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Stunning schist design: Draftline Architecture

An eye-catching new building has been evolving at stunning Lake Tekapo. Dubbed the “Hocken Motel” this beautiful, natural schist-clad accommodation is the work of Timaru-based architectural design company Draftline.



Company Principal and lead designer Pat Coll says the developers, Andrew and Grant Hocken “pretty much gave Draftline free rein” to use its experience in the Mackenzie Country and decades of residential and commercial design experience to create something extra special, befitting of such a quality build platform.

The only stipulation being a desire for a somewhat grand reception area and as many rooms as possible with optimum views.

One design challenge to overcome in the project was giving each room a view – but not a view of its neighbour. Draftline avoided this happening by staggering the main rooms, so they are all facing either the lake or the Tekapo River, with discrete partition walls.

Sounds like a dream job, but it is really a testimony to the trust that Draftline builds with its clients.

Pat says: “We’ve undertaken many commercial and residential projects for the Hocken’s now, so we know what they like and our working relationship goes back many years.”

Give Pat or the team a call to talk about innovative design and project ideas on (03) 688 8455 or visit the website.


Love of landscapes

For Struan Macdonald, art is like second nature to him. And it’s the New Zealand nature such as Mount Aspiring Nation Park, the Otago High Country, Abel Tasman and the West Coast that inspires this landscape painter.



“It can be the afternoon light on a mountain side or some kind of weather effect,” he says.

“With the bush there is incredible variation of colour, density and light which I love to capture.”

Photos and pencil drawings sourced on back country tramping trips are transported to canvas through paint and passion, resulting in a window to the wilderness.

To view his latest work or pieces in progress, like the large diptych of a snowy scene at the head of Lake Tekapo, visit Village Art gallery in Little River or online.


Where to go south

In a year of travel plan disruptions, shake tradition and choose a new place to explore, a place closer to home. In the South Island, options abound. Here are Metropol’s picks of where to go, when going south.



Tucked down the southeast corner of the South Island, The Catlins region is abundant with wildlife, forests, sandy beaches, waterfalls and farmland. Venture along hundreds of kilometres of rugged coastline to enjoy quiet bays and beaches, or get out in nature and explore hidden gems like Nugget Point, Purakaunui Falls, Cathedral Caves and McLean Falls.

On the otherside of the lower South Island, Fiordland could be another world. The region’s tagline, “Beyond Belief” is a fitting description for the jaw dropping natural environment which is sure to dazzle even the most seasoned traveller. Take a multi-day tramp on one of the great walks, or opt for a relaxing cruise through the Milford or Doubtful Sounds

Everyone’s heard of Queenstown and Wanaka, which are wonderful locations offering the best of adventure, luxury and hospitality. Soak up the summer alpine atmosphere from an award-winning winery, explore the exquisite views with a hilltop hike or gondola ride, or even a scenic flight. Or, venture even further south with a trip to Te Anau or Manapouri.

Not just a thoroughfare on the way south, Lake Tekapo is a destination all on its own. With accommodation, hospitality and entertainment all covered – it’s as easy as packing the car and just turning up. From bike hire and boat rides, to star gazing, hot pools and simply enjoying the view – Tekapo can be a one-stop-shop. Or, the perfect base from which to a take day trip to Mt Cook, Ohau and Twizel, where yet more spectacular sights await.

With walks for every fitness and ability level snaking through the incredible Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, this is a tramping enthusiasts paradise. From hour-long walks, to day trip and overnighters – visit the local visitors centre and speak with the friendly and informative Department of Conservation staff to plan your escapade. Or, relax in luxury at the Hermitage or explore the mountaineering museum.