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The Influencers: John Bridgman

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

From many parts of the city, and even from the Port Hills, you can now clearly make out the white steel skeleton of what will be the Metro Sports Facility.

Some very big bones were added recently, in the form of the roof trusses for the 2500-seat show court.

The roof is made up of four sections, each of which weighs as much as about 33 cars and has a span close to half the length of a rugby field.

Unsurprisingly, getting these giant steel sections into place to the millimetre was a delicate operation, and it’s just a taste of what’s to come as we create the largest sports and recreation facility of its kind in New Zealand.

These roof sections required one of the big cranes to lift them into place.

The spans over the ten pools will require two cranes to work in tandem.

The 12 metre ceiling height of the show court space is to meet the requirements for hosting the likes of top-level basketball and netball fixtures at the facility.

The grandstand seats will be retractable, to reveal two more courts that can then be used for community competitions.

That’s alongside the six other indoor courts at the southern end of the site, near Moorhouse Avenue.

The sheer size and adaptability of this anchor project we’re delivering are key elements in allowing a wide range of people to reap the benefits of being active.


A Day at the Polo


Saturday 7 December heralds a glamourous day out, as dapper-suited gents and fancy-frocked ladies gather beneath a marquee at the Port Hills Polo Club for A Day at the Polo.



The annual fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House South Island (RMHSI) is now in its eleventh year. Last year’s event raised $110,000, so there’s high hopes for this year’s total.

In this beautiful setting, ticketed guests will sip complimentary bubbles and dine at tables of 10 on delicious fare from Twentyfour Catering, a long-time supporter of RMHSI.

The live auction commences at 12:15pm with fabulous prizes, such as a trip to Sydney, stunning artworks, and a pair of magnificent Frobisher chairs worth $3,500, to name but a few. Silent auctions and raffles are also on the agenda.

The polo matches are the highlight of the day with the traditional ‘stomping of the divots’ being a fun way to reconnect with friends and colleagues out on the field.

Events Advisor Jodie Gill says it’s the generosity of donors that makes A Day at the Polo the enormous success that it is. “There are so many businesses that really get on board with this by donating incredible prizes or by relinquishing a day’s income to come and work on our behalf. It’s very humbling.”

With every dollar raised going back to RMHSI, book your table now for the most awesome event of the year!

The polo will be held at the Port Hills Polo Club, Gilmours Road, Tai Tapu from 11am-5pm.

For tickets, visit and for more information, email



Takahe Takes Off

One of Christchurch’s historic masterpieces has reopened its doors as a friendly and welcoming café, bar and community hub, with Cashmere couple Andrew and Kay Male at the helm.



The building, inside and out, is really something special. The Sign of the Takahe was founded by naturalist Harry Ell and was one of four rest houses built to provide refreshments for travellers on their route from Akaroa to Christchurch via the Summit Road. The building became Christchurch’s finest ‘silver service’ dining experience in the late 1900s and was eventually closed for repair and strengthening after the recent earthquakes. Eight years on, it has opened to the public once again, thanks to the enthusiastic local couple.

They immigrated to New Zealand in 2005 from Windsor, home to the famous Windsor Castle, with their first four-month old baby boy. Fourteen years on and now with two teenage sons, they have taken pride in giving this Christchurch ‘castle’ a new lease of life. “We’re very passionate about the building,” Kay says.

The couple are also passionate about honouring Harry Ell and his philosophy of nurturing the Port Hills environment and community. Community is at the heart of the business – there’s a significant focus on supporting local businesses, groups, schools and causes. Sections of the building are able to be hired and used as a space for community groups to hold events like meetings, fundraisers and classes.



The locally sourced café and bar offerings are all part of the story. A brand-new menu features favourites like pasta, fish and chips, pizza and steak. “It’s not going to be the fine dining that it was before – it’s more fresh, local produce; family friendly, affordable and casual,” Andrew says.

Fine local wines, spirits and craft beers are available at the bar – take note of their locally brewed house beer, Takahe. For every pint sold, 50 cents will go to a separate fund set up to invest in the conservation of the Port HIlls, again honouring Harry Ell’s legacy.

Their tea and coffee also have great causes at their roots; Charity Tea, a loose-leaf organic, fairtrade and biodegradable tea range donates its profits to feeding programmes in New Zealand and Haiti; for each 1kg of tea purchased, five children are fed. Their one-of-a-kind coffee, Ha Kawhe, also puts their profits back into the community, with money going to Matapopore Charitable Trust.



Sustainability is also an integral focus of the business, and they have plans to become B Corp Certified by following a sustainable social and environmental ethos. The couple are already passionate about recycling and reusing; so much so they have introduced a KeepCup swap system. “Just things like that, we want to be able to leave as little impact on the planet as possible,” Kay says.

Revamped, refurbished and taking off into a bright new future, Sign of the Takahe is open for bookings, just in time for your Cup Day celebration. Phone 03 925 8766, visit Sign of the Takahe on Facebook or the website,




Photography: The Perfect Line

A momentous occasion: Christchurch Adventure Park is back and ready for action

Christchurch Adventure Park staff gathered last month to mark the one-year anniversary of the devastating Port Hills fires.

Photography: The Perfect Line
Photography: The Perfect Line

The fires, which broke out in February 2017, burned 1600 hectares of land on the Port Hills, claimed the life of firefighter Steve Askin, destroyed eleven homes and tore through the Christchurch Adventure Park, forcing its closure after just eight weeks of being open.
Christchurch Adventure Park General Manager, Anne Newman, says at lot of hard work has gone into getting the park up and running again. “For those staff who were working at the park on that day it was obviously a stressful and traumatic experience to go through. Many staff then lost their jobs following the fires and, for those who did remain, it was ten months of incredibly hard work to get things prepared for a re-opening.”
Sales and Marketing Manager, Sheena Crawford, says the facilities continue to grow. “We have recently re-opened two more of our trails, so in a biking sense we are getting closer and closer to our former capacity and are aiming to quickly grow beyond that. We have had over 40,000 people through the park in the first two months; 30,000 of those going up the chair and over a thousand enjoying the ziplines.
“There is no doubt that there are still challenges for us to overcome as we continue to recover, but we are stoked to be back in business and seeing so many people out enjoying what the park has to offer again.”