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Author: Nicholas Henare

The Ford Endura

Automotive eye candy: Driving the Ford Endura through the Crown Range to Wanaka

The chance to drive the new Ford Endura range around Queenstown earlier this month was a great opportunity to put the five-seater, twin turbo, 2 L performance diesel through its paces on some great terrain.

The Ford Endura

Winding through the Crown Range to Wanaka, I got a real feel for how smooth the new generation platform will run in New Zealand conditions.
Called the ‘Edge’ in the northern hemisphere, the Endura is an SUV that can provide the power and torque needed for a great drive and will fill an important space in the Ford product range.
Refined and spacious, yet with a very capable boot space, I could see a strong resemblance to the Landover Discovery Sport in both looks and performance, with a price tag starting at $73,990.
The high profile of the bonnet and the 20-inch rims make for appealing eye candy but with an 154kW/450Nm engine and electronic stability program (ESP) that made cornering and drive through very pleasurable on such a challenging drive, it’s much more than just a good looker.
I was going to try it on the rough gravel road to Cardona ski field but was way laid at the Cardona Distillery, a must see when in Otago, testing the orange liqueur, vodka and gin. The silver-lining of this hold up was that I got the opportunity to find out what the passenger experience is like while my companion on the trip drove back.
Key features include leather trim and seating, Apple CarPlay, eight-inch colour touch screen, heated seats – great for those cold Queenstown mornings – and with a great satellite navigation system in such a quiet cabin, you hardly heard the drive. Overall the experience was brilliant; a worthy addition to the Ford line-up and a great option for someone looking for a quality SUV.

Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie: A living legend

Last month, Christchurch was witness to one of the best musicians of the 1980s. The legend himself, Lionel Richie.

Lionel Richie
MATT HENRY PHOTOGRAPHY + AMBIENT LIGHT

Songwriter, actor, singer and record producer, he has been gracing our televisions of late with his role as an American Idol judge. With such hits as Endless Love, All Night Long, Stuck on You, Say You Say Me and, of course, the heart-wrenching Hello, the hits from his years with the Commodores and many, many more, his ability to bring a stand up and dance moment at his concerts is never in question.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with him the night before the concert for a chat. “It’s Lionel Richie!” I said as I approached.
“Have been all my life,” he said in the beautiful gravelly voice of a seasoned pro.

How do you find New Zealand audiences?
“It’s a great country and I always enjoy coming here. You are all so friendly!”

It’s such a privilege to meet you, I grew up with your music in the 1980s and Hello is such a beautiful song
“You know what? I grew up with that music too! When I first started, people would say ‘what a sexy man’. When I got into my late 20s early 30s, people would say, ‘what a handsome man’. Now all I get is… ‘You look good for your age!’
“I was out in a bar in New Orleans and I saw this attractive woman looking across at me and I started looking at her, she looked at me and I was giving her ‘the look’ when she came over to me and said in this French accent ‘Yoouu are Lion-Nell Reechiiee?’ And I said ‘Yeeeesss, I am Lion-Nell Reechiiee’.
“She then handed me her mobile and said, ‘I’m friends with your daughter Nicole, she wants to say hi’. That’s when I got an earful from my daughter about hitting on her friends. I’m OLD now!”

How do you find the audiences respond to your music these days?
“Nothing’s changed except for the fact when I started off everyone said that if I kissed a girl at the front of the stage, the audience would go nuts – so I started doing that. Obviously now it’s a lot harder to lean that far down, so I don’t do that anymore. I’m OLD. I’m really looking forward to the Christchurch audience. You’re going to have a fun time tomorrow night.”

And he was so, so right. Those fortunate enough to be at Horncastle Arena were subjected to hit after boogie-down hit. The energy that this 68-year-old can conjure up on stage would make any teenage musician envious. Reminding us just how prolific and how relevant he was during the decade of music that was the 80s, back when he had us all singing We are the World, which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson. Music royalty was visiting Christchurch.
“As always, Lionel put on an amazing show, we love hosting him at Horncastle Arena,” Turlough Carolan from Vbase says.
“It’s also great to see such a varied range of events visiting the city over the coming months, from the incredible Dynamo (20-21 July) to the sublime Queens of the Stone Age (25 August), yet again, Vbase will be bringing many more great acts to Christchurch.”
Marvellous to have caught up with a living legend here, such a down to earth man with a beautiful voice for singing and conversation. A moment all those who saw him in concert will remember for a long time. He had us all, Dancing on the Ceiling.

Glenmorangie/Ardbeg

A spirited encounter: catching up with Glenmorangie/Ardbeg’s director of distilling and whisky creation

Interviewing the director of distilling and whisky creation from Glenmorangie/Ardbeg with the title of Dr was more than slightly intimidating but my fears were put to rest when the rumours of him being more like Dr Emett Brown from ‘Back to the Future’ were right on the money. In town for the biannual Dram Fest, Bill and I caught up at the George Hotel, not for a whisky but an Earl Grey tea.

Glenmorangie/Ardbeg

I asked him how Glenmorangie got to where it is now. “I grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and ran with it. I knew Glenmorangie was something special.”
Part scientist, part artist, Bill’s skills and attitude to whisky is one of experimentation and discovery and he’s here to release the Pios, the 9th release from Glenmorangie’s acclaimed ‘Private Edition’ series, fully matured in ex-American rye whiskey barrels.
Aptly named for the Gaelic word ‘spice’, these barrels impart flavours never before seen in a Glenmorangie – rich and sweet with toffee, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg, with brazil nuts and citrus developing in the finish.
I asked Bill what he was most proud of and I was pleased to hear it was one of my favourite chocolate malt whiskys, the Glenmorangie Signet. “I found the Signet ground breaking. I achieved what I wanted in that. Although I’m seeing other brands making similar styles its still stands out as a great benchmark for me.”
“I see a great future for whisky lovers and, with such a fine event as Dramfest, there’s plenty of room to expand one’s palate.”
With his son and daughter following in his footsteps, there’s a great future too for the Lumsden legacy.

BMW X3 xdrive30i

Elegantly exceptional: our writer Nick Henare reviews the new BMW X3 xdrive30i

From the outside, the new BMW X3 xdrive30i is a good-looking BMW X3, but on the inside… spectacular! I opened the door to a combination of black and cream leather and trim with great lines and elegant features.

BMW X3 xdrive30i

The centre dashboard incorporates Apple Car play with an interactive media system which was easy to use and, combined with the Harman Kardon sound system, enjoyable.
I took it to Mount Somers and really got the feel of a solid driving vehicle – four cylinders with 185kW of torque; it’s sturdy with power right when you need it.
Driving a new car, I’m looking for outstanding features and, on the way back, I encountered one. An accident logo appeared on the screen on the trip computer. Sure enough, we discovered there had been an accident. The feature enables you to navigate around accidents and road works with its interactive online system.
Featuring gesture control, heads up display and driving assistant, it’s loaded with top of the line features. The sunroof is pleasant, and the automatic rear opening and closing is such a great feature for busy people getting family/work loaded and unloaded.
With so many bespoke options among the variant models, 10 different types of alloys alone, there’s an option for everyone. Now I’ve been a fan of BMW since the 1980s, so you’re preaching to the converted, but this has been a standout SUV based on its interior features and pure driving pleasure. It’s great to see and feel quality when you drive. The BMW is stocked right to the sunroof on all this.

Terrace Tavern

Triumph at the Terraces: checking out Dux De Lux Group’s latest venture Terrace Tavern

I recently joined Richard Sinke and Lisa O’Brien Sinke, owners of the Dux De Lux Group, for a chat – and a taste – of the new Terrace Tavern at 134 Oxford Terrace, the area once known as ‘the strip’.

Terrace Tavern

The style of TT reminded me of a great mid-west bar and restaurant. Straying far from the standard restaurant fare, the menu features the likes of crayfish ravioli, Kaikoura octopus, crispy zucchini, Wakanui beef short rib and truffle fries.
The Dux Deluxe brought fresh vegetarian food to Christchurch, but the TT has extended its range of vegetarian and fish to include meat. “That was then, this is now,” Richard says. “We don’t want to exclude anyone now. Even though Lisa and I are vegetarian, we want to provide an all round great place to eat.”
BBQ Chef extraordinaire Tristan Anderson is creating something pretty special in the kitchen with ‘Beatrice’, the real wood BBQ which uses pure oak. “We’re keeping it real in the kitchen and bringing fire to the food with a great range of fresh steak and meat options every day. I’m always looking for opportunities to challenge the customers but keep them happy.”
‘South Pacific bistro, from the sea, plains and alps. It’s local food with a twist’, the menu states. With the true BBQ flavour Beatrice brings and the team’s eye for food, beverage and service, it’s so good to see some heart retuning to such an iconic area of the Garden City.
The Sinke family have added a “Barsterant” – their word not mine – to the central city’s ‘must-trys’.

1940s Fendalton home

An exceptional Fendalton renovation: Fitz Consulting’s latest triumph

Fitz Consulting, a boutique project management company owned and operated by Paul Fitzsimmons, has recently completed a major renovation of a 1940s Fendalton home.

1940s Fendalton home

The company brought its expertise and a range of talented teams together to provide its client with a truly outstanding finished product.
KOBE Construction worked closely with Fitz Consulting on the Fendalton renovation, carrying out all the general carpentry and construction of the new extension and remodelling of the existing structure.
“We have a very diverse workstream which has enabled the Kobe team to develop a high level of expertise throughout all building and general construction envelopes,” Blu from Kobe Construction says.
“Whether we are building executive architectural homes, fitting out restaurants and cafés or offices, repairing and upgrading commercial buildings or just renovating, we have the skills, experience, and product knowledge to deliver bespoke high-quality results every time.”

 

1940s Fendalton home

Paul really gets to know his clients personally and treats each project as if it’s his own personal building, his strong empathy to people’s needs and understanding of the family dynamic enabling him to make suggestions that makes their lives easier.
“Our company has been working with Fitz Consulting for a few years,” says Laszlo Meszaros from Euromaster Painting.
“We feel proud to be involved with him and it was a pleasure to see how fantastic this Fendalton project turned out. We hope everybody loves the result as much as we do. We completed the drywall stopping, interior and exterior painting. The luxurious, beautiful wallpaper was also applied by us. Our company specialises in spray painting and we strongly believe that we can create the best quality coatings for your home or commercial building.
“Paul turns clients into friends which speaks volumes of his character, work ethic, ability to always pick up the phone for any question big or small and, of course, the excellent finished project.”
Fitz Consulting is very active in the commercial strengthening and fitout arena as well, with projects in the CBD and outlying industrial areas. Currently, he is bringing back to life the ‘City Church’ building on Manchester Street, fitting out a boutique gym and three other warehouse/office buildings, each at separate locations.

1940s Fendalton home

Paul’s knowledge of build prices and how to provide the best deal for his clients, as well as his ability to get his hands dirty getting things across the line faster and more smoothly, is an asset to any project. Paul and his team of experts started this project with the EQC dispute and followed it all the way through to Code of Compliance.
Visit www.fitzconsulting.co.nz to see the before and after photos as well as the video walk through of the Fendalton renovation.

Project Partners

  1. Fitz Consulting
    Ph: 021 270 2309
    Web: www.fitzconsulting.co.nz
  2. Kobe Construction
    Ph: 021 581 999
  3. Euromaster Painting Services
    Ph: 021 039 7542
    Web: www.euromasterpainting.co.nz
Christchurch BMW

Wooing the crowds: BMW launches itself at Josh Emett’s Madam Woo

Madam Woo recently hosted the launch of the 2018 BMW X2. I caught up with celebrity Michelin chef and co-owner of Madam Woo, Josh Emett, who is also an ambassador for BMW. “I’ve been driving BMW for years,” Josh says.

Christchurch BMW

I bought my first BMW when I lived in the USA and have been a massive fan ever since. It’s great for Madam Woo to host such a fantastic event.”
Madam Woo was filled with lots of expectant BMW fans. It’s hard not to win over a crowd with such great food, but the reveal didn’t disappoint either. Having had to lift the X3 and the X2 in by crane, the wait was well worth it. The X2 unveiled a sleek, small SUV. With a low profile and some beautiful curves, it’s a great addition to the X range.
The BMW X2 is available with two distinct engine options for the local market. The sDrive18i petrol variant generates a maximum output of 100kW of power and 220Nm of torque, while fuel consumption is still an impressive 5.4l/100km.
Topping the range is the sDrive20i variant, with an engine delivering 141kW of power and 280Nm of torque. Also remarkable is fuel economy of just 5.9l/100km.
Christchurch BMW Dealer Principal Mathew Barr revealed some artistic impressions on the new dealership building and talked about the move toward electric vehicles within BMW. It was great to talk with some other BMW family/aficionados on the night and great to see one of my favourite brands moving forward here in Christchurch.

Heineken Urban Polo

Polo’s Popularity: Hagley Park plays host to a rousing polo match

What do you get when you take a visually stunning, superb Canterbury day, high fashion, high quality function in North Hagley Park? Seriously good fun is what. At this year’s inaugural Heineken Urban Polo, the ladies were looking fabulous and even the gentlemen had a pretty good shot at it. All the ingredients were there for an epic day in the Garden City.

Heineken Urban Polo

I was fortunate enough to be hanging out with Taylor Green, head of marketing for Heineken, giving me a great view of the DJ and the high-end crowd in attendance. “Given the overwhelmingly positive response we received last year, it was an easy decision for us to extend the event from two to four cities and give more Kiwis the chance to experience what we have to offer,” Taylor says.
“Heineken brings world-class events to life.”
I also caught up with Sam Hopkinson, player and partner of the Heineken Urban Polo. “We were very happy with the success of the day, the weather was kind to us and the field was an ideal surface to create a good spectacle of Urban Polo for all those that had never seen it before,” he says.
“The setting was quite magical, watching the polo as the sun went down in Hagley Park and I think it was my favourite event to date.”
Christchurch is leading the way through the development of young players, predominantly through school polo, driven by the Wood family and their Waireka Polo farm. But the sport still needs an injection of new energy, Sam says. “Polo in New Zealand needs some new energy, to continue to grow the sport it needs new events like the Heineken Urban Polo to do this,” he says.
“For anyone inspired by watching the Heineken Urban Polo and wanting to give it a go, they should be looking up Roddy or Charlie Wood immediately. The local Christchurch players and clubs have been very supportive of our event and helped make the day a great success.”
Different from the traditional polo played at the NZ Polo Open every year, the format has been adapted to a smaller field with simplified rules. Each competing team has three players, one less than traditional polo, and each match is shortened to 30 minutes for face-paced and high-intensity entertainment.
“We are polo on a smaller field, therefore fewer players per team, a larger softer ball and simplified rules to help spectators understand. I have added some extra changes for excitement,” Sam says.
“We liken ourselves to the seven-aside rugby or big bash cricket. All adaptations of traditional games to help create a better spectacle for those watching.”
So, for next year, consider preparing ahead of time, getting your tickets early and making your plan for the new kid in town. Divots don’t stomp themselves, so be there.

Autosure Golf Tournament

Great golfing getaway: heading along to the Autosure Golf Tournament

As the automotive writer for Metropol, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Autosure Golf Tournament at the wonderful Harewood Golf Course. Joined by car people from across the industry, we started the event with a slap-up BBQ which gave us time to meet and network.

Autosure Golf Tournament

I was assigned to the team from Car Clearance Centre, Craig Erickson and Hilton Arlidge, with Heather McFarlane from Autosure to keep us in check. I could tell from the start it would be a challenging 18 holes of golf, not for the game but the laughs and comedic routine of the group I was with. I wasn’t disappointed.
What was great about the event was it brought together all those people from the automotive industry to network and have an enjoyable day in the sun. After such a fantastic event at a superb golf course I’m looking forward to the next Autosure event.
James Searle says, “It was a great opportunity to take time out from day to day work with our dealers and partners to enjoy each other’s company and to chat about the industry in this fantastic weather”.
Autosure was established in 1986 and provides car insurance, mechanical insurance, lifestyle protection insurance. Mechanical breakdown and payment protection plans are, after all, an essential purchase these days and with such pleasant, professional people to deal with, you can rest assured you’re in good hands. Although our score on the course wasn’t brilliant, the fun on the day got a 10/10.

Mercedes A180

A sporty little number: Mercedes A180

I drove up to the film set of ‘Monster Man’ in the Mercedes A180, a film I play a pretty rough Maori fella in. Not quite the picture you get of a driver of this refined, elegant little vehicle is it?

Mercedes A180
Mercedes A180

Gumboots, unshaven with a Swanndri and beanie: quite the contrast to this 90kW, 200Nm 0-100 in 8.6 seconds, 5.8 litre athletic performer. However, I got the chance to drop gumboot on the accelerator all the way to the Hurunui and found it a pleasure to drive.
It’s a looker – like me, right! – with all the style you expect from Mercedes. A relatively affordable price, with entry level at $47,900. It’s a hatchback, but you wouldn’t know that from the front with its sleek grille. It was great on fuel consumption and even though I’m not a great fan of column shift, most other features make it a good all-rounder.
There’s room for school bags, groceries – and real estate signs! The sunroof gives an open cabin feeling and the black and silver interior creates a nice clean feel. Exterior lines and profile are nice too.
Things that get the tick? Sunroof, automatic tension adjusting seatbelts, interior, dash interaction, steering and acceleration controls, refined interior and iPad style display. It has its place in the Mercedes fleet: it’s a sporty number for around town and I liked the open road performance. Talk to the team at Armstrong Prestige about a test drive. If you’re after comfort, sportiness and safety features, you’re not wasting your time.