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Author: Lynda Papesch

Keeping cosy

With minus morning temperatures creeping in, now’s a good time to find out if your heating is up to scratch, to stock up on luxe fur throws and watch the flames dance. Contemporary home heating runs the gamut from wood burners to pellet fires, gas fires to heat pumps and even a new take on old-fashioned radiators.



Keeping warm is also about being cosy; snuggled up in front of the fire with lush fur throws, soft comfy cushions and couches, ambient lighting and a good book or glass of wine.

Many contemporary fireplaces are inspired by European or British designs with modern features such as linear flames that flicker in unison, unique materials such as black onyx, and panoramic viewing angles.

Corner fireplaces, wall inserts and dual room options come in a wide range of contemporary (and more traditional) styles for wood and pellet burners and gas fires.

Even when not in use, a fireplace is a focal point in a room, so placement is key to having a wow factor.

In some instances, placement such as on a wall at eye level turns a fireplace into a work of art, making it decorative as well as functional.

Modern wood burners are more efficient, eco-friendlier and come in a myriad of styles, sizes and heating capacities.

Most pellet fires look like conventional wood burners. They are available as free-standing and inserts and even a basement-furnace model for central heating.

A versatile option, heat pumps are efficient, affordable, quickly installed and easy to operate.

Radiators are an old form of heating that has been revived and more efficiently. An electric option is available too.













Urban property development specialists: Growcott Freer Property

Growcott Freer Property is a New Zealand-owned urban property development company, providing both prospective investors and homeowners the chance to own a brand-new property in some of Christchurch’s most sought-after neighbourhoods.



Directors Nicholas Growcott and Isaac Freer personally oversee every project, partnering with some of the biggest names in the industry to ensure the design, craftsmanship, liveability and overall building experience is perfect from conception to completion.

What makes Growcott Freer Property stand out from the crowd? Isaac explains: “We work very closely with our designer, Sam Connell of Connell Architecture.

His creative eye produces such a high-end design product at an extremely completive price point for our clients.” He adds that a key element is obviously the architectural design of the company’s town houses and the strong emphasis on liveability, such as garaging and off-street parking, high spec finishes in the interior spaces etc. “It’s these little things that really make you want to call one of our developments home.”

While Growcott Freer Property was officially established in 2018, it had been growing silently for years prior.

Nicholas, a builder with over a decade of experience under his belt, building arguably some of Christchurch’s top homes, and Isaac, an electrician, also with over 10 years’ experience working in a large Christchurch company, had completed many residential projects outside of their 40-hour working weeks.

This experience taught them hard work and allowed them some of the capital to create what is now Growcott Freer Property.

Current projects include three city developments of 35 townhouses which are all well under way.

“All of the townhouses sold out as soon as they were released to the market, a great testament to the level of design and price point which is so important to us,” says Nicholas.

Another development of 19 townhouses will hit the market in July with construction to start during the last quarter of 2021.

“We have no doubt our clients are going to love these!” he adds.

A strong team ethos is the essence of Growcott Freer as a company and what sets it above the rest. Nicholas and Isaac are backed up by their outstanding Site Manager Sam Johnston.

Their trade backgrounds mean they have forged lengthy personal and professional relationships with their contractors, some, such as Alex from YP Plumbing, dating back 20 years.

“These relationships have allowed us to rely on contractors to meet, and exceed deadlines and deliver the absolute best product or service for our developments,” says Nicholas. “You can keep an eye on what we are doing on Instagram or our website.”

From the Editor: 10 June 2021

Here’s another issue hot off the press for you to enjoy and there are some great stories, ideas and advertising in the following pages. Metropol is blessed to have such loyal readers and advertisers, all of whom help to ensure its future for many years to come.



Publishing any magazine is always a massive team effort and I’m lucky that we have such a dedicated and creative group putting it together, and that our advertisers trust us to spread the word about their businesses.

Feedback is always welcome, including constructive criticism. I fielded an email recently from a reader who was not particularly impressed with one of our stories yet had continued reading anyway and found a couple of advertisements that were helpful to him.

We all have different tastes, likes and dislikes and some of Metropol’s content will resonate, while some will not. If you have ideas for stories that fit our lifestyle demographic, then we would love to hear them.

This issue delves into the psychology of mental health, segues into opera, has some suggestions about where to go for a luxury getaway and spins the wheels of a couple of new vehicles. Additionally, you will find all the usual fashion, home and cuisine pages to pique your interest.

So, make yourself a cocktail, a cup of cocoa or whatever your favourite tipple is and start reading.


Winter hues

Snuggling into soft pillows helps make the time pass more easily during those cold, wet, winter days (and nights).


Colour too can add warmth to a room, and blue is a classic hue for doing this. From deep midnight blues to baby hues, it’s always a popular colour choice.

Dustypink Alpine fur throw.

As a colour, blue both contrasts and complements most other colours.

Flynn vase

Pillows are an easy way to add blue to a room’s colour palette, but rememeber too that not all pillows are created equal.

Webster planter.

Down pillows, for instance, are made from the soft fibres close to the skin of a goose, duck, or swan. Then there are those made from feathers, cotton, latex, memory foam, and bamboo.

Microplush bath robe.

Add to the ambience with colour coordinated fur or natural wool throws, maybe a few scatter cushions, and soft lighting.

Mira woven baskets.


OZ Design hanging baskets.



Working for mental fitness

Mental health is a huge issue in New Zealand currently with calls for more funding, and more understanding of a problem that affects young and old, male and female alike. One man with personal experience is author and psychologist Paul Wood.



At 18, he was in prison and his life was completely off the rails.

Now, as a Doctor of Psychology Paul uses his subsequent journey from delinquent to doctor to illustrate the process of transformational change and how people can become the best possible versions of themselves.

Also, a motivational speaker, leadership and personal development specialist, husband and father, Paul has just published his second book Mental Fitness, following on from an initial bestseller, How to Escape from Prison (2019).

In his latest book, Paul coaches readers about how to become both mentally fitter for the future and how to be better at managing the capacity that they have to deal with the challenges they encounter.

“Mental fitness combines the mental toughness needed to remain effective when emotions are running high, and the resilience to bounce back and recover when the pressure is off,” he says.

“Like physical fitness, it is something we can all proactively build and need to maintain in order to be anywhere near our full potential. Also, like physical fitness, it is normal to struggle and get fatigued.”

In his work today, Paul assists others pursue excellence, have more meaningful lives, and flourish through adversity by enhancing their capacity to cope effectively under stress and recover and grow afterwards.

He does this through his deep knowledge of psychology, the insights he gained through his own journey, and his experience of working with elite performers across industries and occupations.

Paul wrote about his own journey in the instant bestseller How to Escape from Prison (2019).

Resident in Wellington, he contributes regularly to the media and works with several charities that focus on helping young men avoid prison or reintegrate effectively on release.

While his own experiences of flourishing through adversity and post-traumatic growth feature, he says it is not just young men at risk.

“The techniques and insights in Mental Fitness bring together tens of thousands of hours of experience in helping others build their mental fitness across industries as diverse as technology, government, the defence force, insurance, education and professional sports.”


He’s no ordinary thing

When a close friend needed help, Opshop frontman Jason Kerrison did something he knows well, going on stage and fronting the recent Man Down benefit concert, the band’s first live performance in Christchurch in nine years.



The rest of his tight-knit group of friends also rallied around to help when they heard their mate, Gorilla Biscuit bassist and soundman Jason Kokiri (aka Koko), had suffered a stroke and would be off work for some time. Opshop was joined on stage by Gorilla Biscuit, the Christchurch band that helped three of its members hone their musical skills in the early-90s.

“In our early days at the Dux, we were Gorilla Biscuit. We’ve all stayed friends to this day,” says Jason (aka JK) who grew up in Christchurch and still has family and many friends here.

Gorilla Biscuit’s members are: JK (Opshop, The Babysitters Circus, The Marley Allstars, Fungi), Jason Fa’afoi (The Stereo Bus, Good Laika), Jason “Koko” Kokiri, Aubrey Tupai, Clinton Harris (Opshop, The Feelers, AutoMatic 80s, Carly Binding), Leighton Faulkner, Bobby Kennedy (Opshop, The Stereo Bus, Neil Finn, AutoMatic 80s), and Vahid Qualls.

His friend’s health crisis hit JK hard. “What has happened with Koko makes me very conscious of my mortality, and that of others, my family and friends. In the scheme of life, it has been a real wake-up call,” he says.

Now resident in Northland near Kaitaia, JK lives on a self-proclaimed mountain surrounded by beautiful hills and bush. He continues to write, record, and selectively perform, in between making roads, raising alpacas and projects such planning, designing, and building a tiny home.

Then there is the violin which he once started to learn and is keen to pick up again, “to violently unleash” the music in it and him. Who knows; it might even feature in his next Christchurch gig.

Christchurch holds a special place in his heart; both a historical and a hysterical connection, he explains.

“I’ve been so lucky with my friends. Many I have known since growing up in Christchurch, since I was 11 through to 17 and now I’m in my mid-40s and they are still there. It’s nice to touch base and catch up with them as often as I can.”

Aside from his music, JK supports several causes such as Cure Kids, Starship Hospital and more recently added a rescue dog to his family.

A “Kaitaia Special”, the pup (Panda) was discovered in a local forest and found a new home with the JK and his partner Adele Krantz a few weeks ago. Now life is a 145 hectare farm and native forest, with alpacas, horses, cats and dogs.

As with many others, the Covid-19 pandemic gave birth to a radically changed lifestyle for JK. “Previously I was often on stage and away more than I was home. Lockdown meant I had time to make a few changes.”

The musician developed a keen interest in crypto currency, investing in it and now has turned that interest into a pastime while he also writes his next album, due out by Christmas. “I’m really excited about it. The music is different to anything I have done before so I am a bit nervous about it.”

Since the pandemic, his style of composing has changed, he says, from writing with a band to writing with headphones and synthesisers.

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Blondie. Kate Bush and the like. As a result, the new album is more 80s synthetic cyber punk pop with a grooving organic layer.”

Also in the offing is a 360 degree virtual reality interactive music video that JK is developing with a colleague ex Weta Workshop. Based around a running narrative, the music video includes a virtual reality component.

Players with VR headsets will be able search for collectibles inside the actual music video and win JK token, a crypto currency which they can then use in the JK environment to purchase everything from concert tickets to exclusive releases in Non Fungible Tokens.

In between all of that there’s still time to look out for his mates and his pet causes.


Fast facts

  • Opshop garnered nine Platinum albums, nine NZ Music Awards and the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll Award for Song of the Year.
  • After the 2010 major earthquake in Canterbury, JK worked with Paul Ellis to create the Band Together concert in Hagley Park, Christchurch, to raise spirits in his hometown.
  • In 2011, JK was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for Services to Music.
  • He appeared on the Team Ball Player Thing single that raised money for Cure Kids in 2015.
  • He was a judge on New
    Zealand’s Got Talent in 2012, and the X Factor in 2015.


A comedic encore

Comedic minstrel Tim Minchin is set to raise the roof at the Christchurch Town Hall on Friday June 25 with his special brand of entertainment. A singing satirist, Minchin is widely known for his unique style, blending comedy, acting and singing into a lively performance, using all his own material.



English born and Australian raised, Minchin started touring New Zealand in 2019, until the Covid-19 pandemic knocked it on the head.

“This is the encore to that tour. and I’m especially thrilled to be coming to Christchurch. I hear a lot about it from others, about the rebuild, the amenities such as the town hall, and the people.

“My hope is that people in Christchurch are just as excited to come and see and hear me, to laugh and cry, and enjoy.”

Minchin is not your standard frontman. He talks a lot more than the average musician, sings his own songs, recites his own poetry and opens up about life in the real world.

The 2019 tour was his first for eight years, before which time he dedicated himself more to song writing, composing music and stage shows such as the 2010 hit Matilda the Musical for which he wrote the music and lyrics.

On stage now, he’s into anecdotal recitations, stand-up comedy and singing.

“In the old days, I would write about my anxieties, about what frustrated me,” he says. “Now it’s tending to be about more slice of life, songs about what happens around me, about cheese, public shaming, critical rather than political statements.”

He still includes some of his old comedy favourites in his shows, but now also new songs that he describes as “heavy” and that tell a story. “There’s quite a few songs off my new album, some angrier than usual.”

He describes his act as a “funny cabaret show” and sees himself primarily as a musician and songwriter as opposed to a comedian. “My songs just happen to be funny.”

Explaining the ethos behind his singular style, he previously said: “I’m a good musician for a comedian and I’m a good comedian for a musician but if I had to do any of them in isolation I dunno!”

On stage he cuts a distinctive figure, typically barefoot with wild hair and heavy eye makeup, often juxtaposed with a suit and tails, and a grand piano. Shedding his footwear makes him feel more comfortable, while his eye make-up helps to emphasise his features, gestures and expressions to audiences.

Much of his look and persona is about “treading that line between mocking yourself and wanting to be an iconic figure. Mocking the ridiculousness and completely unrealistic dream of being an iconic figure.”

Did you know…

  • Minchin started learning piano aged eight but gave it up after three years. He started again after he began writing music with his brother, guitarist Dan Minchin.
  • He has performed live comedy internationally, and appeared on television in Australia, Britain, and the United States
  • Minchin was educated at Christ Church Grammar School in Perth
  • He attended the University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts before moving to Melbourne in 2002
  • His show Darkside launched him into the public eye, achieving critical success at the 2005 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festival
  • In 2013, Minchin played the role of rock star Atticus Fetch on Showtime’s Californication
  • A documentary film about him, Rock N Roll Nerd, was released theatrically in 2008 and broadcast by ABC1 in 2009.
  • In 2013, the University of Western Australia awarded Minchin an honorary Doctorate of Letters degree for his contribution to the arts
  • In 2015, he was awarded a second honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
  • Minchin was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2020.


Vegetarian-friendly cities around the world

Cuisine is often a determining feature in travel. Examples include Tuscany in Italy to sample acquacotta, torta di ceci, olives and fettunta; France’s Champagne region for chaource and langres cheeses, truffles, les biscuits roses de Reims and bouchons de Champagne au chocolat.



Gastronomic vegetarian dishes are becoming more available and more sophisticated, and areas becoming known for their specialties. Now there is the Vegetarian Cities Index 2021 to help. The index assesses the affordability and quality of each city’s vegetarian offerings, providing insight into those best prepared to attract vegetarians.

Nestpick used available data to rank the best cities for vegetarians.

“With more people wanting to reduce their meat consumption, cities must cater to these needs with diverse vegetarian offerings if they want to attract young talent, particularly Millennials, Gen Z, and the even younger generations to come,” comments Omer Kucukdere, Founder and CEO at Nestpick.

“We hope that this index can inspire vegetarians looking to move abroad to pick the right city for their needs, or even offer travel destination ideas for those searching for the best plant-based gastronomic spots.

Visit the website


From the Editor: 27 May 2021

Time flies when you are having fun, they say, and there are so many fun activities in Christchurch that I am definitely enjoying myself.



Options change with the seasons and typically many Kiwis fly north to warmer climes when winter arrives.

Now that we can hop on a plane trans-Tasman or to the Cook Islands, the sun, sea and surf are beckoning. Check out some Aussie options from page 19.

Our cover story this issue will resonate with Cantabrians who have followed the successful career of hometown muso and Opshop frontman Jason Kerrison and his fellow musicians.

If music is your happy place then have a read through the What’s On for suggestions on upcoming song, stage and dance events.

Among them is distinctive comedic minstrel Tim Minchin, who we also catch up with one-on-one in this issue.

Elsewhere you will find fabulous fashion, health and beauty tips, some of the city’s award-winning heritage buildings, and plenty of other relaxing reading. Some of the winners of the heritage awards will also feature in our next BUILD issue.

If you are rugging up and getting out and about, Canterbury’s cornucopia of cafés and eateries are bound to have something to tempt you regardless of tastes. Several are showcased in our Cuisine section.

So, sit back, settle in with a glass of wine and start turning the pages. Enjoy!


Awesome road trips

New research has revealed that the Great Ocean Road in Australia is the most beautiful road trip route in the world according to Instagram data. Others at the top of people’s bucket lists include Big Sur in California, and the United Arab Emirates’ Jebel Hafeet.



Many people are still wary of international travel and staycations are continuing to rise, however travellers can tick off their bucket lists without leaving the comfort of their car.

Researchers anaylsed more than seven million Instagram hashtags associated with the world’s most popular road trip destinations, calculating how many Instagram pictures are shared per kilometre of the journey; the country with the most Instagram posts per mile being crowned the most picturesque in the world.

The results reveal that Australia’s Great Ocean Road (pictured) is considered the most beautiful road trip route in the world; covering 253km of road in the ‘land down under,’ with an impressive 1,321,570 hashtagged images of it on Instagram. That equates to nearly 5224 photographs per kilometre.

Stretching alongside the south-eastern coast of Australia between the cities of Torquay and Allansford, the beautiful route was constructed in 1932 and has continued to be one of the most popular tourist excursions in Australia.