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The Pandemic Pivot: Socially-distanced drinking

An increasingly hygiene conscious world could have been the end of Christchurch man Ian McCormick’s drinking fountain business. Instead, he invented a solution.



Now, TapWaterWells’ new contactless fountains and water bottle fillers are being installed in schools and public facilities around New Zealand.

The Contactless Hydration Stations are so socially distanced, users can fill their bottle or drink from the faucet with their hands in their pocket, simply stepping on the foot pedal to start the water.

As concerns of COVID-19 hitting our shores grew in March, Ian started fielding calls from his customers – mainly schools – that they were turning off the fountains because they feared the machines required too much hand contact and may transmit the virus.

By the time the country was put into Level 4 lockdown, Ian knew it might be some time before the fountains – which children often put their mouths on – were welcome again.

So, he and his wife Madeleine put on their thinking caps and happened to both come up with the same idea: Pedal-power.

“All I had to do was design the see-saw operated foot pedal instead of the previous push mechanism, which required your hands,” he says.

Ian sent rough sketches of the mechanism to his Computer-aided Design (CAD) designer, who turned them into workable designs from his home.

Ian also uses a small local engineer, who also works solo from his home and who was able to turn the design into reality with some spare materials he had.

“By the time we came out of lockdown, we had the prototype operating and are now in full production.

“They’re now installed in schools in Christchurch, Havelock North, Tauranga and Auckland.

“We also have an order to be installed at a new bus depot in Silverdale in Auckland, and a multi-unit installation at an event centre also in Auckland.”

Ian says if he hadn’t acted quickly, his business could be facing a very uncertain future.

“As soon as the school said they were shutting them down, we knew this could be a problem – so if we wanted to stay in business we had to be ahead of the pack.

“We’re a small local business and were able to react reasonably quickly. This has really opened up opportunities for us, perhaps even overseas.”

Ian says the Contactless Hydration Stations can be used in schools and businesses, as they’re great for hygienically filling bottles and cups.


Tap Water Wells and Metropol are giving away two Contactless Hydration Station water bottle fillers. One to a primary school, and one to an ECE. Visit Metropol’s Facebook page to enter!


Event of the summer

February always represents plenty of amazing events happening in the city and Cantabrians are gearing up for one of the hottest events of the year – the Lexus Urban Polo, coming to Hagley Park, Saturday 29 February!



The Colombo is giving its shoppers the ultimate polo experience whereby one lucky winner and three friends receive complimentary tickets to the polo, an outfit worth $400 from any of The Colombo stores, shoes, a facial treatment, a manicure and pedicure, hair and makeup.

As for any special occasion, people love having the opportunity to dress to the nines, but it’s important to make time to fit in some necessary grooming appointments before the big day to ensure you look as fabulous as you feel.

Book ahead in salons such as Pinkies or Embrayce Beauty & MediSpa which offer a Microdermaplaning facial and the Power of Three facial – the latter being a fabulous treatment that includes LED Light Therapy, Laser Skin Rejuvenation and Active Vitamin Infusion with Sonophoresis.

Next step – your polo ensemble! For effortless elegance, tops and trousers from The Collective and Repertoire are of a luxurious drape and look sensational.

Heels and wedges from Andrea Biani will show off those pedicures and nothing beats a statement clutch from Redcurrent.

Annah Stretton does verve and vibrancy like nobody else, while those who prefer the casual but cool approach will find plenty of inspiration at Stencil.

Rendezvous with friends at The Belgian Beer Café Torenhof, head to the Beer Library for your favourite pre-polo tipple or kick back with a coffee from Underground Café Colombo.

Bring your enthusiasm to the game; cheer the players and clap every victory, as fan interaction is encouraged, but do be mindful of the ponies that can be easily spooked by spectator over-exuberance however well meant. Always stay alert for stray balls, mallets and horses.

Whatever occasion is marked on your calendar for February, be it a party, a wedding, a special Valentine’s Day celebration, or the polo, make sure you look your best and stand out from the rest in something stunning from any of the beautiful stores at The Colombo. They look forward to meeting you.


Distinction Christchurch

The Perfect Place: Distinction Christchurch + Win With Metropol

Location, quality accommodation and scrumptious food are just some of the reasons why Distinction Christchurch is the place to stay in the central city.


Distinction Christchurch


Located at 14 Cathedral Square, the hotel recently opened in March and stands proud amongst a growing vibrant central city.
Watch the world go by as you sit in the comfortable and modern lobby or relax in the Gumption restaurant and bar with its stylish layout. The restaurant has a fabulous and affordable menu with generous portions, rich flavours and delicious New Zealand produce prepared by an internationally trained culinary team – including a specialist pastry chef.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s the ideal sanctuary for relaxing with a pre-dinner drink after a day of business or adventure. There are also conference facilities with plenty of space to entertain colleagues, friends and family. With live music every Friday and Saturday night, it’s the perfect place to start (or finish) your evening, ideally positioned close to the Botanic Gardens, Avon River, Christchurch Casino, The Crossing, Christchurch Library and the Isaac Theatre Royal.

The friendly staff will cater to your needs and make sure your stay or visit is enjoyable and memorable. With valet parking and 179 elegant guest rooms, Distinction Christchurch is truly an attractive 4.5 star hotel option designed to suit everyone.


Win With Metropol

Distinction Christchurch has one night’s accommodation, dinner and breakfast for two to giveaway.
To enter, please visit click to select the competitions you wish to enter. Entries close Monday 3 December and winners will be notified the following day.


Les Misérables

An epic show: Les Misérables + Win with Metropol

Like musket shot to your heart,” those were the words Christchurch Star reviewer Barry Grant used to describe the 2001 Showbiz Christchurch production of Les Misérables.

Les Misérables
Les Misérables in September promises to be an epic show to conclude the 2018 Showbiz Christchurch seas

For those who didn’t get to see that production, or for those who did and can’t wait to see it again, then be excited for the return of Les Misérables in September; it promises to be an epic show to conclude the 2018 Showbiz Christchurch season!

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, this new production will be directed by Stephen Robertson with musical direction by Richard Marrett. This is Robertson’s third time directing a Showbiz production of ‘Les Mis’, a show he has come to love and know so well. Sydney born tenor Daniel Belle is to perform the principal role of Jean Valjean.
The 2018 ‘Le Mis’ will feature the set from the 2001 Showbiz production – including the famous revolve – all of which has undergone major refurbishment.

The story of ‘Les Mis’ is set in nineteenth century France. Valjean is released from an unjust imprisonment of 19 years and hopes to start a new life. But all he finds is an untrusting and very unkind world. He breaks his parole in the hope of starting over, which only initiates a lifelong battle to clear his name while being ceaselessly hounded by police inspector Javert.
Belle has performed the role ‘hundreds of times’ in the Australian National production of Les Misérables, and in the Asian tour performing in Manila, Singapore and Dubai.

Daniel last performed at the Isaac Theatre Royal in June as part of the internationally acclaimed vocal group The Ten Tenors. Performing in the Ten Tenors Double Platinum tour, Daniel has sung throughout Australia, Europe and the United States to critical acclaim.
Supporting Belle in other major roles are seasoned Showbiz performers: James Foster (Javert), Kira Josephson (Fantine), Fergus Inder (Marius), Jacqueline Doherty (Cosette), Jack Fraser (Enjolras), Ben Freeth (Monsieur Thénardier) and Monique Clementson (Eponine). Nelson performer Rebecca Malcolm makes her Showbiz debut appearance as Madame Thénardier.

The roles of young Cosette, young Eponine and Gavroche will be played be five alternating performers – 98 children auditioned for these roles.
The role of young Gavroche will alternate between eight year old Duncan Price and 11 year old Ethan Carranceja. The children are all new Showbiz performers with previous performance training and/or experience.

Les Misérables opens 14 September 2018 at the Isaac Theatre Royal. Visit the official web page and for tickets visit or phone
0800 842 538.


Metropol has a double pass to one performance of the Saunders & Co Season of Les Misérables on 14 September 2018 at the Isaac Theatre Royal to give away. To enter to win, just go to, enter your details and click which competitions you wish to enter. Entries close Monday 27 August and winners will be notified on Tuesday 28 August.

NZ Flower and Garden Show

Gardens for Tomorrow: Win with Metropol

Gardeners are endearing optimists. Frosts herald blue skies and sunny days, and there’s no such thing as a depressing winter garden when, already, jonquils are scenting the air and daphne buds are soon to flower. Gardeners don’t live for today; they’re too busy dreaming of tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that.

NZ Flower and Garden Show
Metropol has four of these any day early bird double passes to give away to readers who want to head up to the event. To enter, just visit, enter your details and click which competitions you wish to enter. Entries close Monday 13 August and winners will be notified Tuesday 14 August.


One event that will have Kiwi gardeners dreaming of a certain tomorrow with giddy anticipation is the NZ Flower and Garden Show 2018. Beginning 28 November through till 2 December at West Auckland’s Trust Arena, this is a garden show like no other. Last year’s inaugural NZ Flower and Garden Show saw some 28,000 people pass through the gates.
Christchurch writer and garden commentator, Rachel Vogan, returns to the show’s judging panel this year for the tenth time and says the desire for people to grow food to feed their families has become a visible trend which she expects will be reflected in the show.
“It’s phenomenal, really. While people are still wanting strong elements of design in their gardens, they’re also wanting areas to grow their own food; we lost that fundamental urge for two generations and now we seem to be reclaiming it – which is fantastic!”

Rachel says that as a plant expert, she will be on the lookout for good planting and a different way to use plants. “Plant use and plant appropriateness is important to me, followed by design – finding clever ways to use small places. Sustainability is hugely important, also designs that are environmentally careful, because the sustainability component is a big consideration in judging.”
The judging process is based on the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society standards, so there’s a very strict criteria that has to be followed. “We have the best international judges, which helps keep the New Zealand judges upskilled and ensures we’re current with the latest overseas trends. It’s very stimulating to work with these global experts.”
For Canterbury gardeners, consider taking a couple of days in Auckland to enjoy other gardens in the area. Visit for information on garden tours which coincide with the event.

Saving the best news till last is that discounted early bird tickets are available for purchase before 31 August. With early bird tickets valid for ANY DAY of the five-day show, they guarantee all our dreaming, endearing and optimistic gardeners out there a truly spectacular time. For more information, visit

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Ganda's Cooking

Too delicious to forget: Jayshri Ganda’s culinary journey + Win with Metropol

Family meals so good that she needed to know how to replicate them is where Jayshri Ganda’s culinary journey began.

Metropol has a copy of ‘A little bit of this, A little bit of that’ to give away to a very lucky reader. To enter, visit, enter your details and click the competition you wish to enter. Entries close Monday 13 August and winners will be notified on Tuesday 14 August. See Below


Jayshri is the first to admit she didn’t really know how to cook. Growing up in New Zealand with Indian parents, Jayshri and her siblings never needed to learn kitchen skills. Cooking for everyone was their mum, Laxmi’s way of bestowing love.
So Laxmi cooked, completely recipe-free; which her children deemed amazing, but confounding if you wanted to reproduce something later. “It was a running joke in our family that if we asked how something was made, there were no measures mentioned,” Jayshri says.
“Everything was concocted with ‘a little bit of this and a little bit of that’.”

And when Jayshri prodded her mum for more information about why her own culinary experiments weren’t turning out identical flavours and textures, the answers lay with where ingredients had been sourced. Oh, and exact quantities.
“It turns out you can’t get your chilli or your garlic from a jar of the minced stuff. You actually have to grow your own, or go to an Indian store and buy the original ingredients – especially lentils, in the raw,” Jayshri says. “Any extra processing like fumigation affects things like cooking times.”
Jayshri researched to see if a classic, basic Indian recipe book existed. Only two came close to her vision. So she decided to commit all her mother’s cooking method secrets to paper for Kiwi-born generations. In a nutshell, it’s the art of Gujarati cooking and it looks gorgeous in a professionally produced, globally-awarded cookbook, ‘A little bit of this, A little bit of that’.
The initial print sold out quickly. The first re-print has just finished, and more will likely follow suit, as the self-published book has garnered two Gourmand World Cookbook awards in Yantai, China. It was awarded ‘best in the world’ under the ‘Indian’ and ‘Spices’ categories.

Jayshri’s own favourites are her mum’s lamb curry, masala chops and Sunday chicken curry. “It’s exactly like the Sunday family roast… every time we all get together, we enjoy eating the same meal.”
As Laxmi, now living in Christchurch, comes from a still-developing seaside village called Avda Falia in north-west India, Jayshri is donating all profit from the re-print of the book to projects there. Initially the cash is going toward library books for the local school. Another cookbook might soon follow. Watch this space.


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Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan heads to town: Win with Metropol

On Tuesday 28 August, Christchurch will have an icon of music visiting us again. With a career spanning six decades, Bob Dylan’s impact on popular music and culture is immeasurable

Bob Dylan
Metropol has a Bob Dylan CD and double tickets for August’s show to give away to FIVE lucky readers. To be in to win, visit and enter your details. Competition closes Monday 16 July and winners will be notified Tuesday 17 July.


He is responsible for some of the most influential albums of all time, including The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, and his socially and politically charged singles, Blowin’ In The Wind and The Times They Are A-Changin’, are widely considered among the most important songs in modern music.
The ‘voice of a generation’ boasts an unparalleled repertoire, including timeless classics, Like A Rolling Stone, Tangled Up In Blue, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and Girl From The North Country. Few people haven’t heard his music and to some, it connects on a much deeper level.
Phantom Billstickers Owner/Marketer Jim Wilson says, “Bob Dylan just keeps on working and keeping his own counsel. His defining moment was in 1993 at a concert in Switzerland where he decided that he was ‘going to make a stand whether God delivered me or not…’ I take my lead from that….at some stage I just decided that I was going to stand up like a man and just take all the s**t that people can hurl. I am on my own never-ending tour. I can’t see myself without seeing Bob Dylan.”
With a catalogue of more than 50 albums, Dylan has sold more than 100 million records globally, received 11 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Things Have Changed (Best Original Song), and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2012, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and, in 2016, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Last in New Zealand for three arena shows in 2014, Bob Dylan and his band are a commanding force on stage. To experience Bob Dylan live in concert is an opportunity to share an encounter with one of the last remaining musical legends of the modern era.
The New Yorker reported last month on rumours that Bob Dylan has a new studio album ready to go and his manager is going around Europe, for listening sessions in different cities to gauge unique perspectives. That gives you an idea about how deep Dylan and his team think. Great music drills into one’s core and resonates, creating a special moment in time and space. That’s why this artist connects on a deeper level and most only scratch the surface of what Bob is all about.
Dylan has been able to weather the storm of other people’s opinion and just kept on with what his ever-changing vision is. An artist who polarises people, he doesn’t do interviews or venture into his opinion on politics; boy, wouldn’t you love to go there right now? But that’s the great thing about Dylan. He does it for his art. Who is he? The closest you get will be to see an ICON of modern music at Horncastle arena on 28 August. This may be your last chance – I suggest you go, with an open mind.


Click Here to enter!