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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 stylish cause

Fashionistas are invited to a winter styling event on June 17 to raise funds for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and other Zonta charities. Hosted by the Zonta Club of Christchurch North and co-ordinated by Stephanie Rumble, the evening will showcase Ballantynes’ winter collections and styling ideas.


Stephanie Rumble


The “Winter Styling Event”, to be held at Ballantynes, will provide guests access to tips and tricks for styling their winter wardrobes.

Ten models from Portfolio Model Agency will grace the catwalk, showcasing winter fashions. Stephanie, one of New Zealand’s leading fashion and personal stylists, from BrightRed, will host the show.

This comes naturally to Stephanie, a former Metropol magazine fashion stylist, who has been in the business for the past 16 years, and who enjoys working with everyone to help them be the best versions of themselves. Along with editorial and fashion styling, Stephanie also offers a range of personal styling services.

Bubbles and nibbles will be served from 6pm allowing guests to mix and mingle, before heading up to the atrium for a fun-filled evening of fashion.

Spot prizes will feature throughout the evening, along with raffles and an auction. A limited number of VIP tickets – offering a closer look at the action – can be purchased for $75, with general admission $65.

Enjoy an evening of fashion at Ballantynes, letting Stephanie take some of the guesswork out of your winter wardrobe. Tickets can be purchased online via the website.



About Zonta: The Zonta Club of Christchurch North is part of an international organisation of professionals empowering women globally through service and advocacy. Proceeds from this event will go to Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and other club charities. The Grandparents Trust provides support services and caregiver education programmes to over 5200 grandparents and families nationwide, involving over 8500 caregivers and over 12,000 children in circumstances where they cannot be raised by their parents.


A taste of cultures: New Zealand Red Cross

A unique opportunity to experience the richness and vibrancy of international cultures is coming to Christchurch with New Zealand Red Cross’ charity dinner, Taste of Cultures, next month. The unique culinary experience will not only provide guests a four course dinner by renowned local chefs using local ingredients, but showcase the cultures of recently settled refugees.



Ilex in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens will come alive with festivities on Saturday, May 22 when chef Jonny Schwass, Pegasus Bay Winery and former refugees in Christchurch host up to 100 guests for the dinner extravaganza.

The menu will showcase four cultures from Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Syria – all of which have been resettled in Christchurch since it was opened again as a settlement location less than two years ago.

As well as a four-course meal, guests will enjoy traditional Afghan guitar and Japanese drum performances, an Eritrean coffee ceremony, and hear from Mhamd Adnan, a Syrian refugee who spent a year detained in an airport on his journey to Christchurch.

New Zealand Red Cross General Manager of Migration, Rachel O’Connor, says the city’s resettlement programme was halted in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, and restarted two years ago, shortly before the mosque attacks.

“It has been a difficult time for the families that arrived, and the people supporting them,” she says. “This event is a opportunity to experience the richness and vibrancy that comes from having people in our community who are from overseas.

“They didn’t plan to come here, they ended up here, and now we have an opportunity to learn about and connect to cultures and people from places most of us will never travel to.”

She says Christchurch has always been a multicultural city with strong support for new families, and attending the event is another way to welcome new people into our community.

Buy tickets for $150 per person, or $1200 for a table of 10, at



Penguins pop up & pop off for charity

The Pop Up Penguins art trail brought fun and colour to the community as 50 giant penguin statues decorated by the country’s leading artists were displayed throughout Canterbury. And now, the initiative has raised more than $1million for charity.



The penguins – adorned in artistic themes such as steam punk, a buzzy bee, the ocean and other New Zealand birds – were displayed at iconic locations for the public to visit over summer, before being auctioned last month.

The final hammer price total at the auction, which was run by presenting partners Harcourts, was $1,005,500. Event producers Wild in Art will be giving 75 percent of the proceeds of the auction to Cholmondeley Children’s Centre, which is the total money raised minus production costs.

Event Producer of Pop Up Penguins: Wild in Art, Claire Cowles says she is over the moon with the outcome.

“I am absolutely delighted with the result of the Pop Up Penguins auction and the money it has raised to support families in Canterbury through the work of Cholmondeley Children’s Centre,” she says.

“We’re so grateful to all the sponsors, artists and schools that made the project happen. It’s been great to run a second art trail in Christchurch – thank you for hosting our colourful colony of penguins.”

Two penguins proved especially popular on auction night, fetching $36,000 each. Shy-no-more by Deb Harrison saw the not-so-little hoiho encrusted in diamantes with a spiffing rainbow blazer and baby pink flippers, and Mischievous Penguin by Rebekah Connor was splashed with bright fluro Resene paint.

Other designs included the steampunk Punk It Penguin by Laura Hewetson, which was won by a local steampunk fan who outbid Waitaki District Mayor, Gary Kircher, who was hoping to get his flippers on the statue for steampunk HQ, Oamaru.

Cholmondeley Children’s Centre helps more than 500 children each year, and relies on the generosity of donors to keep its services running.

Children receive respite and care at the centre, for issues such as mental health, poverty, family violence or cancer diagnosis.

The Pop Up Penguins were installed in libraries, supermarkets, museums and public places in December and January, with more than 10,500 people downloading the app to locate and vote for their favourite penguins.



Curtain call, inside Canterbury’s Curtain Bank

The Christchurch-based Curtain Bank, one of the flagship offerings of Community Energy Action Charitable Trust (CEA) has been helping to keep Cantabrians (and more recently West Coasters) healthier for over 25 years. The first of its kind in New Zealand, it has provided over 6000 homes with good quality, recycled window coverings – as well as insulation and energy advice. Metropol catches up with the charity as it works through pandemic-induced higher needs for its services.



During uncertain times the need in the community increases. CEA and the Curtain Bank are looking towards autumn and winter with a view of ensuring as many in the community are warm, dry and healthy as possible.

“Windows are one of the weakest links when it comes to energy efficiency in a home,” says Caroline Shone, Chief Executive of CEA.

More heat can be lost through uncovered single glazed windows than through an uninsulated wall.”

And considering how many homes throughout Canterbury have single glazed windows, this is a lot of cold, damp and in the worst cases, mouldy, homes.

In New Zealand, it is estimated a third of homes are considered unhealthy, a figure which costs the country $145 million per year and results in 35,000 nights in hospital, according to a University of Otago study.

Those national figures are reflected in the Canterbury communities serviced by the CEA and Curtain Bank, which is Kaikoura to Ashburton, and across to the West Coast.

“In the aftermath of both the Canterbury and the North Canterbury earthquakes, CEA services, including the Curtain Bank, helped a large number of households who had earthquake damaged properties. We worked alongside councils in Christchurch, Waimakariri, Hurunui, Selwyn, Kaikoura and even Marlborough during that period,” says Caroline.

“Now our attention is to support families in the community through another challenging period: the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to let people know about CEA and the Curtain Bank and everything else we do.

“Curtaining is expensive, and not everyone can afford it. So instead of throwing good curtains away, they can be donated and re-used. That doesn’t just help other families but also the environment by reducing what goes to landfill.

“We know that the Curtain Bank has saved many tens of thousands of kilos from going to landfill, conserving energy and reducing emissions,” says Caroline.

Once received, donated curtains are cleaned and stored at the bank until an application is received.

If the Curtain Bank has the size required, curtains can be given out straight away. Where required curtains can be resized and another layer can be added to create a double layer.

The Curtain Bank has also helped set up others like it across New Zealand. Several years ago the Curtain Bank added a mobile service to get out to the more rural areas and to help those unable to get to the Christchurch premises.

However, it cost tens of thousands of dollars a year to keep the Curtain Bank running. Aside CEA’s own funding, the Curtain Bank is supported by individuals, soft furnishing stores (donating excess stock) and a few key sponsors including NZ Lottery Grants, the Christchurch Casino and for over ten years, its long-time supporter and funder, Genesis Energy.

Genesis Energy’s Community Investment & School-gen Manager Jenny Burke says CEA has done an outstanding job in reaching out to people in the community who need their support.

“As a major energy generator and retailer we believe in doing our part to help those people in the community who struggle to make their homes energy efficient.

“Working with CEA enables us to support those people in our communities who, for whatever reason, can’t afford insulated curtains. Hopefully with a warmer and drier home these families will suffer fewer respiratory illnesses – keeping kids in school and the elderly out of hospital.”

CEA is a charitable trust that also works as a trusted and established service provider for the government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme through EECA, for subsidised insulation and heating for low income homeowners.

“We also provide non-subsidised insulation,” says Caroline. “Any surplus money made from the non-subsidised insulation goes back into our services such as the Curtain Bank to help those that need them.”

• You too can help! By either donating to CEA’s Givealitte page, making direct donations or dropping off your good quality used curtains, longer than 1.8m, free of mould and not ripped or faded. See CEA’s website below for making donations in other ways and dropping off curtains.


Eat. Teach. Love

Fionna Heiton could be Christchurch’s very own Julia Roberts. From getting over a relationship breakup by leaving her job in New Zealand and travelling to the Himalayas, to finding her future partner and starting her own international charity in Nepal: It feels like Eat. Pray. Love got a Kiwi revamp.

Our main character came to a crossroads in her life and, having always loved exploring the Port Hills, wanted to escape and explore the world’s most famous mountainous region: The Himalayas. So, in 1998 the English as a Second Language teacher packed up her rental cottage on Kilmore Street and set off for Nepal.

It was there in Kathmandu, within a few days of arriving, that she met her love interest, Durga Aran, while working for British charity Water Aid. Fast-forward to 2001, the pair were raising their twin toddlers – Rhona and Jamie – when the parents became troubled to learn about the Nepali school system.

In 2001, the mean years of schooling for the country’s 24 million people was just 2.5, according to UN data. In comparison, the mean years of schooling for New Zealanders was 11.5.

“Hundreds of thousands of children across Nepal spend their days in dark, dirty, empty classrooms, taught by poorly trained and demotivated teachers,” says Fionna.

This was the motive that brings us to the climax of the story – the first steps. The family travelled to the village area where Durga was raised, in between Kathmandu and the Tibet border, with the goal of creating a quality early childhood centre.

“We borrowed a jeep and drove up to the remote hillside village each day. Our days were long, hot and dusty,” remembers Fionna.

“But the need was so clear and we knew that simple activities and changes could make a world of difference for the children.”

Thus, First Steps Himalaya was founded, a charity that has been making a difference in transforming lives and working on the ground in Nepal for over 10 years.

“With the help of generous donors, classrooms are developed from dirt floors to carpet. Rooms are cleaned and painted. Wooden pallets for seating are replaced with low tables suited to young children. Most rural Nepali early childhood classrooms start with only a single chalkboard, but after being refurbished by the charity, the children have access to crayons, paper, books and quality, culturally appropriate learning resources.”

Having built a teacher-training centre in 2015, the team now run effective, hands-on teacher training courses across Nepal, empowering rural teachers to create simple, engaging lessons.

After learning how to make resources from things they can find in their village, teachers can then transform their own classrooms into safe and stimulating learning environments.

“We strongly believe the key to bringing about positive change in rural Nepali schools is the quality of the teaching,” says Fionna.

Recently returning to Christchurch, after a period in Nelson, reruns of the past came flooding back to our protagonist.

“I am so grateful for all the support we have had from friends in Christchurch, the rest of New Zealand and around the world. There is such a massive need in Nepal, and we are only just scratching the surface. First Steps Himalaya will be there for the long haul.”

So, what’s next for Fionna Julia Roberts Heiton? We would not be surprised if Hollywood came knocking on her door with a story like that.

For more information or to donate visit the charity’s website.



Giving back to a good bunch: Daffodil Day

When she was diagnosed with renal cancer, Christchurch woman Angie Milner’s immediate thoughts were making sure she supported her family. The Cancer Society made sure she was supported, too.



Not many people expect a cancer diagnosis. And especially not Angie, who had no risk factors when told she had a form of kidney cancer in 2018.

“I just didn’t know what to do or where to go,” says the mother of four.

Having lived in Bankside, between Rakaia and Dunsandel, for 15-years, she is an active member of the community and a fellow Civil Defence volunteer recommended she pop into the then-new Selwyn Centre, a Cancer Society hub in Rolleston, which runs a support group on the first Monday of every month.

She ventured in with her husband, Ken, “and was met by the most amazing lady called Jackie Claridge,” she says.

“She was just full of life; really bubbly, friendly and welcoming and introduced us to the group. We had a cup of tea and biscuits and talked about nothing in particular and had some laughs.”

The Cancer Society offers support services, advice, information and research funding in its quest to advocate for patients and their whānau. It is not government funded and relies on donations to deliver its services like accommodation, transport and support groups.

Angie says the support she received – like information about and transport to medical procedures, including the one which removed part of her kidney – made all the difference on her cancer journey.

“You can just go there and be yourself – you could cry, laugh or shout and everything would just be accepted.

“When you’re [facing cancer] the world carries on around you, but you become someone different, your perspective changes.

“You tend not to think about yourself, you think about your children and relations and making sure they’re going to be okay, so The Cancer Society is a place you can go and be you – and meet people who have similar things going on in their lives.”

Last year, Angie organised a charity art auction which raised over $7,500 for the organisation and she urges Cantabrians to support its annual Daffodil Day appeal on Friday, August 29 if they can.

This years’ drive may take a different, socially-distanced, format – so check The Cancer Society’s website for ways to help.


Angie Milner and her daughter


The Drive for Good: Archibald Motors

Charity initiative Drive for Good ended in style at Archibald Motors, with three local charities taking home a share of $100,000 at a vibrant celebration in the showrooms on Tuam Street. Seven more charities were gifted equal shares in $50,000. Cantabrians clearly relished the chance to show support for their chosen charity, with more than 21,000 votes cast by the public during the three-month long initiative.



Archibald’s Managing Director John Fairhall was full of praise for the way the organisations had engaged with the initiative. “It has been an honour for us to get to know the ten charities better and see the work they do to make Christchurch a healthy and happy place to live,” he says. With a final tally of 4,512, The Champion Centre was the recipient of the greatest number of votes, earning a staggering $50,000 for the charity. Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust and Ronald McDonald House South Island received second and third place respectively, each receiving $25,000 towards their causes.

Although I was there for the charity event, the well-placed array of Porsche, Jaguar and Range Rovers caught my eye. After all I was sitting next to a Range Rover Sport SVR, with its Yulong White Metallic with Carbon Exterior Kit and Panoramic Sunroof flexing its carbon fibre exterior and stunning 22” 5-split spoke gloss black alloys. It took my attention substantially after formalities had ended. Kudos to you Archibald’s, you are an automotive company with a Cantabrian heart.



Art helps charities: TakeHeART

A love of art and a quest to help charitable organisations succeed in a difficult fundraising environment is the motivation behind the first ever TakeHeART fundraising exhibition.




Christchurch woman Jen Duncan is organising the exhibition to be held at the Great Hall at the Arts Centre from November 30 to December 2; with an official opening night on November 29. Jen says the concept behind TakeHeART was to help 10 organisations raise money through selling art on behalf of the artist. On selling their artwork, the artist will receive 65 percent of the total and the nominated charity will receive 25 percent.

“The artists win, the people win and the charities win, so it’s a great result all round,” Jen says. Charities involved are The Cancer Society, Conductive Education, Upside Downs, Riding for the Disabled, Christchurch School of Music, Cystic Fibrosis Canterbury, Ski NZ, The Champion Centre, Mental Health Foundation and the Arts Centre Trust. “After working with small charities and fundraising groups I can see first-hand how hard it can be so I thought why not combine for one big event, benefiting everyone.”

With previous fundraising and marketing experience, Jens says all of the charities and artists are supportive of the exhibition. Local artists include Svetlana Orinko, Ben Reid, Philip Beadle and others. “It’s a great way for everyone to come together (in a prime central location) and showcase the work that charities do and our talented artists.”


Visit for further information on the event or phone Jen on 021 023 07322.


Sweet Louise

Bargins for a good cause: Sweet Louise

Local radio host and TV personality, Brodie Kane recently became a brand ambassador for Sweet Louise, New Zealand’s only charity solely dedicated to supporting those with incurable breast cancer. After digging into her own wardrobe to donate pre-loved clothing for a local fundraising event this month in honour of a member who passed away, she is urging other locals to support the cause.

Sweet Louise
As one of 600 Sweet Louise members nationally, Cantabrian Caroline Horton had a passion for people, organising social events and beautiful clothes. After being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2016, her goal was to organise a high-quality, second-hand clothing and accessories fundraising event in Christchurch to raise Sweet Louise’s profile. She wanted Cantabrians with incurable breast cancer to know a range of support and services are available.

Sadly, Caroline passed away in January 2017 before her wish was realised. Friends and family joined forces to ensure the first event which took place last year was a great success and are once again honouring her memory with the Caroline Horton Second-hand Clothing and Accessories Sale this month.“I feel really privileged to be part of the Sweet Louise team and help get the message out to those with incurable breast cancer that there is support available locally,” Brodie says.
“Being a fellow Cantabrian, Caroline’s event really struck a chord with me. I think this is a great opportunity to get friends together and grab a bargain whilst supporting a wonderful cause.”

Saturday 11 August, 9:30am-1:30pm Eliza Manor, 82 Bealey Avenue. Tickets $20 include morning tea and can be purchased by emailing or by text 021 116 1376.