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Author: Nicholas Henare

We Will Rock You

We Will Rock You: In the City


It will be “Another One Bites The Dust” as I tick another great show off my bucket list with We Will Rock You in March.

 

We Will Rock You

 

I am a life-long fan of Queen, they are part of the soundtrack of my misspent youth, so it is fantastic news to hear that Showbiz Christchurch is staging the New Zealand theatre company premiere of We Will Rock You here in our iconic Isaac Theatre Royal this coming March/April.

This show has been rocking theatre fans all over the world since 2002, featuring 24 of Queen’s greatest songs woven into a hit show written by comedic genius Ben Elton (writer of Popcorn and Blackadder). More than 60 million people have seen it live in 28 countries, so now it is Christchurch’s turn!

Christchurch has certainly hit a golden age for major musicals with Showbiz Christchurch since its return to the rebuilt Isaac Theatre Royal in 2015, Showbiz manager Michael Bayly says. “Showbiz is at a pinnacle of our 80 year history. We are so delighted that we are able to create these major premieres here in Christchurch with local performers and crew so the city can enjoy these massive shows without the need to travel to Melbourne, London or New York.”

Timing is a wonderful thing and it could not be more perfect for We Will Rock You, with the world going crazy for the award-winning movie Bohemian Rhapsody which tells the story of Queen and its legendary front-man Freddie Mercury.
“From planning a musical season, through design, build and rehearsals, up till opening night is normally a four year journey for a major show, so the timing of Bohemian Rhapsody is fantastic good fortune,” Bayly says. “It must be the spirit of Freddie, guiding our hand.”

Well I for one loved the movie and can’t wait for the show. I will be sitting in my ‘Killer Queen’ seat on opening night, March 29, with autographed programme in hand and show memorabilia to add to my collection.
See the Showbiz Christchurch season yourself at the Isaac Theatre Royal.

 


The season is limited so don’t miss out by booking at www.Ticketek.co.nz/showbiz.


 

BMW X5

The Beauty and The Beast: BMW X5


Traveling the gravel backroads of Tasmania in convoy with some of Australasia’s best automotive journalists can be a little intimidating. We were there to check out the sleek, sophisticated new offering from BMW – the new X5.

 

BMW X5

 

Not only beautiful on the inside, with a handmade crystal gear control and dial, giving the whole console a very ‘executive’ feel, lush colour schemes on the leather interior and spacious room for passengers, the first model I tried – the M50d – was also incredible to drive. It is pure power and raw thrust. Combined with 294kW and 760Nm of gut punching torque and priced at $177,900, its ability to go from 0-100 in 5.2 seconds had my heart going. Cornering was a breeze and as smooth as silk on acceleration. Driver assist has been improved, a new camera system is on board with great safety features, the 22-inch alloys and slightly lowered front end give it a great profile, but when it comes to this seamless 8-speed automatic, the experience really was in the drive.

 

BMW X5

 

Launceston has some great roads for a drive and my co driver, Tony Verdon, is an old hand automotive writer. Together we would try out all the driving aspects we could while at the same time trying to keep up with the lead vehicle. There are three versions, 30d, 40i and 50d and the X5 is a stunner of a vehicle in all three of its incarnations but the 50d had won my heart from the start. The car parking assistance features are the stuff of science fiction. Push a button and the car will reverse out of its park and to your original position; a feature not lost on someone who has a nightmare with supermarket shopping.

 

BMW X5

The grille fins close and open when needing heat or needing to release it, the control panel is refined, a lot of thought has gone into the new interactive control panel layout and there are improved sensors and an ‘autonomous’ backing system. Despite all the bells and whistles, it hasn’t lost the clean lines and minimalist interior, while the drive is as exhilarating as anything with 600Nm and above.  The safety features are top of the line with what we’ve always come to expect from BMW. It’s a pleasure to drive and, by bringing forward many great features from previous models, with a mix of the new, it’s not lacking in any area.

Great for the boat, great for exploring back country alpine roads, great for picking the kids up from school and there’s still plenty of room and features to keep the drive interesting and enjoyable.

 



 

A Pocket Rocket

A Pocket Rocket: Volkswagen Polo GTI


The year 2018 was a great one for me driving some spectacular cars. My small car pick for last year was the Volkswagen Polo GTI and I wasn’t alone in that decision, with the latest model generation of the Polo being selected for the renowned ‘World Urban Car of the Year’ award at the New York Auto Show.

 

A Pocket Rocket

 

The Volkswagen Polo starts at $25,490 for the TSI manual up to the GTI at $38,490. I was driving the GTI so, I’m going to focus on that, because that car really made me smile. As far as statistics go, it’s a 2L petrol, 147kW, 320Nm, 6-speed DSG, 17 inch Milton Keynes alloys, LED headlights & DRL, dark red LED taillamps, Discover Media & Nav, keyless entry, sports suspension, driver profile selection. Now I can go on and on about the statistics, but what you don’t get unless you’re driving it, is the sheer exhilaration that comes with taking to the road in this beauty.

I love the road up to Sugarloaf to test how a car handles and both the power and the suspension make this one feel like it’s driving on rails. Just a tap on the accelerator has you rocketing forward and in total control. The sound system is fantastic, and the sports seating makes you feel like you’re driving a much more expensive vehicle. I drove the Ferrari Portofino the same month and had a similar feeling.

 

Sounds like a bit of an OTT reaction? No, it really is a great driving experience. Adam Smith from Miles Continental had told me it was a step up from last year’s model and I thought it was just ‘sales speak’ but no, this really is a driver’s car. Don’t get me wrong when I say ‘small car’. There is plenty of room in the car for the family; plenty of boot space and everything you want in an interior for the modern driver.

VW is only second to BMW for my award for interactive dashboard connectivity and the 8-inch touch screen. Combine that with the GTI Polo and you really do have a winner. It’s also damn cute with those Milton Keynes 17-inch alloy rims just making the outstanding lines on the polo not only look good, but also clean. The honeycomb grille and red spoiler just finish off what is a great car.

So there it is – it looks great, it’s a fantastic drive and it’s great to ride in. I call it the pocket rocket, but no matter what you call it, it’s worth its place at number one. Well done Volkswagen.

 



 

Nick in the City

Nick in the City


I’m fortunate enough to be on the coal face of the development within the city and of course spent some time going over the new Town Hall.

 

Nick in the City
ALI HARPER WILL BE JOINING TIM BEVERIDGE AS PART OF HIS ACCLAIMED THE MUSIC IS BOND SHOW

 

I can’t say that I’m not excited by what will be my first visit for a function. Tim Beveridge is bringing his acclaimed The Music is Bond to the Christchurch Town Hall on 16 March. The sexiness and fun of 50 years of James Bond comes to life in an exceptional show featuring the best in musical talent from Canterbury with a superb cast including Jackie Clarke, Ali Harper, Caitlin Smith and backed by the magnificent sound of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Tim says, “I am very excited to be returning to the Christchurch Town Hall. It’s probably going to be a bit emotional to be back there after having had so many wonderful experiences performing there with the CSO”. “I also first met my wife there!”

I stood amazed the last time I saw Tim belt out a stunning rendition of Tom Jones’ Thunder ball and every piece is stunningly crafted by the Christchurch symphony Orchestra to perfection. Yes, it’s true I’m a BIG James Bond fan but the music here is timeless.

With the talented performers debuting this music in Christchurch’s stunning new performance venue there’s no better excuse to come and check out what the new Town Hall has to offer.

 


Book early at www.ticketek.co.nz and have a few martinis, shaken not stirred, before you go.


 

Manu Feildel

Recipe for success: Q&A with Manu Feildel


Manu Feildel has won hearts as the resident Frenchman on My Kitchen Rules for the past eight years. It was a recipe for success; the two beloved chefs, many years of experience under their culinary belts and the competitive streak that has given us an insatiable appetite for cooking shows. Then of course, there’s that suave French accent.

 

Manu Feildel

 

In the city as part of his involvement in creating the gourmet menu for the new Hoyts Lux, part of the EntX development, Manu sat down with our very own Nicholas Henare for an exclusive one on one meeting with the suave star himself dishing the dirt on everything from his start in France at the ripe age of 15, to dealing with celebrity-dom and his love for the woman by his side.

 

What motivated you to become a chef?

I was crap at school, I was the class clown. My mother said, ‘I don’t know what to do with you, your dad owns a restaurant, I think you should go and work with your dad’.
I just loved the restaurant, I could eat and cook and hang out with girls. I fell in love straight away with the restaurant.


How did you get to be where you are now?

I moved to London when I was 18 with £300 in my pocket and no English and stayed in London for eight years, hated the weather and moved to Australia when I was 26 and got recognised in the industry.


How do you deal with being a celebrity?

I said hello to about 28 people coming in here! It’s part of the job, most of the time it’s ok but sometimes you just want to be left alone, when I’m with my family.


What’s your go to food when you’re not cooking?

My wife is an amazing cook, Chinese, Malaysian, Sri Lankan. Yesterday I was in Melbourne and she called me and said, ‘please don’t eat anything on the plane, I’m cooking for you’.
I love her and love her cooking.


When you cook for your family, is there anything you cook that they they don’t like?

My young daughter is a little fussy but my older son was very picky between 10 and 12, in fact he was a little s**t and wouldn’t eat anything but now he eats EVERYTHING because he’s a rugby player.


Do you ever eat McDonalds or KFC?

3am in the morning and I’ve been out for a big night, I put a hat on and use a German accent… no, no, no, very rarely do I eat that type of food.
Hoyts Lux is amazing, how did that come about?Hoyts wanted to ring something different on the food aspect. The original menu was the same as everywhere else, so I thought I’d just jazz it up a bit. It’s been great to work with the team at Hoyts.


What’s your pick on the Hoyts Lux menu?

Try the duck bao, pulled pork pizza, the chicken burger is also very good. Duck is a luxury product, something very special and that’s what Hoyts Lux is, something special.


What’s your advice to someone who wants to start in the restaurant business?

Don’t do it! (insert loud French laugh here). No, but really, it’s a small percentage of people who are successful and it’s very, very hard work. Long hours and commitment is what’s needed to make it.


How much control did you have over the Lux menu?

About 70 percent – they pretty much gave me free reign to do what I wanted so you really do get what my ideas are when eating at Lux.


MKR? What’s happening?

Season 10 is being filmed at the moment. It’s going to be a cracking season with some great guests. There’s a bit of bitchiness, but here in New Zealand we’re a bit more tame. I play the good cop and don’t try to offend anyone’s cooking too much and try to explain how they can improve and what they could do to make it better, so they don’t cook any… ‘merde’.


How do you keep motivated?

I’ve got a great job that’s different every day. I never get bored. I got to jump on a plane and come and meet you and all the people in New Zealand.


Do you still cook in restaurants anymore?

No, I miss that immensely, but my life has changed.


Do you have favourite restaurant in New Zealand?

You would love it Nick, a modern Indian restaurant in Auckland called Cassia, I love it!

Manu is everything you see on television; suave, sophisticated and a bloody great conversationalist. Now I could do the hard sell on the food at Hoyts Lux but I don’t need to, Manu created it and seriously, it’s fantastic. Would you expect anything else?

 



 

Ferrari Portofino

An Italian beauty: Ferrari Portofino


The sound of a Ferrari Portofino V8 engine when you drop back into second gear on the motorway as the 591-horsepower engine prepares for what you are about to do is exhilarating.

 

Ferrari Portofino
AN ITALIAN BEAUTY WITH JAW-DROPPING REFINEMENT

 

The top is down on a beautiful Canterbury day. You’ve been at a winery up near Waipara enjoying the company of not just car enthusiasts, but Ferrari enthusiasts. You put your foot down on the accelerator and those ponies thrust you past the car in front with total accuracy and speed. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of Continental Ferrari’s visit to Christchurch in early October and got the opportunity to take a Ferrari GTC4Lusso and a Ferrari Portofino out to see what they could do. The Ferrari GTC4Lusso is 507 kW and ramps up from 0-100 in 3.4 seconds. A stunning 4-seater, tourer, it is an Italian beauty with jaw-dropping refinement. Everywhere you look it’s like a work of art. Everything can be refined to your specification.

I noted some of the other vehicles, about 12 in total, had been personalised. There were a couple of 458s that I had a hard time recognising and Neil from Ferrari explained that, “If you own one, you want it to be YOUR one, so we bespoke them for the client”.I spent some time with Doug Price who owns a 1995 Ferrari F355 GTS; the first Ferrari with power steering and gear linkages. Doug was fantastic, briefing me for a good half hour about his F355 and explain the ethos of the club. “We all love Ferrari Nick. Old or new, it doesn’t matter; the drive, the sound, we just love them.”

He pretty much personified all the club members; approachable, down to earth men and women who are totally passionate about the Ferrari brand. I was joined on the drive back by Robert Pegg from Ferrari in the Ferrari Portofino; a two-door convertible twin-charged V8 3,855 litre, seven-speed dual clutch, 0-100 in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 320kph. The only official dealer for Ferrari in New Zealand since 1973, Continental Cars officially opened a dedicated Ferrari Service Centre here in Christchurch last year. It also operates as a base to display the very latest Ferrari models and hosts local drive activities with its South Island Ferrari owners.

I got given the nickname ‘showpony’ once. But the only showpony that day was the prancing pony that is Ferrari. It is the ultimate in automotive style and performance. Getting back into my car was completely deflating. But I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity. Everyone should drive a Ferrari at least once in their life, shouldn’t they?

 



 

Bread & Circus

The circus comes to town: In the city with Nick


Having been involved in media for the last thirty years, I’m aware this time of the year is a brilliant time to get into Christchurch and soak up the juice that is events in the city.

 

Bread & Circus

 

The Buskers Festival has always been a top favourite of mine and the re-invention, Bread and Circus, promises more excitement than ever.

Bread & Circus will run from 10 January to 3 February 2019. The festival kicks off with an intensive 10-day programme full of exciting free events, exceptional ticketed shows, a large-scale spectacle and world-famous busking pitches. The ticketed programme and festival hub will then extend into February.

With more than 50 talented performers from around the world, including 22 of New Zealand’s finest, it’s hard to pick favourites.
Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel says she’s delighted that Strut & Fret are bringing their 20 years plus experience to breathe new life into Christchurch’s beloved World Buskers Festival, bringing Bread & Circus, a festival of world-class performances, to the heart of the city.

“The team at Strut & Fret have promised me that Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival will integrate the old and the new, with elements that everyone knows and loves, and a new range of phenomenal features to elevate the festival to a whole new level.”
This summer’s festival is bigger and bolder than ever before, with 527 performances and 90 hours of roving performers, an increase from 344 performances earlier this year. The number of buskers doing free street performances will double from 14 in 2018 to 29, with talent from New Zealand and around the world.

 


Nicholas Henare
Nicholas Henare

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

New Vibes

New Vibes


As I glanced down the table I got the feeling that I was at some sort of Godfather meeting. The Doms of all the families had gathered at Fiddlesticks for a very special lunch with Pierre Samuel Reyne from Pol Roger Champagne.

 

New Vibes

 

The 2009 Vintage was being accompanied by a long lunch and conversation about the hospitality industry flowed amongst those lucky enough to be invited by David Kininmonth from Hancocks Wines and Spirits.  Conversation turned to new developments, new operators. Each person at the table represented a good slice of hospitality within the four avenues and having been involved with a lot of them for years the thought struck me that town is an ever-evolving beast; that moving forward in post-quake Christchurch is going to be an exciting journey and we should make sure we are aware of what’s going on. So welcome to my endeavour to enlighten you on things that are happening within our beautiful garden city.

The weekend past saw me at the Welles Street, Octoberfest. How wonderful to see a well organised, thoroughly enjoyable event. The environment totally lent itself to a great evening. Divided into two events on the Saturday and one on the Sunday, it gave you the chance to get dressed up in “traditional” German beer drinking apparel, let your hair down and dance, sing, eat and of course, drink great quality beer.

It was the type of event we want to see much more of and Tom and Daniel from Welles Street look likely to provide much more of the same. If you haven’t checked out the venue, do. I went to the opening of Christchurch’s brand-new entertainment hub, EntX, and of course the wonderful new HOYTS seven screen flagship cinema complex and the first large scale cinema complex to return to the central city.
Partnering with a local developer and employing over 60 locals, HOYTS EntX is offering Cantabrians the ultimate movie going experience. Guests will be able to enjoy a range of offerings including HOYTS LUX, a premium in-cinema experience alongside the open candy-bar Treat City and Arties Bar and Café serving delicious hot and cold food.

The Cinema is rich and lush and obviously the next step in entertainment. Such a pleasure to see something like this opening in the inner city to bring life and vibrancy back. “We are extremely proud to be among the first companies to help rebuild entertainment experiences in the heart of Christchurch,” says HOYTS General Manager of Operations NZ, Paul Wood.  “For a city that has experienced so many trials and tribulations, we are certain our investment will bring excitement and fun to audiences in the area.”

“For a city that has experienced so many trials and tribulations, we are certain our investment will bring excitement and fun to audiences in the area.”

EntX is the first HOYTS site in the South Island to offer the premium HOYTS LUX offering. A unique and exclusive cinema offering, HOYTS LUX offers customers a sophisticated bar, in-cinema service at the touch of a button and an extensive wine list as well as a bespoke and exclusive menu designed by celebrity chef and judge on TVNZ 2’s My Kitchen Rules, Manu Feildel.  I will be catching up with Manu for an indepth look at not only how he constructed the menu but also to get a look at what’s happening in his world as a celebrity chef.
Keep an eye out for the interview in an upcoming Metropol.

Catching up with Andrew Trevelyan from Ōtākaro, the company in charge of the anchor projects for the “New” Christchurch, I was greatly enthused with the prospect of what’s coming in the next ten years. With five goals; a green city, compact central core, accessible, stronger built identity and a place to live, work, play, learn and visit, I was surprised by how much I didn’t know about where we are going. This knowledge is easily accessible, but it took an hour chat by Andrew to really get to know how exciting this will all be.

From greenspace engagement, to the CTV site, to the new stadium and library, there is so much to take in. Every Cantabrian should check out the website, www.otakaroltd.co.nz, to get just the tip of the iceberg on what to expect. Exciting times! As I’m going to make this a regular column, I invite you to let me know of any exciting things happening in our wonderful new central city.

 

Nicholas Henare
Nicholas Henare Contact me on nickinchristchurch@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infinity

Electrifying Performance: Infinity


Motoring writer Nicholas Henare dishes the automotive dirt on Infinity, a sub-brand of Nissan, and this year’s electrifying range of performance vehicles.

 

Infinity

 

AN INNOVATIVE CORE

 

Following on from a range of electric vehicles rolling out at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Infiniti Prototype 10 recaptures the spirit of early speedsters for an era of electrified performance. The concept represents a physical manifestation of Infiniti’s creative and ambitious plans.  Yet again this year’s range of prototypes have a familiar early 1900s feel to the vehicle, with a flash back to those incredibly well styled vehicles of the 1920s and 30s.
As a brand with technological innovation at its core, electrification is a natural next step for Infiniti. From 2021, every new Infinity model will be electrified, featuring hybrid or battery electric technology to enhance performance. The Prototype 10 provides a window into this desire to deliver driving pleasure, thrilling performance and range confidence. With prototypes built to please the eye as well as the desire to see innovation in driving requirements, Infiniti has produced something to rival even the purest of luxury brands on show at Concours d’Elegance.
“We all feel a certain degree of passion when talking about roadsters and speedsters,” Infiniti President Roland Krueger says. “We are equally passionate about the potential that electrification holds for the future of our cars – a daring speedster is the perfect study for our designers to explore an electrified future and ignite such excitement.”

Infinity

 

 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

 

The new concept follows two other design studies revealed by the company in the last 12 months: the Prototype 9 – first revealed in 2017 – and the Infiniti Q Inspiration concept, unveiled at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Where Prototype 9 – a sleek, open-wheeled, electric retro-roadster – imagined an alternative history for Infiniti, the Prototype 10 is resolutely focused on what the future holds for the brand. Utterly daring in its bold execution, the new concept is inspired by the spirit of early speedsters, its form and function evoking driving pleasure and thrilling performance.

“The Infinity Prototype 10 echoes the layout and design of early speedsters,” Executive Design Director for the brand Karim Habib says.  “This period saw the creation of some of the most evocative car designs of all time, where power was celebrated through high-powered single-seat competition cars. Our new concept speaks of an electrified future, something which is reflected in its form and details. It is appropriate that we found inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterised by the simple love of driving.”

A future vision realised by Infinity designers, Prototype 10 is informed by some of the most iconic car designs of all time. Its cool, clean forward looking design is further complemented by its electrical performance.
It seems that this year’s prototypes have that all familiar feel and it really is, back to the future.

 

 

FORM AND FUNCTION EVOKING DRIVING PLEASURE AND THRILLING PERFORMANCE



 

Mercedes A200 hatch

A Tiger Under the Hood: Mercedes A200 hatch


Picking up the Mercedes A200 hatch from Armstong Prestige, I was invited to be shown a few things about the connectivity in the vehicle but declined due to the fact I’m a bit “I’ve got this, how hard can it be” I must admit.

 

Mercedes A200 hatch

 

I was wrong and should have spent some time with their knowledge. It’s the next stage of driving with an intelligent interface. The statistics are all there, 1322cc, four-cylinder, 120kW, 250 Nm direct injection, turbocharged seven-speed automatic, with sports seats and 18-inch, five twin spoke alloys with duel exhaust. The front wheel drive starts at $60,900. It features hill start assist where if you take your foot off the brake while on a hill it gives you a few seconds to put your foot on the accelerator, so you don’t roll back. Simple ideas are sometimes the best.

The voice activation system gets a bit too eager. It turns on when you say, “My Mercedes” and while driving it logged on with “What can I help you with?” after we said, “My Monday’s looking busy”. Having spent the last few months driving more expensive, more powerful vehicles with more features, I was expecting the A200 to be a little ‘tame’ but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s got some good torque; being red must have made it quicker. But its speed is paired with great looks thanks to all that brushed aluminium, a great sunroof and those beautiful Mercedes slopping angles that make it look… sexy.

 

SLIGHTLY FEMININE WITH A LITTLE TIGER UNDER THE HOOD

 

The dashboard interactivity is where the A200 is really dynamic though with a massive amount of options available from a 26cm touchscreen, kind of like a giant iPad. Navigating this is a little sensitive for my liking, with a centre console touch pad rather than the old dial system, but that could just be that I’m a bit old and not quite as cool as I should be. The only thing that did give me the odd question was the aggressive lane assist system that gave a rather jarring brake when I ‘deviated’ from my lane. Here in Christchurch we are all aware that sometimes you just can’t stay in a lane with the roadworks around and, when you get a braking system cutting in, that can get a bit annoying. Still, it is there to keep you safe, so I’ll let them away with it.

The interior is black leather with great stitching and cool LED lighting trim. All in all, my week with it showed that as we get further on with technology, luxury car brands like Mercedes will keep pushing more and more options for you to make your experience more responsive. At this price range, there is a lot going for the A200. I think it a great option up against the Audi A3; slightly feminine with a little tiger under the hood.