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Reinventing spaces: Douglas Furniture

In the world of business, it’s an irrefutable fact that longevity is everything. Longevity knows what it’s doing; longevity earns trust and confidence. Douglas Furniture have a proud and long history here in Christchurch – nearly 65 years in fact.



For a little under seven decades, this business has been producing commercial joinery, and more recently has expanded into domestic design and joinery.

The timing couldn’t be better, for Cantabrians are now recognising there’s much potential to be mined from their living spaces and are making the most of the heat in the property market to transform their homes into their castles.

Dated kitchens, unworkable wardrobes and laundries, and cramped or non-existent storage areas are being revisited and recreated into fresh, modern and exciting spaces.

Douglas Furniture recognises that home improvements aren’t just about the house.

The garage, too long relegated as mere shelter for the car, the kids’ bikes and a few tools, also gets reconfigured to become the ultimate utility area with the kind of
storage space you’ve spent half your life dreaming of.

There’s no better way to kickstart 2021 than by making your home into the functional, blissful space you always knew it could be. Douglas Furniture can’t wait to help you achieve that.

Visit the showroom at 80 Hayton Road, Wigram, or check out the website below.


Van Gogh-ing places

The borders might be closed, but that isn’t stopping one the world’s most famous and influential artists setting up shop in Christchurch. He may no longer be alive, but Vincent van Gogh’s work will be resurrected in a multi-sensory event.


Van Gogh Alive has received rave reviews from around the world, as the artist’s timeless masterpiece are projected onto every surface of an exhibition space – taking viewers quite literally inside the artist’s work.

An evocative classical music score adds even more atmosphere to the event, which showcases thousands of the Dutch artist’s post-impressionist landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits.

Christchurch is just one of three New Zealand cities to host the event which has been highly acclaimed the world over, receiving kudos from The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Forbes, and others during tours of Shanghai, Rome, Dubai, Paris and many more.

While much of the world remains in lockdown, not only are local art lovers lucky to attend any public event – but they can also see the European cities which inspired Van Gogh, through his eyes.

Created by Australian Bruce Peterson, the idea came around when he was living in Europe and taking his children to incredible museums, only for them to get bored five minutes in.

Van Gogh Alive has been created to engage audiences of all ages and all levels of interest in art.

Works on display include The Starry Night, his vivid nightscape of the sky from his bedroom in an asylum; a collection of self-portraits; Irises, and many more.

The exhibition includes those inspired by his time spent in Netherlands, Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise.


Live Nation New Zealand Managing Director Mark Kneebone says the event is for all ages, and has been set-up to allow for contact-free and socially distanced viewing.

“Over six million people around the world have experienced this incredible immersive experience, including sold out seasons across Australia. We can’t wait to share the magic of Van Gogh with Kiwis in 2021.”

On now until March 19 at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Wigram. Buy tickets at


A decade to remember

Next week, a national remembrance service and free community concert will mark a decade since the devastating February 22 earthquake which changed Canterbury forever.



The national memorial service will be held at Oi Manawa – The Canterbury National Earthquake Memorial from 12.30pm on Monday, February 22.

On Sunday February 28 there will be a free concert – Ōtautahi Together – on the Archery Lawn of the Botanic Gardens.

The concert, which will conclude the commemorations, will feature Bic Runga and other Christchurch performers.

Both events will be live streamed so those people around the world who are unable to attend, can still take part, says Christchurch City Council Civic and International Relations Manager Matt Nichols.

“We want people, no matter where they are in the world, to feel part of the commemorations,” he says.

“We are mindful that the Covid-19 pandemic means that many people who would normally travel to Christchurch for the 10th anniversary of the earthquake will be unable to do so.

“They will, however, be able to join us from afar through the live-streaming of the two big events that are being organised for this significant anniversary.”

The Council has worked closely with the Quake Families Trust on the programme for the service, which will acknowledge those who died, the bereaved, the severely injured, the traumatised, and everyone who endured hardship or lost something of value to them.

The service will also honour those who helped in the immediate aftermath of the quake and in the city’s ongoing recovery.

On Sunday February 28 the family focused Ōtautahi Together, kicks off at 2pm until 4pm.

In acknowledgement of the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, prominent landmarks across Canterbury will be lit up white.

There will also be no cost for those wanting to visit Canterbury Museum’s special Quake City exhibition on the day of the quake anniversary.


Staying active: Clear Ridge Apartments

A thrill seeker’s paradise with a touch of relaxation and a sprinkle of fine dining sums up Canterbury’s resort town, Hanmer Springs. But recently, it has been the much-anticipated events that have had visitors flocking from far and wide.



Hanmer Motorfest, Honour Festival, 4&8 Hour MTB Challenge, The Bandquet, Half Marathon And 10km Fun Run, Old Forest Hanmer Hundred and the Bivouac Outdoor Mt Isobel Challenge are all happening in the next four months.

Naturally, visitors will be needing somewhere to rest their heads after a busy day lapping up the local events on offer.

Clear Ridge Apartments offers luxury hospitality with a smorgasbord of amenities. Full laundry facilities, double deluxe spa baths, free parking, free wifi, outdoor BBQ, heated outdoor swimming and spa pool, 50-plus channels on Sky TV, disabled access units with lifts, fully equipped kitchen, and in-suite spa therapies.

Book online using the Clear Ridge website or phone 0800 555 596.

Or, for more information contact Rosie and Steve on (03) 315 5144 or email


The Influencers: Peter Townsend

Te Papa Hauora Advisory Council
Independent Chair

Like many of you, I am sure, I have spent time over the Christmas break reflecting on the tumultuous events of 2020 and constantly reminding myself just how fortunate we are in New Zealand to be able to live relatively normal lives compared to so many others around the world.

It is very clear we are not out of the woods yet.

Many in the health sector still consider further community outbreaks of Covid-19 as inevitable (not if, but when) and that underpins the need for all of us to remain disciplined and vigilant.

There is a sense that we are over the worst and that we can ease off a little.

However, that would be a big mistake, and one we cannot afford to make.

The health sector has performed remarkably well throughout the crisis and will be at the forefront of our minds as we roll out vaccinations in the coming year.

None of us should forget that health activities contribute to approximately 10 percent of New Zealand GDP and the one in 10 people employed in New Zealand are working in health-related areas. It is very clear that all activities related to heath are vital to each of us.

We need to fully appreciate that here in Canterbury where so much good is being done in the sector, there is much opportunity to do better.


History repeats – and wins: Steve Brown Builders

The home at 12 Julius Terrace was an earthquake casualty requiring demolition. Once given the green light for a same site rebuild, the owner’s brief for both architect and builder was to create an exact replica of the original 1910 home, including its chapel.




And Steve Brown Builders, a trusted name for hill builds from Scarborough to Westmorland, jumped at the opportunity to deliver this unique project.

The completed project was a collaborative triumph for all involved, and for the first time in its 30-year history, Steve Brown Builders entered it in the Registered Master Builders House of the Year awards.

And three regional award wins in Category, Craftsmanship and overall Regional Supreme winner were followed by two national award wins – the National Craftmanship Award and a Special Award for 2020.

Of the National Craftmanship award, judges say: “Attention to detail in every part of this home was to a level we’ve rarely seen before.


“The builders have gone to great lengths to source materials and products identical to what was used when it was originally built and have left no stone unturned to ensure every part of this home is as exactly as it was before its demise. It now stands proud as part of Christchurch’s wonderful history.”

Of the Special Award, judges commented: “It was so important to the owner that this special piece of Christchurch history not be lost, to that end, he insisted no detail be changed or modified.

Traditional craftsmen, including stonemasons, specialist tilers, fibrous plasterers and builders, using building methods of a bygone era, have crafted a building that you would think was the original.”

This winner is a build on the flats that Steve Brown Builders can long be proud of, but for now it’s back to what they love; building and renovating beautiful homes on the hills.

Phone Steve Brown Builders on (03) 384 4699 or 027 326 956.




The Influencers: Leeann Watson


Ngā mihi o te tau hou Happy new year! As I write my first Metropol column of 2021, I strongly believe the year ahead is full of possibility.

We have come off the back of a tumultuous year, our lives upended by Covid-19 heralding a new normal in the way we live, and the way we conduct business.

Almost overnight, there was a change in what was possible, with many shifting to remote working, virtual learning and online shopping.

There was also not the predicted economic freefall. After the initial shock, economic activity proved far stronger and more persistent than first thought.

Many key sectors fared better than expected, with the city seeing an overall spending increase of 4 percent for December 2020 to $604m compared with the same month last year.

Spending in the central city was up 9 percent to $51m for the same period. Domestic visitor spend was also up 20 percent, reaching $54m (although unable to offset the 76 percent drop in international spend).

As we leave the holiday season it is important we continue to honour the mantra of buy and support local, and embrace our uniqueness, building on existing strengths and stay willing to incorporate new approaches.

If we leverage Covid-19 as a catalyst for positive change, we can accelerate our transformation to a more productive and sustainable economy, living up to the promise of a happy and prosperous new year.


Model Performance

I love the Mini for a load of reasons but when the Mini Electric three door hatch turned up as my last review for 2020, I wondered how the electric performance would compare against the standard Mini.




An iconic brand loved with a passion by their owners, the stoic love of Britain is emblazoned almost everywhere you look with Mini. On the Mini electric it’s the rear taillights, but on several I’ve seen, the whole roof is the good ol’ Union Jack.

The difference permeates the interior also, those round shape finishings even go to the door handles which confused more than one passenger I took for a drive; is it a door opener or a heating vent?

There are cool sunroof controls and a HiFi Harmon Kardon system that rocks your favourite drive tunes. But what about that all important drive?

It has three drive modes; sport, normal and green mode. Sport is just a whole lot of vroom, winding down to green mode which is the most economic use of the battery life.

I quite liked this mode as I used it as a form of braking for corners and tight turns while at the same time replenishing the battery.

$59,900 plus ORC makes this a remarkably interesting option for anyone wanting an electric vehicle with bling.

You really can bespoke it to make it your own. And that is what I noticed a lot while driving – every Mini I saw was different.

Just the way its owner wanted it. How much fun is that? Which is exactly what this car was for me: Fun to drive, fun to take people out in, fun to look at.

Selena Andreassend at Mini on Moorhouse Avenue walked me round the car to show me a few features.

What was really cute, was the wheel rims are shaped like a three-point plug. So is the charging port cover – and I’m very happy to inform you it charges through a standard garage plug overnight.

It has a 233km range which gives you plenty of opportunity to recharge during the day and there’s no stress with, “Uh oh! I’m low on charge!” like I’ve had on other electric vehicles.

Series one is already sold out and series two sounds like it’s going to be just as popular.

The electric wave is sweeping the industry and what a wonderful addition to the Mini fleet. Zero to 100 in 7.3 (it felt much faster than that but who am I to argue), 135kW and 270Nm.

Overall Mini hasn’t sacrificed anything on its conversion to electric, if anything it’s better than it was before. I was worried about losing what Mini is as a brand. I shouldn’t have been. This is the best Mini ever!


From the Editor: 21 January 2021

In the last issue of 2020, I used this column to write about the year that was. Reflecting on those simpler, pre-pandemic times, I wrote: “We had no idea what was coming”



Re-reading those words before starting this editorial for the first Metropol issue of 2021, it struck me how the same sentiment can apply for the beginning of this, new, year ahead.
We never really know what is around the corner.

So, while we can make sensible choices to look after our physical, mental and financial health. We also shouldn’t try to load ourselves up with unrealistic expectation, either.

Sure, when considered and thoughtfully executed, goals can help us achieve milestone moments we might have deemed otherwise impossible.

But there is a hefty body of research which tells us those lofty aims declared at the beginning of each year, more often than not, fail. And usually before January is even through.

I get it, there’s something seductive about a new year. That pristine diary staring at you with its blank pages, tempting you to fill each one with big, exciting and life-altering plans.

Instead, why not take the pressure off yourself in 2021 and focus on the small everyday things, like getting up 15 minutes earlier to enjoy a morning coffee at home with your significant other, or fitting a pre-bedtime dog walk in a few times a week.

Afterall, it’s those small, daily habits on which our lives are truly built.


New cafe the place to be: Taste of Kiwi

A delicious stop-off on any drive through Springfield, Taste of Kiwi café is a new venture for Cam Clark and Kristina Squires. And the couple are overdelivering on their pledge to serve the best of Kiwi cuisine, community, and hospitality.



Not only are the couple determined to create a hub for the community to gather and host events, but they have created a mouth-watering menu and tempting cabinet food offerings, all within a fresh and modern new space.

“Taste of Kiwi was born through a love of travel and a passion for people,” says Cam.

“Kristina and I have travelled throughout the world, and everywhere we have been Kiwi hospitality has been famous for its genuine people, tasty food, and beautiful coffee. We have aimed to create a space for locals and visitors to come together, enjoy good food and relax.”

Serving a full breakfast and lunch menu – which includes the famous Kiwi Breakfast, classic eggs benedict and a modern take on mince on toast which consists of house-made beef mince, rosemary potato cake, free range poached egg and toasted ciabatta – the café has a tempting selection of cabinet food, too. With fresh baking daily, gourmet pies, and many gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options.

Kristina, who grew up in Springfield, says her and Cam are enjoying supporting local events, supplying catering and bringing new passion to the community. They enjoy meeting travellers from Christchurch or further afield.

Stop into Taste of Kiwi at 5666 West Coast Road, Springfield, follow them on Instagram @tasteofkiwi_nz or visit the Facebook page below for more information about opening hours, events and the menu.