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Curiosity cures the cat: Wigram Vet

When Jasmine the usually active Bengal cat became quiet and lost her appetite, her owner took her to Wigram Vet to investigate. Clinic founder Dr Geoff Mehrtens tells Metropol his unexpected findings.



Bengal cats are intelligent and active with an amazing patterned coat. They make vocal, livewire pets who fetch – much like a Border Collie.

So, when Jasmine became quiet and withdrawn her owner, Rachel, knew something was wrong.

She brought Jasmine to us because her appetite declined and she occasionally swallowed as if nauseous. Vomiting sometimes, she sometimes ate normally, too.

As a veternarian, it is always challenging to investigate subtle changes in appetite and attitude. Do we go into full diagnostic mode when the patient is otherwise normal?

In Jasmine’s case, an initial examination gave us no clues except her excessive swallowing which is sometimes seen with pharyngitis and esophagitis. Jasmine hates oral medication, so nothing is easy with Jasmine.

Symptomatic treatment appeared to ease her discomfort initially, but two weeks later Jasmine was still mildly unwell and was beginning to lose weight.

Defecation was reduced but normal, and scans showed nothing significant.

A week later with no improvement and further weight loss – we were getting worried.

So, we used an endoscope to look at her pharynx, oesophagus and stomach lining. Everything looked fine.

While anesthetized, we took the opportunity to repeat x-rays and ultrasounds. Again, nothing untoward was noted.

Again, I felt her abdomen. What was that soft mass I could feel? It had a strange spherical roundness that I could not explain, was this the answer we had been searching for?

An ultrasound showed just a normal-looking gas shadow – but we had to find out.

An exploratory laparotomy revealed a smooth foam rubber foreign body had long defied our attempts at a diagnosis.

A small piece of rubber missing from the end of her favourite toy, it was the perfect size to gently block her intestine, and the bowel was still healthy as the foam was allowing some ingesta through.

Tricky, very tricky.


Popular new pickle product: Gordon’s Picklery

Gordon’s Picklery owner Janice Burnett is truly passionate about pickles and her latest product is proving to be popular.



The ‘Original Gordon’s’ Dill Stacker and Dill Pickle, made with a well-pronounced hit of dill and perfectly balanced with garlic and 100 percent natural spices, is available long-sliced or whole. Fresh, crisp and tangy, the pickles are made with no sugar or artificial sweeteners. Available in 1kg pails for just $6.50 each or two for $12, call into ‘The Picklery’ – Retail Shop in Wigram for a taste test.

The company has 20 years of experience supplying gherkins and pickled onions to many of New Zealand’s takeaway chains and most recognisable food service customers.

From ‘Pickle Your Own’ peeled pickling onions and whole gherkins, for creating your own favourite recipe, to Gordon’s famous gherkin relish and a selection of delicious gourmet pickles, the store has an impressive range of ready-to-serve products.

With Christmas just around the corner, the store also has a great variety of gift ideas, including the $15 Gordon’s Gift Pack – or create your own gift pack, with complimentary gift-wrapping. Customers may have questions for the shop’s ‘pickle personality’ Michelle Kittelty regarding Gordon’s products, whether it’s for sampling, platter ideas or recipes.

The fabulous Wigram industrial precinct has plentiful off-street parking and easy access for all customers, providing stress-free shopping! Open weekdays from 8am till 4pm at 1 Timothy Place, Wigram, phone 03 348 0223 or email Eftpos onsite (no Credit/Paywave).




Cuisine for Christmas: Pasta Vera

With the arrival of both expected and unexpected guests at Christmas, or hungry teenagers and uni students returning home for the holidays , Pasta Vera can help take the stress out of feeding extra mouths over the busy festive season.



Pasta Vera’s best-selling homestyle lasagne is a tasty and convenient option, whether families are feeding a larger group with the 3kg trays, a few with the shop’s handy six-pack, or keeping the kids fuelled up in-between meals with factory off-cuts. Choose from a variety of scrumptious flavours including beef, roasted vegetable, smoked chicken or pumpkin, spinach and feta, as well as delicious gluten-free and vegan options.

It’s easy to relax and enjoy a family day out on the beach knowing a good quality nutritious meal is ready for dinner, without spending all day in the kitchen. Trays of macaroni cheese are also available, as well as a fabulous selection of other products, including filled pasta, fresh ribbon-cut pasta, gnocchi, cannelloni, and the ever-popular fresh pesto and hummus. Visit the Pasta Vera factory shop in Wigram and stock up the fridge and freezer to enjoy more time with friends and family over Christmas.

With easy and plentiful parking, the Pasta Vera factory shop on 1/2 Musgrove Close is open on weekdays from 8:30am till 5pm and Saturdays 10am till 2pm. Pasta Vera also offers a popular online fundraising option.

Follow Pasta Vera on Facebook to receive updates and shop specials.




Where the best parties happen: Chipmunks Playland and Cafe

At Chipmunks in Wigram, owners Anna and Dell are taking birthday parties to a whole new level. As part of a recent playground upgrade, new features at the facility include an interactive slide, project ball pit – and a 360-degree video camera for recording birthday parties. The interactive video is proving to be a popular choice for parents hosting parties at the venue.



The video provides a complete 360-degree view to capture every special moment and the interactive ability to control viewing directions while watching. “We are the only playground in the country to offer this exciting video option and we’ve received very positive feedback about it from our happy customers,” Anna says.

After buying the business just over a year ago, the couple carried out the major playground upgrade in April, following eight months of careful planning. “We are both extremely passionate about this place and committed to making it the best playground in New Zealand.”

With a large café area situated in the centre of the facility, Anna says parents can relax and enjoy some “peaceful” time with a good cup of coffee or tasty snacks while the kids have fun on the playground. “We also have convenient power banks in the café area, to ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and you are able to be as relaxed as possible.”

For more information about Chipmunks Playland and Café or to book a birthday party, visit and also view an example of one of the 360-degree videos.



Firm favourite for foodies: Original Foods Baking Co.

You’ve likely heard of this locally owned and operated Canterbury family business, which has been a firm favourite since its beginnings in 1991… but if you’re unsure, we’re willing to bet you’ll have given them a go without knowing it.



Been on an Air New Zealand flight recently? The delicious muffins on offer are just one of the treats this talented team creates. Cheeky monkey looking up at you from that perfectly gooey slice you just added to your shopping trolley? That’s Original Foods Baking Co. right there too. The famous sticky, soft chocolate cake your kids ask for every year for their birthdays and what about the Jam Rap Donut from the local fish ‘n’ chip shop? You guessed it… Original Foods Baking Co.

Now you can experience Original Foods Baking Co. in a different way again, this time with its own café in Wigram. The café proudly supplies a loyal base of regular customers with C4 coffee, its famous donuts, an ever-changing selection of café fare (made fresh in-house daily), as well as the Original Foods Baking Co. products you know and love, straight from the factory door.

This cosy spot has quickly become a local favourite with residents and nearby workers. Whether they’re enjoying a caffeine fix and donut to-go, or relaxing for lunch in the outdoor seating area, it’s an ideal spot to grab a delicious cup of coffee and a really good bite to eat.

The café is open Monday to Friday from 7:30am – 5pm. For more information, visit and find them on Instagram and Facebook for mouth-watering food pics!

8 Stark Drive, Wigram.



Wigram’s must-visit: Le Bakermen Cafe and Bakery

From classic Kiwi favourites to fresh, modern ideas with a twist, the impressive range of scrumptious options at Le Bakermen Café and Bakery in Wigram makes it well worth a visit.



Creating familiar dishes with an added flair, owner Will Leung opened the vibrant eatery in March and describes his baking as ‘using French techniques for Japanese-style delicacies, with a Kiwi kick.’ One of the most popular current dishes is the Motherclucker – French toast with crispy fried chicken – followed by the Pulled Pork or Eggs and Spinach on Waffles.

Everything is made fresh onsite daily – apart from the famous Fairlie Pies, sitting alongside the café’s own stunning pie range. Will also bakes a selection of delicious breads, including sourdough, beautiful baguettes and bagels baked in honey. The amazing cheese scones made with buttermilk are a sell-out by 11am every day and the Havana coffee is expertly made by Vii, a former Ara barista tutor.

Sarah bakes the ‘sweets with a spin’ such as sponge cake with lemon curd instead of jam, or lollie cake with pineapple lump marshmallow – along with traditional favourites such as banana loaf. Doughnut Friday is also a sell-out, with funky flavours attracting customers from all over the city, such as cereal-infused malt custard doughnuts topped with crunchy caramelised cornflakes or roasted balsamic strawberry doughnuts, topped with dulce de leche.

A selection of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are also available. The café is also dog-friendly and parking is plentiful. Follow Le Bakermen on Instagram and Facebook.




Bread made the Kiwi way: Artisan Bakehouse

Jason Scott, the owner of Artisan Bakehouse in Wigram, has come a long way since he baked his first loaf of bread 17 years ago.



It is his love of baking and passion for producing quality traditionally fermented bread that has helped him and his team grow his company from small beginnings into one that now supplies supermarkets and restaurants nationwide and overseas.
However, despite their success, they have not lost their commitment to quality. Jason’s team of highly skilled artisans are committed to baking only the finest quality bread. The company is proudly 100 percent Kiwi owned and their bread is preservative-free, made from locally sourced Canterbury-grown grain.

The gourmet range of bread rolls and complimentary butter pots offer mouth-watering flavours such as sweet chilli, basil pesto and garlic, and make a delicious addition to your steak, prawns or even mashed potatoes. They are currently available at New World and Pak n Save supermarkets throughout New Zealand, so pop in to your local supermarket and try one out now. Artisan Bakehouse also works with Three Boys Brewery every Friday to give you its famous ‘Beer Bread Friday’. They make an IPA and a Wheat beer flavour, which are excellent on platters or even with eggs on toast for breakfast.

Come and sample some of their delicious offerings at their factory shop on 45 Sonter Road Wigram, phone Jason on 027 277 9100 or email For more information visit the website



Mix of old & new: Wigram

Wigram is expanding, not only culturally and historically, but geographically too. Awatea Green, a new living place, offers shared green spaces, playgrounds, meandering pathways and cycle lanes to take you all the way to the city. Wigram Primary School’s new campus is open and exciting. New restaurants, retail outlets and community services are operating and new housing is popping up everywhere.




The Ngāi Tahu vision for Wigram was that it be ‘more than a residential subdivision’; the idea that it be a vibrant community, including the social infrastructure required to create it, is being fulfilled.
Wigram is a sophisticated confluence of old and new. While reinvigorating the area with lots of sparkly new things, the designers were careful to respect the deep history that dates back over a hundred years in the modern era and for more than a millennium of indigenous activity.

On the relatively ‘new’ side of the slate (it’s been open a year and a half) is The Good Home, a gastropub that tries hard to provide the feeling of home for diners – and succeeds. With spaces to feel at ease in – whether bar leaners to watch the footy with friends, booths for the family, or comfy leather chairs upstairs with a book – and a menu to suit everyone, The Good Home really does feel like home.



On the ‘old’ side is Wigram Base Hotel, a wedding, conference and event venue. Built in 1938 to be the RNZAF Base Wigram Officer’s Mess, today it maintains much of the original décor. You can literally smell the history in the walls of the ballroom, the billiard room, or the anteroom. With a selection of venues for weddings, including the quaint St. Mark’s Chapel, and conferences, Wigram Base Hotel is tucked into pretty gardens on Henry Wigram Drive. The Harvard Bar and Café, on the same site, is a quiet, comfortable local with an all-day menu and indoor and outdoor dining.

Many local initiatives foster the community spirit intended in the original vision. Language classes, recreational activities, fundraisers and more. The Food Resilience Network, in conjunction with the CCC, will host a screening of locally made documentary Edible Paradise. On April 10 at the Air Force Museum, it is for residents who are keen on creating an edible component to the local landscape. See the FRN Facebook page for more details.



The Air Force Museum of New Zealand is a spectacular resource that, despite a high ranking on TripAdvisor’s ‘Things to do in Christchurch’ (#3!), many locals do not take advantage of. It is an excellent record of NZ’s military aviation history. There is so much to see and do; it’s a great afternoon, or a day, for the kids and grownups. It’s open from 10am until 5pm daily and it’s free!

Late last year (officially October 2018), Archives NZ opened its new Christchurch Regional Office on Harvard Avenue in Wigram. The new facility is “designed to place primary attention on the secure storage and environmental protection of valuable archives”, including government documents, maps, paintings, photographs and more.


Uplifting entertainment

Uplifting entertainment

Looking for something to do in the weekend? Wigram offers the perfect escape – both literally and figuratively, with the latest uplifting entertainment.


Uplifting entertainment


You can live the dream of piloting your own plane in a variety of simulator experiences at the Wigram Museum. The ever-popular Mosquito Mission flight simulator incorporates high definition graphics and realistic handling features, with the choice of two World War II-inspired mission options:

Amiens Prison – Fly through the French countryside to the enemy-held prison and blow a hole in the wall to allow members of the resistance to escape. Based on the legendary Amiens Prison raid of 1944, this mission features terrain modelled exactly after the landscape surrounding Amiens.

Norwegian Fjords – Search for enemy battleships in the Norwegian fiords and destroy as many as you can before you run out of time. Test your flight skills and reaction time as the ships return fire.


What you’ll experience:
The cockpit includes a genuine Mosquito instrument panel

Two points of view available – choose to either fly the aircraft from within the cockpit (accurate), or from behind (arcade)

The simulator doesn’t physically move, but you get the sense of movement from the visuals on the screen

Use the control column and rudder pedals to control the aircraft

Firing button located on the control column

The simulator room contains a number of interpretation panels which tell the story of the Mosquito aircraft and the New Zealanders who flew it during World War II.

All money raised through simulator sales goes towards helping support the museum’s free admission policy and free education programmes.



The Picklery

Passionate about pickles: The Picklery

Amongst the quality range of locally-produced, gourmet wholesalers at the Wigram Pantry Collective, you’ll find Gordon’s ‘The Picklery.’


The Picklery


From tangy gherkin relish or long slice, cross slice, crinkle cut and whole gherkins, to delectable chilli and honey, old school and posh party pickled onions to make that platter extra-special – Gordon’s owner Janice Burnett is passionate about pickles. With 20 years of experience supplying gherkins and pickled onions to many of New Zealand’s largest and most recognisable food service customers, the company’s impressive range of popular ‘ready to serve’ products is flying out the factory door.

Customers may have questions for the shop’s ‘pickle personality’ Michelle Kittelty regarding Gordon’s products, whether it’s for sampling, platter ideas or free recipes. Michelle has created an attractive range of gourmet gift packs, perfect for that last-minute gift. ‘Pickle Your Own’ peeled pickling onions and whole gherkins are also available for purchase to create your own favourite recipe. And don’t forget the beautiful in-store Hororata Foods Hot and Cold smoked salmon – a delicious additional option for your platter.

And to top it all off, the fabulous Wigram industrial precinct has plentiful off-street parking and easy access for all customers, providing stress-free shopping!  The Picklery retail shop is open weekdays 9am to 3pm, on 1 Timothy Place, Wigram. Phone 03 3480 223, email or visit Eftpos onsite (No credit/Paywave).