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Big battle for little Lachie

At the age of four, Lachie Connell and his family spent 229 nights at someone else’s house.



The day before this mammoth sleepover, everything was relatively normal for the West Coast family of five, that includes younger brother Malachi, older brother Silas and parents, Pat Connell and Jeanna Abelson.

That is, apart from the regular fevers, the unusual bruising and the lethargy Lachie was experiencing.

“He’d been having some pretty random fevers, off and on,” Jeanna says.

“The doctor would say it’s just a virus. It would go high then go away, but quite regularly. Then maybe two or three weeks out from diagnosis he got tired and lethargic at school and wasn’t quite himself. Then he started developing bruises. He was an active little boy but nothing that explained the bruising.”

So, on 30 August 2018, Jeanna took him back to the local GP where she had been able to secure an appointment with a nurse.

That nurse pretty quickly brought in the doctor and that doctor took one look at him and sent a shocked Jeanna straight to Greymouth Hospital.

“She said there were some pretty serious illnesses that displayed like this and one is actually leukaemia,” Jeanna says.

Blood tests immediately showed cause for concern and from there, the family went straight to Christchurch with just the clothes on their backs.

Lachie was admitted to the ward at Christchurch Hospital at 7pm that night. The following day he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL)

“From there he was in hospital for a month,” Jeanna says.

“He had a very intense round of chemotherapy; he had a total of nine months of intense chemo, but the first round is particularly hard where he couldn’t walk for a month. But he got through it, he carried on.

“Now he’s in maintenance treatment.”

The aim of maintenance treatment is to get rid of any remaining leukaemia cells.

An intense regime, it involves daily chemotherapy medication, antibiotics to prevent lung infections, steroids to help destroy leukaemia cells and prevent reactions, Intravenous chemotherapy (IV chemo) and Intrathecal Chemotherapy (IT chemo) delivered by lumber puncture every three months to kill any leukaemia cells that might have spread to the brain and spinal cord, along with regular tests and check-ups with his oncologist.

The brave little battler just turned six earlier this month.

Home away from home

In the first month of treatment in Christchurch, Lachie was in the hospital almost full-time, so it was critical for the family to be close by.

Jeanna and Pat did sleep shifts and play-time shifts to enable them to be with Lachie and keep their youngest Malachi – who turned two the month following Lachie’s hospital admission – occupied in the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Centre, where Lachie was being treated.

That’s when Ronald McDonald House South Island (RMHSI) stepped up.

A registered charity, RMHSI supports families with food and accommodation in one of their centres when their child is in a hospital away from home, free of charge. Having left their lives on the West Coast to begin treatment in Christchurch, RMHSI took the stress, worry and cost out of the equation for the young family.

It enabled them to stay close by the hospital during the initial treatment and allowed them time to make Christchurch their permanent base for the longer-term treatment programme.

The boys named RMHSI the ‘party house’ from the fun environment created when all the families in the 26-bedroom Christchurch House get together for dinner.

In Lachie’s first round of treatment, the 6pm dinner was the only thing that would entice him out of his room, even when he wasn’t up to eating.

Having lost her first son when he was a baby, Jeanna is aware of just how extraordinary this service is.

“He became unwell at three months old. Same thing happened, we were rushed to hospital, but there was no Ronald McDonald House back then, just an old janitor closet that was small and uncomfortable,” she says.

“Ronald McDonald House became something so special to us. It feels like home. It’s a warm and friendly environment which makes going through treatment less stressful.

“There’s a real family feeling there, it’s a loving environment. All the staff are so incredibly warm, they become your family… your Ronald McDonald House family.”

Last year, RMHSI became a ‘home away from home’ to 1281 families, saving them more than $1.2 million in accommodation expenses.

Already, the organisation has helped more than 200 families this year. However, like many charities, RMHSI has had to cancel its major fundraising events this year – Invercargill, Christchurch and Queenstown Supper Clubs.

So the organisation is hoping to raise more than $50,000 to support Kiwi families via its Host a Roast™ community fundraising event which launched this month.

During the month of July, host a roast and invite your whānau, friends or colleagues to attend for a $20 donation.

This will go towards supporting families who require a ‘home away from home’ while needing hospital treatment for their child.

“Host a Roast™ is all about celebrating the precious moments created with family and friends around the table. Now, more than ever, it’s an experience we can all appreciate,” RMHSI Chief Executive Mandy Kennedy says.

“Our commitment to serving families who must travel to Christchurch or Invercargill for their child’s medical treatment is unwavering. Our eyes are firmly fixed on providing the best care and support for families who are going through a tough and uncertain time, and on the children who need their parents by their side.”

To register online for Host a Roast™ head to


A charitable endeavour

Juliette Capaldi’s first love was always photography. Now after a battle with cancer, the local mother of one is turning the lens on a charity project close to her heart. She talks to Metropol about her passion project.



“My dad gave me a camera when I was 10 or 12, so photography was something that always inspired me,” Juliette says.

“Then I went away and did a million other things,” she laughs, “my degree, travelling, working overseas.”

A bit over 10 years ago and newly married, she was looking for something to sink her creative teeth into. “My husband said, ‘what do you really want to do?’ and I was like ‘be a photographer’. He said, ‘well just do it, I’ll support you 100 percent’”.

And in 2009 Etta Images was born… but the universe had another baby in store for Juliette and her husband Rob. “I got pregnant the first month I started the business!” she laughs.

Juliette had previously been involved with a charity photography project for the Make a Wish Foundation, where the photographers donated their time and the session fee went to Make a Wish.

“I think only three of us took it up, but I thought what an amazing way for photographers to be able to raise funds, why not try it myself?”

She had been helping with Ronald McDonald House (RMH), cooking meals with a friend so that was a natural fit for a charity. “They’re just so amazing at RMH with what they do; they’re the perfect charity,” she says.

So she launched plans for ‘Love and Mums’ – a project that would see her photograph 75 local mums and create a beautiful coffee table book from the images. She reduced her usual session fee of $99 to just $65 and the entire $65 would be donated
to RMH.


“I have a strong passion for getting mums in photographs with their children. So often they are behind the camera and often avoid it on purpose, worried about how they look.”

But again, the universe threw another curveball. In March this year, the 45-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancer was large, she says, but it hadn’t spread to her nodes. It was picked up at her first screening as part of the nationwide programme for women over 45, so it was caught early. “I encourage all women to go. Even if you don’t like it, just go; it’s such an amazing service.”

The discovery of a second lump cemented her decision to get the full mastectomy. “I’ve got a boy who is nine, coming up 10, and I just wanted to survive for him,” she says.



Miraculously, only one session had to be rescheduled, with a heavily pregnant mum and her daughter, due to the number of tests Juliette had to undergo. “Luckily, we managed to reschedule a week later and baby waited!” she says.

One person did have to miss out because I was having a mastectomy two days before the shoot, but I was back shooting 10 days later to finish off the book!”

It’s not the first time cancer has touched her life. Juliette’s mother’s first husband died of cancer, when the youngest of her five half brothers and sisters was just three months old. Her grandmother died of cancer and, last March, her dad died of cancer
– something she still finds painful to talk about.

Now she’s moved her focus to a new project – ‘Love and Dads’. This time, the proceeds will support cancer research; same concept, this time with dads. “My best friend is going through breast cancer and a mum at my son’s school is going through it. So to be able to do something for the Breast Cancer Foundation feels really good.”

So if you’re wanting something special to make your relationship with any fathers in your life, get in touch. It’s all for an amazing cause.

To find out more and to book in a session for Love and Dads, visit and follow the Facebook page,



Metropol has two copies of Love and Mums to give away to two very lucky readers. To enter, please head to our Facebook page and follow the instructions.



Dinner with a twist! Q&A with Corey Hume

The Ronald McDonald House Supper Club is one of the hottest events on the social calendar, but if you missed the Christchurch event, Queenstown is getting the mystery dinner treatment on Friday 18 October. We caught up with one of the country’s leading chefs, Corey Hume, who spearheaded this mystery dining event.




Can you tell us a bit about your culinary journey?

I trained at Christchurch Polytechnic in Professional Cookery under the guidance of Neil MacInnes, the coach and manager of the New Zealand Culinary Olympic Team and Dennis Taylor who was a great technician.

While there, I was approached by Armando Javellana who was the best pastry chef in New Zealand at the time, and decided to specialise in Patisserie. I first started to represent New Zealand in 1997, winning multiple international gold medals and being involved in the Australian and, more recently, the New Zealand Culinary Olympic Team.

In 2004, I was judged as the Best Seafood Chef in New Zealand, at an invitation only contest for New Zealand’s leading chefs.

I’ve since worked around the world and opened the first SLH property for Six Senses in the Middle East, which is one of the top resorts in the world. For the past eight years, I’ve been working at Blanket Bay as their Executive Chef and gained exposure in several Michelin starred restaurants in the United States; Gary Danko, Quince, Coi and The Restaurant at Meadowood, the last being such an inspiration to work in.

I’m a board member and Coach for the Bocuse d’Or New Zealand. The Bocuse d’Or is the most extreme and demanding culinary competition in the world today for an individual.

My style is always evolving.  I like all types of food, and I have big influences recently from Japan, Singapore, the USA and New Zealand of course. I’m really proud of the food that is being served in from certain restaurants around New Zealand. They give me hope and encourage me to keep moving forward and to never stop growing as a chef. People often told me what I couldn’t do, and I’ve since proved them wrong. I still intend to!

What attracted you to the industry?

My passion for food, art and the discipline required daily to be great at what you do in this industry.

I did well in art at school, but I found it somewhat limiting, and I really liked working with food. One of New Zealand’s most prominent Chefs sat me down and told me about his career when I was in high school. I was hooked. My tutors at Polytech were very encouraging.

Back then, I felt like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I had discovered a world where I knew I belonged, and that world of Chefs and cooking was happy to embrace me.

How did you become involved with Ronald McDonald House?

In one of my roles representing New Zealand overseas, I met one of America’s greatest Chefs’, Reimund Pitz who was the Continental Director of the Americas for the World Association of Chefs Societies. He had started a great movement with the ACF Chef & Child Foundation and it was inspiring. I thought I could do something like that when I was older.

I couldn’t wait, so after a quick chat with some young Chefs in Christchurch who were keen to support my not so crazy idea- that young NZ Chefs could cook with a senior mentor to help raise funds for a Charity. It was about a movement at the time in our industry I was spear heading to give younger Chefs more credibility around the world.

In 2002, I literally dressed up in a suit and hit the pavement in Christchurch, knocking on doors, offering to tell my idea to a Charity who would listen.

A lot of charities weren’t interested surprisingly. I even went into the Children’s Ward at Christchurch Hospital with no luck. My Grandad mentioned about Ronald McDonald House opening in the South Island after seeing an advert in the paper. So the next day, I approached the Chairman at the time, Stuart Leck, to relay my idea. He was keen. This was before the House had even opened.

Very few people knew of my idea to say the least, and I wanted to make sure there was an interested charity first!

I had the full backing of Canterbury Chefs, a branch of the New Zealand Chefs Association, and from then onwards, the rest is history! I was 25 years old at the time. The first event was called Miles of Smiles, and it was about young chefs, supporting young children in hospital and their families.

Since I had moved overseas in 2006, I had lost touch with the initiative, but was very happy to have RMHSI’s events advisor call me inadvertently to ask if I was interested.

Little did she or I know how the conversation was going to reignite my passion for the cause as I had no idea that the event was still running! I was blown away to see how it had been transformed.

I was only too happy to be involved again! Since I had left Blanket Bay, I had joined Ryan Henley, The Chef de Cuisine from Pescatore at the George Hotel for the Christchurch Supper Club in June.

How important is supporting Ronald McDonald House South Island to you?

I spent a lot of time in Christchurch Hospital as a child. I understand what it is like for the children and how having their families close to them can literally mean a real difference in their recovery from illness and support during some tough times. It’s hard for them to be able to tell adults this, but it’s something that I’m sure gave me the strength to carry on and saved me from dying multiple times when I was close to the edge. The support of my family being close certainly made a difference looking back as an adult.

I feel like this fundraising event is a voice for them, that it’s a way we as adults can come together over a plate of food cooked with love, to help support families who are there to support their children in their time of need.

It’s been my way of giving back to the community of Christchurch that has supported me through my earlier career by paying it forward.

You’ve got the iconic Ronald McDonald House mystery dining experience – Queenstown Supper Club – coming up on Friday 18 October. What can guests look forward to from the night?

It will be another memorable event. It’s going to be a great night in a secret location, which is really special, hosted by some former Supper Club attendees. Great to see for them how it’s coming full circle, and for me to have the opportunity to cater for them. It will be a memorable night in a truly memorable location.

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

It’s an exciting time ahead! I’m grateful for the experience I had with Blanket Bay as their Executive Chef, where I’ve had the privilege to cook for some of the world’s most discerning and influential diners.

Now I’m starting my own business. I’m excited about being back in the public forum, but my focus will be on private dining. I’ve had numerous requests over the years to be cooking for people in their homes, and I hope to make Queenstown my base of operations, going as far as overseas if required.

Running my own business is something I have always wanted to do, and of course it’ll be with my own twist. It’s about providing a personalised experience above all else to a wider range of people, as I have a broad range of dietary requirements that I’m able to cater for in the future.

I aim to bring that international exposure I’ve had to people’s homes, venues and unique locations in a bespoke manner, individually tailored to their needs and unique dietary requirements. To tell a story using the ingredients from  New Zealand with a unique point of view for locals and international guests with a wow factor for those who want something a little different in a particular way that I envisage.

In addition, I’ll be collaborating with different artists as well on related projects which I can’t say anything more about at this point in time, but which I’m very excited about. I’m extremely creative and like nothing more than collaborating with like-minded and passionate people, where we can bounce ideas off each other and have the means to create truly memorable experiences.


Putting the mystery in dining

Emphasising the ‘fun’ in fundraiser, Ronald McDonald House’s Christchurch Supper Club annually celebrates Christchurch’s finest dining destinations, with a kind-hearted, essential purpose underpinning each culinary experience: to accommodate and support families who must travel to Christchurch for their child’s medical treatment.


Photography by Cassandra Kovacs, CM Photography


Dressed in their very best with champagne flutes in hand, guest after guest gathered at the Isaac Theatre Royal on 21 June for the charity’s fundraising event of the year. Not knowing where they’d be dining, the guests awaited the famous mystery draw with anticipation. Which of the 34 unique destinations would be theirs for the evening? Welcome to the excitement of the Christchurch Supper Club!

After listening to Pat Connell share the story of his family’s 229-night stay at Ronald McDonald House South Island, a live fundraising auction took place. A lucky team of eight from Smith Crane & Construction scored the sought-after auction prize of ‘First Choice’, which entitled them to pick any mystery dinner out of the 34 on offer – and their choice? Luxury accommodation venue The Britten Stables, which had been paired with award-winning Chef de Cuisine Ryan Henley of fine-dining seafood restaurant Pescatore at The George.



The Britten Stables’ co-owner Isabelle Weston says she was “over the moon” to be approached by Ronald McDonald House to host a mystery dinner for the 2019 Christchurch Supper Club. “We are regularly approached by charities and love to support where we can… particularly charities that focus on children.” She expressed she was proud that The Britten Stables was ‘lucky enough’ to be selected for the ‘First Choice’ auction prize and thinks the venue particularly appeals to people because of its rich and unique history.

Whisked away from the pre-dinner function in vintage cars, the eight guests arrived at the magnificent Britten Stables. After they were seated in the sumptuous sitting room, they were served an exclusive seven-dish degustation menu, in line with Pescatore’s typical dining style. Renowned for pushing the culinary boundaries, the contemporary restaurant produces palate-pleasing plates of unparalleled originality and quality – and this evening was no different.

The gastronomic dinner began with the perfect marriage of Wild Venison Tataki and Deer Milk Crisp paired with Black Rice and Soy, followed by the fine flavours of Scampi Sandwich, Kina, Kawa Kawa and Cucumber. Next up was the strikingly sublime combination of Scallop, Nori, Broad Bean Miso and Chive, then an exquisite plate of Slow-Cooked Egg Yolk, Smoked Potato and Oyster.



Guests marvelled in two more decadent dishes of the savoury variety – Salmon Consommé and Nasturtium, and Confit Groper, BBQ Red Cabbage, Fermented Squid, Clam Cream and Tarragon – before their taste buds were treated to the sweet sensation of Rhubarb Granita, Pistachio, Apple, Yogurt and Mint Lemon.

The 2019 edition of the Christchurch Supper Club proved to be truly unforgettable evening, garnering an outstanding sum of donations totalling more than $105,000. This heart-warming annual event gives dedicated restaurateurs and top chefs the chance to showcase their skills, promote their establishment and deliver delectable cuisine to the people of Christchurch, knowing their contribution helps to house and support over 1200 families annually.



Kathryn Wilson

Runway for Ronald: Q&A with Kathryn Wilson

It’s that time of the year again, the time of the year when we get to see all the latest and greatest sartorial selections hit the runway for the M Factor Fashion Show for 2019.


Kathryn Wilson


What attracted you to become involved with Ronald McDonald House?
It’s a cause that is important to me. I remember hearing first-hand about what they’re dealing with in terms of lack of funding and thought ‘how can we help?’
I’ve been an ambassador for Ronald McDonald House Charities for six years, so we align our brand with the house with several events throughout the year. We support the house with proceeds from our public ticketed shows and our head office team recently did a cooking evening for some of the families staying there.
For anyone who hasn’t visited the houses before, it’s quite neat to know you’re always welcome to cook or volunteer there. It was so awesome for our team to see, not just the kids staying in Starship, but the impact for their siblings as well that are living away from their homes.
Once I heard there was the catwalk show, it was an easy decision. I had to be involved.


What are you most looking forward to about the Fashion Show in April?
We don’t often get to do events outside of where we are based. Our head office and retail stores are in Auckland, so it’s amazing to have an opportunity to connect with customers and stockists throughout the country. It’s a really well run event; I’ve worked with Maree from M Factor Events before and she makes it easy for us to be involved because she’s such a professional.
We’re due to have a baby very soon, so I won’t be able to personally attend, but I’ll be there in spirit. It’s great to be able to share our collections on the catwalk and see our products come to life.


You released your Autumn/Winter footwear range last month, can you tell us a bit more about that and where you drew your inspiration from?
The winter collection is a return to the ‘90s, with pointed toes; red and black and white; textured and printed leathers. They’re bold and make the wearer feel super confident and like she can take on the world, whether they’re in the boardroom or at home with two toddlers.


What other exciting things can we expect from the brand this year?
We’ve got Fashion Week in August and our annual Queenstown show, which is in its eighth year in August.
Lola is four now, so she’s going to school soon and we have our new one on the horizon for the family, so it will be challenging times ahead.
Timed in with the arrival of our new baby, we have Baby Wilsons on the cards – a collection of toddler and baby shoes. We’re also moving head office with new space for the team and we’re looking at retail opportunities outside of Auckland, which is all part of our expansion plans for the next five years.



Ronald McDonald House South Island

A mysterious event: A magical auction and dinning experience to remember

The excitement was palpable. What can one do, in the depths of winter in the south, on a weary Friday night? Get dressed to the nines and go mystery-dining and auction-donating, that’s what!

Ronald McDonald House


It’s proven itself as a fabulous way to pass a great evening with an essential purpose underpinning proceedings: to accommodate and support families in vulnerable times when their children are sick and receiving hospital treatment.
Ronald McDonald House South Island’s ‘Christchurch Supper Club’ was a night of sweet generosity, sumptuous dining and mingling. Restaurant and other venue owners, chefs, stylists, sponsors and guests all contributed to something mysterious, not to mention delicious, that inclement weather couldn’t dampen.

Guests arrived at the ‘Harry-Potterish’ Christchurch Boys’ High auditorium’s old-world grandeur, not knowing where they’d end up. It was one of those Supper Club experiences, where 42 creative scenes had been set around the city, with degustation-or-feast menus designed to be savoured at these as-yet unknown warm, magical destinations, somewhere out there beyond the cold dark. Taxis waited to whisk guests away, once the live random draw was done.

Ronald McDonald House South Island
First choice of venue was actually an auction-itemised-privilege, but mostly guests were equally excited by all of the destinations and styles of dining on offer.
An outstanding sum totalling more than $130,000 was raised. Mandy Kennedy, CEO of Ronald McDonald House remains “overwhelmed” by the effort and love shared on the night.
“These donated funds will stay in the South Island, directly supporting families who must travel for their child’s medical treatment. It costs $140 per night to care for one family and our charity helps over 700 families annually.
“Supper Club 2018 provides funding towards our operational costs so that no family is ever charged for staying with us at our Ronald McDonald House South Island,” she adds, with gratitude.

An outstanding sum totalling more than $130,000 was raised

Maree Lucas

A fashionable crusade: Q&A with Maree Lucas of M Factor Events

Maree Lucas brought tears to the eyes of some of the biggest fashion followers last month at one of the city’s most covetable fashion shows of the year. Supporting a cause very close to her heart, the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Fashion Show is her annual contribution to a charitable cause which has done so much for her own family.

Maree Lucas
Maree Lucas

Born prematurely, one with a hole in her heart, Maree’s twin nieces spent time at Starship, with the family staying at RMH during their treatment. Metropol talks to the school principal and owner of M Factor Events about this very worthy cause.

How did you become involved with RMH?

A friend was organising a fashion show for Ronald McDonald House about 14 years ago and I was modelling in it. I gave her a hand on the day with the organising and met the team from RMH and realised what a special charity it was. I was already organising events, so this then became one of my annual events and we used it to raise money for RMH. It is such a fun event and relates well with the RMH charity as there are so many children involved and it’s about gorgeous fashion, but also has different aspects to a normal fashion show – the All Blacks/Crusaders always add some character and the amount of children involved makes it a really lively event.

How fulfilling is it to be able to give back to an organisation which has given so much to your own family?

It definitely is a special place. The fact my family have stayed there and used Ronald McDonald House makes the event even more special for me. It’s lovely to be able to give back to a place that gives so much each and every day.

How much time goes into planning and preparation for an event such as this?

We have started working on next year’s show already, so a lot of thought and preparation goes into it. It definitely becomes easier each year as we build our sponsors and supporters. Generally once someone has come along to the event, they want to give back in some way the following year, whether through sponsorship, donating auction/raffle items, modelling, volunteering or just spreading the word about ticket sales. As I am a full time primary school principal, it is something I do in my spare time. Generally I use the January school holidays to get a lot of it organised, plus I always have my school involved. It’s a great way for the children to learn how to give back and pay it forward.

How successful was this year’s event compared to previous years?

I was really happy with this year’s event. There was such a positive and energetic vibe in the audience; the models looked great and have so much fun on the catwalk showcasing the gorgeous clothes and the most important thing to me is to raise awareness of this amazing charity. On top of that, we managed to raise over $60,000 for RMH.

The charitable social calendar

The charitable social calendar: local events with a community or charitable trust

We share our city with some incredible people who put heart, mind and soul into the support of philanthropic endeavours, so much so that we couldn’t possibly hope to list them all.

The charitable social calendar

What we can do however, is list some of the upcoming events on the local social calendar which have been formed to support the vital charitable services that are at the heart of a strong community. We hope you enjoy.

Battle of the artists

Art Battle is live, competitive painting where 12 of Christchurch’s top artists have just 20 minutes to paint a canvas. The audience votes for the winner and all artworks are available by silent auction on the night.
But what is perhaps the most exciting aspect of this endeavour, is that it supports the charity ‘Just Peoples’ which was set up to connect Kiwis with the means and desire to join the fight against global poverty with small, locally led micro-projects across Asia and Africa.
Sunday 6 May from 5:30-9:30pm
Sixty6 on the corner Peterborough and Durham Streets
For tickets visit

Philanthropic fare

It’s an iconic mystery dining experience and it’s all in support of Ronald McDonald House. Arrive with your guests at the pre-dinner function and enjoy a glass of champagne and canapes. This is where excitement builds with a live auction, before you find out where you will be dining for the night with a live mystery dining draw.
From exclusive local restaurants to private chefs at unique dining destinations, Supper Club Christchurch is sure to impress your dinner guests.
Friday 15 June from 5:30pm until late
Pre-dinner location to be revealed soon, mystery dinner location announced on the night
For bookings contact Robyn Medlicott on 027 225 5221 or

A charitable cook

Life Education Trust Canterbury is very lucky to have the opportunity to host a fundraising event alongside Annabel Langbein.
Ticket proceeds will go directly to Life Education Trust Canterbury, enabling this talented team to continue delivering health educational lessons to 20,000 primary and intermediate school children in Canterbury each year.
During this exclusive event the second volume Essentials cookbook will be launched and Annabel will share stories from her free-range life as well as top tips and tricks to help you become a more confident and creative cook.
Monday 7 May from 6:30-8:30pm
St Margaret’s College, Charles Luney Auditorium
Tickets are available on

Wham Bam Author Jam

We have a lot of talented authors in this beautiful country of ours, and Addington Raceway wanted to create a place for the public to meet them and perhaps find their next favourite!
The event will feature local authors and even some from further afield, with ticket and raffle proceeds supporting the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. So, grab the family, grab your friends and head to Wham Bam Author Jam!
Saturday 24 November, 10am-4pm
Addington Raceway 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington
Tickets are available on

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: on getting teary-eyed at the M Factor Events for Ronald McDonald fashion show

Tears may not be what you’d expect from one of the city’s most covetable fashion shows. But when the benefactor of the event is a worthy charitable cause such as Ronald McDonald House South Island, which has supported the likes of Paula and Alex Moore, it’s not surprising there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

When their daughter Grace was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the Moore family – including Grace’s twin sister Sophie and younger brother Beau – spent 133 nights at Ronald McDonald House.
The annual M Factor Fashion Show is one of the organisation’s primary fundraising drives each year, which enables it to continue the tireless crusade to support families when they need it the most. More than $65,000 was raised for the charity on the night at this year’s event.
It’s an event that organiser Maree Lucas from M Factor Events puts heart and soul into. She was joined on stage for the opening address by her twin nieces. Born prematurely, one with a hole in her heart, they spent time at Starship and her family stayed at Ronald McDonald House to be close to them while they underwent treatment.
It was a special night for a special cause and Metropol would like to personally thank all of the incredible people that supported this event in some way, shape or form.
We look at the charity’s next major fundraiser on page 10. Enjoy.

American Express Openair Cinema

Events guide: Five things well worth leaving home for

The temperatures may have begun their downward descent, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lock yourselves inside! We’ve gone in search of some of the hottest events around that will be sure to bring some warmth to your autumn.

American Express Openair Cinema
American Express Openair Cinema

Food, fun and flicks:

American Express is bringing the Openair Cinema festival of food, fun and flicks to Rauora Park from 15 March to 1 April.
There will be an array of alternative entertainment, live music and DJ performances before the latest and greatest feature films light up the big screen.
Better yet, you can bring along a ‘Doggy Date’! Pampered pooches will receive the VID treatment with a pawfect picnic platter of doggy delights and their own canine couch. Tickets start at $13 and are on-sale now at

Jump for charity:

Some of the country’s leading horse and pony riders are getting in behind the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation with the second annual Jump for Cancer Hagley charity event at North Hagley Park on 25 March.
St. Margaret’s College students will be collecting donations on behalf of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and food vendors will be selling everything from coffee and gelato to gourmet pizzas and potatoes.
General admission is free with VIP tickets available from To find out more, head to the Jump for Cancer Hagley Facebook page.

Middle-aged man in lycra!

Following a sell-out premiere season across New Zealand, much-loved Kiwi actor Mark Hadlow remounts for a final ride into Christchurch in the acclaimed one man show, MAMIL (middle-aged man in Lycra), in all its lurid lycra glory for ‘Le Tour d’Isaac’, from Thursday 31 May to Saturday 2 June at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Shining as the affable, yet uncomfortably relatable anti-hero in the one-man show, Hadlow commands the stage. With his energetic presence and childlike enthusiasm to the character, he breathes life into the cleverly crafted monologues to delight even the most stoic of MAMIL-phobes.

Colourful fun :

All the colour and fun of a carnival is coming to Cathedral Square on Saturday 24 February.
The popular Latino market is heading into the city from 4pm to 8pm on so you can enjoy a delicious culinary collection of Latin street food, live music, art and craft and, of course, the warmth of the local Latin community.
There will also be workshops, a dance floor and performances with Latin rhythms (including capoeira and samba do Brasil). So bring your most colourful clothing – and your dancing shoes – and prepare for a night of colourful fun.

A catwalk crusade:

Designers and celebrities are set to hit the catwalk on Thursday 12 April wearing the latest New Zealand fashion.
Guests at the annual M Factor Fashion Show will see collections from the likes of Annah Stretton, Augustine, Repertoire, Trelise Cooper and many more to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand and Ronald McDonald House South Island.
Held at 7pm on Thursday 12 April at The Transitional Cathedral, tickets are available at and are priced at $75 for VIP, $55 for General Admission and $20 for children and students.