A romantic backdrop: a wedding at the Heritage Hanmer Springs

When it comes to New Zealand wedding destinations, the romantic mountain views and landscaped gardens of the Heritage Hanmer Springs provide an amazing ceremonial backdrop.

Heritage Hanmer Springs
A landmark venue just 90 minutes from Christchurch, it’s a world away from the ordinary, in a stunning alpine retreat that will captivate you and your guests.
The venue can arrange everything, from tailormade menus, to beverage and staffing needs. There is a fabulous ballroom, complete with open fireplace, or enjoy a stylish and unforgettable lawn wedding in the picturesque gazebo set amongst beautiful gardens.
A range of accommodation is available, including three-bedroom villas located around a charming lake. Guests can enjoy all Hanmer Springs has to offer, including the world famous thermal pools, a short walk across the main street.
If you are looking for elegance, a spectacular location and personalised service, choose Heritage Hanmer Springs.
Email HanmerConf@heritagehotels.co.nz, phone 03-315 0065 or visit

I take thee: what to consider when choosing your wedding vows

Wedding vows: they’ve commanded a lot of attention over the years. They’ve made us laugh, they’ve made us cry and sometimes, for those of us who have had to scribe these wedding days words, they’ve really intimidated us.

Wedding Vows

There’s debate over who actually said it, but we’ll take a gamble on the fact it was Churchill: “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one”.
It’s an enduring conundrum: how to say something compelling, quickly.
If you’re getting tongue tied ahead of tying the knot, here are our top tips for those ever-elusive wedding vow ideas:

  1. Set the tone: Just as you’d want to coordinate the style of your invites with your decorations; your gown with your shoes; your hair with your makeup, you need to agree a tone for your vows with your significant other. Before embarking on your literary journeys, get your heads together to determine the mood you want to create. If one of you writes a romantic declaration while the other resorts to gimmicks or cliches, it could dampen the matrimonial mood.
  2. Get to the point: It’s hard to imagine that on the most important day of your life, people’s attention may wander away from you – you are the centre of attention, after all! Be that as it may, keeping your vows clear and concise, and no more than a couple of minutes in length, will make for an endearing and engaging exchange.
  3. Plagiarism encouraged: This may seem like we are going against all our journalistic ethics, and it is, but if you’re really struggling to wax lyrical about your loved one, then by all means, let Google be your inspiration. Sometimes a blank canvas can be really overwhelming and all it takes is a few reference points to help you on your way.
  4. Consult your officiant: This is often an afterthought, but it’s actually important, particularly if you are marrying in a church or observe a religion and there are some mandatory inclusions.
  5. Practice makes perfect: While most don’t commit their vows to memory – and fair enough too, there’s enough to remember on the day as it is – repetition is your best friend when it comes to your vows. Say them out loud as many times as you can in the lead up to the big day so you can get acquainted and comfortable in the language without tripping over your words or letting nerves undermine your delivery.

The Influencers Column: Garth Wynne

Men’s behaviour towards women is, quite rightly, under scrutiny. The message is clear. Men need to understand respect.
Having worked in schools for 35 years, I am convinced the key challenge we face is to help our young men grow emotional confidence.
Emotional confidence – and associated self-awareness and empathy – is a core strength for men and demands a subtle rethinking of our view of masculinity and its expression.
By growing emotional confidence in our boys, we can help them navigate the complexity of life in a more honest and constructive way, bringing out their best and the best in others.
In my experience at Christ’s College, I sense the boys themselves are ready for a different level of conversation about “being a man” in the 21st century – young men being confident in who they are.
As educators, our role is not simply about academic achievement. We need to support our young men to understand and develop character strengths, to live by virtues such as respect, honesty, loyalty, integrity, compassion and manners.
I believe we should challenge what it means to be a New Zealand male – and help our young men grow in the areas in which Kiwi men have not traditionally been so strong.
There are a lot of confusing messages about masculinity on the Internet and in social media. We need to make sure our young men have healthy and positive role models, so they are good men who respect women.

Now’s the design time: making the most of Autumn with Artwork’s Landscape

Luke Robertson
Luke Robertson, Landscape Designer at Artworks Landscape Ltd

Luke Robertson, Landscape Designer at Christchurch’s celebrated Artworks Landscape Ltd, offers some advice for the enjoyment of spending Christmas and summer in your fabulous outdoor living space: “Just because it’s autumn, don’t put your plans on the back burner until spring – be smart, think ahead. Now is the perfect time to get your design completed so work can commence before the spring rush if you want to be able to enjoy your outside living over the summer.”

Artworks Landscape

Artworks Landscape Ltd has been in Canterbury for 31 years and offers the full service of design, build and maintenance, so can complete your whole project. “Communication flow between our departments means it’s a streamlined process, ensuring continuity between design, construction and maintenance,” Luke says.
Every client has different outdoor space requirements and Luke is driven by the challenge of variety. While he has some favourite design concepts, your outdoor space will be unique to you.
From the sculptural lines of a symmetrical formal garden, to a more relaxed free-form outdoor space, you’ll receive a distinctive, well-serving design and completed product that works for you.
Artworks Landscape Ltd has a reputation for quality landscapes on time and to any budget. The benefits in using Artworks, is that it offers the full package. Whether you need a paved area, or an integrated design complete with swimming pool, Artworks can help. Phone 03-387 0673 or enquire through www.artworkslandscape.co.nz

Elegant event photos: Magic Mirror’s themed photo booths are the fun extra you need on your wedding day

Encompassing incredible technology, Magic Mirror is a stand out from other photo booth offerings, with this voice activated mirror and touch screen making quite the experience.

Magic Mirror
The VIP set up is personalised with either red or black carpet and your choice of glamourous sequinned backdrop. An attendant is on hand, so you don’t have to worry about changing settings or loading printer paper throughout the night. A personalised logo and a range of styles to suit your theme mean your event is commemorated properly, including personalised touch screens with dates and bride/groom names.
Magic Mirror offers extras like unlimited printing, amazing personalised guest books (from Auckland store ‘Down Memory Lane’). There are also 200+ animations and a comprehensive table of props. Aside from the elegance Magic Mirror brings, it’s easy to overlook the benefit so obvious you almost miss it: being a mirror you can fix your hair and makeup before the photo!

The Influencers Column: Mark Hamilton

Mark Hamilton: MBC Environmental Solutions Director
Mark Hamilton: MBC Environmental Solutions Director

If you own, manage or occupy a building that’s a workplace, you should be up to speed with some regulations that will affect you. On Wednesday 4 April, 2018, important sections of the Health & Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations came in to force. There has been a two-year grace period to get organised and the deadline is now here.
What does this mean for you? In short, if you know (or ought to know!) that asbestos is likely to be present in your building, you need to be actively managing it. You should be well on your way to preparing an Asbestos Management Plan by now.
This important document outlines where asbestos is and how it will be managed. It must include information about the location, how you will manage associated risks, what procedures you’ll follow if you need to disturb it, how you record incidents and emergencies relating to it and a timetable for activities, such as regular reviews.
Anyone undertaking maintenance or repairs in your workplace should be asking for a copy of your Asbestos Management Plan, prior to commencing works, to ensure they don’t expose themselves or others to asbestos.
WorkSafe has produced some great guidance on the new requirements. Check out their website for more information. Ignorance will no longer be accepted as an excuse for not actively managing New Zealand’s number one workplace killer: asbestos exposure. Be proactive and don’t get caught out.

Honeymoon must haves: five things to sort before your romantic getaway

While we’ve never needed an excuse to keep the style party going long after the curtain has fallen on our big day, the honeymoon presents such a significant opportunity to introduce some chic newbies to our wardrobes that we couldn’t let the opportunity go by without making a fashionable fuss.


If your wedding falls in 2018, and you’re planning on jetting off somewhere where the sun never sets, then we’ve got you covered from top to toe with our honeymoon must haves.

  1. Resortwear: Ok, the name is potentially misleading; you don’t actually have to be at a resort to wear it. It could be a beach in the Bahamas or a promenade in Portugal. The aim of this style game is to provide you with sophisticated but practical options for your romantic getaway. Brands like Seafolly, Zimmerman and Marc Jacobs have the style goods.
  2. The ‘It’ bag: Whether it’s an oversized tote or a tiny clutch, having a bag for your personal items is mandatory. There’s not a one-size-fits all accessory for everyone but we play favourites with totes thanks to their versatility. Scale their use up or down at will; whether you just want to pack your daytime essentials, or throw in your entire wardrobe for your honeymoon so you can travel light, then this is your answer.
  3. Make a splash: A chic bathing suit fits into the fundamentals category when you’re flocking to summer fun on your honeymoon. We’ve selected a tongue-in-cheek option, but opt for whatever you feel most comfortable in – it’s absolutely key.
  4. The night and day dress: Having a go-to dress that can transition with ease from day to night means you’re covered when you’re having one of those ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’ moments. We love the styles that are chic enough to escort you to a dinner, but casual enough you can throw it over your ‘kini when you head down to the beach.
  5. Glowing skin: Your honeymoon is the adventure of a lifetime, but it’s also the perfect time to give your skin some R&R time, so be sure to have makeup free days and get back to basics with some great cleansing.

An arty restoration: Photographer Johannes van Kan captures The Arts Centre coming back to life

Home to one of the most significant collections of heritage buildings in New Zealand, The Arts Centre is a must visit for fans of beautiful architecture – particularly those with an interest in the distinctive Gothic Revival style.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

Photographer Johannes van Kan had front row seats to the buildings’ extensive restoration after they suffered extensive damage in the Canterbury earthquakes.

Did you have any ties to The Arts Centre prior to this project?

I had previously photographed events and people around The Arts Centre but nothing actually for The Arts Centre itself.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

What was it like having the freedom to observe the restoration through your lens rather than being told specifically what to photograph?

The freedom allowed me to be expressive. It allowed me to discover images. It was unique as an opportunity and I was very fortunate to be part of it.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

A lot of the images displayed in your exhibition at Pūmanawa earlier this year were black and white – what was the reason behind that?

Black and white imagery has a simplicity that is very much about using light to tell a story without the complications of colour. Actually, my biggest bugbear was orange cones.


Do you think the public understands the amount of work going into the restoration at The Arts Centre?

I would be surprised if many people had a full idea of what’s really involved. It is a huge project made up of many parts with many experts bringing everything together. There were unique skills like lead working and heritage masonry work, combined with modern engineering technology. There were multiple construction companies dealing with complicated strengthening and restoration. If there was another earthquake, I would go to The Arts Centre to be safe.

Did you learn some interesting stories about the buildings or tenants who used to occupy them?

The Arts Centre is full of stories of what people used to do there. The stories I was most interested in were those told by what was left behind in the spaces immediately after the earthquakes.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

What were some of the challenges of shooting photographs on an active worksite?

Being aware of health and safety was the main one. There was dust everywhere and changing lenses was always a concern. Working in this environment is all about respect. It was important that I had as little impact as possible on the imagery aside from being the observer.

Did you gain an understanding of the stonemasons’ craft?

To understand stonemasonry, you need to wield the tools. You need to strike the stone with chisels. You need to cut, lift, sweat and breathe in the dust – through a mask, of course. I saw what they did and was aware of the care they took but it would take a lot more to understand stonemasonry.

The Influencers Column: Albert Brantley

Albert Brantley
Albert Brantley

The success of the recent Lantern Festival has given Christchurch the first real taste of what a spectacular stage Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct can be for this city.
Thousands of people made their way along parts of the riverside promenade to find a vantage point on the steps of the Terraces or Worcester East punt stop. It was great to see this new space embraced in such a way.
It is easy to go past the remaining sections of the Avon River Precinct that are currently under construction and mistake them for roadworks. However, this project will see the riverside promenade stretch some two kilometres from the Hospital to the Margaret Mahy Family Playground when completed at the end of the year.
While the Avon River Precinct will bring more greenery to the central city and create an entirely new way to move across it, more importantly it is a catalyst for private development along the river.
Leading the charge of course, have been the hospitality ventures between Hereford and Cashel Street. We’ve also seen an impressive restoration of the former Café Roma building and the Public Trust building will follow suit. The Re:Start Mall site is also now making way for the start of works on the Riverside Farmers Market.
With Avon River Precinct works underway on the riverbanks between Victoria Square and the playground more opportunities will open up.
So, thanks to ChristchurchNZ and all those who attended the Lantern Festival for reminding us of the potential that lies along the river.

A beautiful butchery: The Butcher’s Mistress is the darling of Rangiora

Beautiful and sophisticated may not be the words you would associate with your local butcher, but then there are few similarities between The Butcher’s Mistress and most others of its kind.

The Butcher’s Mistress

Halena Hitchcock opened the doors of the store in Rangiora’s High Street in October last year and, although the physical store is still in a period of transformation, it’s already clear the attention to detail she brings to the commercial table.
Having been in the industry for twelve years, she recognises the part breeding, health and wellbeing play in creating quality, tasty meat, sourcing off the hoof as much as possible and from farms throughout North Canterbury.
“Traceability is important to me – knowing the animal has come from a top local farm and has been well cared for,” Halena says.
Along with a team of butchers, she offers an exceptional array of locally sourced meat – lamb, hogget and beef, old fashioned dry cured bacon, free-farmed pork, South Island venison and goat, as well as organic Washcreek lamb. For the kids, there’s the ever-popular crumbed sausages, but its high quality gourmet sausages is where The Butcher’s Mistress excels.
“To shop at a butchery means personal care,” Halena says.
“We pay close attention to personal tastes and portion control for families of all sizes.”
Homekill and wild game processing are also available. Halena and her team can guide you through the cuts, hanging time and small goods which best suit your needs. “We’re passionate about what we do and if someone comes in the door, we will do what it takes to source what they want.”
The Butcher’s Mistress, 84 High St Rangiora, phone 03-313 7191.