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Dr Sue Bagshaw

Champion of city’s youth: Interview with Dr Sue Bagshaw

The physical scars of the Canterbury quakes are almost fully healed. But below the surface, the mental scars remain.

Dr Sue Bagshaw

In line with international research showing the long term mental health effects of natural disasters, demand for mental health, addiction and domestic violence services has skyrocketed in Canterbury post-quake. As demand for child and youth mental health services soars, it can take months for specialist treatment for some of the most severe mental health problems.
From her first ever job in student health at the university, to her involvement with Family Planning and the Methadone Programme, Dr Sue Bagshaw has been heavily invested in improving youth outcomes. “In those roles we came across a lot of young people that were in boxes,” she says.
“So we asked young people what they wanted and that was the birth of the Youth One Stop Shop.”
Designed to increase accessibility for youth, the One Stop Shop concept brought together medical, physical, sexual, mental and even social health services under one roof, with Christchurch’s 198 Youth Health Centre one of the first of its kind.
“Individually we can only provide so much with a small budget,” Dr Bagshaw says.
“We thought why not work together with other organisations. By bringing them all together we can be a lot more efficient and more effective.”
After providing free health services to young people for 15 years, lack of funding forced its closure in 2010. But Dr Bagshaw was determined to bring these integral services back to the city and, in 2012, she and Peter Young from Action Works brought 16 youth organisations together to form the first youth hub in Barbadoes Street.
Despite unprecedented need for these collective services over the past three years, the individual need for bigger, better spaces has seen the organisations disperse and Dr Bagshaw has been on a tireless crusade since 2015 to develop a purpose-built hub to bring them all back together.
The Anglican Church’s social service agency has stepped in to help, purchasing the old Salisbury Street bowling club site last year for $4 million. Now Dr Bagshaw is focused on raising the $10 million to make it happen.
Co-designed by youth, for youth, the most important feature will be transitional accommodation for young people to stay for 3-18 months while they find work. “While they’re there, they will have access to all the services around them they need for support,” Dr Bagshaw says.
Youth workers will be in residence overnight, there will be a drop in centre, spaces to provide activities such as art, music and acting, outdoor ball courts and on site services including legal aid. Importantly, a social enterprise hub will support young people with good ideas but lack of opportunity, to become social entrepreneurs.
“We’re living in a generation that is all about ‘me’. It’s become more about competition and less about community. We’ve all had enough of that. The poverty gap has got bigger. We know we need a new story,” Dr Bagshaw says.
“This is about doing things together. People working in silo doesn’t help our young people. This is about cooperation, not competition.”

For more information, visit

Aaron Pero

Forging his own path: Q&A with real estate whizz Aaron Pero

It can be a hard road growing up in the shadow of a big name, but Aaron Pero has stepped up to the commercial party and forged a career path all of his own. Metropol talks to the real estate whizz about his new career.

Aaron Pero
Aaron and Sophie Pero

Can you tell us a bit about your foray into real estate and what attracted you to this career path?

When I was 14 I developed a website for a New York Times bestselling property author and since then I’ve continued working with investors, developers and real estate agents with marketing and technology. I was the Marketing & IT Manager at my father’s real estate company for two and a half years before going back on my own to work with developers and agents in real estate marketing. It was a natural progression.

You grew up with a very high profile father, what influence did this have on your career path?

I spent most of my childhood in Wellington with my mum but there was no escaping the Mike Pero Mortgages jingle which kids would recite at school on a daily basis, so I guess I was always destined to be connected to property! I would fly down to Christchurch during school holidays and spent time in my father’s office. When I was 19 I moved back down to Christchurch and started working for a property investor as an unpaid intern, then went on to work in my father’s aviation technology business. I’ve been lucky to have had those opportunities which all shaped my career.

How difficult was the decision to go with a completely different company?

It was easy. I respect what my father has been able to build in real estate but wanted to take my own path and build a business of my own, which he understands. Good friends of mine, Sarah and Hamish Mcleod, bought the Halswell Harcourts office last year and a conversation in February resulted in me completing my real estate papers, obtaining my licence and getting a desk at the office the following month. They are incredibly supportive and have a wealth of knowledge and experience. I couldn’t ask for better managers. Being backed by the Grenadier franchise means I have a lot of resources at my disposal and the Harcourts brand is an amazing asset.

You’re a bit of an entrepreneur. Can you tell us about some of your other ventures?

On Valentine’s Day 2011 I started an online divorce business with a friend of mine to help people finalise their separations and move on. The Christian group Family First criticised us for being destructive and the publicity they gave us got us on TV3 news, Seven Days, radio and in most newspapers around the country. We received 150,000 hits on our website in a day.
More recently I created software for real estate agents called AgentSend. It helps agents deliver property documents to potential buyers and track their interest while also keeping the property at the top of the buyer’s mind by showing them ads across a network of more than two million websites. The software is used by agents from all brands around New Zealand, including myself!

What do you love about Christchurch?

I love that it’s both a major city and small town at the same time. There are plenty of opportunities and things happening, but people are still friendly and there’s a real sense of community. I think it’s an exciting place to live, we are lucky to have local developers and businesses willing to invest in our city and make it the wonderful town that it is.

What are some of your favourite city haunts or things to do in the weekends?

I’m a big fan of Victoria Street: Louis, Sister Kong and Dirty Land. I’m also really enjoying The Terrace – it’s great to be back dining there again and it’s come back better than ever. I look forward to Saturday mornings when my wife and I grab Posh Porridge at the Riccarton House Farmer’s Market before taking our dog Ruby to Halswell Quarry.

AB's Reflexology

Hands on feet: Alistair Burbury reflects on how he came to set up his mobile reflexology business AB’s reflexology

In a different life, Alistair Burbury might have become a doctor. As the oldest male of his generation in his family however, he fell into a life of farming in North Canterbury after agricultural training at Lincoln. Now, at an age when some are retired, and after stints in real estate and working as a reflexologist in Australia, he’s in Christchurch, busy as the latter.

AB's Reflexology

Living and working at the Surfer’s Paradise Crowne Plaza Day Spa as a reflexologist some years ago, Alistair was treating an international clientele. Management were loath to lose him, but Alistair returned to Christchurch to be near family. Needless to say, timing wasn’t ideal for reflexology after the quakes. Now however, it’s all about the help, happiness and stress release he can endow. Alistair’s very busy; he’s now even training other practitioners.
‘Reflexology’ is a practice of applying pressure to feet and hands in certain skilled ways. The results include deep, rejuvenating relaxation, improved sleep, increased energy and optimising clients’ lymphatic systems, boosting health and freedom from pain.
Alistair spends much of his working week assisting friends’ businesses. However, during evenings he takes his reflexology gear on the road to clients’ houses. He often treats couples, one after the other, starting with a foot-spa. For this, he’ll go as far afield as Rangiora and Tai Tapu.
“Travelling to treat clients just makes sense, because then for them there’s no driving anywhere afterwards. Instead, they can immediately fall into a beautiful sleep.”

Roots Restaurant

Taking root: Q&A with the couple behind Lyttleton’s Roots Restaurant

From an unassuming two-storey building on the main street of Lyttelton, a small restaurant is turning out some of the best food in the country.

Roots Restaurant

Headed by Giulio and Christy Sturla, Roots opened in London St in 2012 and has been making culinary waves in the port-side town.
Metropol talks to the couple behind this award-winning restaurant.

What is your culinary philosophy?
We look at nature as our main inspiration; the environment around us is our creative space. We are an ingredient based kitchen and we pride ourselves on using only the best that New Zealand produces. We have a sustainable approach to everything we do, from selecting the produce, to the way we cook and how we enjoy life with our family members.

Can you tell us about your cuisine journey?
The journey never ends, I started cooking at a young age at home while growing up in Ecuador, fresh natural foods were abundant and I really like to eat a lot. I started cooking professionally right after school. I have been cooking in many countries and different kinds of establishments, after a whole year interning at Mugaritz when I was 28 my style of cooking was defined. We opened Roots in November of 2012 and every single day is a journey that we enjoy.

How important is Lyttelton to you?
Lyttelton is the place that we could make our dreams come true. Lyttelton is the place where my daughters were born. Lyttelton is the community that opened their arms and gave us the support we needed to start our crazy dream. Lyttelton is home for us.

What attracted you to the cuisine industry?
At the beginning was the food, I love to eat. Now I look at cooking as an opportunity to express myself, to tell a story from my kitchen or the people we work with. I know that cooking good food has the power to make the world a better place for the future.

What are some of your favourite dishes or culinary creations?
All of our creations are my favourite; they tell a story of time and place. We want to create a memory of taste for our guests that hopefully stays with them forever.

You’ve earned some pretty impressive accolades now, why do you think it’s been such a success?
We believe in what we do, we are passionate, we don’t give up.

What are some of your favourite haunts or things to do in Canterbury?
We love the Banks Peninsula in general, every corner of it is an attraction for us, we can forage, we can surf, we can enjoy the stars. Also the North Canterbury wine region is something that always surprises us and the potential to become an incredible wine region is inspiring.

What does the next 12 months have in store for Roots?
A whole new Roots is in the making… also a small farm behind the restaurant is hopefully coming to fruition by the end of winter, probably harvesting by summer 2019.

Tony Astle

Tony Astle brings the Chiwahwah: questions and answers with a culinary empire-builder

Christchurch hospitality kingpin Tony Astle already heads a culinary empire, but now he’s bringing the Chiwahwah to town. Metropol talks to him about raising the bar – both literally and figuratively.

Tony Astle

When does Chiwahwah open and can you describe the cuisine and vibe you’re creating?

We have only recently received our building consent so sometime in the next few weeks, hopefully June. The cuisine will be Mexican. As always, we will endeavour to provide the best of its type in town. The vibe will be fun, with street cool interiors not straying to far from the Mexican I have created in the past with a few surprises. There will be a private area.

What drew you to hospitality?

I loved cooking from a young age and it has evolved from there. It’s a hit to share something I have created with customers and see them enjoy it.

What are some of the key ingredients for a successful hospitality establishment?

Consistency. Anyone who has ever worked with me will have heard the ‘consistency’ word over and over! Whether it’s fish and chips, fine dining, Asian or Spanish, it has to be consistent. Obviously good service and environment come into play too. Music level, lighting and temperature are also critical. On the flip side, sometimes customers don’t respond and I have no reason why. Some of the best businesses I have created have closed their doors.

What are some of your favourite haunts or places to head out to in Christchurch?

I don’t go too far from my own establishments. I’m a creature of habit so don’t necessarily follow the newest or trendiest venues. Foo San is my favourite, followed by Rangoon Ruby. My wife and I prefer to share a lot of smaller dishes.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?

I will strive to keep the businesses I have consistent. There is a tempting night club opportunity at the moment… I’ve always said I will finish my time in the industry back in the kitchen cooking, whether that time is here, I’m not sure. What I do know is I want to spend more time with my family.

Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie: A living legend

Last month, Christchurch was witness to one of the best musicians of the 1980s. The legend himself, Lionel Richie.

Lionel Richie

Songwriter, actor, singer and record producer, he has been gracing our televisions of late with his role as an American Idol judge. With such hits as Endless Love, All Night Long, Stuck on You, Say You Say Me and, of course, the heart-wrenching Hello, the hits from his years with the Commodores and many, many more, his ability to bring a stand up and dance moment at his concerts is never in question.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with him the night before the concert for a chat. “It’s Lionel Richie!” I said as I approached.
“Have been all my life,” he said in the beautiful gravelly voice of a seasoned pro.

How do you find New Zealand audiences?
“It’s a great country and I always enjoy coming here. You are all so friendly!”

It’s such a privilege to meet you, I grew up with your music in the 1980s and Hello is such a beautiful song
“You know what? I grew up with that music too! When I first started, people would say ‘what a sexy man’. When I got into my late 20s early 30s, people would say, ‘what a handsome man’. Now all I get is… ‘You look good for your age!’
“I was out in a bar in New Orleans and I saw this attractive woman looking across at me and I started looking at her, she looked at me and I was giving her ‘the look’ when she came over to me and said in this French accent ‘Yoouu are Lion-Nell Reechiiee?’ And I said ‘Yeeeesss, I am Lion-Nell Reechiiee’.
“She then handed me her mobile and said, ‘I’m friends with your daughter Nicole, she wants to say hi’. That’s when I got an earful from my daughter about hitting on her friends. I’m OLD now!”

How do you find the audiences respond to your music these days?
“Nothing’s changed except for the fact when I started off everyone said that if I kissed a girl at the front of the stage, the audience would go nuts – so I started doing that. Obviously now it’s a lot harder to lean that far down, so I don’t do that anymore. I’m OLD. I’m really looking forward to the Christchurch audience. You’re going to have a fun time tomorrow night.”

And he was so, so right. Those fortunate enough to be at Horncastle Arena were subjected to hit after boogie-down hit. The energy that this 68-year-old can conjure up on stage would make any teenage musician envious. Reminding us just how prolific and how relevant he was during the decade of music that was the 80s, back when he had us all singing We are the World, which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson. Music royalty was visiting Christchurch.
“As always, Lionel put on an amazing show, we love hosting him at Horncastle Arena,” Turlough Carolan from Vbase says.
“It’s also great to see such a varied range of events visiting the city over the coming months, from the incredible Dynamo (20-21 July) to the sublime Queens of the Stone Age (25 August), yet again, Vbase will be bringing many more great acts to Christchurch.”
Marvellous to have caught up with a living legend here, such a down to earth man with a beautiful voice for singing and conversation. A moment all those who saw him in concert will remember for a long time. He had us all, Dancing on the Ceiling.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: On the people who make Christchurch a city to be proud of

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile,” Albert Einstein

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

At face value, an urban space is classified a city once its inhabitants reach 50,000.
The fact that this means that people are what make a city – both in the literal and figurative sense – isn’t lost on our team here at Metropol.
We’ve long recognised the importance of people to our Christchurch identity because, although we’re drawn to landscapes and architecture, it’s the people that we engage with.
In recognition of this fact, we’ve been profiling some of the people behind our city; the movers, the shakers and the magic makers. What makes them tick – both commercially and emotionally; what exciting new ventures do they have in the commercial pipelines and, how do they fill their weekends?
This issue we talk to Mike Pero’s son Aaron about his own real estate moves, Maree Lucas about putting her event planning powers to the very worthy Ronald McDonald House fashion show and Dr Sue Bagshaw about her $10 million goal to cement a new multimillion dollar youth hub for the CBD.
Not to mention, we caught up with living legend Lionel Richie during his New Zealand tour and interviewed one of the country’s most sartorial elite, our cover model this issue, Karen Walker.
Christchurch is filled with incredibly inspiring people and we think Metropol is an incredible vehicle to share their success with you.

Karen Walker

Striking sartorial gold: Q&A with Karen Walker

Every industry has one; the prodigious talents whose comfort zones are outside of the box and for whom rules are more guideline than instruction. They’re the rebels, the misfits, the rulebreakers and the nonconformists. But equally, they’re the trendsetters, the innovators, the visionaries and the true talent. For New Zealand fashion, that’s Karen Walker.

Karen Walker

In 1989, at 19 years of age with just $100 in her pocket and two shirts in her commercial repertoire, she launched the Karen Walker label. Since then, she has steadily grown to be New Zealand’s most famous fashion export, with more than 1020 stores globally stocking her fashion, eyewear, jewellery, fragrance and paint collections, and a cult following from Lady Gaga to Madonna.
With the ability to pair neons with pastels and floral prints with military touches in a way that only a true talent can, she has struck sartorial gold with her androgynous and offbeat designs distinguishable by their punchy, tomboyish edge.
Metropol caught up with the sartorial powerhouse after a whirlwind trip to Dunedin where she was judging this year’s iD Fashion Week.

What was a standout at this year’s iD Fashion Week?
The stand-out for me, obviously, was our first prize winner, Damir Begović, but there were a lot of other collections that I thought were really excellent – I was very impressed and delighted to be there.

How important is it to you to support emerging designers coming through the industry?
I think it’s very important for anyone who’s well established in this industry to support emerging talent and iD Fashion Week’s got a great structure in place for doing this in a unique and outward-facing way.

Karen Walker has become an iconic Kiwi label, why do you think it has been such a success and how do you continue to stay ahead of the game in such a constantly evolving industry?
It all comes down to the ideas and we’re very fortunate that people like what we make. With regard to staying ahead of the game, I guess that’s just a result of us being interested in new ideas.

What drew you to fashion in the first place?
The feeling it gives you when you create or find something truly new/exciting/great.

How would you define the Karen Walker brand?
Chic meets eccentric.

You’ve been involved with some pretty cool collaborations recently, including cookie mix and cute canine accessories. How much fun has it been to do something completely different?
We’re in this business because we love to work with and create new ideas, especially ones that put a smile on people’s faces, and we’re always thinking about and working on projects that are new and exciting.

We have to ask the cliché question – what are your biggest style secrets?
A combination of lots of things really but the things that are important to me include: quality, a sense of self and a calmness within that, plenty of sleep and, for me personally, if in doubt… navy. And never, ever, ever counterfeits.

What can we look forward to from Karen Walker this coming year?
Coming up in the second half of the year we’ve got new eyewear (guys and girls), new ready-to-wear and bags and a big, exciting, top secret collab to top the year off.

Kenneth F. Weaver

For the benefit of others: Kenneth F. Weaver is the amazing man who has been providing Christchurch pensioner’s low-cost housing for 45 years

When Kenneth F. Weaver first started providing low-cost pensioner housing in Christchurch 45 years ago, he was amassing joy. Daughter Karen and son Craig talk of how thankful and contented their dad has made many older Cantabrians.

Kenneth F. Weaver
Kenneth F. Weaver

Prospective tenants of their one and two-bed units are eligible if they’re over 60, have less than $25,000 to call on and experience genuine housing need. Once there, they can relax, knowing their comfortable accommodation is secure for life. Often such peace would have been impossible to find. Generally tenants leave only if they require rest-home care.
Now numbering 29 units, and in locations including Abberley Crescent, Barbadoes Street, Hills Road and Trist Place, the Kenneth F. Weaver Trust Inc. homes all boast heat pumps, good insulation and tidy garden surrounds. There’s a tenant waiting list for when a unit becomes vacant. The accommodation is now managed and maintained by the next generation of the Weaver family.

Kenneth F. Weaver

It’s obvious that Kenneth F, now 83, had great foresight in establishing such housing, as the need for it has always remained steady. His charitable work was celebrated in 2005, when he received the Queen’s Service Medal for his outstanding contribution to the community.
Find out more by visiting

RLS Redesigned Boutique

Romance revisited: the wonderfully whimsical story of Rebecca and the RLS Redesigned Boutique

Once upon a time, Rebecca Swindell was in her local St Vincent de Paul shop when she spied a shelf of vintage lace and fabric remnants. “The needlework, the hours of love that had gone into creating these beautiful pieces… imagine if they ended up in landfill!”

RLS Redesigned Boutique
Photo Simon Greenwood

Rebecca returned home with her tablecloths, pillowcases and doilies then looked at the rack of op shop garments hanging in her studio. It was 2013, her stall of home décor was selling well at the recently opened Pallet Pavilion, and the op shop clothes were popular, too, but Rebecca’s artistic eye was already envisioning something else. She slipped an op shop dress over her mannequin and got out her pins and tacking thread. RLS Redesigned Boutique was open for business.
Rebecca says she was born creative. “When I was little, I’d sit beside mum while she was working on her sewing machine and stitch away on scraps she gave me; from the age of ten I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer.”
Apart from markets or country fairs, Rebecca’s romantic, wearable works of art can be found at the Lyttle Kiwi, 15 London Street, Lyttelton. She also opens her studio by appointment. “Bring your mum; bring your girlfriends. I love the interaction and the social side of my work. Knowing I’ve dressed someone – to see their elation – that’s the best feeling of success!”
For more information phone 027 3040 484 or find RLS Redesigned Boutique on Facebook.