installations, student orientation week, music festivals, Matariki activations and city trails. 

The time is right for people to get the pulse of the central city pumping once again, Williams says.

“Covid has certainly impacted the central city over the past couple of years and we feel it is now time to remind people our central city has so much to offer across a range of audiences from the workers to the students, from visitors to locals.”

Local businesses are amping up their presence in the city with many saying their staff are excited to get off Zoom and back into the office.

Maisey Harris & Co Hamilton director Peter Harris says having their team of chartered accountants back in the office is a positive experience after working on-and-off from home over the past two years.

“Being back in the office enables connection between our team and our clients, enhances collaboration and provides all-round good vibes and culture benefits from being able see and interact with the team face to face.”

Over the past few years, Hamilton’s central city has been purposely curated as a mix of live, work and play, Williams says, and the easing of Covid restrictions is the perfect timing for the Love the Centre campaign to welcome people back to the city. 

“We all want a central city that is dynamic and vibrant with unique offerings and to have this there needs to be the market to sell to. This campaign is all about reconnecting people with the central city through a range of promotions which will appeal to different audiences.”

Hospitality businesses are crying out for people to enjoy the city dining pleasures after Covid restrictions made it nearly impossible for many to continue trade.

Gothenburg Restaurant owner/operator Susanna Rislund Fullana says the team are happy to see people making their way back to town.

“Hospitality is all about people getting together, connecting and being social, and we love being able to provide a great place to do this.”

Law firm iCLAW are settling into the new premises they only just moved into prior to the Omicron outbreak, managing partner Owen Culliney says.

“While they likely missed their colleagues, the amount of gin that went down on the decks at after work drinks, would suggest they also missed the premises and the city itself. We were all very happy to see our favourite hospo staff and get into a proper coffee. It’s great not to be able to find a park again.”

Williams says post pandemic the central city will continue to evolve and hybrid working will be the mainstay of businesses.

“The flexibility of the hybrid working model is a great offering for businesses to attract workforce. In saying that there is still a need for physical office spaces and a responsibility for businesses to support their workers to come back.”

Many of the businesses located in the CBD continued to use their office space as much as possible in order to maintain connection with staff and clients, as well as
supporting the local businesses reliant on foot traffic.

Designwell design director Alexander Wastney says they made it a priority over the last two years to keep the design team working from their Panama Square studio. 

“For us, the value has been in keeping our team energy and culture thriving as we’ve navigated the challenges of Covid. We’ve found we collaborate better in person and really enjoy being a part of a central business community of like-minded people investing into our city centre. We love supporting our local eateries and shops as they create the vibrancy of what makes a city centre worth having.”

Williams says the Hamilton CBD have been on a journey of transformation long before Covid hit and the pandemic has just accelerated what was already happening. 

“We are incredibly fortunate to have had transformational projects in the CBD, that have brought large numbers of workers into the city. The high profile and high calibre of builds we have happening are bringing credibility to the city for business thinking of moving here.”

Like many retails business based in the CBD who have been hard hit by Covid, Precious Metals Group managing director Fiona Platje welcomes the return of people moving from their home office back to their city base.

“We look forward to welcoming back business people into the CBD to help re-invigorate and support local, by rediscovering what we have to offer.  Two years has been long enough… it’s time to come on back.”

Both the Hamilton City Council and the Hamilton Central Business Association have contributed funds to the revitalisation fund.

“We decided to combine forces and combine the money to put a campaign out encouraging people to reengage with the central city,” Williams says.

The Love the Centre campaign is launching on May 2. Share a photo of your local coffee spot with #lovethecentre in your caption to be in to win one of ten $100 morning tea shouts for your workplace.

To find out more about what’s happening at the city centre visit www.lovethecentre.co.nz 


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