Vaccines may not be a lot of fun for anybody, but they’re one of the most effective tools we have for saving children’s lives. Yes, that small ‘ouch’ can be a big life saver. As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, annual flu vaccinations are on everyone’s lips.
Recent research shows about one in four New Zealanders become infected with influenza each winter, but many don’t develop symptoms and may in fact be unaware they’re sick. Tens of thousands seek medical advice for flu-like symptoms every year and, on average, about 400 die from influenza, or its complications, annually.
Health Minister Dr David Clark recently rolled up a sleeve for his annual influenza vaccination and says the goal for 2018 is to break last year’s record, which saw more than 1.2 million New Zealanders getting vaccinated.
“Our influenza season normally begins from June, so getting vaccinated by mid-May is the best way to be protected for winter,” he says.
“If you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to catch influenza, less likely to pass it on to others, and less likely to be severely ill if you do catch it.”
This year’s funded vaccine will protect against four strains of influenza for the first time, including the A(H3N2) strain that badly affected people in the Northern Hemisphere during their winter.
Health Intelligence Group, ESR Public Health Physician Dr Sarah Jefferies says one of the challenges with influenza is that there is evidence that infection does not always cause symptoms. “Research shows about one in four people may be infected with influenza during a moderate flu season, and the majority of those people may not know they have flu,” she says.
“This is one reason why immunisation is a key line of defence.”
The health burden of seasonal influenza in New Zealand varies from year to year and across the world, significant time and resource goes into increasing the effectiveness of these vaccinations, according to the Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre at the University of Auckland, Associate Professor Nikki Turner.
“Vaccine effectiveness is difficult to accurately predict season-to-season and person-to-person,” Associate Professor Turner says.
“We know overall that when the vaccine types more closely match the circulating strains the vaccine is likely to be more effective. Each year, for the northern and southern hemisphere, there are meetings to decide what is the best prediction for circulating strains and therefore what is the best choice for the seasonal vaccine.
“The vaccines arriving in New Zealand for our winter season have a new updated AH3N2 strain in them, which is a better match and we hope that will give better effectiveness. The government-subsidised vaccines for this season also are quadrivalent (two A strains and two B strains), which should give better protection than the traditional trivalent that have only one B strain in them.”
In New Zealand, those at high risk of getting influenza, including those aged 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic or serious health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer or severe asthma, can get their flu shot for free. It is available from general practices and many community pharmacies.
There’s a new catch phrase that has made it into the local lexicon – lifestyle store – and that’s exactly where Ruby Six owner, Jenni Dobbie, believes the beautiful Amberley store sits. “I feel the term ‘lifestyle store’ captures our ethos at Ruby Six,” she says.
The carefully curated product ranges include stylish, quality fashion and accessories, beautiful prints, handcrafted ceramics, stunning jewellery and creative gifts for children. Ruby Six is brimming with items you won’t find elsewhere. “We enjoy showcasing NZ made products and proudly support NZ designers.”
This gem of a shop has fine hand-crafted ceramics by Nelson potter Melanie Drewery, funky clay Mayd earrings handmade in Christchurch, and simply cool accessories by Auckland label S O P H I E, along with many other brands that we already know and love.
Ruby Six offers an experience in its own right, tantalising the senses with beautiful aromas and stunning treasures. “Customers are always excited to discover us out here in Amberley.”
Located at 6 Markham Street Amberley, only 40 minutes north of Christchurch, Ruby Six offers a fun, relaxed shopping experience and has become a destination store for travellers and day trippers.
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.
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.
With little minds to inspire and little legs to tire out, the role of a parent can be beautifully relentless. We might not offer a babysitting service here at Metropol, but we do love to brainstorm on your behalf.
Here are some of the fun things our city and surrounding areas are throwing up in the coming weeks, so you can let your inner big kid run wild and take your kids on the ride with you.
BUBBLE DAY AT THE SEASIDE
Love bubbles? Hop to it down to Brighton. This Easter Sunday, 100 free bubble mix and wand sets are up for grabs. The Christchurch Faerie Circle and The Christchurch Circus Centre will delight the senses of little ones, along with the weekly Seaside Market’s delicious range of stalls. Kids can get their adrenalin hit with the bouncy castle and express themselves with free face painting.
14-15 APRIL :
It’s time to let off some steam! The Annual Steam Extravaganza – the biggest in New Zealand – is coming to town. Make your way to McLean’s Island during the first week of the school holidays and step back in time. More than 25 traction engines from around the country will be on site, along with sheep shearing, oat threshing, stone crushing and working horses. $15 entry, under 15 – free. The price includes a ride.
HORORATA NIGHT GLOW
Up, up and away in some very beautiful balloons! The only event of its kind in the South Island, balloonists from all over New Zealand will feature at Hororata Night Glow. Hot air balloons will decorate the night sky, glowing in unison to music.
Sweet sounds at this autumn festival will come from Holly Kimber, Volts and The Easy Hearts. Enjoy culinary treats from the Sensational Selwyn Food and Wine trail and an amazing array of street food.
Against a backdrop of delightful bubbles an amazing new asset made its mark at St Andrew’s College in February.
While the youngest members of the St Andrew’s delighted in a mass bubble blowing activity, Dame Adrienne Stewart opened their state-of-the-art buildings and bespoke playgrounds, all part of the brand new Stewart Junior Centre. The beautiful contrast between fun and formality set the tone for what the new facility will provide – an environment to excel, learn and thrive while having a great time each and every day.
The new development offers three new junior classrooms in one block for Year 1-3 students with an adjacent new preschool and an impressive outdoor facility that ensures education beyond the four walls of classroom is just as enriching.
All rooms in the Junior School enjoy high spec engineering, construction, insulation, technology and contemporary furniture and equipment. A Discovery Room provides an incredible avenue for diverse learning including art and cooking.
The Stewart family made a significant contribution to the Stewart Junior Centre, designed by Wilkie and Bruce Architects, and built by Armitage Williams. Mark Stewart took a walk down memory lane in his speech saying it was almost exactly 50 years since he started at St Andrew’s as a five-year-old. He said his family was proud of its long association with the college and their support of various projects. His brother Todd and other family members were also in attendance.
Preparatory School Principal, Jonathan Bierwirth says, “There is a natural cohesion and close connection between the Junior School and Pre-school, which is significantly enhanced by having both within the new Stewart Junior Centre. It is wonderful to have the youngest members of the St Andrew’s family learning in such close proximity.”
The International Culinary Studio is marching to the beat of its own delicious drum, no cliché concepts here! In fact, this revolutionary innovation – an online culinary school and chef courses – has been touted as a world first.
From helping aspiring chefs to chase their dreams and fulfil their potential by becoming qualified in the foodie field, to helping those with experience further enhance their skills, the learning model has been designed in recognition of the fast-paced lives people are leading and the need for flexibility when it comes to upskilling.
It seems age really is just a number when it comes to capability with the International Culinary Studio blessing even the little ones in our midst with some impressive culinary prowess thanks to its Mini Chef and Mini Baking Programmes.
Every busy parent’s dream, these comprehensive courses educate children on all of the fundamentals, with a generous dose of finesse and fun thrown into the mix. Five lessons at four hours each run across five days.
The Mini Chef Baking Programme starts with an introductory module incorporating dressing for the kitchen, personal hygiene and safe food handling, before baking some delicious biscuits. Swiss rolls, pavlova/meringues, chocolate mousse and almond tuille, and cakes/cupcakes are also on the menu.
The Mini Chef Cooking Programme begins with the same introductory module and lessons include learning how to make pasta, parmesan twists, dessert and even offers an industrial kitchen tour through the studio’s virtual kitchen.
For more information about what the International Culinary Studio can offer you and your family, visit wwww.internationalculinarystudio.com.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be”. While some people are quite content to maintain the status quo, others see opportunities for improvement.
This is certainly the case for a Christchurch food technology teacher who is putting her heart and soul into improving food education programmes and resources for local schools.
Casebrook Intermediate’s Lauren Dick-McCann has made it her mission to teach her Year 7 and 8 students how to grow, harvest, prepare and share good food through a nationwide food education and literacy programme Garden to Table. Now she has become known for her thriving garden which she refers to as her ‘outside classroom’.
“Food education goes beyond the ability to identify a fruit or vegetable,” Lauren says.
“It’s about giving our younger generations the tools to develop this necessary life-skill and the knowledge of how to feed themselves well.”
A collaborative and hands-on programme which aims to change the way children approach and think about food, Garden to Table has armed Casebrook’s students with the resources they need to make better food choices. The programme operates as part of a core specialist course at Casebrook and works in conjunction with the school’s Food Technology curriculum.
Casebrook Intermediate Principal Sharon Keen is supportive of the approach, crediting it with improvements in other facets of school life, such as better attentiveness, socialisation and class attendance.
Locally, Diamond Harbour Primary, St Martin’s Primary School, North Loburn School, Kaiapoi Borough School, Riccarton Primary School (in partnership with T&G Global), Victory School Nelson (in partnership with T&G Global) and Casebrook Intermediate have all been benefiting from the programme.
For more information, visit www.gardentotable.org.nz.
TimberNook has just celebrated its first anniversary of facilitating experiences for children in a range of natural settings around Christchurch.
The focus of TimberNook is nature-based play, weaving the therapeutic aspects of nature with an understanding of child development, creating play opportunities that challenge the mind, body, and the senses.
With programmes for preschool and primary aged children, it is designed to empower rather than just entertain. Children are inspired to think and play in new and creative ways. Group and independent play can include themed programmes such as Knights and Dragons, with fort and castle building; Barefoot and Buckets, building rafts to test on the river; or Storybook, where stories are used as inspiration for play in the forest.
“We always have interesting loose parts, building materials, digging equipment, pots and pans for a mud kitchen, string and wool. Tree climbing, rope play, carpentry, learning to whittle and more occurs in a safe environment with great supervision to master these more ‘risky activities’,” Kim says.
The benefits of such nature-based play are many, such as improved gross and fine motor skills, increased auditory processing, better visual and social skills and emotional growth.
With birthday parties, school holiday experiences and regular weekly sessions, Kim and her TimberNook team are kept busy. TimberNook can also host early child and school groups for excursions.
Contact Kim on 027 934 0409 and look for TimberNook Christchurch NZ on Facebook for more information.