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Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: Writers & Readers Festival

“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.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

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.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: Miriama Kamo

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.”

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

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.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: On Health

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.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

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?

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: On the change of gender roles

The tides of gender roles have been changing recently

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

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.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: On what she wanted to be when she grows up

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.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

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.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: On the ups and downs of social media

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change” – Wayne W. Dyer

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

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.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: On the people who make Christchurch a city to be proud of

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile,” Albert Einstein

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

At face value, an urban space is classified a city once its inhabitants reach 50,000.
The fact that this means that people are what make a city – both in the literal and figurative sense – isn’t lost on our team here at Metropol.
We’ve long recognised the importance of people to our Christchurch identity because, although we’re drawn to landscapes and architecture, it’s the people that we engage with.
In recognition of this fact, we’ve been profiling some of the people behind our city; the movers, the shakers and the magic makers. What makes them tick – both commercially and emotionally; what exciting new ventures do they have in the commercial pipelines and, how do they fill their weekends?
This issue we talk to Mike Pero’s son Aaron about his own real estate moves, Maree Lucas about putting her event planning powers to the very worthy Ronald McDonald House fashion show and Dr Sue Bagshaw about her $10 million goal to cement a new multimillion dollar youth hub for the CBD.
Not to mention, we caught up with living legend Lionel Richie during his New Zealand tour and interviewed one of the country’s most sartorial elite, our cover model this issue, Karen Walker.
Christchurch is filled with incredibly inspiring people and we think Metropol is an incredible vehicle to share their success with you.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: on being a mum and Mother’s Day

“Children are not a distraction from the most important work, they are the most important work,” CS Lewis.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

There’s unpaid overtime – with back to back early and late shifts a given – unexpected expenses come with no reimbursement, public holidays aren’t recognised and, for that matter, neither are weekends. There’s no performance reviews, no opportunity for a payrise – in fact, there’s no pay at all.
Chances are, if it was employment, you would have called in the mediators and the union would be threatening a strike.
Although motherhood is one of the most remanding roles many of us will ever undertake, in the same breath, it is also one of the most rewarding.
While at face value Mother’s Day represents an annual opportunity to thank our mums for all their tireless dedication, it’s also a great opportunity for mums to take a step back and see themselves from their children’s perspectives.
When those little eyes look up at you, they see perfection. When those little hands reach out to hold you, they see your strength. In this one little person’s eyes, heart and mind, you are their world.
Although motherhood can be a thankless task a lot of the time and time to reflect is a luxury many simply don’t have, to those small humans you are enough, you are important and you are worthy.
To all the mums – and mums to be – out there, happy Mother’s Day from the Metropol team. Job well done.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: on getting teary-eyed at the M Factor Events for Ronald McDonald fashion show

Tears may not be what you’d expect from one of the city’s most covetable fashion shows. But when the benefactor of the event is a worthy charitable cause such as Ronald McDonald House South Island, which has supported the likes of Paula and Alex Moore, it’s not surprising there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

When their daughter Grace was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the Moore family – including Grace’s twin sister Sophie and younger brother Beau – spent 133 nights at Ronald McDonald House.
The annual M Factor Fashion Show is one of the organisation’s primary fundraising drives each year, which enables it to continue the tireless crusade to support families when they need it the most. More than $65,000 was raised for the charity on the night at this year’s event.
It’s an event that organiser Maree Lucas from M Factor Events puts heart and soul into. She was joined on stage for the opening address by her twin nieces. Born prematurely, one with a hole in her heart, they spent time at Starship and her family stayed at Ronald McDonald House to be close to them while they underwent treatment.
It was a special night for a special cause and Metropol would like to personally thank all of the incredible people that supported this event in some way, shape or form.
We look at the charity’s next major fundraiser on page 10. Enjoy.

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: on love, marriage and weddings

“He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began,” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Metropol Editor Melinda Collins
Metropol Editor Melinda Collins

Whether it’s tying the knot, getting hitched, or simply taking one’s hand, when it comes to unions, there’s something pretty special about the one that links two people together in marriage.
It’s a union which has crossed the social, geographical, religious, cultural, economic and gender divides, with evidence of its existence tracing back to almost the beginning of civilisation itself.
Recognised in some way shape or form in almost every society since the beginning of time, it was born from the need to secure a safe environment in which to breed, handle the granting of property rights and protect bloodlines.
And yet despite the inherent practicalities behind its formation, marriage has always had love and romance at its very heart.
The engagement ring – a custom dating back to Ancient Rome – is believed to represent eternal love and is based on the belief that a vein or nerve ran directly from the ‘ring’ finger of the left hand straight to the heart.
There are few areas of modern day life which are as strongly influenced by such ancient customs and traditions as those which relate to the ‘big day’. And yet, despite this, never before have weddings been injected with the degree of personality as what they are today.
So if you’re planning your nuptials, you may wish to let tradition be your guide, but make sure you let your personality shine through too. After all, it may just be one day, but it’s one day that you will remember for the rest of your life.

– Love the Metropol team