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Peter Morrison

Mr Hospitality: Q&A Peter Morrison

Peter Morrison has spent his professional career in the hospitality industry and his credentials and prestigious awards support his ‘guru’ status.


 Peter Morrison


We caught up with Peter at The Classic Villa about his hospitality journey and how we can support the industry year-round.

Your credentials and awards are of the highest nature in your field. Was hospitality always your first choice?
It’s always been about people. My passion encompasses people enjoying themselves at the location they stay at; all about the memories they make and when they look back to the time they spent at a specific place; what those memories hold; how they recall the experience and the feelings they felt; the stories they can tell. That sums up hospitality to a tee and I was fortunate to find my ‘calling’ early in life, straight from Wellington College.


Where did it all start?
I began my career back in the mid-1970s as a management trainee with the company now known as Lion and then gained extensive experience in numerous hotels around the country. I moved to Christchurch in 1986 when I became the General Manager of the Hotel Russley and then I took the next logical step and I became one of the owners of that establishment and started my divergence from management to ownership.


This has led you to The Classic Villa Boutique Hotel. This place is impeccable and I felt like a queen just walking in.
Then I’ve accomplished my goal. I want my patrons to feel like the royalty they are. I’m very proud of this boutique hotel and its history, but mostly the atmosphere and comfort people feel as soon as they walk through the door. It is a special place that my partner Jan and I took over in 2006 and we work hard to attain and retain its 5 star Qualmark rating. Prior to moving here, I successfully owned and managed Morrison Hospitality Management Ltd where our attention was on a number of accommodation bar and restaurant establishments including Morrisons on Merrin in Avonhead and the Mansfield House & Tavern in Merivale. I have enjoyed each location and experience, but The Classic Villa holds a special place in my heart and I just love it. More importantly I love what I do.


In 2018 you received an Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to hospitality, when you were called ‘the host extraordinaire’.
I was surprised and totally humbled by the honour. It was so good the hospitality/tourism industries were recognised. I never expected it, doing something I love. Again, it has always been about the people, the experience and the memories. To receive this honour was very touching.

In your 40 years of industry experience, how have things changed or evolved?
Travel is something that just about everyone thinks about and participates in these days. People dream about their next vacation; where they are going to stay, what they are going to see and eat, and people enjoy talking about their experiences and recommending places or not. Hospitality caters to and focuses on providing ‘wow’ factor, comfort and enjoyment. With all the hospitality that happens on a daily basis around New Zealand and in Christchurch specifically, our industry can hold their head high because we really do care about the customer experience. I have served on the national board of Hospitality New Zealand for over 10 years, currently National Vice President and Canterbury branch President. I see first-hand the desire and detail that goes into hospitality protocols and systems; they are top notch.

One of the topics I have spoken about is the importance of community support. If locals and tourists don’t come out and support their establishments, there is no choice but to close. Hospitality is a low margin industry. It’s all about volume. Although it’s wonderful to be a location of choice for tourists, hospitality is more about locals supporting hospitality establishments to keep us going year-round.
Mini-breaks or vacations to stay in accommodation within your own city provide a relaxing close-to-home experience. Trying food locations to support local cuisine is important, as well as meeting up with friends at a bar. Hospitality stays in business because of local community support and we appreciate that here in Canterbury; Christchurch especially.


You represent New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality sectors on the world stage as a member and Senior Vice President of SKAL International, you’re a friend of the Arts Centre and you are the Vice-President of the national board of Hospitality New Zealand…
What can I say? I am committed to this industry and its owners and managers as well as the patrons who frequent them; working together, supporting each other creates those lifelong memories and experiences worth sharing. I can’t imagine doing anything else and don’t plan to stop any time soon.



Hamner Springs

Destination Recharge!

Hanmer Springs, only a 90 minute drive from the city, has the reputation for being a sports destination and all that encompasses, from cycling, tramping and off roading, to boating, fishing, bird watching and hunting.


Hamner Springs


The less known secret is that Hanmer Springs is the perfect destination for a day trip or longer, simply when you need to recharge your batteries. The topic of mental health is a ‘hot’ global focus, with research validating the importance of brain breaks, going for a walk or just taking time to unwind. This helps your body operate in peak condition in today’s warp-speed society where the to-do lists are long and seemingly never-ending.

A change of scenery is the best medicine, even if only for an hour or two. The physical pick me up a change of scenery provides is invaluable when you return refreshed, clear-headed and ready to tackle your list again.  As the year is now totally underway, put yourself at the top of your list and take care of your mental health. When you are in the need of a change of scenery, think outside the box for a place to take refuge and experience some quiet.

A place you can spend an afternoon by yourself or with a loved one, just meandering for a stroll or having a cup of tea, or just sitting under a tree on the grass. The drive to Hanmer Springs can be just as calming as you listen to music or a book on tape or just enjoy the quiet of the road.



Hitting the Hotspots

Hitting the Hotspots

From tantalising tapas to swanky sit-downs, Christchurch has all the ingredients you need for a good night – or day – out, as the beacon of the burgeoning central city continues to shine. Jenafor Rollins checks out two of the new kids on the culinary block.


Hitting the Hotspots


The smells of Mexico fill the atmosphere at Chiwahwah, located at The Terrace. This clever culinary creation is all about offering authentic dishes with a cool vibe. Experience the taste of Mexico as you browse the multi dish options on the extensive menu which include burritos, chimichangas, tacos, mole, nachos and dish after dish of taste.

Spice is a major ingredient of Mexican cooking and you can have your dish as mild or as hot as your heart desires. Why not take it up a notch and add some more spice to your life? Challenge yourself with a fork prong taste and see how you do. Make sure to have your glass of water or beer close by, just in case the heat catches you off guard.

After sharing a plate of starters, move onto your main which will be accompanied by refried beans or rice or both. These Mexican side dishes are offered at just about every meal. Combination platters allow you to try not just one, but two or three of the main items, before the grand finale of a dessert, such as flan. This creamy, light end to a meal is the perfect complement.

Whether it’s the friendly service, the welcoming atmosphere or the cool vibes of the décor, you will feel as if you have touched down in Mexico as soon as you head into this new central city hotspot.



Rave reviews are being left for You Hanoi Me that has just opened on Victoria Street, headed by the hospitality masterminds behind Louis Champagne and Oyster Bar, and its central neighbour Red Light District.
The home of modern Viet cuisine, the new hospo hotspot brings the flavours of Vietnam to life, with the five out of five ratings soaring.

A global phenomenon, Viet food is about fresh, healthy, authentic Vietnamese street food, direct from Vietnam to the streets of Christchurch and You Hanoi Me has added its own modern twist. The story behind the new restaurant is an inspiring one. It is said Nam Cam, a third cousin of the late Charlie Winston of the Dry Cleaning Empire, opened his first Street Food Stall in a small village 22 clicks out of Hanoi during the Vietnam War.

Known famously for his Pho and Espresso Martinis and his ability to impersonate a young Sean Connery, he established himself as North Vietnam’s premier aluminium window specialist after his street stall went into receivership and the fact that he didn’t really sound like Sean Connery. Fifty six years later, You Hanoi Me opened in his honour.



Ashburton’s Blooming Beauty

Ashburton’s Blooming Beauty

A garden blooming with flowers and trees, shrubs, and an array of colourful foliage creates a serene, embracing atmosphere endearing to the heart. As you head out south of Christchurch, along State Highway One and into Ashburton, you will find just that.


Ashburton’s Blooming Beauty


As you enter the town, turn right at the entrance and drive along Racecourse Road. When you catch sight of the gardens, turn left and drive down an avenue of towering trees, where you’ll enter the horticultural wonderland that is Trott’s Garden.
Ashburton’s secret garden started as one man’s dream to transform a barren four-hectare paddock, creating a space that people would visit and enjoy, inspiring others to create something special on their own land.

Late last year when Alan Trott retired, his only request was that the property remained part of the Ashburton community. The Trott’s Gardens Charitable Trust was formed to purchase the property, rallying a team of volunteers and forming a management committee to maintain and develop the gardens.


Ashburton’s Blooming Beauty

Since the first spade of soil was turned in 1984, the Trott family has planted a large area now known as the woodland garden, home to 650 rhododendrons. The display of colour from early September until autumn is stunning as rhododendron bloom among stately trees.

Some 50 species of magnolia, 70 different kinds of maples and 40 different varieties of the dogwood family give some idea of the scale of this area, which is underplanted with hundreds of rhododendrons and azaleas. Nearby is a bog garden with a stream that flows into a pond edged with many fine water plants, lilies and irises. The pond, from the near side, is free of plantings and so reflects a perfect image of the sky and garden beyond.

One of the highlights of the gardens are the perennial borders running 110 meters in length, enclosed by tightly trimmed macrocarpa hedges. The borders contain only perennial plants, a rarity in the southern hemisphere and, unlike many perennial borders, these contain no natives or roses.


Ashburton’s Blooming Beauty

A special area of the garden is the red border. Developed in 2005, it is a six metre deep, 60 metre long border, featuring hundreds of plants that are either red in foliage or flower.  There are sweeping lawns and a lookout tower provides exceptional views of the bog, the water garden and the rare knot garden that fronts the garden’s chapel, where many weddings are held every year.

The New Zealand Gardens Trust awarded Trott’s Garden six stars (its highest category) and designated it as a NZ Garden of International Significance, as it is considered to be outstanding for its horticultural value. Alan himself was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in 2017 for his services to horticulture.


Trott’s Garden is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday to Sunday by appointment only.



A Circus Act

Acrobatic skills which took your breath away were the opening act of this year’s Bread and Circus festival. The talented and highly skilled Limbo performers were front and centre with the shock factor of this extreme entertainment, leaving crowds wondering how the human body could contort, stretch and bend into such positions.


The Limbo Performers at Bread and Circus


Their heart-stopping illusions and mind-bending manoeuvres which incorporated spectacular dance moves and thrilling music is inspiring their Christchurch audiences to try their hand at the latest trend of athletic sport, based on training for the circus. The days of old, when the saying, ‘I’m running away to the circus’ was common place has made a comeback in full flair with the movie The Greatest Showman, which highlighted the history behind the circus and personal acceptance.

Cirque de Sol is another highly publicised and popular acrobatic performance which has inspired people of all ages to try their hand at training in circus sport and skills. Around town there are classes and workshops offered in aerial skills, balancing, juggling and much more through the Christchurch Circus Trust, enabling you to live out your childhood dreams.

Training as a circus acrobat falls into a category of its own, which not only adds sport as the base, but also includes the drama of how to entertain a crowd in a fun, engaging and larger than life, showstopping kind of way. The vibrance and energy behind the circus offers a healthy and fun exercise choice.




Genealogy: a global pastime

All families share stories and life experiences about their members. As the generations evolve, having those stories documented provides a history in time about those people and their adventures.





As the years progress, sometimes we meet these people, but many times we don’t and that is where the value of documenting stories with references makes all the difference to current and future generations. Maybe it helps us humans to know where we come from and our lineage.

Genealogy has become a global hobby. People from all corners of the planet and every culture are taking interest in their family history. While most genealogy is for family eyes only and never published for the world to see, the number one cardinal rule in doing genealogy is that ‘without proof there is no truth’.

As you start your family search, don’t forget to take the time to record your findings.


Documentation will make your research easier and faster

Save your time and other peoples time by documenting where you find your facts and research. As a hobby researcher, you most likely will be interrupted as you search and will have to stop at some point and pick up where you have left off. That could be the next day, next week, next month or even next year. Documenting where you have found research is time saving.


Documentation helps prevent duplication of research

In the course of your genealogical research, you can’t help but spend some time researching family members others have already researched. Without documentation, you don’t know what sources somebody might have already used. This means you will likely use some of the same sources earlier family historians have used. This wastes our time and resources which could be used to solve questions others haven’t yet answered.


Documentation gives others confidence in your research

This is the old standby point you read in every genealogy textbook, but that does not make it any less true. The problem is that many people, especially those just starting out, do not plan on publishing their research findings, as they are just doing it for their own interest. Throughout the course of your research you are constantly using the research of others, which may be a published family history, a brief biographical sketch, or a computerised lineage from an ancestral file or an online family tree.
Consistent formatting is useful, even required on some sites and very helpful in your search for your family history.



Swim Fit

Swim Fit

Splish splash, a swimming pool is like a large bathtub. A little cooler than the home bath, the expansive space allows for exercise time, play time and leisure time. The beauty and value of swimming have once again been brought forward in the headlines with Michael Phelps and his record winning performance at the last Olympic Games.


Swim Fit


The health benefits of swimming are well-known. Swimming is a non-weight-bearing exercise regime that utilises most of the muscles, making it effective for both cardio and muscular endurance.  Gliding through the water with the various swimming stroke options, including the back stroke, butterfly, breast stroke and the fan favourite freestyle, offers a non-resistant way of enhancing and maintaining your physical health.


Aqua aerobics is a popular exercise class which is offered at your local pool and can coincide with swimming laps. If staying above water is not a simple task, ask at the service centre desk or a pool lifeguard for a floatation board which can be used to help maintain your above water efforts.


Physical concerns with swimming are minimal as this exercise keeps the body buoyant and is easy on the muscles. The main health concerns factor around the water quality at the pool facility or in a natural environment of a river, lake or an ocean area. The concerns stem from bacteria, pathogens or excrement from animal or human waste.


These types of external concerns can develop side effects in a person ranging from a mild case of itchy skin to more severe side effects such as bacterial infections.
Swimming, when done either as recreation or on a more serious level as an exercise option, can provide fun, enjoyment and health benefits.



Customer Obligations

Customer Obligations

You have made the decision to build or remodel your home and, while we’re all generally well aware of the fact that there are obligations on the part of the contractor, it turns out there are actually obligations on the part of the customer, also.


Customer Obligations


Jenafor Rollins looks at how to have a positive relationship with your contractor, offering some top tips to make your building experience as carefree as possible.


Interview more than one contractor
Who do you connect with the best? That is your answer and yours alone.


Clear Picture
Clearly state what you want and any details. You are the one who has hired someone for a job. Be clear in what your goal is, how you see it in your mind and the finished product. There will always be small changes during production as that is the creative process, but the vision is what everyone starts with. While the person providing the services has responsibilities as a contractor to act in the client’s best interests, it’s also the client’s responsibility to make their brief clear.


Your construction project can go smoothly, but integral to this is communication and that is critical on both sides. As mindreading has not become a natural skill for humans and a contractor cannot read your mind, subtle hints do not suffice. If you have a concern, a question or a comment, talk to your contractor, so you can move to the same page.

Most people are people pleasers and, when it comes to your contractor, this is their profession. You have their professional livelihood in your hands, so it’s integral that you provide clear, concise feedback to ensure that they can meet your expectations.

As you communicate, it is valuable to come to a clear understanding. One of the best things to do after any conversation is to each have a closing sentence, “Now, what I am hearing is…” They will respond with their interpretation and whether any corrections in your interpretation need to be made.


Get everything in writing
Contracts are the legal and final word in a court of law and outline what both parties are expecting.



Interior Design Style Choices

Interior Design Style Choices

Which choice is your pick?


Interior Design Style Choices



Modern is a broad design term that typically refers to a home with clean, crisp lines and a simple colour palette that uses materials such as metal, glass or steel.
Modern designs use simplicity with their furnishing and accessory statements. Sleek is generally associated with the modern look along with simple and minimal accessories.


Modern and contemporary are two styles frequently used interchangeably. Contemporary is different from modern because it describes design based on the here and now.
The primary difference separating modern and contemporary design style is that modern is a strict interpretation of design that started in the 20th century. Contemporary design is more flowing with more curving lines.


Traditional design style offers classic details, elegant furnishings, and an abundance of accessories. Traditional design is rooted with European flavour and offers depth, layering and dimension within their design displays.


Rustic design is drawn from being inspired by nature and uses raw and often unfinished elements including wood and stone.
Rustic design may incorporate accessories from the outdoors with warmth resonating from the design. Architectural details may include features like vaulted ceilings with wood beams or wood floors.


Hollywood Glam is a design style that tends to be luxurious, over-the-top and opulent. It’s a dramatic design style, perfect for a homeowner who enjoys making a statement.