Our People

Brett Anderson


You wonder if he knew that his career and life would be so varied and interesting when his first job was cooking toast at Otago Boys boarding school in Dunedin as a young lad. Although, that job did afford him as much toast as he could eat.

Born in New Plymouth his parents moved to Fiji when he was 11 years old and with a couple of other moves, after attending school in Fiji for 18 months he ended up boarding and finishing school in Dunedin. During his Otago tenure, he became a lifeguard at St Claire Beach but moved back north to New Plymouth to attend Massey University. Only attending one year he decided to join the army full time after being a member of the Territorials while supposedly studying, highlight being jungle training, which took him to Malaysia where he completed counter-terrorism jungle training.

After three years in the army, and a brief stint as a rouser for a shearing contractor in Taranaki, he went to be a process technician at Methanex, one of the think big projects of the time, converting natural gas to methanol then synthetic fuel. With a four-on-four off roster, it was here that Brett discovered the joys and challenges of triathlon with the pinnacle being the World Ironman Champs in Hawaii. With the goal being to qualify, which he did in 1989, selling everything he took the bold step, and moved to Hawaii to immerse himself in training prior to the event and finishing in the top third of the field.

A focus since has been to maintain a level of fitness that allows him to enjoy the outdoors and a range of events that not only challenge the body but also the mind.

Over the following years, he had a myriad of moves, heading to Mexico when the money got low after enjoying the snowboarding Lake Tahoe had to offer and then on to the UK when it was almost non-existent and ended up selling aerial photos of people's houses door to door. It was during this time in the UK that he took on croupier/dealer training to become a dealer in casinos. He did croupier training from 10am – 6 pm, then either doorman, car jockey, or behind the bar from 6pm – 2am at the casino in Bournemouth where he was being trained and then cleaning floors in a supermarket from 6am – 8 am. This did not leave a lot of time for sleeping saying there is plenty of time for sleeping when you are gone.

Wanting to gain as much experience as he could, he took on two to three double shifts a week as a dealer before driving a pick-up truck across the states from New York to LA and then another vehicle back the other way to Miami to an interview to be a dealer on a boat sailing out of Miami, which he spent one year learning as much as he could about the business and enjoying the daily sailings to the Bahamas and the vibrancy of Miami.

After that he was off to London where he spent six weeks working in one of the upmarket Casino clubs before getting a role in Denmark for Casinos Austria International (CAI), which then took him to management roles in Casinos in Moscow, Russia, describing the Moscow environment as the “Wild West, without the good guys”., Karlovy Vary and Pilsen in Czech Republic, Canberra Australia and Bucharest Romania.

It was then time to return to New Zealand, where he was involved in the preoperational phase of Sky City, training the new dealers, and going on to a management role.

Leaving Sky City in 1998 he returned to CAI by way of Jericho Palestine, where he was tasked with helping set up and run the Oasis a Casino & Resort, operating until the second intifada, resulting in the closure of the Casino.

He continued to work for CAI and stayed in Israel/Palestine for another five years representing CAI, working to get the Oasis reopened and investigating new opportunities in the region, setting up a floating Casino on the Red Sea, unfortunately, a change of regulations prohibited its opening. Also spending time in Vienna Austria.

It was 2005 when he was offered the chance to go to Macau to work at the recently opened Sands Casino. From there he was asked to help in the setup and operation of the Grand Lisboa Casino. Brett spent two years in Macau, its gaming market greater than that of Las Vegas.

Returning to New Zealand upon being offered the role of CEO at Christchurch Casino. Having now been in the role for 16 years, he said dealing with the earthquake and Covid continued to reinvigorate the role and kept it interesting.

Having lived in many parts of the world we were very keen to find out why he has stayed here in Christchurch. It is simple, saying: “Look at what we have on our doorstep. You can be on the mountain, go bush or be at the beach all on the same day. When you are back in the city you have a vast range of entertainment and hospitality options Christchurch ticks every box.”

He also loves his role as a trustee on the Christchurch Casinos Charitable Community Trust from which they distribute annually to local community needs, this year $453,000. It also provides a better understanding of the community and the challenges many faces and provides further opportunities for the Casino to assist where it can.

Brett respects New Zealand’s SMEs and the value they deliver to the NZ economy so he loves to support the local business owner whenever he can, buying clothes or just going out for a beer. He pops down to Sergios when clothing is in need and enjoys a pint or two at Craft Embassy, or OGB who both have a good range of beers on tap.

Lastly, while we are the second largest city in New Zealand, he says it is not enough to acknowledge that and expect things to happen, we need to act like we are. To do this, we should be bolder with our decision-making, be ambitious and make things happen. An example is the mayor’s recent announcement that Christchurch should host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, while due to timing unlikely with facilities yet to be completed, during a period where the focus was on the Woman’s World Cup, bypassing Christchurch, he had us front and center in New Zealand media.



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From the Cathedral Square markets to the Margaret Mahy playground, these beloved central city experiences always draw us back to the CBD.