“Keep your heels, head and standards high,” Coco Chanel
For almost as far back as human memory can recall, horse racing has had a strong connection with fashion. A sport of nobility, it is believed to date back to the 1500s, when British aristocracy wanted an excuse to mix and mingle in high society. A strict dress code ensured the royal tone of the event was maintained and today, the fashion stakes remain just as high.
While refining a race day look brings with it the opportunity to honour a much more traditional aesthetic when it comes to your attire there’s still plenty of room to have some sartorial fun. Like the colourful jockeys’ silks, it’s about being the centre of attention, but for all the right reasons.
Because, although we’re working to a dress code here, the key to feeling flawless on the day is to ensure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing – both physically and aesthetically. Style is, after all, a way to say who you are without having to speak.
Whether it’s the thrill of watching the equine élites compete for glory – even if they were chosen for the cool cred of their name, rather than their talent on the track – or you’re pinning your chances of success on the fashionable field, Addington is the place to be this year. And we’ve got all the stylish secrets ahead to get you there.
“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse,” Walt Disney.
Just 50 years ago, it was widely believed that it was physiologically impossible for women to run a 26 mile course. Despite stewards trying to physically prevent the 20-year-old from competing, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially run the 26-mile Boston Marathon in 1967. It’s not just women that are breaking down barriers. Every year humankind achieves more than we ever thought possible. I find it incredibly fascinating when I think about the level of phenomenal changes we have been witness to just in such a short period of human existence.
What is perhaps even more impressive is the impact just one single person can have on the world. Edward Jenner developed the smallpox vaccine, successfully eradicating an illness that had claimed approximately 500 million lives in the 20th century alone. You don’t need to be a world-leading scientist to make your mark on the world.
I remember the mantra that was drummed into me as a small human – ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’ and, if I was going to choose one key life philosophy to base my life around, this would be it. So let that driver into the queue, pick the kids up from school early and go for ice cream, or share a smile with a stranger for no reason. Remember, you don’t know what battles others are fighting.
As the Dalai Lama once said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” – A. A. Milne
“I am the person who notices we are running out of toilet paper,” Ellen Seidman began a poem for her blog, Love That Max, about the hats she wears in her household – worrier, organiser, rememberer and attention-payer. The poem was about the work she does involving thinking, a kind of mental labour that, she says, “enables our family to basically exist”.
She’s not the first person to notice. Back in 1996, sociologist Susan Walzer wrote of the household gender gap whereby women, even those who work full time, do the majority of what has come to be called the ‘second shift’ – the work that greets us when we come home from work.
In 2014, Dr Libby Weaver introduced us to the term ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’, based on the concept of being all the things for all the people all the time. We’re focused on empowering women to lead fulfilling work lives and, while that’s a wonderful thing, we’re still being expected to do all the ‘other’ things too.
It might just be time to practise ‘kindfulness’. Forgiving and nurturing yourself can set the stage for a number of benefits, including lower levels of anxiety and depression. That aside, it gives you time to curl up and read Metropol with a cup of tea and we’re all for that!
After all, women may be capable of doing everything, but does that mean we have to do everything?
“Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all” — Hillary Clinton
Somewhat of a theme has emerged in this issue of Metropol. I wish I could lay literary claim to this feat of editorial ingenuity, but alas it has been pure chance.
See, it seems that on the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, this narrative of impressive, pioneering feats by New Zealand women is making an increasing appearance throughout the pages of Metropol.
This issue, we speak to the beautiful Lilia Tarawa, who escaped from a religious cult, about how she’s using her experience to inspire and empower young women with messages of self-love.
We talk to Dr Libby Weaver about the importance of nutrition to how we look and feel, and we talk to April McLennan about the social enterprise she has established that is all about getting youth into energising and fulfilling work which has a lasting impact.
We profile a special event being held next month to mark the beginning of the celebrations of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage and we celebrate the women who are breaking down construction barriers in the fourth annual Hays National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Excellence Awards.
We’ve even looked at the New Zealand workplaces which are seeking to empower employees, particularly women, by providing increasingly flexible working conditions.
I’m proud to be in a position to be able to share voices of women who are making a difference because, as Malala Yousafzai once said, “I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back”.
“Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that’s counted truly counts” – Einstein
A hundred and twenty-five years ago, New Zealand women changed the world when they vigorously – and successfully – campaigned to get the right to vote. They’ve held a figurative torch up for other extraordinary, intelligent and inspiring women pioneers across all walks of life to follow on.
From the 29 August to 2 September, Word Christchurch is hosting its biennial Writers & Readers Festival. The largest literary event in the South Island, it is giving us access to some of these extraordinary women, not just from New Zealand, but also from much further abroad.
The line-up includes adventurers like Robyn Davidson, who walked 2700 kilometres across the Australian desert with a dog and four camels, and Hollie Woodhouse, who has just returned home after crossing the Greenland Ice Cap.
There are inspiring mums including Scottish poet, Hollie McNish, who went viral with a video performance of her poem ‘Embarrassed’ which was hailed as an anthem for women who have been shamed for breastfeeding in public and there are trailblazers for the transgender community, such as pioneering human rights activist and first openly transexual mayor in the world, Georgina Beyer, along with the ever-popular Juno Dawson, author of The Gender Games and edgy YA novels Clean and Margot & Me.
We speak to one of the amazing speakers at the event in our next issue, the beautiful Lilia Tarawa who escaped from the Cooperites cult on the West Coast and has gained a profile mentoring and empowering youth with her refreshing philosophy that is all about self-love.
Women are doing incredible things on the world stage every single day and I don’t doubt for a second that our forebears would be immensely proud of how far we have come – despite how far there still is to go. Metropol is proud to be a vehicle to share their success with you all.
Miriama Kamo was once quoted as saying of her beautiful Grey Lynn villa, “Homes are to be lived in, stomped in, danced in, run in – enjoyed.
“If it gets dirty or broken – well, it’s just stuff.”
I suspect this isn’t far removed from her philosophy on life. Because, despite playing a starring role on New Zealand television for more than two decades, Miriama remains warm, engaging, open and honest.
She grew up in South New Brighton, a couple of streets back from the beach, with a warm and loving family and, despite the fact that she was drawn to journalism because of the desire to tell other people’s stories, now it’s our turn to tell hers.
Miriama has packed a lot into her life already – both personally and professionally – but as she tells us, she still has goals, plans and aspirations that will continue to keep her busy. “I hope to fill this life up and at the end of it look back and say that it was a life worn right out by all the good that was had and all the good that was done,” she says in our Q+A on pages 16 and 17.
A busy, over-committed life is something I can definitely relate to on every level. It’s a full life but, like Miriama’s, it’s full of beauty and warmth and all kinds of wonderful. Despite the fact that I don’t get nearly enough sleep, live on coffee and adrenalin and don’t remember what ‘me’ time is, I’m ok with that.
After all, you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
After having each of my three small humans, there was nothing better than the feeling of being able to lay in bed on my tummy, without a 9 pound baby encroaching on my space.
Of course, prior to each pregnancy, I had been mindlessly laying on my flat tummy for many months, in fact years, with no reference point to how lucky I was.
It’s easy to take what we have for granted. In fact, many of the luxuries we experience in New Zealand on a day to day basis are luxuries many don’t get – freedom, access to fresh water, even our healthcare system.
Māia Health Foundation was designed to take Canterbury’s healthcare system from good to great and, to do this, it has enlisted help from some pretty inspiring locals, including Jake Bailey.
Jake has been through some of the most trying circumstances imaginable and, despite this, or perhaps even because of it, he continues to focus his time and energy into doing good. We talk to Jake on page 6 about the inspiring life lessons he has taken from his battle with cancer and how he is giving back to the healthcare system that has done so much for him.
Life is precious and, at least as far as we know, we’re only given one. Why not remind yourself how lucky you are to be healthy, alive and to have your loved ones with you, or simply that you can sleep on your tummy. I challenge every single one of our readers to re-frame their day to day annoyances and focus on how precious all of our lives are because, as we know, things can change in a blink of an eye.
After all, those wrinkles show we had something to laugh about; that round tummy shows we had food on our tables and those grey hairs show we had family to worry about. Food for thought?
The tides of gender roles have been changing recently
Perhaps best illustrated by an off-hand comment by Pippa Wetzell’s seven-year-old. “Mum, can a boy be Prime Minister?” he asked her soon after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had given birth to her first child, Neve.
And, although Pippa’s reply “Absolutely, boys can do anything girls can do” is, at face value, accurate, it has always been equally as accurate in reverse. Because although until now, women have generally been physically and mentally ‘capable’ of doing anything men can do, fact is, they haven’t been ‘able’ to.
If you’re still wondering what the big deal is about the Prime Minister giving birth while in office, then I’m glad. I’m glad because of what that means for New Zealand as a country.
Globally there are very few women in power and fewer yet of childbearing age. It has been almost 30 years since Pakistan’s then leader, Benazir Bhutto gave birth to her daughter Bakhtawar. She was the only modern head of government to give birth while in office, until now.
As we celebrate the 125 year anniversary of Kate Sheppard’s pioneering women’s suffrage movement successfully campaigning for women to get the right to vote at a time when no other country had done so, we’re now onto our third female Prime Minister.
Does that make us unique? Does that make us special? Does that make us extraordinary? It does, but perhaps not in the eyes of Pippa’s son’s generation after all, they’re growing up in a country where it’s normal for a woman to be in power.
When I was 10, I wanted to be a forensic scientist; when I was 11, I wanted to be a veterinarian; but ever since I was 12 years old I have wanted to be a journalist.
A somewhat unusual occupation for a young person growing up in a small rural town, in fact, I can remember a favourite teacher gently guiding me in another direction. Fact is, at face value, it wasn’t an achievable goal.
Due to a complete lack of relevant work experience options in my town, school work experience was spent at the local vet and, although this undoubtedly would have resulted in an extremely fulfilling career, writing was where my heart was – although my three dogs stand as testament to my love of animals.
Eventually, after leaving my family to commence several years of study, I got there, the first in my immediate family to attend university. But that is the country we live in. It’s a country of opportunity; it’s a country of ‘if you work hard you can achieve’ and it’s a country where anything is possible.
Also from a small rural town is our beautiful cover model this issue. From the small South Otago town of Milton, Sam Hayes made her way up to the big lights of Auckland and found herself on the hot seat of Nightline at an incredible age of 23. She hasn’t stopped achieving and pushing the boundaries of what is achievable. She was, and is, an inspiration.
At the time of print, Sam was heading into the elimination episode of Dancing With the Stars and, although we doubt this fleet-footed beauty is at risk of leaving us, Suzy Cato’s shock elimination goes to show that anything can happen in the world of reality TV.
So all the best Sam – your former Tokomairiro High School classmates aren’t ready to see you leave just yet.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change” – Wayne W. Dyer
I’ll admit it, I have somewhat of a love hate relationship with social media. Numerous attempts over the years to sever ties have failed, often on the basis of ‘that distant London cousin I need to keep in contact with’ or, my favourite, ‘but I need it for work’. And, after a trial separation has resulted in eventual reconciliation, the honeymoon period is always so much sweeter. After all, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
But I have to concede that, despite its social shortcomings, plenty of good too comes from the social media platform. Long lost relatives have been reunited, it’s been used to create awareness of social movements and it has given a voice to society’s voiceless.
It’s also created overnight sensations. Jordan Watson posted a funny video one night before heading off to bed. He woke up to 250,000 views. Now, those funny videos are a full-time job. We spoke to Jordon about ‘How to Dad’ ahead of his trip to Christchurch and it got me thinking, life really is all about what you make of it.
Some of the world’s greatest philosophers have determined that the power of the mind is such that your perception is your reality. Your mind really does have the ability to change your world. So the next time you’re feeling negative, why not try reframing the way you’re looking at things.
After all, the glass may be half full; it may be half empty, but when you recognise the glass is refillable, then it matters very little either way.
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