The West Coast is the main event.

The West Coast often sits a little off the radar, in comparison to those other big South Island event venues such as Christchurch and Queenstown. Which in many ways makes it that bit more unique and undiscovered for business gatherings.

Simply putting a pin on the map and locking in the West Coast as an event, meeting or conference destination is the easy part.  Getting here is equally about the journey as it is the destination.  Not an arduous journey, unless you decide to make all of your attendees cross the Alps on foot, but a journey of landscapes and discovery.  Whether the method of travel be by train, plane, bus or automobile, there is going to be time just spent soaking up vistas.  The brief patches of empty cellphone coverage providing an excuse to enjoy the transit time a little more.  Alpine passes, vast river valleys, beech forests blending into rainforests, wildlife, history, the list goes on.  I’ll stop listing things now so that I have more space to mention other things.


Transport is only one piece of the puzzle.  Accommodation being another of course.  Many bed providers are situated up and down this narrow strip of coastline.  The Ashley, Kingsgate and Beachfront to name but a few around Greymouth and Hokitika.  For much larger events, you may find that guests need to spread out across a few premises to all be comfortably accommodated.  That’s just a minor concern in the grand scheme of things.  West Coast hospitality will shine wherever you end up and travel from accommodation providers to event venues is generally just a hop skip and a jump, with minimal traffic to delay you.


Now I write with a bias for one event venue in particular.  Partly because I hold the role of Events Manager there.  Partly because it’s a place with a significant West Coast difference.  The West Coast Events Centre is tucked away on the same site as the world-famous Shantytown Heritage Park.  A recreated 19th century gold town which sits just out of Greymouth amongst rainforest and history.  Hidden within Shantytown, behind the recently renovated Golden Nugget Saloon, are two venues each capable of hosting 350 attendees in theatre style.  I won’t go waxing overly lyrical here.  The internet is built for further research.  What I will say is that despite our event venues being set within Shantytown, they’re not influenced by the surrounding historic theme.  The facilities, except for the Saloon, are a blank canvas for tweaking to your own needs.  Our onsite commercial kitchen team are also dab hands at creating the food you need to perfectly tie everything together.


All attendees to a West Coast Events Centre gig are also granted entry to Shantytown Heritage Park as part and parcel of their experience.  So the opportunity exists to ride our heritage trains, explore the open-air museum and take away flakes of self-panned West Coast gold if it will fit into itineraries.  Pretty much anything that you feel will bring the West Coast experience to life, we can do.


To finish on a slightly sour note, I will make mention of the current newsworthy bug going around.  That Covid thing has taken its toll across the country.  Even the eternal self-isolating West Coast is not immune to the effects.  While Covid-19 continues to pose a threat, The West Coast Events Centre will remain open, however, Government guidelines and our guests’ safety comes first and foremost before profit.  Larger group bookings right now, simply aren’t possible (at time of writing) for us to achieve. None the less, when life and restrictions start to settle down, we hope you will have already given us a bell.  Today is a great day to get some tentative bookings in while our calendar is looking a little quieter.


Once restrictions are lifted, it’s surprising just how quickly our venue will book out.  We will do our darnedest to fit you in and when we do, you had better be ready for an exceptional experience way out here on the wild West Coast. To make an enquiry contact:

The West Coast contends with Intel computing

  • Shantytown’s 50th birthday is on January 23rd 2021.
  • January 23rd 2020 kicks off 12 months of events, initiatives and activities in the lead up.
  • Big drive towards fundraising the restoration of Coronation (Ross) Hall.
  • Launch of the Shantytown Heritage Park volunteer programme.

With the world’s first commercially available microprocessor ushering in a new computer age, 1971 was geared to be a game changer courtesy of Intel. Here on the West Coast, our own pioneering efforts were taking an intentional step in the other direction. On January 23rd, Shantytown Heritage Park officially threw open its doors with the aim of preserving a much less digital way of life. Come 2021 both businesses will have cause for celebration. It is however wholly guaranteed that every West Coaster is invited to just one of the parties!

Starting this month and rolling out over the year are opportunities aplenty to reminisce over, revisit or rejuvenate your original West Coast heritage attraction. Marketing and Events Manager Laugharne Kemp suggests, “As we race towards the half-century of Shantytown’s existence, there are huge opportunities for locals to leave their own physical contribution towards the park’s future. This includes a new volunteer programme that will be launching in March and increased fundraising efforts towards restoration of the West Coast’s historic Coronation Hall.”

Community events, such as Heritage Day in Easter Weekend and the annual Junior Monster’s Halloween Party, will offer up plenty of family entertainment. The many more additional activities leading into the official 50th celebration are currently under tight wraps. Mr. Kemp states, “There are big plans afoot and a lot of steam powered parts to get synchronised.”

So as we head towards 2021. Withdraw that microprocessor filled device from your pocket. Tip your hat to those folks at Intel. Then enjoy and support the achievements of a West Coast icon that bucked the trends of ‘progress’. Take photos, send Facechats, Snapbook and InstaTok your visits of that famous museum out on Rutherglen road. At its heart, Shantytown was built to retell and preserve the history connecting us Coasters together. It is your story and your heritage to behold.