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Kerry Gill

Graphic Designer

29 July 2022

Christchurch Adventure Park, Richie McCaw, SOFIA and the Airport Fire Trucks… what do these have in common? They are all projects that Kerry, our Graphic Designer has worked on during her time here. Find out about these and other exciting projects she has worked on.

What do you love most about your job? I’m the only designer at the airport, so work on a huge range of creative projects with touchpoints across all design jobs. I also work with lots of other teams at the airport, the wider campus agencies and NZ tourism industry. Having such a varied workload keeps it interesting and I have creative input right across the business.

What’s been your favourite project so far at Christchurch Airport? The Gate 15 enhancement project is one that stands out. I took the pretty open brief to showcase the Christchurch Adventure Park and ran with it to create an immersive airbridge experience. I wanted it to feel like you’re actually at the park and worked with the team there and a local adventure photographer to deliver the final project. As the gate is on two levels, we used the 180 degree views from the top – Lyttelton, the city centre and back to the bike tracks and zip lines in the park. As you descend down the escalator I wanted it to feel like you’re heading down through the trees on the chairlift to the base building. It also works the other way around of course – as you arrive through Gate 15 you see the base building first and rise up through the trees. As well as the concept, I art directed the photoshoot, created the final artwork and project managed the install which was a mission having to bring a scissor lift in airside via the apron with an escort from the fire team.

What has led you to this career? After school I studied Art & Design and did a degree in Graphic Design at University. I’ve worked in various Design Studios in the Lake District, Jersey, London and Queenstown – working alongside some awesome designers and with high level clients early in my career has definitely helped shape the way I work. I’ve had various roles, but they’ve always included being a hands-on designer, which means I stay up-to-date with software and design trends.

Coolest project you’ve ever worked on? In a previous role I got to visit lots of theme parks and attractions, including Movie World and Legoland. Visiting Barcelona Football Club for work was pretty cool too!

Favourite airport initiative? I think our Community Fund is a great way to help local charities – we have specially designed collection ‘wishing wells’ in the airport terminal for people to put money into in any currency. It’s perfect for people leaving the country and wanting to empty their pockets. Twice a year the money is distributed to people and projects that have applied for funds and meet specific criteria.

Most exciting moment on the job? Art-directing a photoshoot with Richie McCaw and Flox – not sure which one I was fan-girling over more!

Most memorable Christchurch Airport experience? See above! Other memorable experiences are getting to tour the NASA plane SOFIA, doing a video shoot on the main runway during a snowstorm, and getting to ride in the fire truck!

Tell us one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you? When I was a student I worked as a lifeguard … I’m not talking Baywatch here, I’m talking public swimming pool in a northern England leisure centre! It was great fun though and I have some brilliant memories from the mischief we got up to!

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working? You’ll generally find me on the beach or up a mountain! Spending time with my husband and family and of course the love of my life, my Miniature Schnauzer – Fergus!

Biggest life accomplishment, thus far? Coming to New Zealand 13 years ago was pretty life changing … I never went home! Well I have but only to visit … I never really intended to stay, I’ve just never been ready to leave.

Where is your home town, and what’s its best-kept secret? I’m from a small village in the English Lake District called Staveley which is in-between Kendal (yes, as in the Mint Cake) and Windermere – and I miss it every day! Its secrets are pretty well known these days thanks to it being a mountain biking mecca with a great pub – what’s not to love?

Where is your favourite winter escape? Queenstown – I lived there for six years and try to get back whenever possible. Most of my friends are still there, which means there’s always a good crew to hit the mountain (or bars) with.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their career at the airport? I think whatever stage of your career you’re at there are always options at the airport and you don’t always need a background in aviation. It’s definitely a fun and inclusive place to work.