What can I say about 2020? I think that we all know that it was an excruciating year for small business in New Zealand, the event industry was one of the hardest-hit sectors and cancellations came in left, right, and centre.
The P and A whānau was dismantled on the back of COVID-19. Our office in Eastbourne was closed and we created a virtual office.
It was exciting, but also eerie, to re-join P and A under such strange circumstances after a few years of doing my own thing, Kaye, Luke and I saw it as an opportunity to have a good look at where we wanted the business to be in the next 5 years. It was a time to regenerate and refine what we already had.
I asked Rebecca Weeks to join me as a part-timer at the end of 2020 as we started to confirm contracts for 2021. Rebecca and I had worked together previously and complement each other's strengths.
We ended the year with the online New Zealand Nurses Organisation - NZNO Conference in September.
Stay safe, be kind and keep scanning!
Coming into the late 2010s our focus leaned toward corporate conferencing as opposed to team building activities and leadership development sessions. We were running larger conferences and international events which became the core business for P and A as we came closer to the end of the decade.
By 2009, our event calendar for the next year was chokka and we were glad to have Raynor Redman join our team, bringing her ideas and experience to a busy year ahead! Tomai Morris also joined us in 2010, Debbie had progressed from satchel and name badge stuffing to manning registration desks, and a myriad of casual team members ensured we started the 2010s on top!
To give you an idea of where we were at, this is a list of our 2010 events:
• Timata Hou Development Programmes
• PwC New Zealand Development Programmes
• bp Team Programme
• Aquaheat Corporate Fun Day
• Archives New Zealand Future Perfect Conference
• ARANZ Conference
• AAPT Balint Online Registration
• NZ Open Source Awards
• Population Association of New Zealand Conference
• Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission DevCon
• eResearch New Zealand Symposium
• GOVIS Conference
• Forestwood Conference
• NZSTI Online Registration
• New Zealand Computer Society Conference
• New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Registration and Logistics
• CLESOL Conference
• Mt Lowry Challenge
• Butterfly Creek Nighttime Madness
• Mt Lyford Challenge
As we started the next decade, we had moved our office out of the family home and into a space in the Eastbourne Village, Luke and Kaye had started the development of Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat - High Country Estate & Luxury Villa Collection although they were still living in Eastbourne, Debbie was off at University, Hayley, Raynor, and Tomai were part of a cohesive team, growing year on year, and P and A was at the height of business!
In 2004, Hayley Larsen joined Paardekooper and Associates, bringing another level of experience and ideas to our team. Hayley stayed with P and A until the COVID-19 pandemic flipped our world in 2020.
It was in the early 2000s that we started to run MBTI sessions and team development programmes with organisations, helping individuals discover their personality types and how they work within a team. This tied in nicely with the team building activities we had been running since the mid-90s, allowing participants to complement their discussions with hands-on team experiences.
By the end of 2005, we were well and truly established in the corporate event industry. We held a range of products to suit any organisation; top team activities, MBTI and team development programmes, conference and logistics management, trade and sponsorship procurement, and themed events such as medieval, wild west and Mardi Gras dinners!
2002 and 2003 were big years for us, taking on more clients and returning to the South Island where we asssisted with the ITU8F Conference for the Ministry of Education NZ in Queenstown - we arranged new cabling into the Millennium Hotel to cope with the bandwidth required for the conference! We added CLESOL, Feltex Carpets, Ministry for the Environment, and GOVIS to our loyal client base and continued to foster positive working relationships with others in the industry.
In 1996, we applied for a patent for "Top Team Challenge" and brought the product to market with great success. Top Team activities were often held down the road from the P and A home office in Eastbourne and the garage quickly filled with a variety of weird and wonderful team-building equipment!
In the late 90s, Luke combined his passions and became involved with the Eastbourne Scouts. Paardekooper and Associates soon began organising adventure races to give back to the Scouts and Eastbourne Lions Club.
Word started to spread and Employment Services jumped onboard. By 1990 programmes had been run for most NZ Post and Employment Services managers from Invercargill to Christchurch.
Within a few months, P and A turned into a full-time job and Luke managed to keep "sausages and mince" on the table by supplementing his income with odd jobs. He moved away from Berwick and built a lifestyle block just outside Dunedin.
More team events were run throughout the South Island in 1990 and 1991 for a number of different companies and P and A started to branch out into logistics management: t-shirts, transport, and beers.
Paardekooper and Associates was going from strength to strength.