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Yvonne Densem

Manager Communications

26 July 2023

Yvonne is well known and loved around the airport campus having been the airport’s voice for over ten years. A passionate storyteller, her list of highlights and cool projects is ever-expanding. 

What do you love most about your job? The privilege of telling the airport’s stories. There are so many to tell because we are the South Island’s largest tourism organisation and work for the good of our city, island and country.

What’s been your favourite project so far at Christchurch Airport? I have huge affection for our Community Fund, which supports community projects and services, charities and innovative ideas for communities. Nearly 20 airport people are currently knitting winter woollies for babies, which we will soon donate to a Community Fund group. That kindness from work colleagues delights me.

What has led you to this career? I came to the airport from newspaper, radio, tertiary journalism training and communications roles, all of which taught me valuable things I apply here.

Coolest project you’ve ever worked on? NASA’s “SOFIA” aircraft during the years she spent winters based here. The work the scientists did from here was extraordinary and I liked them describing results they got from here as “sublime science”. I learnt a lot from them, plus they were great people to spend time with and show around the city.

Favourite airport initiative? The Central Otago project. We're showing courage and leadership, investigating a smart and sustainable solution to a decades old problem others have failed to solve. It’s an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of future generations of South Islanders – in Christchurch and further south – and it’s something I'll be proud to tell my grandchildren about.

Most exciting moment on the job? Seeing the first Emirates A380 arrive in 2016 - after months planning the welcome event, watching that spectacular aircraft land here was something I will never forget. The thousands of people who also turned out to see it that day will no doubt agree.

A memorable airport project? The Hillary Step, where we honour Sir Edmund Hillary. It’s a permanent tribute in the terminal to a Kiwi legend who showed the world our adventurous determination. Working with the Hillary family and others to bring that together was humbling, and hosting the family here to see it installed is a special memory.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working? I walk. A lot! Sometimes on my own, sometimes with friends, and sometimes with my toddler granddaughter who likes to hold her Oma’s hand.

Biggest life accomplishment? Raising two fantastic sons, who are, in their own words, exactly the same but different. They are clever, exceptionally good at what they do, show kindness and care across the family, and are the very best of friends. I would also say they are handsome, though they might not like me saying that out loud.

Where’s your hometown, and what’s its best-kept secret? I was born and bred in Christchurch, have done two stints in Wellington and one in Auckland. It seems revitalised Christchurch is not such a secret now – evidenced by the many people who came to TRENZ in early May saying they were wowed by what’s on offer here, and uni students moving to Christchurch because “it’s a cool city”. And so say all of us!

Where’s your favourite winter escape? I don’t mind winter and am not a skier, but if I felt I had to escape I would head to family in Connecticut, USA.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their career at the airport? Do it! You will have the time of your life here and probably become addicted to the great people, great atmosphere and fascinating use and growth of your skills.