Event Name: Surprise 70th New Zealand Forest

Goals of event

  • To transform a high ceiling simple venue into a forest wonderland design incorporating ferns and greenery to achieve this. 
  • To ensure the vast size of the venue felt intimate and warm for the smaller guest count.
  • Create an immersive haka presentation for the guests to enjoy.

Venue SK Steak & Oyster

Number of people: 58

Mood Board

Custom Mood Board Created for the Event

Setup plan on the day

The team was on site from 6am for setup to ensure that everything was completed in time for the 3pm commencement time. This setup was particularly challenging, as the venue was long and narrow with minimal storage space, which meant timings of all suppliers had to be perfect, to ensure they were not working on top of each other, and had room to move freely and do their job.

The first supplier on site was the furniture company to clear out the venue’s furniture, which ensured there was room for everyone else to work. Next we had the rigging team bump in to install the rigging that would hold the overhead floral installations and all of the lighting. This process required all the space under the rigging to be clear for safety purposes. 

Once the rigging was installed, the floral team got to work hanging their florals. Due to our time and space constraints, the floral team had to pre-assemble their installations on trusses, which meant on the day, they only had to be hung and finalised, saving hours of time on the day. 

Whilst the team was working on the rigging and florals, work began on the accessory areas around the space to really elevate the design. These spaces included the walkway to the bathrooms, the bar area and cocktail spaces thus ensuring a continuous flowing design from the front entrance onwards. 

It was then time for the final few steps of the day, setting the tables, which first involved steaming over 20 tablecloths and 45 napkins, so as to be flat and seamless when placed on the tables. Next was setting the tables, where the full vision finally came to life and involved the utmost care in placing cutlery, napkins, charger plates, menus and the florals to complete the design. 

How did it come together? 

From the mood board concept to execution, the event came together seamlessly with only the smallest of hiccups easily solved on the day. The setup was the talk of the Calile Hotel, with those within the hotel coming down to see it all come together. The venue staff were incredibly excited to be working under the green canopy for the evening. 

Once the event commenced, the guests began wandering in and drinks were flowing, the fun really began. We had draped off the main dining space to form a surprise reveal later on in the evening, which was met with surprise and admiration when guests were finally shown the space. It took a few minutes for guests to start moving to their seats as they were very caught up in taking photos of the beautiful setup.

Guests were even more wowed after being seated, as they were treated to a 15 person Haka performance by a local Maori troop, who made quite the entrance coming into the venue and stood amongst the tables, so the guests were truly involved.

Challenges of the event 

In order to maintain the specific design, as well as to ensure seating for all the guests within the space, we hired our own chairs. This meant we were no longer using the venue’s chairs and they had to be removed. The venue had minimal storage space, so required all furniture that we were not using, be removed from site and stored externally. This was a challenge, as the venue’s usual chairs were large dining chairs that did not stack on top of each other, and thus required a lot of room to be moved and stored. Ultimately, the best solution was sourcing a truck in which to store the chairs off site for the evening.


Timing of this event was also incredibly important, with the piano needing to be moved to the side by professionals, the installation of the rigging, and then the other phases of the event set up. A few suppliers arrived out of timing order on the day, due to their other jobs finishing, which just required a little more coordination on my end, to ensure smooth installation of multiple suppliers within the event space.

My favourite part

The look of the canopy and the tables in the end. It truly looked like a magical wonderland when it all came together, with the light bulbs poking through the greenery, and the shimmering candle light dancing on the tables. It truly was a majestic and breathtaking sight for everyone on the day. 


Working with April has been an absolute pleasure. Her professionalism and attention to detail is paramount. She listens to what her client is trying to achieve and executes to perfection. I would not hesitate to recommend her and her team to assist with any event. – Courtney