February is a month to savour the last of the long, hot (and sporadically torrentially rainy) days of summer, and – if you haven’t already – start shifting out of holiday mode.
And as we settle into a more business-as-usual approach to life this month, I can’t help but notice topics of health and wellbeing coming to the fore.
In my conversations with colleagues, family and friends of late, there seems to be a renewed vigour for fitness, experimenting with more plant-based meals and trying out meditation and mindfulness techniques.
This of course could be for obvious, pandemic-related reasons – whether that’s a newfound appreciation for the benefits of good health or making the most of lockdown-less freedoms (touch wood).
I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact I am now safely into my 30s, where I can confirm it is much harder to mask the consequences of overindulgence and under-exercise.
Whatever your reasons for paying attention to your health in 2021, this issue of Metropol hosts an insightful interview with Kiwi actress, and now author, Claire Chitham on page 26, where she shares helpful advice for looking after your health.
There is a healthy dose of other great reads, too, including Lorde’s journey to Antarctica, and interviews with the formidable Palmer sisters, Eve and Grace, on their hilarious new series, Good Grief, and Christchurch-based circus performer Emma Phillips.
Because what better way to boost your mood than reading about the talented and interesting people and businesses who make up our wonderful communities!
December is undeniably a month synonymous with spending quality time with friends, family and loved ones. And in a year which did its utmost to keep us all apart, there is no doubt we will all be appreciating these opportunities should we be lucky enough to have them.
But, as with many things, it can be easier said than done.
With all the joys the festive season brings, it all too often comes with its fair share of stress as we succumb to pressures to do it all: Attend all the events, buy all the presents, host all the guests, cook all the food – and the list goes on.
In a bid to find some calm amongst the storm of the holiday period, we’ve compiled some tips throughout this issue to help you find your zen amidst the Christmas calamity.
On page 43 we look at expert advice like the Mental Health Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing (connect, give, take notice, keep learning, and be active), to the art of delegation, practising gratitude and getting out and about in Mother Nature.
The therapeutic benefits of baking having been widely noted throughout 2020 – but if you’re sick of sourdough, we have Annabel Langbein’s delicious recipe for a festive panforte on page 45.
Or, if you’re more into the equally soothing art of crafts, we’re helping you get creative for your Christmas table on page 60 and with gift wrapping on page 75.
Perhaps it’s as simple as kicking your feet up with a cup of tea (or something stronger), reading a book or watching a cheesy Christmas movie.
However you choose to take your time out this hectic month, just know you deserve it.
Just as this issue heads to print, we head into the long weekend. For many, Labour Weekend marks the home straight to summer. Perhaps it is your yardstick for when it’s time to head to the beach, lake or bach. Or, maybe it’s an opportunity to slow down and take a breather before that final push to the end of year break.
By the time this issue is back from the printers, you too will be back from whatever it was you chose to do.
And in this issue we are – as we always do – sharing local stories from local people and businesses who make our Canterbury, Wanaka and Queenstown communities worth celebrating.
We speak to a young Queenstown musician, Anderson Rocio, who whipped up a song for hit Netflix show Lucifer from her bedroom in a few hours.
Paradise has more than a million streams on Spotify – and counting!
We also catch up with the Two Raw Sisters, Rosa and Margo Flanagan.
In a world of restrictive diets and food fads, the Christchurch duo serve up a refreshing food philosophy which encourages us to challenge our preconceptions around labels like “plant based”.
Christchurch-born tailors, Working Style, share their foray into women’s suiting, and in the Fashion section we let you in on our love of rib. In the Cuisine pages, we get creative with breakfast ideas and Home looks at some covetable new interior design trends.
Our Build section offers a peek inside some award-winning architecture, interior design and construction. Not to mention sharing some exciting new designs for large public projects like the Canterbury Museum.
So wherever your long weekend took you, we’re very glad you ended up back here.
In case you hadn’t noticed, it is spring. The blossoms are here (and, so too, are the associated photos), daylight saving has arrived, and the temperatures are creeping up.
As cliché as it may be, there really is nothing quite like the invigorating energy and possibility of spring.
It is hard not to feel motivated by the extra daylight hours and balmier weather to act on ideas which might have been brewing over the colder months.
Psychologists and philosophers alike put these feelings of seasonal inspiration down to what’s occurring in nature. What seem like such external factors actually deeply impact our internal systems: from neurotransmitters in the brain to our metabolism and hormone balances – we’re biologically built to be more energised in spring.
And it is this powerful force of change which has inspired our cover this fortnight, from Kiwi designer Mahsa Willis’ latest collection, Enduring Nature.
Her designs speak to the resilience and beauty of nature through change and catastrophe; adapting and renewing in the face of endless challenge.
Like Mahsa tells Metropol on page 16, as part of nature, we too, will endure and thrive in these extraordinary times.
So, whether that is tackling some jobs around the house, kickstarting a new exercise regime, or something much bigger; there’s no better time to make like nature and harness some spring fever to set yourself up for a satisfying summer.
We’re living in a uniquely stressful time. Between the fluctuating number of community Covid-19 transmissions, oscillating government alert levels and a general air of uncertainty – the bright side can seem hard to find.
At Metropol we’re all about celebrating and supporting the community, and this raison d’être has taken on more relevance in present climes.
Evidence shows optimistic people are less stressed, healthier and can even live longer, so on page 10 we share practical tips from world-leading experts on how to build such a mindset.
We also share inspiring stories from closer to home, of people who live these ideals every day.
Jazz Thornton, a 22-year-old mental health advocate who, by sharing her story, is saving lives and changing the way we talk about such important issues.
And Octogenarian John Winkie who will bike across Banks Peninsula to raise money for an important cause.
We learn about a local business, Cactus Outdoor, which is pivoting in the face of the global pandemic by using its local manufacturing facilities to create high grade face masks.
We find out what Addington has in store for a new-look racing festival, and what boutique hotel The George has on offer for those planning a way to commemorate the end of an unforgettable year.
However, I would also like to extend the invitation to our readers to send in your own suggestions for stories you, too, think Metropol should be celebrating in its pages.
“Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions basked on hope and possibility.” Michelle Obama.
Biking through the Christchurch CBD on a balmy Sunday afternoon, it was uplifting to see so many others out and about.
I waited in a long line for my Rollickin’ Gelato and had to dodge a fair few pedestrians to navigate my bike between the tram tracks and traffic queues.
Sitting on the banks of the Avon enjoying my salted caramel scoop, the sun-soaked bars and restaurants of The Terrace brimmed with denizens of all ages.
Perhaps it was the springtime daffodils and ducklings on display – or the sugar rush – but I couldn’t help feeling a sense of hope and possibility for our city.
The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the city’s centre has been late to flourish during the rebuild of the last decade, yet here were so many enjoying what the CBD has to offer.
My mind also turned to what had unfolded that week just around the corner. Where 93 people delivered brave and touching victim impact statements in front of a man who had robbed them of so much 18-months ago on March 15.
Outside of court, crowds gathered to support the Muslim community.
An attempt to terrorise had only instilled greater unity.
Once again, this community showed how hope prospers in Ōtautahi.
“A good half of the art of living is resilience.” – Alain de Botton
I was going to start this, my first column as editor of Metropol, writing about beginnings.
After a bit of googling I had found a lovely quote from spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle about the magic of beginnings, and had even written a few lines about the opportunities of starting anew.
But after Friday’s announcement – when we released an almost national (sorry, Auckland) sigh of relief that we would stay in the lockdown-less Alert Level 2 – I realised it’s not about starting, it’s about continuing.
And Canterbury knows a thing or two about that. Continuing is a common thread weaving the region’s stories together; our communities personify resilience.
When I moved back to Christchurch three years ago, I was blown away by the sense of community here.
There was a shared investment in communal success I’d never encountered before, and have come to understand as the city’s superpower.
In the face of adversity, Cantabrians know the key to getting through is to do it together.
I inherit some intimidatingly large shoes from Metropol’s outgoing editor, Melinda Collins, just as a global pandemic tries to sneak back into our communities.
Yet with so much uncertainty on the horizon, I know one thing for sure: I wouldn’t want to be doing it anywhere else.
Metropol has dedicated its pages to celebrating community for the last 22 years, and it’s a huge privilege to help that continue.
“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut” – Dr Seuss
I have interviewed and written about some of this city’s most passionate and inspiring people over the past seven years working across Canterbury Rebuild and Metropol magazines. But it is perhaps the words below that are some of the most poignant – and daunting – as it will be the last time I title a blank word document with ‘Editor’s Perspective’.
I am sad to announce I am hanging up my editor’s cap and this issue will be my last in the hot seat.
It’s been an incredible ride and I’ve met some beautiful and inspiring people along the way.
I have been part of a wonderful team of people that are equally as passionate about what we create every fortnight.
I am leaving my post in very capable hands, with our new Editor, Morgan Tait taking the reins from our next issue.
Having spent the past few weeks working alongside Morgan, I know we can expect to see more of the interesting and engaging reads that Metropol has become renowned for and I look forward to tuning in every fortnight to get my Metropol fix, just as you all do.
It will be unusual experiencing this from the outside in, without seeing the heart and soul that goes into Metropol’s production, but I know that the same passion and dedication that has seen this prestigious publication thrive for 22 years will still be there.
“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower” Hans Christian Anderson
We’ve just waved goodbye to the gloomiest month of weather in more than two decades.
Yes June, we’re talking about you and since you’ve given us the least amount of recorded sunshine hours in more than two decades and thrown in a violent 11.82 metre storm wave, we’re not sorry to see you go!
But then June, in all its gloomy glory did give rise to some inspirational conversations here at Metropol headquarters.
Namely, just how much more we appreciate the sun when we’ve had a little – or a lot of – rain. Because, in the words of J Cole, I’m Coming Home, “in order to appreciate the sun, you gotta know what rain is”.
If you’re bracing yourself against the cold right now and struggling to see the positive side, New Zealand has plenty.
The Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki featured on page 12 are something special in winter.
The water forced through these limestone formations makes tiny geysers and blowholes.
Follow in the footsteps of Sir Peter Jackson and film the beautiful snow-covered peaks surrounding the Lindis Pass (home to the Misty Mountains).
And don’t forget the jewel in winter’s crown – Queenstown, where everything is exquisite in the chilly months.
Staying home? Nothing comes close however, to rugging up by the fire with a copy of Metropol and a cuppa.
“Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always” Anonymous
There’s a kindness epidemic that has been spreading throughout our community.
From conversations between neighbouring teddy bears in house windows and Kiwis providing food boxes, to businesses chipping in and NGOs helping communities in need, Kiwis have turned a threat to our health and happiness into acts of solidarity and hope.
New Zealanders have shown time and time again their capacity to care for one another.
But now that the immediate threat is over and life for many of us is getting back to normal, it’s important that we don’t lose the momentum of kindness, because for many of us, life isn’t back to normal.
These are trying times and many are being forced to adjust to a new normal.
“We will get through this,” Jacinda Ardern said in her address to the nation on 21 March to outline the structure the government put in place to handle the crisis.
“We know how to rally and we know how to look after one another; and what could be more important than that? Be strong, be kind and unite against Covid-19.”
We stayed strong; we stayed home and we stayed safe. Now it’s time to stay kind.