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Hallmark of a healthy home: Hallmark Homes

At Hallmark Homes, your health is the priority. With 700,000 Kiwis requiring treatment for respiratory illness and a significant correlation to our damp and draughty housing stock, the team at Hallmark are industry leaders, promoting the 6 Homestar Rating for every home they build.


So committed to the healthier home approach, that for just $5000, clients receive the Healthy Homestar Package.

This fabulous package includes upgrades to the build worth up to a staggering $16,000, and results in certification as a 6 Homestar rated home.

The upgrades offered in their Healthy Homestar Package that result in a warmer, drier, and healthier home include: thermally broken joinery which prevents the transfer of cold temperatures through the aluminium, Low-E glass which also reduces the transfer of heat, upgraded insulation, upgraded ventilation to reduce dampness and mould, upgraded tapware to reduce water consumption, plus energy efficient lighting.

“In the longer term all our clients are paying less for energy, using less water, improving the health of themselves and their families, plus they are receiving up to a 1 percent discount on their Home Loan Interest Rate, a benefit only available on houses that are certified 6 Homestar or more,” says Director Mike Bonne.

The team are thrilled to offer the latest round of their Healthy Homestar Package this month, through to the end of March 2021.

Hallmark’s stunning new show home at 162 Southfield Drive, Te Whariki in Lincoln recently won a Gold award at the House of the Year Competition.

Featuring a 2.55m stud height, it is fitted with Google Nest smart home automation, a designer kitchen and a covered outdoor entertaining area which leads to the sheltered and peaceful garden with its water feature focal point.

This stunning home is open Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm to 4pm. See you there soon!


Dealing with stress and finding joy: Dr Libby Weaver

Dr Libby Weaver is an internationally acclaimed nutritional biochemist, author and speaker, and has just released wellness cards to educate and inspire. She chatted with Metropol about her secrets to de-stress, what brings her joy and a new way we can all make health a daily priority.


With the silly season fast approaching, do you get stressed?
“There are always going to be stressful situations in our lives that we can’t avoid. But a lot of the daily stress we experience comes from our perceptions and thoughts, so there is a lot of unnecessary suffering and it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve had a period in my life where I was a ‘Rushing Woman’ and that showed me that I had to make some changes – practically, but also exploring where I was creating stress for myself through perceptions of pressure and urgency. That’s where the gold really is.”

What do you do to relax?
“Having some time to myself early in the morning outside, watering trees and vegies, and watching the chickens, is a joy and brings me a sense of spaciousness, even if my day ahead is incredibly full. I also really love to watch the light changing in the sky. I made a decision a while back that I wanted to see more sunsets so even if my work day hasn’t ended by that time, I do my best to take a break to watch it.”

Why is prioritising health and wellness so important – and in particular this year?
“Collectively, I think there has been a realisation of just how important our health is, yet it’s so easy for self-care to sink to the bottom of the priority list, unless there is a health crisis. I think that for many who have slowed down this year, there’s also been a realisation that they don’t necessarily want to go back to how they were living previously.
“Ultimately, if we don’t prioritise our own health and wellbeing eventually it’s going to catch up with us and we won’t be able to contribute and care for others in the way we really want to. Taking great care of the immune system has become a focus this year, and how we eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe and perceive really does matter—not just to immune system function but to every cell in the body.”

What can we all do to prioritise our health and wellbeing on a daily basis?
“Many people share with me that they struggle to consistently take great care of themselves so I wanted to do something different this year that would help. That’s why I created my new Wellness Cards – I wanted to offer a simple way for health to become a consistent priority in your day or week, even if you feel time-poor. The cards are divided across the three pillars that I focus on – biochemical, nutritional and emotional.”


Merry Stress-free Christmas

It’s a time of cheer and festivity. But unfortunately, the holiday period can come with its fair share of stress, too. From pressure to attend events, spend money on gifts and time with loved ones to organising the perfect day and having guests to stay: The festive season can too easily come with a hefty mental load. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind this Christmas with Metropol’s round up of tips from the experts.

The Mental Health Foundation advises Kiwis to keep its Five Ways to Wellbeing in mind: Connect, give, take notice, keep learning, and be active. Especially the give bit. “Try to keep in mind that the true gift of the season is our presence, not our presents,” advises the foundation. “Giving our time, our words and our presence makes others feel great, but it also lifts our own mood and makes us feel our lives have more meaning.”

This year, deck the halls with delegation. Don’t give into out-dated expectations to do it all. If you can, buy pre-made or delivered menu items and invite guests to help by not only bringing their own contribution on the day, but also with preparations and clean-up. Kids and grandkids can also get in on the action with small jobs. Big family? Why not introduce a spending limit, or pull names from a hat to get one nice gift each.

Getting out in nature is another science-backed mindfulness hack endorsed by the Mental Health Foundation – and what better time to do so than during a Kiwi summer! Head to the beach, on a nature walk or even just out into your backyard. And, why not combine this mindful activity with other proven pick-me-ups by doing so with friends and family, exercise or relaxing with a book, podcast or music?

Cultivating gratitude – where you focus on what’s good in your life – is widely acknowledged by psychologists as a powerful mental healthiness tool. Evidence from too many studies and experts to list here shows those who regularly practice counting their blessings are happier and less depressed. Start writing down a few things each day you’re thankful for this festive season, and watch the stress melt away. Check out for resources and tips.


Healthy hacks

We’re quickly heading into the social – and too often, stressful – season. So, what are some simple seasonal habits we can adopt to keep fighting fit for the festivities?



It’s time to take the work out of working out. Soak up the sun – and a healthy dose of vitamin D – on the tennis court, in the pool or on a hike around Hagley. Known as the happy hormone, vitamin D has been shown to regulate mood and ward off depression, but it also helps support strong bones, muscles and overall health. Combined with fresh air and exercise and you’ve got the ultimate elixir.

There’s a clever way to eat well that means you can have your cake and eat it too – not that we want you thinking of cake! But if you are, why not think of a healthy wholefood one? That’s right, you can make nutrient-dense sweet foods using vegetables! Think rich beetroot mud cake or kumara brownies. It’s a thing! So why not let you fingers do the walking and find some sweet swaps of your own?

The key to heart health is to keep moving and that doesn’t just mean getting an extra kickboxing class in after work. From building a fence to mowing the lawn, all physical movement plays a role in keeping your heart healthy. So why not schedule some time in the garden or get your DIY hat on and paint the kitchen? Or maybe it’s just a matter of parking a couple of blocks away from the office in the mornings.

Packing your lunch – it seems so simple and yet this small change in your daily routine can help control your mood, your calories and your spending! When you’ve got a healthy lunch to hand, you’re much less likely to find your hand in the company snack box when low sugars hit. Stay energised and productive throughout the day with nutritious options such as nuts, dried fruit, roasted chickpeas and bliss balls.

It’s time to vege up, not out, by increasing your vege intake. Aim to have fruits and vegetables make up half of each meal. Why not make half of breakfast fruit and half of lunch and dinner veges? Better yet, throw some green smoothies in the mix and you can have the best of both worlds! For simple summer dinners, combine a marinade with fresh grilled veggies and your favourite low-fat protein for a great-tasting, healthy weeknight meal.


Healthy habits

We’re not here to talk about total body transformations, swearing off carbs or overhauling your fitness routine. We’ve got far better news! In fact, we’re here to fill you in on some simple ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

Walk it off

The process of digestion actually ramps up our metabolisms temporarily; a brief walk does the same. Together, a short walk within 20 minutes of eating is believed to increase the metabolism by 20 percent, leading to an increase in caloric burn. What better motivation do you need to get off the couch?


Just breathe

Ever noticed when you’re stressed, you tend to take shorter, sharper breaths? Diaphragmatic or belly breathing comes with a raft of benefits, like alleviating stress and even lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. Research shows deep breathing through the nose, as opposed to the mouth enhances cognitive function, such as memory!


Something fishy

With its ability to prevent heart disease and stroke, we all need more omega-3 fats in our lives – but humans can’t produce them ourselves. Thankfully there’s a tasty way to get the benefits – eat more fish! Seafood is packed with high-quality protein, vitamin D and calcium, but low in total and saturated fat.


To the pointe: Muscle People

For ballerinas the world over it’s a much longed for moment; after years of watching “the big girls” – the time for learning to dance en pointe finally arrives. However, behind that stunning grace and beauty of a dancer en pointe is an incredible strength and technique.



Because adolescent growth is a time of rapid change, 12-year-olds vary in strength, so age alone does not determine whether a dancer is ready to train en pointe.

Classical ballet training places a force four times body weight through the foot, and this increases to twelve times when dancing en pointe.

Stiff ankles and feet can make it difficult to get onto pointe, putting added strain on muscles and joints. Hyper-mobile knees, ankles or feet mean muscles have to work harder to control the alignment that is required to avoid injury.

Dancing with poor posture, decreased strength or incorrect technique can lead to a higher risk of injury and decrease confidence.

Muscle People are proud to introduce their new Pre-Pointe Assessment: a series of tests and measures of a young dancer’s strength, balance, posture, and alignment.

Conducted by a physiotherapist, the assessment identifies if a dancer is ready to progress to pointe training and can reduce the risk of injury.

The team has developed a checklist of four items, based on the International Association of Dance and Medical Science Guidelines for Initiating Pointe Training.

The ballerina should:
• Be aged 12 years or over
• Be attending at least two ballet classes per week
• Have completed four plus years of ballet training
• Complete a pre-pointe assessment

Muscle People Physiotherapy has been providing world-class physiotherapy in Christchurch for over 20 years.

The extensive range of services includes preventive screenings to identify predisposition to injury for all sports, and provide a programme of techniques and therapy to help you avoid injury.


Pilates at home: Freedom Health Pilates

Have you heard about reformer Pilates but thought the equipment looked too hard or scary? Worried it may not help your specific injuries? Or just can’t find a class time and location that works for you? Freedom Health Physiotherapy and Pilates owner Cath Julius tells Metropol why reformer is good for everybody – and how you can now do it at home!



“The Pilates reformer was designed by Joseph Pilates and its popularity has grown significantly over the last 10 years – for good reason. The versatility of the reformer is like no other piece of equipment I have found. From 70-year-olds rehabilitating their knees to elite athletes wanting to improve performance, the reformer has amazing capabilities.”

“One of the most common misconceptions about the reformer is that it is a piece of strength equipment. The springs of the reformer are actually designed to support people, making movements that normally feel hard, feel easier. The reformer is more like a good dance partner that leads you well and has you moving like you didn’t think was possible. The freedom and confidence that it brings to movement can be life changing”.

“Having an instructor that truly understands the purpose of the reformer, and how bodies move, is the vital ingredient to success with reformer pilates. The Freedom Health team have had great success with in-clinic solutions for Pilates and are now making it even easier for people to access with the recent release of Freedom@Home solutions. All classes are designed by physiotherapists.”

“Clients can hire or purchase a reformer from us, and then watch our pre-recorded classes online – at any time which suits them. This saves people the commute and gives them the flexibility to do the same workout with a qualified instructor, around their own schedule. The programme can be personalised for each person’s needs to ensure they meet their health and fitness goals.”



Ph (03) 355 6699 or to enquire about reformer memberships, or visit the website


Is there something in your teeth? Dentistry on Merivale

Dentistry is one of the very few medical professions where a foreign material is placed in a patient’s body and then left there permanently for years, if not decades. Add to this the fact that the environment in which this happens is routinely subject to extremes of abrasion, temperature, acidity, bacteria, enzymes and all the other nuances of the oral environment.


Recent evidence has now shown that nearly all composite materials (“white fillings”, as well as many crown cements) contain and potentially release into the body phthalates such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), as well as titanium dioxide, HEMA and TEGDMA. Which some studies have shown may cause toxicity.

At Dentistry on Merivale they search the world for dental materials that are as non-toxic as possible, while still allowing full restoration of the dentition.

Early last year Dr David Walsh was introduced to a holistic composite and bonding system out of Switzerland called Saremco, which is entirely free of HEMA, TEGDMA, BPAs and titanium dioxide.

At the time it was not available in New Zealand, so Dr Walsh imported it himself for a clinical trial. Upon finding it an excellent system, he established Bioholistic New Zealand Ltd to import it as a source for the New Zealand dental profession at large.

Saremco is available for purchase by the profession at Dr Walsh provides this information simply for the awareness of holistically-minded clients who may be facing some dental work and who are looking for the healthiest option.


The vital truth about vitamins and minerals: Unichem Cashel

With common symptoms like fatigue, headaches and muscle pain – it can be easy to live unaware of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Unichem Cashel Head Pharmacist Annabel Turley tells Metropol how treating these issues can be simple – but greatly improve quality of life.



What is a vitamin and mineral deficiency, and how do they happen?
“It is when you’re not getting enough nutrients like vitamins and minerals from your diet, or you’re taking medications that deplete the vitamins and minerals in your body. There’s a number of common medications which many people in New Zealand take which can prevent vitamins and minerals being absorbed into the body. Our soil also doesn’t have a lot of minerals in it, so we don’t always get enough from our food. A lot of people don’t understand a vitamin and mineral deficiency can affect your overall health – and it can be so simple to fix.”

Can you tell if you are deficient?
“The symptoms are similar to a number of common complaints, like migraines, headaches, muscle pain and cramps, and low energy levels – so it can be hard for the untrained eye to determine what may be behind these common issues. You can get a blood test to see your iron levels or B12, but a lot of vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be treated via the symptoms. Our staff are all trained specifically to spot these symptoms, and to provide appropriate and informed advice.”

How can these issues be treated?
“It can be as simple as taking a multi-vitamin for some people who may be having general signs of vitamin or mineral deficiency – but not all vitamin supplements are created equally. It is best to seek advice from someone who has been trained and upskilled to not only spot symptoms, but to advise on the specific type of supplement.
“For example, not all supplements can easily be absorbed by the body so there are different forms which are better for different conditions and to be used with different medications.”

Find Unichem Pharmacy at 111 Cashel Street from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm.



Not just a workout: Bodyfix Gym

Fitness for your body doesn’t stop at your shoulders, and the Bodyfix Gym team understand that going to the gym takes you far beyond the classic lose weight, tone up, and strengthen.

“We believe in exercise to support mental health as well, and we are really popular for that,” says Owner Moana Williams.

“We even have members referred to us by their GP with exercise as part of their prescription.”

Privately owned, the longstanding and tightknit team at Bodyfix are there to support members.

“We get to know everyone and you are always an individual, never a number. While some gyms focus on attracting new clients, we really value our existing members and have been through many personal joys and tragedies with them,” says Moana.

Even more than usual in the current environment, Bodyfix is a place where worries are left at the door and there is a sense of normality for a while.

“So many friendships are made here, existing friendships are strengthened – we laugh hard, and then of course you’ll work your body like there’s no tomorrow,” says Moana.

With 45 classes on the timetable for all abilities, the team will design a membership to suit you, plus the Personal Training Team is extremely experienced and always ready to help.

There’s also full access after-hours, group challenges, and nutrition advice on the gym’s Facebook group.