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A musical feast

On July 24, the Go Live Music Festival will fill the Christchurch Town Hall with the music of more than 16 new and established Ōtautahi performers. Julia Strelou talks with one of them.


Pop/jazz sensation Emily C Browning, who released her new single ‘I Wasn’t Into You Anyway’ in April, is one of those taking to the stage.

After blowing up on social media, Browning found herself playing to sold-out crowds in the USA, yet despite international fame, the Christchurch local says she is looking forward to playing at the Town Hall. “I have always loved the Town Hall ever since I was a kid. Go Live Festival will be my first time playing in that building (aside from high school choir), so it’ll be a pretty special gig for me.”

Browning also released her video for ‘I Wasn’t Into You Anyway’ in April, devouring a real Habanero and a Ghost Pepper provided for her by the SpicyBoys at Riverside Markets as part of it. “For this video, I wanted to be in some kind of pain and do something self-deprecating and kind of silly.”

The song is about the sting of rejection, a pain that is universally relatable, but the playful nature reflects how ridiculous the heart can behave when it feels unrequited love. “It represents the stages of getting over someone – swinging back and forth between desperation and total denial. And the whole thing is so silly because we barely spent any time together! It wasn’t even a thing, but feeling rejected just makes everything seem more dramatic.”

Charlie Rose Creative

At the end of the clip, Browning douses herself with oat milk, relieving herself of the sting left by the chillies and signifying moving on. “The milk served as a kind of climax to the story, which I suppose represents me losing my cool and then pulling myself together again right at the last second.”

Fans can expect to see Browning perform the song at the festival, and she adds there is music on the horizon. “A new single is on the way! I’m currently trying to cook up a new music video to match the energy of the last one, which is proving to be a good challenge.”



Healing hair loss: Savanna Hair Solutions

Melissa Pireni works from the heart when she helps women dealing with hair loss because she’s been there herself.


Her services at Savanna Hair Solutions are all about helping women come out happy and healed on the other side of hair loss, just as she did.

“After suffering for 14 years, I realised hair loss doesn’t have to define you. I share the process I went through, and tell them they don’t have to go through those years of emotional suffering.”

Melissa particularly has a heart for young women suffering hair loss, “I’ve had 14-year-olds who are so stressed by life that they lose their hair. It’s heartbreaking.”

The salon is now in a bigger location, with a private area that’s a safe space for women to go through their healing journey. “I call it the healing oasis,” says Melissa. ”It’s also soundproof and there’s a lot of crying and laughing that goes on in there!”

And bubbly Melissa does laugh a lot. Drop in and say hi at the new salon at Northlink Shopping Centre 148 Langdons Rd, Papanui or call 0800 239 662.


Looking ahead to increase housing supply

Property Council New Zealand has urged a Government rethink to getting more houses built.


Council chief executive Leonie Freeman says its members believe the Government’s proposed changes to interest deductibility rules will have a ‘significant chilling effect’ on increasing supply at scale and pace. The council says the proposed changes make it less likely people will help the Government build more houses for Kiwis.

“While exempting new builds is encouraging, the Government has an array of levers it can pull to incentivise more housing to be built that don’t pull the rug out from under the feet of developments,” she says.

Property Council has seen increasing interest in ‘Build-to-Rent’ development, a new asset class that aims to provide long-term rentals where tenants are treated as customers.

“To amplify the potential of Build-to-Rent, the Government needs to create the right settings,” says Freeman.

The council has asked that Build-to-Rent developments be exempt from the interest deductibility proposal.

“Government has long said it aims to tackle New Zealand’s housing crisis and help more Kiwis into homes. It should not be tinkering with tax settings to make developments more difficult,” Freeman adds.


Rendezvous on 72: Route 72


Take a drive along Highway 72 to Cust and it will lead you to the unique Route 72 Café Bar Emporium.

Owners Steve and Annette Thomson have created an outlet for inspiring tastes and treasures both, with the café servicing one set of needs and the emporium and its fabulous selection of crafts and gifts another.

“Breakfast starts at 9am, and the lunch menu at 11.30am, in addition to a selection of lighter bites, burgers and fries also available, and an assortment of beverages to accompany them,” says Annette. “The views from the upstairs dining room are spectacular, out over the Cust River and valley, the foothills and the snow-capped mountains.”

Visitors can wander through the adjacent emporium and see its exciting range of beautiful skin care, leadlight lamps, jewellery, clothing, artwork and homewares. A must-see is the range of New Zealand-made Lothlorian possum, merino and alpaca garments. Made from the finest and most sustainable yarns, the Lothlorian range includes luxurious, warm, knitwear and accessories for both men and women.

Lothlorian groove jumper


“We are the perfect North Canterbury destination for an inspiring rendezvous; just 30 minutes from Belfast via Tram Road,” adds Annette.
To plan your next rendezvous, phone 03 312 5595 or visit



Now hear this: Bellbird Hearing

From the moment you walk through the door of the recently established Bellbird Hearing clinic you have a sense of a warm and caring environment. The waiting area is inviting; the staff welcoming – a place designed to overcome any reluctance patients may associate with requiring treatment for hearing loss.


“We are a fully independent and locally-owned hearing clinic amongst corporate competitors,” says senior audiologist and company co-director Sam Sloane. “Being independent means we offer truly personalised care. We can take time with each individual to find the solution that best fits their needs – not merely a good solution, but a great one – selecting from a wide range of the latest hearing aid technology.”

One hearing solution is a new type of hearing device called the Phonak Lyric. Sam says he is looking for 10 people to take part in a 30-day trial of this exclusive technology. “Lyric is a unique hearing aid. Unlike other hearing aids, it’s inserted deeply into the ear canal by the audiologist and is worn 24/7. You sleep and shower with it so it will support better hearing in all situations. It is completely invisible and offers a very natural sound as it doesn’t affect the acoustics of the outer ear.”

Sam adds that people may not be aware that they have lost aspects of their hearing and tend to delay having a hearing test for years. “It’s the high frequency and the softer sounds that disappear first – soft speech consonants, a car indicator or a fridge beeping; the sound of rain falling and native bird song. It happens so gradually that people don’t perceive the change and often report that their hearing is fine and say people just don’t speak clearly enough.”

Perhaps you might be experiencing a ringing or a hissing sound in your ears that you hadn’t been aware of previously. Perhaps you feel that people around you in a social situation are mumbling; or perhaps your family are telling you that your TV is turned up far too loud.

“These signs might indicate a build-up of wax in the ear or they might indicate some level of hearing loss. We can carry out a free, no obligation hearing screening to determine what the issue is. If it’s wax, that can be removed safely, gently and painlessly by our own registered ear nurse using a scope and micro-suction tool.

If we identify some other cause for the symptoms, we can then begin the process of helping clients on the road to better hearing by either referring for medical treatment or fitting the appropriate hearing aids.”

If you or someone you care about is having hearing problems, call Sam today on 03 351 1172. Bellbird Hearing is located at 240 Ilam Road.

Sam Sloane, Senior Audiologist and Co-director
Anna Cleary, Senior Ear Nurse
Jan Blair, Senior Administrator



More NKBA winners

Canterbury designer Angelique Armstrong of Armstrong Interiors won two NKBA 2021 awards.


Clarkville Kitchen


The first was the Spatial Innovation Design – Commercial award for an inspiring showroom with a difference, the ‘Neff Market Kitchen’.
Judges noted the space had a wonderful rustic vibe while also balancing a warm and inviting refinement. “The incredible corner details on the island are clever and interesting. Simple finishes and a really good use of materials make this a perfect kitchen for a commercial home. Texture enhances this welcoming space with its flavour of provincial France,”

Armstrong Interiors was given a brief to keep within the Neff brand look and feel, but to enhance this style even further.

Angelique sourced 150-year-old reclaimed French oak beams and used them as posts at each corner of the island, cutting into the Neolith top, exposing the core of the timber on the top. They were also used to frame the back wall of units, to look as if they are supporting the brick wall. Boras Tapeter original brick wallpaper was used to complete the market feel.

Neff Market Kitchen

Angelique says both wins were a lovely surprise, especially since there were 80 entries in the kitchen categories. “We only entered kitchens this year, whereas last year we focused on our bathrooms.”

A current trend, she says, is to renovate kitchens as homeowners decide to stay put rather than sell in a high housing market.

“People want to get it right to stay in their existing homes; to make their kitchens and bathrooms beautiful to look at, functional and comfortable,” she adds.

Her second accolade came as runner-up in the 2021 Outstanding Kitchen Renovation category for the ‘Clarkville Kitchen’. Described as a modern functional kitchen, that is elegant yet has a homestead, country feel with a slight French influence. The project was part of a full house renovation in North Canterbury.

Advanced Joinery Ltd and Shane Boyd Granite worked with her on the project.

The judges said the renovation was a beautiful transformation with gorgeous finishes. “This kitchen is completely sympathetic of the architecture of the home and is so well considered. “The design of the kitchen brings the outside in, which is always well received. The renovation includes the addition of a large workhorse scullery that uplifts and improves the lifestyle of the homeowners. A generous and warm space,” they added.



Clever Housing Developments: VVV Group


Canterbury based residential property and housing developers, Andrew and Stephanie Robertson, have broken ground at VVV Group, figuratively speaking. A June 24 open day showcased their latest six-unit development, the McLeod Street Townhouse project.



The VVV Group appears to be laying the foundation for future project successes, allowing a peek at what prudent expertise can do together with good old-fashioned quality building smarts, innovative use of space, elegant design and professional finishes. The two-to-three-bedroom townhouse units, each with single garage, conveniently situated just a few minutes walking distance from the CBD, were each snapped up prior to viewing.

With a keen flair for Cantabrian lifestyle trends, and a deep understanding of what design influences Kiwi’s desire to incorporate into their homes, this passionate team is invested in creating warm, healthy quality homes for homebuyers and investors alike.

The VVV Group endeavours to incorporate its vision of an integrated indoor-outdoor flow with its interior design aesthetic throughout the well-thought-out builds, bringing the outdoors lifestyle into the home experience.

Andrew Robertson worked together with Architectural designer Trevor Grenon to design the townhouses, where one of the key objectives was to bring an upgraded modern townhouse development into the established Richmond housing community and environment, comfortably allowing for a smooth transition of the build’s look and feel.

Noticeable key features, such as gable-style roofing, were incorporated from the surrounding homes and new deliberate design elements, for example neat outdoor landscaped areas, added a stylish nuance with unique opportunities for residents to create a more personal home experience. The open plan layout design didn’t require being fenced off, but rather conveyed a coherent display of independent houses, intelligently spaced off four avenues, blending into a modern street address. As a corner site, this location allowed for great access to indoor space and light.

“This project was a great affordable fit for first time buyers, downsizers, investors, or anyone looking for a low maintenance, ‘lock up and go’ practical home space with the added aesthetic charm.”

The Group’s driver is the satisfaction and pride of turning out comfortable quality home developments for Cantabrians, readily producing a high end finished product, without compromise, it says.

This strong work ethos requires a dedicated, trendsetting, reliable and consistent team of equally committed tradespeople and professionals, working together to deliver the same joint industry message of quality builds.

“This unified vision and sentiment, along with the focused attention to the project’s needs, from conception to delivery, is what makes VVV Group every bit of its Italian adage, Venire, Videre, Vincere (To come, to see, to conquer.)” Andrew says.

Three fast-moving developments are currently underway. Investors or homebuyers can venture a peek or buy off-plan with the inner city located Hereford Street build and be a part of watching their dream investment come to life.

These stylish units, located next door to the reserve, will make a cosy home, or equally their proximity to town will make for an easy work commute and entertaining evenings out and about.

The 16-unit build on Avalon Street is unique, with each trendy unit having its own entertaining courtyard and access to a shared lawn.
Seventeenth century satirist, Jonathan Swift, once wrote, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others,” VVV Group stands true to this, turning spaces into places you can call home, so make your dream investment an actual reality.



A dream collaboration: Tetrad Consulting


The team of BG Cooke construction, VIP Steel, SAN Architecture and Tetrad Consulting worked seamlessly together to deliver a major project in the Waterloo Business Park – a new head office and 3000sqm warehouse/distribution centre for the expanding children’s clothing business, Jamie Kay.



This was Tetrad Consulting’s first contract with BG Cooke Construction and their first large scale commercial project. They therefore felt very privileged to have been entrusted with the structural integrity of a quite complex design brief.

Being a distribution centre requires space for machinery to move around without obstacles such as support columns getting in the way. Tetrad Consulting’s solution – massive 52m clear span steel portal frames – a more economical option than conventional trusses.

“It was certainly at the top end of the scale for an unsupported span,” say the design team at Tetrad, “but we are solution-focused and the client’s instructions were very specific. We just made it work and that’s our area of expertise.”

Besides structural steel, the warehouse building is constructed of pre-cast concrete panels for which Tetrad provided the fabrication drawings and an innovative construction methodology – steel put in place first and then the panels. This negated the need for panel propping rather than the usual reverse procedure. “It all made for a fast, smooth and cost-effective build.”



Building quake-proof bridges


Researchers at the University of Canterbury (UC) have developed a low-damage solution for bridges that would yield little to no damage if hit by a strong earthquake.


Sabina-Piras, left, and Alessandro-Palermo


Led by UC Civil Engineering PhD student and chartered bridge engineer Sabina Piras, under the supervision of professors Alessandro Palermo and Gabriele Chiaro, the team has developed a solution which, using self-centring rocking bridge columns, can achieve large displacements with minimal damage. A rocking column comprises two main structural components: one or multiple high strength bars that act like rubber bands to recentre the column, and several conventional steel bars that are detailed to dissipate energy and can be easily replaced if heavily damaged.

“When an earthquake occurs, the column rocks over the foundation. The joint where the rocking motion happens is designed and detailed such that it can be easily repaired in a very short time,” says Piras. The repair work on the joint could be done over a one night closure, preventing major traffic disruption, she says, in comparison to current construction methods that can take months or even years to fix or rebuild.

The 2016 Kaikōura earthquake had a major impact on the transport network with damage, landslides and liquefaction affecting more than 900 bridges. After visiting Kaikōura, the researchers understood the need to know how low-damage rocking solutions perform in various soil conditions. “It’s like driving a Ferrari on the road or rough terrain; its performance will not be the same,” says Professor Palermo.



Sunday sessions back on


The former Trinity Congregational Church and Christchurch’s oldest surviving colonial building, Shand’s Emporium, are to gain new life as a microbrewery, an authentic Irish pub and more.


Nick Inkster inside the former Trinity Congregational Church


The buildings, on the corner of Worcester and Manchester Streets, are being leased from the Christchurch Heritage Trust (CHT) by the Inkster Company.
It plans to develop Grimstone Treacle Emporium upstairs in Shand’s, and a small Irish pub downstairs. A microbrewery will be built at the site of the old Trinity church.
The former church, designed by Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort, was opened in 1875 and is the oldest masonry structure in central Christchurch.

Both buildings have Category 1 heritage listings. Trinity Church and Shand’s Emporium were only weeks away from demolition when the Christchurch Heritage Trust purchased them in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Shand’s Emporium, which was purchased for $1, was relocated from Hereford Street to its current site in 2015.

“The two buildings are a tribute to their strong and indomitable character and a reminder to us of their roles as a portal to the past,” says Trust Chair Dame Anna Crighton.
A community loan of $1.2 million from the Christchurch City Council has been essential for finishing the restoration.

“Before this loan, we were in a conundrum. We were unable to get a tenant without the restoration finished, but didn’t have the funds to finish the job,” says Dame Anna.
“We are honoured with the confidence the council has placed in the Trust and operator to deliver an exceptional outcome for the city.

It shows locals and visitors the pride our city has in its history, and how important it is to see our heritage adding to the vibrancy of the city while being commercially sustainable.”

Did you know…

  • The Christchurch Heritage Trust was formed in 1996 to promote the permanent preservation, enhancement, renovation and re-development of heritage and historic buildings, places and objects in the Christchurch metropolitan area.
  • Kate Sheppard taught Sunday school at Trinity in the 1880s and worshipped there as did Henry James Nicholas, the only Cantabrian to receive the Victoria Cross in the First World War. He was killed just days before the end of the war.
  • Shand’s is the last surviving colonial commercial building in Christchurch’s central business district, and was built by Liverpool merchant John Shand, 10 years after the first English immigrants arrived in the Canterbury settlement.
  • Shand’s withstood the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. Its subsequent neglect prompted the Christchurch Heritage Trust to step in to rescue it. Purchased for $1, it was moved to its new site.