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Aging in style: St Albans Arvida

Studies show that by 2051 there will be 1.18million people aged 65 and over in New Zealand, an increase of 165 percent since 1999. It’s an unchangeable fact that we are all going to age, so why not do so in style? Metropol caught up with Arvida St Albans facility manager Symone Bruhns to hear how the aging experience is being transformed.



How does someone know if it might be time to look at retirement village options?
“We all want to stay as healthy and well, both mentally and physically, for as long as we possibly can. As the natural process of aging occurs, people start to evaluate their quality of life and to assess if they need assistance with their day-to-day living.
“Living independently at home may start to feel challenging. A retirement village, or community as we prefer to call them, provides a good option for when factors like maintaining the family home, security concerns, companionship, access to services, day to day living and health issues become a challenge. St Albans Retirement Village offers a continuum of care from independent living options right through to palliative care.”

Tell us a bit about Arvida’s values. How do you want residents to feel in the community?
“Our vision is to improve the lives and wellbeing of our residents by transforming the aging experience. We do this though our attitude of living well pillars which are: Eating well, moving well, thinking well, resting well and engaging well. Quality of life is important for all of us and at Arvida our attitude of living well is revolutionary in aged care.”

What’s on the cards for Arvida St Albans in 2021?
“St Albans will have completely finished its construction in 2021 involving the opening of the new wings in March with serviced apartments including spacious north and west facing two-bedroom apartments, and an expansion of new care rooms for people looking for rest home and hospital level care. St Albans prides itself on continually working to better resident’s day to day living and so in 2021 we also have a gym for independent residents and a new communal area in the Totara Living Well Apartments scheduled for completion.”



From the Editor: 18 February 2021

It can be a daunting feat producing a magazine every fortnight. Our hardworking team puts a lot into finding stories, getting in touch with all the required parties, organising imagery – and then designing it all into what you hold in your hands.


And before the finished copies are even delivered to letterboxes, cafes and stands – the next one is already underway!

One thing never lacking is the number of interesting and valuable local stories vying for position on Metropol’s pages.

And this issue is no different.

A few weeks ago we heard a whisper that Cantab and Hollywood bigwig, Phil Keoghan, was in town.

We reached out to The Amazing Race host, and were over the moon when he was keen to be interviewed and grace the cover of this issue.

So, I do hope you enjoy reading about his new reality competition which was inspired by none other than his hardworking West Coast grandparents.

The series has another local tie, too – it was edited, in part, from he and his wife and producing partner, Louise’s, MIQ hotel room in Christchurch during their recent trip home.

Bringing even more magic to our pages is the touching tale of New Zealand’s assistance dogs, chronicled in a new book by local author, Sue Allison.

Add to that our round up of the Canterbury Earthquakes commemorations, art show Van Gogh Alive, an Italian classic car show, commentary on seasonal fashion, health, beauty, home, and design trends – and you have something wonderfully, uniquely local to read this February.


Edible landscaping

Take your landscaping a step further by giving it an edible twist. A boost for your palate as well as Mother Nature’s, this flavourful endeavour will brighten up any space. Here are Metropol’s tips to incorporate edible plants into shaping your outdoor spaces.



Herbs don’t just give any recipe an edge – they can give your garden beds one, too. Lavender looks lovely lining any garden or path, and onions, garlic and chives can be planted as edging to protect other edibles from hungry birds and animals.

Fruit trees look stunning in every landscape. Supposedly nothing tastes better than the fruits of your labour, but just make sure you monitor excess fruit to keep hungry rodents and possums at bay. We especially love the look of an immaculately groomed citrus tree – and not just for the G&Ts.

If you’re using trellis to adorn a wall or to create a pergola or space divider, add interest and function with tasty additions. Runner beans and nasturtiums both have eye-catching blooms and enjoy a climb. The leaves of beans are also more attractive to pests than the veges – win, win!

Pansies and calendulas make beautiful touches to your landscape and can be added to your cooking in the way of salads and baked goods. Plant in garden beds, pots of hanging baskets – and then pluck away to garnish your meals.


Office-al business

What was once considered a novelty has now, with recent times, transitioned into more of a necessity – the home office. Whether it is a designated room or partitioned off area, Metropol has compiled some tips for helping you create a productive home office hub.



When designing a designated home office space, we tend to focus on what’s in our peripheral and not what classmates and colleagues can see on Zoom. Interior designers expect this year will bring stylish backdrops – from walls, intricate bookshelves and well-styled frame galleries to quirky-looking lamps that double as great backlighting.

A humble house plant, or five, will always be the co-workers you never knew you needed. Experts say plants help to increase productivity and provide a leafy link to nature, which was what a lot of us were lacking when cooped up inside for so many months. Having a reimagined green screen is always a Zoom meeting ice breaker.

Gone are the days of crisp white walls for a home office, it’s time to express yourself with a bit, or a lot, of colour. Liven up your space with bright hues, natural woods, or a feature wall. Don’t stop there – bring in fun décor, bright rugs and interesting art.


App-solute wellness

If health and wellbeing is on your mind this year – and it’s hard for it not to be – why not embrace technology to help you stay on the wagon? Outsource the monitoring of your holistic health with any number of handy phone and computer apps which do the thinking for you. Here are Metropol’s picks of some tech-savvy sidekicks.

A free meditation app, users can search by topic, person or time length to find a guided meditation or simply some relaxing music and sounds. In-app purchases allow you to take your meditation game up a notch.

Track your workouts on this handy app which can sync with your smartwatch to not only GPS your activities, but give you rather precise breakdowns of your heart rate and other health stats. Follow your friends to tap into some healthy competition, or keep it private for your own personal know-how.

“Period hacking” is a buzzword attracting serious hype as women are becoming more aware – or society is becoming more accepting – of how their fluctuating hormones impact their holistic health. Apps like Flo track your periods, ovulation and teach you about the symptoms of the different hormones which accompany each part of your cycle.

A work-based meditation app, Ten Percent Happier offers meditations that help listeners focus in the office (wherever that may be these days). This paid app purports to improve team work and happiness if you get your colleagues (or staff) on board.


Back to work

Just because the holidays have come to an end, doesn’t mean getting dressed should be any less fun. Here are Metropol’s picks of pieces to help build a work wardrobe you’ll be excited to get out of bed for – and that will take you from season to season.


Suiting endures as a wardrobe staple. Give the mix and match hero a modern update. Mina Mali Short and Local Blazer in Pecan


New year, new bag. Acne Studios Mini Musubi Bag in Rose Pink


Rise and shine. Karen Murrell Lip Scrub



Vibrant separates to brighten up the office, worn together or apart. S/W/F Boutique Restore Skirt and Top



Pearls of wisdom. Jasmin Sparrow Jewel Earrings in Gold


A black tee with embellished sleeves, yes please. Leo+Be Residence Top in Black


Patterned pants mean business. Moochi Glowed Pant


A chunky soled loafer goes with everything. Kathryn Wilson Samara Loafer in Black


Patterned pants mean business. Moochi Glowed Pant

Juggling priorities

The first foot juggler to come out of New Zealand, Emma Phillips is an expert in twirling, whirling, and tossing umbrellas, carpets and even tables using nothing but her toes, arches and heels. A pandemic-induced return to New Zealand saw her settle in Christchurch, where she recently starred in the Bread and Circus Backyard Buskers Festival. Metropol catches up with the
talented performer.


Tables are Emma Phillips’ speciality. She juggles them with her feet, deftly kicking and spinning the large dining necessity in the air, while also tossing and whirling umbrellas in her hands.

Emma is the first known circus performer to come out of New Zealand specialising in foot juggling, and has gone on to blaze a trail in the esoteric art.

She is one of the only known Western artists to perform Chinese-style foot juggling in the world, and the first to combine umbrella and table juggling simultaneously.

A career which began, despite her Whangarei upbringing, in Christchurch. The now 30-year-old was introduced to the world of foot juggling while studying a Diploma in Circus Arts at Christchurch Polytech in 2008.

Inspired to take her foot juggling training to the next level, she then applied and was accepted to the Beijing Acrobatic Arts School and Wuqiao Acrobatic School in China.

“My real training didn’t really begin until I got to China,” she says. “And then I realised how hard it was!”

She was taught the traditional art of foot juggling “by China’s finest”. And while it remains her speciality, she is also trained in and regularly performs contortion and aerial hoop, too.

Emma started performing while studying, but it was after graduation that her CV really picks up. She has performed throughout China, Australia, Europe, Russia and the UAE, and most recently accepted a contract for the German and Austrian tours of Roncalli Circus Theatre.

Unfortunately, the contract which she says was “the biggest of my career” was thwarted by Covid-19.

On the night of the press premiere, the show was postponed for five weeks.

“I definitely considered staying in Germany,” she says.

But the opportunity to see her family in Christchurch won out. And the five weeks turned into the remainder of 2020 and, now, into 2021.

“I’m so glad I came home, spending the year with my family and my sister’s kids has been an absolute highlight,” she says.

A highlight the recent crowds at Bread and Circus Backyard Busker’s Festival can attest to, when Emma took her glamorous, vaudeville-styled performance to the streets.

“The New Regent Street Spectacular was amazing,” she says.

“It was such immersive street theatre with the opera singers and the musicians, and I was juggling a table in the middle of everyone!”

She also loved performing with the Topp Twins at the Isaac Theatre Royal gala, “which has always been one of my dream theatres to work in.”

Emma says her favourite part of the whole festival “was the community side of it” as she felt incredibly fortunate to be in one of the only performing festivals in the world.

For all the impacts of Covid-19, the fallout for the performing arts sector has been particularly harsh. So for 2021, Emma says she is trying to spin the lack of strict performance
schedule to further refine her craft.

“One thing I would like to do is have a little bit more fun with performance to just play and explore that creativity.”



In your glass: Big Daddy’s Liqour

A sophisticated tipple never goes astray. Metropol writer Nicholas Henare discovers the best drops at Big Daddy’s liquor stores this month.


Chivas Regal 18 years

Chivas Regal was founded in 1786, with its home being in the Strathisla distillery at Keith Moray in Speyside, Scotland and is the oldest continuously operating Highland distillery.
Chivas Regal has been a market-leading Scotch whisky aged 12 years and older in Europe and Asia Pacific. This blended whisky has been the world’s fourth best seller since 2016 and the winner of numerous awards and accolades.
When you first get the waft of this whisky classic, an elegant multi-layered aroma of dried fruit, spices and buttery toffee touches the nose. And that first taste? Exceptionally rich and smooth. A velvety dark chocolate palate with elegant floral flavours and a gentle sweet mellow smokiness. The finish is rich, elegant, and long. A truly complex blend with 85 flavours in every drop. A fine addition to any whisky shelf.

700ml, $89.99



The Glenlivit 12 years

The Glenlivit is an exceptional whisky with vibrant aromas of summer meadows and tropical fruits, notably pineapple. With floral notes, there is also smooth and sweet fruit tones of fresh peaches pairs, vanilla, marzipan and fresh hazelnuts. The iconic whisky expression representing this iconic brand’s Speyside-house style.

700ml, $64.99





Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin

This fine gin has a lot of bang for buck. A great taste of oriental botanicals it has an exceptional gin taste that will get your guns going. Made in a shed at the edge of a lake by a small Irish town, this gin really is bespoke with a mix of great citrus and gunpowder tea. Drumshanbo…BANG!

700ml, $89.99






Fords London Dry Gin

Distilled in London at Thames Distillers, Fords Gin is a collaboration between eighth generation Master Distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford at the 86 Company. A modern take on a classic, Fords starts with a traditional base of juniper and coriander seed and is balanced by citrus, florals and spices that are steeped for 15 hours before being distilled. Each creates the perfect, versatile base for any gin-inspired cocktail.


700ml, $59.99




Whitley Neill Floral

A London dry gin made with African botanicals including extracts from the Baobab Tree (known as the Tree of Life). It is made in a one-hundred-year-old copper pot still, and straight from the family recipe book – eight generations later. Try with tonic and a slice of orange on a hot summer day.

700ml, $54.99





Big Daddy’s Stores

Blenheim Road
280 Blenheim Rd, Riccarton
(03) 343 1523

Brougham Street
151 Waltham Road, Sydenham
03) 3665737

227 Linwood Avenue, Linwood
(03) 381 3660

205 Hills Road, Shirley
(03) 386 0528

60 Queenspark Drive, Parklands
(03) 383 2478

7 Halswell Road, Hillmorton
(03) 338 7733

28 High Street, Rangiora
(03) 310 8200


Powering up plants for 2021

Including more plants on your plate is nothing new, but the global appetite for meat alternatives is tipped to just keep growing in 2021. A win for your health, and the environment, it’s hard to fault this trending food philosophy. So here are Metropol’s suggestions on how to up your plant intake and add a few new foodie tricks to your repertoire.



Plant-based burgers are old news, and plant-based seafood is in, according to vegan media site, The Beet. Made with konjac, carrot and cellular agriculture (yes, lab-grown), there’s plant-based tuna, crab and fish cakes.

Finally, an answer to the, “But, what about bacon?” question often posed to plant-based converts. More and more plant-based bacon and pork alternatives are making their way onto shelves, in all their smoky-flavoured glory.

Don’t fret if the idea of never touching steak again sends chills down your spine. Adapting a flexitarian mindset ensures you get to keep your rib-eye or cheese – just eat them in moderation. Start by making plants and pulses the heroes of your meal, instead of meat.

Already a rich and flavourful favourite, mushrooms are getting a meaty reboot for 2021. Mushroom meats resembling steak, meat patties and even braised beef are all the rage overseas. Keep an eye out for fungal proteins called Mycoprotein and mycelium, too.


Hear to stay: Bellbird Hearing

Is there anything quite so blissful as the song of the bellbird trilling from a hidden bough; are any notes more captivating than the chirps and chirrups it sings to us with such pure and precise clarity? It’s one of the reasons that Senior Audiologist and Co-director Sam Sloane chose this feathered troubadour as the name to front the newly opened Bellbird Hearing at 240 Ilam Road.



“The bellbird is unique to New Zealand, and along with the softer elements of speech, its song is the type of sound one tends to miss when a hearing impairment develops,” says Sam.

“With proper hearing assessment and treatment, we can not only improve speech understanding, but also bring back the sounds people love, such as the song of native birds.”

Established by clinicians long experienced in every aspect of audiology and hearing healthcare throughout Canterbury, Bellbird Hearing is a new, independent and locally owned hearing clinic amongst larger corporate competitors.

“We aim to provide a world-class hearing healthcare service from hearing experts who take pride in a community based and patient-focussed approach,” says Sam.

When thinking in terms of quality of life, hearing is a major contributing factor; not being able to hear music or follow conversations, for example, can be an isolating experience. Improved hearing results in improved relationships, which in turn leads to a life being more fully lived.

In recognising each patient has lifestyle and hearing goals specific to them, Sam and his team provide hearing solutions tailored to meet individual needs and achieve optimum outcomes for the patient, thereby guaranteeing extensive and comprehensive care. Sam is an expert in the latest hearing aid technology and understands the importance of a personalised hearing aid fitting.

The range of services available cover a wide spectrum, from diagnostic tests, tinnitus assessment and hearing aid fittings through to ear wax removal, ear wax management and hearing screenings, of which the latter are offered free of charge to those 18 years and over, in recognition of Bellbird’s promotion of hearing loss awareness.

Diagnostic and full hearing tests involve a consultation around the patient’s case history, along with the carrying out of otoscopic examinations, pure tone audiometry, speech testing, tympanometry, as well as acoustic reflex testing to ensure a correct diagnosis of hearing conditions.

Sam says the motivating thrust behind Bellbird Hearing is to help and serve all those affected by hearing loss.

“We feel passionately about this. Like the bellbird, we may be small but we are mighty – and we are here to stay!”

To make an appointment or enquiry, phone Bellbird Hearing on (03) 351 1172 or visit the website below.


Anna Cleary, Senior Ear Nurse


Jan Blair, Senior Administrator


Sam Sloane, Senior Audiologist and Co-director