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Angelique Armstrong

Interior Inspiration: Q&A with Angelique Armstrong

Metropol caught up with award-winning interior designer Angelique Armstrong from Armstrong Interiors to get a sneak peek at the latest trends to hit the home.


Angelique Armstrong


What trends do you see emerging this spring?

Whether you are intending on a moody dark room or a fresh white palette, all our fabric companies around the world are suggesting more colour. We have pineapples, flowers and large prints coming through, for outside and inside use. We need more people in Christchurch that want to be different and go for an individual look that suits them.

What is your favourite thing to include in your designs right now?

Steel and timber combined in pieces of furniture. We tend to be moving away from built units and cabinetry. Freestanding pieces of bespoke furniture or individually purchased pieces are making a comeback. There are some beautiful pieces available for the look you want. Open and boxed shelving for indoor plants to sit on seem to be popular this spring.

What advice would you give to someone looking to renovate or build?

Engage a designer to help with the large decisions at an early stage. Spending a little bit of money for some good design advice can save you a lot of time, money and mistakes later on. Set a budget and stick to it. Someone who knows what they are doing can help you achieve the look you want by comprising what I call ‘highs and lows’. This means higher priced items and low priced can sit in the same room side by side to achieve the look you want.

What makes a successful interior for you?

When I walk into a room and feel inspired, it is due to the combination of colour, layout, accessories and fabrics used. This can be achieved through colours sitting well together, new products on the market and seeing the enjoyment on my clients’ faces when they see and feel what they are getting. From design choices made early on to the beautiful and homely final touches.

What are you currently inspired by?

I love many different interior design looks, renovated villas, to very modern, minimalist new builds. At present I am working on a range of jobs from a heavy industrial-feel project with elegance in Auckland, to a modern rustic project in Queenstown. I am inspired when I get immersed into each job and creating beautiful interiors.



27 reasons to love

27 reasons to love: Q&A with Rachel Easting

Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart, the designers behind Twenty-seven Names, have been taking the Kiwi style-scene by storm, with their edgy and yet playful designs.


27 reasons to love


Metropol catches up with Rachel to discuss the brand’s stylish evolution.

How did Twenty-seven Names come about?

Anj and I have been best friends since primary school and we grew up in Wellington. Anj studied fashion design, while I studied fine art in Dunedin and while we were there, we decided we wanted to start a label together. The first collection we put together was while I was in my final semester at art school. We started small and named the brand as a homage to the 27 people who helped us get the label off the ground.


What is your design philosophy?

We design together, so we are very good at communicating about what we like. One of us has to absolutely love the garment if it’s going to make the final cut. We aim to make clothes which make women feel special and inspired positively to make the most of their day, whatever they’re doing. We love being playful, so there is often a fun and humorous aspect to each collection.


You’ve got a huge and growing profile now, how difficult has it been getting established in New Zealand?

It’s just taken time and effort. We started our business over 10 years ago and we’ve had a retail arm for the last five years. Anj and I worked really hard at the beginning (still do!) to establish the label, and now we have an amazing little team that help us make our dreams come true. We still do our own sales appointments with our retailers, which is so lovely as so many of them are great friends, some we’ve now worked with for nearly a decade. We’ve been lucky to have our collections at Showroom 22 since our first year too, so we have many people to thank when we think about how far we’ve come over the years.


Who have been some of your biggest design inspirations?

I studied sculpture at art school, and one thing we always go back to are some of our favourite artists for inspiration: Tracey Emin, Jenny Holzer, Sylvie Fleury, Gillian Wearing, Rineke Dijkstra, Vanessa Beecroft, and Barbara Kruger to name a few.


How do you describe your latest collection?

We have two latest collections; in store is ‘Yada Yada’, Summer 2018/19, which draws inspiration from our favourite TV character of all time, Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. Each piece has a little bit of us and a little bit of Elaine in there. We have designed signature prints, notably our meadow floral, in which you can find the perfect summer dress; there’s something for everyone.
Secondly, we have just shown our Winter 19 range ‘A Cat May Look at a Queen’, at New Zealand Fashion Week. This collection is set to hit stores in February and is a fantastical play on 70’s silhouettes and floral prints, and also re-introduces our signature cat print from the archive; now replete with balloons and friends.


What are some of your favourite pieces from the collection?

From Yada Yada, I think my favourite at the moment is the Elaine dress; it’s quintessentially Twenty-seven Names, and such an easy piece to throw on and feel a million bucks in.
My fave look from Fashion Week has to be the Becky Jacket and China Pants. Again, I dare you to put on this ensemble and not feel amazing – our signature floral print on French-printed tencel, beat that!


What do the next 12 months have in store for you?

We have so much on the boil at the moment, this is a bit of a ‘watch this space’. We have exciting things up our sleeve for both retail and design. We are also in the process of fitting out our workroom. Making a beautiful space always leads to better designs and feel- good vibes. We already love coming to work, but this makes it all the more enjoyable!



27 reasons to love
Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart


Stan Walker

Stan Walker hits the high note: Q&A with Stan Walker

It’s been the biggest year of Stan Walker’s life; he has fought and won the battle against stomach cancer. Now he’s getting back to what he loves, with a 12-date New Takeover tour that will see him performing across New Zealand’s main centres throughout October and November.


Stan Walker


Metropol caught up with Stan to discuss his excitement about getting back on the road.

How much are you looking forward to your first tour in five years?

I’m excited. I’ve been waiting for this for so long and now I’m finally actually doing it. I’m on the road this month – I can’t wait!

You’ve had a pretty intense journey in recent times with stomach cancer. How difficult has your journey back to health been?

I guess it was pretty hard at times, but it all went by really fast and I’ve never felt better, to be honest. When it was all happening, it was hard, but it kind of happened really quickly. Now I’m skinny, fit and healthy; I feel real good.

Is this journey something you’re able to channel into your performance?

I guess so. I think I’m more on fire than I have been ever before, for my career, my goals, my flame has been reignited even more. It’s all part of the fuel for performing. I’m more motivated and determined and better than I was before as a singer.

In the beginning you feared never being able to sing again, how important is singing to you and how would that outcome have affected you?

Singing, it’s everything, it’s my be-all, I’m a singer before anything, so it would have affected everything, my whole life. Thankfully my voice came back stronger and better than before.

How much of a difficult decision was it to share your journey through your documentary?

Not really, I was excited to share that experience. I just wanted to share with people how it really is going through that sort of thing.

How has this experience changed you?

I’m skinnier, that’s the biggest change! I can wear anything I want to now (he laughs). It has made me more passionate, more excited, more on fire than I ever have been before.

You released a self-titled EP in March, can you tell us what this album meant to you?

Those are songs that I had written a long time ago, one I had written 11 years ago, four songs were from four years ago; they were all songs that were sitting there and meant something special to me, from ‘breakthrough’ points in my life. I wasn’t intending to do an EP; I wasn’t intending to do anything, but it made sense to have my own music on the documentary and that ended up being a really positive thing; it became what it became.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?

A lot of work; I love working, love being busy, love getting tired from chasing my dreams, love making music, films, working on new projects, things that stretch me as a creative person and an artist.

How does it feel to have such a strong and diverse following across many ages and to have such a big fan base that are following your journey and what you’re up to?

I always find it interesting that people follow me. I am really grateful. I think a lot of times, I’m me and who I am 24/7 and I’m like really? I’m really grateful and chuffed at the same time. There are a lot of people that have followed me since the early days, since my Idol days. I’ve changed so much since Idol; my music has changed, even this next season of music and film, it’s completely different to the last, yet people follow my journey and I get new fans along the way. I find it really interesting but I’m really grateful.



Amy Carter

Promoting Philanthropy: Q&A with Amy Carter

Communities, charities and projects are the benefactors of the new Christchurch City Foundation, set up a year ago to positively impact the city. We catch up with Head of the Christchurch Foundation Amy Carter to discuss the philanthropy driving this positive outcome.


Amy Carter


How did the Christchurch Foundation story begin?

The initial concept came as a legacy of the 2010/11 earthquakes. There were so many generous people living overseas or in other parts of New Zealand who gave to the Prime Minister’s and the Mayor’s funds. It showed us that even though people no longer live in Christchurch, their hearts often still do. This means that they probably have dreams for the city and the causes within it, so we’ve built something to help them achieve these dreams.


What is the key mission and how does it do this?

Our core focus is to make it easier for people to give to the causes within Christchurch that they care about. We are a donor-led organisation rather than cause-led. That means that we act on behalf of the generous person or business who wants to give, matching them to causes that share their ethics, values and desired outcomes. You don’t give to The Christchurch Foundation itself.
We make it easy by offering a range of ways through which to give. This could mean a gift through a will/bequest, payroll giving or a mixture of cash lump sums, goods and services. The Christchurch Foundation undertakes the due diligence on the cause so that donors can have confidence the money given will end up being invested in the way in which they want.
We are also in the process of becoming a registered charity in locations where our generous people and businesses pay tax. There is a significant focus on helping people overseas to give here. A cause can be a charity, social enterprise, a community event or asset. This is decided by the person or business giving.
From time to time, the foundation will also invest in programmes or projects identified in the city as important. For example, we recently announced that we are establishing a women’s fund. Christchurch has a proud history of women and girls making change both here and globally. We thought that it was part of our city that needed to be celebrated and we have set up the fund to continue to support women and girls making change at a grassroots level within the city.
We have also recently hosted our inaugural Thinker in Residence. KPMG partnered with us to bring a global leader, Hila Oren, to our city. This is an annual programme and we are already working to select the 2019 Thinker.


Why are you so passionate about the work of the foundation?

It is really exciting to be hands on developing an entity that will have a sustained positive impact on Christchurch. I have big aspirations for our city, as do many others. In this role, I get to help make those dreams come true.



Al Brown

Quintessential Kiwi Foodie: Q&A with Al Brown

He’s one of our favourite foodies, the quintessential Kiwi bloke who just happens to be able to whip up some pretty sumptuous tucker in between fishing trips.


Al Brown



Metropol catches up with Al Brown about his sweet tooth and the winning recipe for a great establishment.


Where did your passion for food come from?

Look I’m not really sure. My mother was a pretty bog standard cook, however growing up on a farm we always ate very well. The protein that anchored our diet was sheep meat… lamb, hogget, mutton and all the delicious offal that accompanied the prime cuts. We always had a decent sized vegetable garden, so grew most of the greens and tubers that we consumed.
Personally, like many kids, it was baking that got me interested in the joys of cooking and eating. Born with a very active sweet tooth and with no dairy down the road, I soon realised it was a DIY situation if I was to satisfy those sugar cravings. However once I grew up and left school, it was fairly apparent when I set off on my OE, that it was hospitality and becoming proficient in kitchens that were my early career goals.


Why do you think the country has connected with you and what you do?

I guess people connect with me in a way that they sort of see themselves embracing or singing off the same song sheet that I do. Authenticity, informality and nostalgia play a big role in what I believe in or attempt to portray. I genuinely feel a huge sense of pride in being able to call New Zealand home. Like so many others, I don’t think the significance of this can be underestimated. We are all just so darn lucky.


You’ve been busy with the Garden to Table programme, how important is this to you and why did you choose to become involved?

From the first visit of a decile 2 school that had incorporated the Garden To Table programme into their curriculum, they had me. It’s an extraordinary programme on so many levels and I feel fortunate to be involved in a small way. Connecting the dots and understanding the full circle of food, is incredibly powerful. To plant, to grow, to harvest, to prepare, to cook then to share the spoils around a table is simply priceless. Learning in a non traditional setting often gives the kids that struggle in the classroom environment an opportunity to shine. Self esteem and personal worth are other attributes from the programme that also help empower the children.


What is the winning recipe for a great dining establishment?

The offering (food and beverage) has to always be on point, however personally I believe the real reason that an establishment is successful, as often is the case in any business, is that it comes down to the people. Creating a fun-filled culture with hard working values, kindness and generosity of spirit at its core, is what it is all about. Great staff attract great customers.


How does a day in the life of Al Brown look these days?

• 6:30am walk ‘Sir Ed’ my Jack Russel for
an hour
• Two slices of toasted Vogels with tomato, sea salt and cracked pepper along with a mug of instant Red Ribbon Roast to start the day
• Staff catch-up
• Writing menus for various events
• Best Ugly Bagel business
• Tennis lesson or a hit every second or third afternoon
• Write speech for impending speaking engagement
• 6:30pm work the floor for a couple of hours at Depot or Fed Deli
• Hopefully home by 9pm for family time, before hitting the hay.


What’s the most fulfilling aspect of what you do?

I really enjoy the collaboration aspect of what I do. If you surround yourself with a bunch of clever folk that bring different skill sets to the table, you can achieve a hell of a lot. Also winning with a bunch of like minded people is a lot more fun than winning by yourself.


What does the next 12 months have in store for you?

Plenty of interesting events dotted throughout the calender. I’ll continue to work on and support Depot and The Federal Deli, while we are also opening two more Best Ugly Bagel outlets. Besides that and with a bit of luck, I will be aiming to squeeze in as many days fishing as possible!




Dogged Determination

Dogged Determination: Q&A with Mark Vette

Mark Vette has trained animals for film and television locations around the world, such as Narnia and Lord of the Rings. He has his own television show Pound Pups to Dog Stars, where he transforms dogs on death row into happy, healthy, well-behaved dog stars.


Dogged Determination


But what’s perhaps even more impressive is that he has taught rescue dogs to drive a car and fly a plane!
Metropol catches up with the dog behaviourist and author of bestselling book Dog Zen ahead of his trip to Christchurch for the region’s first ever ‘train the trainer’ session about his dogged determination to transform dog behaviour in New Zealand.

How did you end up working with dogs?

My love affair with dogs started at a very young age. Given Scott – an unruly 45kg German shepherd – as a young boy of six, I learnt very quickly what it was like to be faced with a dog that caused havoc in your life. My grandfather was a dog trainer in the war so he helped me learn my first lessons around dogs and ignite a life-long passion to learn everything I could about them. This led me to North America to study the dog’s ancient ancestor, the wolf, alongside many of America’s great canine behaviourists. I was amazed just how many of its behaviours were exaggerated dog behaviours, or more correctly – how dogs showed toned down puppy-like wolf behaviours. I discovered a wolf isn’t a dog and, although they share 99.96 percent of their genes, they are also very different. This took me on an amazing lifelong journey to discover the evolution of the dog, its co-evolution from wolf, proto dog and pariah and how it joined our families. From there I did my Masters in Sheep Dog Behaviour and started my behaviour clinic over 40 years ago. I have loved every moment of it.

If there was one thing you could teach the world about dogs, what would that be?

That what you do in your puppy’s first 1-4 month formative period is critical to success; to ensure that all dog owners do the right thing at the right time when raising their pups; that they put in place the critical foundations during the pup’s formative period. The formative period is when 70-80 percent of the brain’s connectivity is wired and the time when the most important behaviours are put in place. Most importantly these include establishing their bond with their owner, house training, ensuring generalised socialisation to all species (human, dog, chickens, cats etc) and the beginnings of the shared language that needs to be established between us. It is so important that the whole first day of the train the trainer workshop is dedicated to puppies – understanding why and how we establish these foundations and getting hands-on practicing these critical skills. This is our big idea – that we can transform dog behaviour in New Zealand in 10 years if we all do the right thing at the right time – it’s really that simple.

What have been some of your most powerful experiences with dogs over the years?

Our TV show Purina Pound Pup to Dog Stars was a very powerful experience for me, working closely with dogs with serious psychological and physical trauma and proving both to myself and others, that even what seem like impossible cases can be resolved and can have a happy ending. The ability of dogs to recover using the right techniques and seeing them enjoy living in a loving family was a deeply moving experience.
Another experience has been teaching rescue dogs to fly a plane and drive a car. Seeing the capacity of the dog’s intelligence to learn such complex and amazing things was extraordinary. And sitting in the back of a small four seater plane as my adorable German Shepherd Labrador Cross rescue dog Reggie flew was more than a little mind blowing!

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?

An exciting, big year ahead as we switch our focus to education through our national ‘train the trainer’ workshop series, writing a new book (watch this space) and developing new TV opportunities.
Our central focus is spreading the word on our ‘big idea’ – that we really can transform dog behaviour in NZ in 10 years and prevent the 13,000 plus dog bites a year– we all just need to know what to do with our beloved pups in their formative period. Make sure you spread the word too!



Kevin Burt

European Evolution: Kevin Burt

Metropol catches up with Kevin Burt, who has provided specialist Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi repairs for 35 years.


 Kevin Burt

What is your opinion of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi vehicles?

Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are the premium European marques. They are world leaders in technological development with engineering that is second to none. That is why we specialise in them.


What skills are needed to be able to repair these vehicles?

Completed qualification in automotive engineering. This enables the technician to build their skills by utilising ongoing training to embrace new technology.


What are some of the major changes you have seen in the motor industry over the years?

One that stands out to me is the increased use of plastic in all vehicles, including engine, transmission and major body components. Another change is the tremendous progression of electronic technology in the vehicle much of it operating inconspicuously and unseen by the motorist.


What is your opinion on the electric vehicle and its future?

As with most aspects of the motor vehicle, electric vehicles are not new. In fact, Henry Ford’s wife Clara owned and operated an electric vehicle as early as 1908. Henry Ford’s Model T did not have an electric starter, so the electric car was simpler to operate. The advent of the “self-starter” led to the demise of the electric car. The modern electric car has its place, but I feel the technology needed will have to improve greatly to displace the internal combustion engine in the near future.



Simo Abbari

Making Moroccan magic: Q&A with Simo Abbari

As we hunt for healthier takeaway options and balanced diets, Moroccan cuisine is increasingly hitting the consumer consciousness. We catch up with Simo Abbari from Christchurch’s very own
Mosaic by Simo about this culinary revolution.


Simo Abbari


What is your background in food and how did your love of Moroccan fare come about?

My love of Moroccan cuisine originates in childhood, from growing up in my homeland, Morocco. I’m a chef who graduated in 1987 from a French hotel school with a three-year diploma in French cuisine.

How common are Moroccan restaurants in New Zealand?

I had the privilege to open New Zealand’s first Moroccan restaurant in 2002, here in Christchurch. It was a request from my friend, NZ celebrity-chef Peta Mathias. I wanted to give something back to New Zealand. We both thought it would be a great addition to New Zealand’s cuisine-scene. Before that, ‘Moroccan cuisine’ was a mysterious concept. Since then I’ve known about one other opening in Wellington. For over 20 years now I’ve not heard about any other qualified Moroccan Chefs residing in New Zealand.

What is your signature dish at Mosaic by Simo? Do you ever cook this at home?

My signature dishes have to be all the slow-cooked ones such as Lamb Tagine and Preserved Lemon Chicken Tagine. They result from slow cooking methods over at least three hours. Luxurious flavours and delectable tenderness are achieved with patience and skill. Yes, our children love Moroccan food so it’s regularly on our table.

Where do you go to eat out when you’re not at Mosaic?

I appreciate good food made with love, and I go only to where I know the chef or the restaurant owner. I do like Mediterranean cuisine, so Casa Nostradamus, The Birdwood, Town Tonic, and my favourites – Cooking with Gas and the Astro lounge.


What are your most immediate foody goals?

I’m now mainly focusing on developing my Simo’s brand. Our latest adventure and addition to Mosaic by Simo in Addington and the city stores is Chez Simo Cafe and Bistro at 399 Ilam Rd. Simos has also just taken the award-winning Pukeko Junction cafe under our brand, where we’ll be launching our new spring menu.




Kelvin Cruickshank

Sensing the Supernatural: Q&A with Kelvin Cruickshank

He’s best known for his role as a psychic crime solver in Sensing Murder, acting as a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds. Now Kelvin Cruickshank is putting his psychic strength into solving murder mysteries in the United States. But as he tells Metropol ahead of his Soul Food Tour to our southern city in October, helping people through their grief is a key driving force behind what he does.


Kelvin Cruickshank


How did your psychic journey begin?

I began seeing spirit when I was a child which was overwhelming but as I grew to understand them, they actually were there to help their loved ones left behind. Once I learnt that, the rest is history.


You’re heading to Christchurch on 3 October as part of your Soul Food Tour. What’s the core concept behind these shows and how important are they to you?

The core concept for my shows is to share the love of the spirit, to teach my guests how to understand their spiritual experiences and to show that our loved ones still live even after death.

I feel every experience I have with the spirit world is amazing. Reading clients is always a pleasure. Working on murder cases like I have been in the USA has been challenging and dangerous, yet I just love it. And teaching people how to understand it is a passion. But the best thing is seeing with my own eyes the pain leave people after a connection has been made… truly an amazing feeling!


You’ve been doing this for many years now, has time in any way diminished the power of what you do in your mind?

You’re right, I have been doing this for years and to be honest time has only made me better at connecting. The skills are sharper I’d say.


You’ve recently had an incredibly powerful experience when you were able to help locate the body of missing man, Raymond ‘Curly’ Stirling. How do you describe that experience?

Finding Raymond was truly the highlight of my career. His daughter in law and son trusted me enough and they listened to what Raymond had shared and simply went out and found him. Personally I was and still am so happy for their family to have had their dad returned and laid to rest. I thank Glen and Jo for listening and following the instructions to the letter. They stuck to it and found him. A bitter sweet experience for sure but a truly amazing one too.


Do you think everybody has some degree of psychic ability that hasn’t been recognised?

I believe if we can dream we can all connect. Yes everyone has the intuition they just don’t either understand or don’t want to understand it. We all have gifts of some kind so for me it’s about tapping into it should one choose too.


A big part of your career has been involved in delving into unsolved crime. How has this affected you emotionally and how do you keep yourself grounded through that process?

Crime work, well that’s another thing all together. For the past 2.5 yrs I’ve been working with detectives and an amazing team of specialists in LA, USA. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and incredibly draining, not to mention the physical dangers involved. But we get results and that’s the most important thing. I have bodyguards when at work in the States, which I appreciate because they keep me safe and I’m often meditating to find inner peace as the cases are really tough.


What have you got in store for the next 12 months?

Next 12 months I’ll be heading back to the States and possibly back to Japan, as I have been lecturing there this year. But the most exciting thing I’m looking forward to is my NZ tour with TJ Higgs from the UK. We will be working together side by side on stage. The tour kicks off July 2019 so I’m super excited to be able to bring TJ here to NZ.
She’s an amazing medium who also worked with Colin Fry and was a personal friend to him. I met TJ in Japan and we just clicked, so the tour will be awesome. I can’t wait. I’m sure things will pop up as the year progresses and that no matter what and where I end up, spirit will be right at my side sharing their stories to help heal and inspire those they have left behind.


Kelvin will be presenting his Soul Food Tour Wednesday 3 October. For more information,


Paving the way: Q&A with Helen Clark

“We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored,” Sheryl Sandberg.


Helen Clark


Helen Clark has paved the way for women in leadership roles here in New Zealand, since becoming the first woman to be elected as its Prime Minister, following the 1999 election; the second woman in the country to take on the role. In April 2009, she then became the first woman to assume the role of Administrator of the United Nations Development Program, a position she held for a full two terms – eight years – before standing down in April 2017. As we celebrate 125 years of New Zealand’s world-leading suffrage movement, Metropol talks to one of our early female leaders, one who continues to be a strong voice for gender equality and women’s leadership.


What attracted you to politics?

I got involved because I wanted to play a role in designing and implementing public policies in areas about which I was passionate – from working to secure opportunity and security for all New Zealanders to advocacy for an independent and principled foreign policy.


How did your previous experiences or personal attributes set you up for a leadership role?

I began at the bottom of the ladder in the political system as an activist in local body and general election campaigns. Over time I took on progressively higher levels of responsibility, including on the New Zealand Executive of the Labour Party, culminating in my being elected as Leader of the Labour Party and thereby becoming Leader of the Opposition. That made me a candidate for the job of Prime Minister.


You will forever be in New Zealand history as one of our early female leaders. How does it feel to be a role model for women in leadership roles?

As a result of New Zealand having had three women Prime Ministers, girls and young women now have role models of top female leadership. I am proud to be one of those role models.


Who have been some of your biggest role models, women or otherwise?

The first and most important role model was my mother who was a teacher, and also an aunt who was a teacher. Impressive women teachers throughout my education were influential in my intellectual development. Professor Robert Chapman at Auckland University also was very helpful in supporting my career development.


Women’s needs and perspectives are underrepresented.


Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg once said, ‘One day there won’t be female leaders, there will just be leaders’, capturing the sentiment that one day we do hope to achieve equality. How important are women leaders across all fields?

We can only say “there will just be leaders” when we achieve gender parity across all fields. That is far from the case currently. Where women don’t get the chance to sit in a critical mass at decision-making tables, women’s needs and perspectives are underrepresented. It’s vital to change that.


How do we, as a country, encourage more women to enter leadership roles?

By continually reinforcing the importance of gender equality and girls and young women being able to aspire to be anything they want to be. No door should be closed to women.


Where would you like to see New Zealand in 10/20/30 years with regards to women’s rights, equality and women in leadership?

By 2030 – or before, New Zealand should aim to reach gender parity in Parliament. 2030 is the date for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and, with the good will of political parties, gender parity among MPs could be reached by then. As well, we could by 2030 eliminate the remaining gender pay gap, and aim to reduce the level of domestic and family violence enormously.


Why do you think New Zealand has been such a world leader in terms of women’s rights?

We are a small, open, and relatively tolerant society with a sense of fair play. We are not hidebound by tradition. In my opinion, this enables us to embrace social change more readily.


What do the next 12 months have in store for you?

I am deluged with invitations from around the world to contribute to major events and advocate for good causes. That keeps me busy 24/7!