26 Feb 2014

Higher hopes for Ellerslie flower show

2:34 pm on 26 February 2014

Organisers of the Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch say they have had a strong turnout on Wednesday, the event's first day this year.

A show spokesperson says the number of people going through the gates of the North Hagley Park venue will be known later on Wednesday, but initial reports indicate a higher attendance than at the same time last year.

Last year 7000 people attended on the first day, but the overall attendance of 44,500 was 10,000 fewer than expected and the show ran at a loss of $325,000.

This year's show, which runs until Sunday, opened with a record number of 16 exhibition gardens; double that of last year.

The Christchurch City Council's marketing and events manager, Richard Stokes, says the problems that led last year to low public turnout and a financial loss have been addressed.

He says subsidies have been increased this year to encourage more participants, the layout of the event has also been changed, and he's confident this year will be different.

"The quantity of gardens was down last year. It was probably a thing to do with two years after the earthquakes and so much effort went into the first show after, so a number of designers just couldn't make it that second year - but they're back in force this year."