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Kathryn Wilson

When the shoe fits: Q&A with Kathryn Wilson

Launching her Spring/Summer ’18 Collection at Jacks Point Clubhouse on Friday 3 August, as part of the Veuve ‘Clicquot in the Snow’, all eyes were on the beautiful and inspiring Kathryn Wilson.

Kathryn Wilson
The summer collections are colourful, playful and joyful


Singer and jewellery designer Boh Runga opened the event with a snare drum solo before the models strutted down the catwalk showcasing the vibrant new collection.The 2018 showcase also coincided with the 200th year since Madame Clicquot blended the world’s first rosé champagne and Kathryn celebrated with a special edition rosé pink belt that marked the reintroduction of belts to her design portfolio. Metropol caught up with Kathryn at the event to discuss the dizzying heights of sartorial success.


Kathryn, what can people expect from the latest collection?

The summer collections are colourful, playful and joyful – a palette of cerise pinks, canary yellow and floral printed leathers adorned with gold metal stud detailing and glass gemstones. We have designed irresistible uppers on all heights on heels and sandals with everyday wear covered and special occasion heels for summer weddings and balmy nights out.


What is your inspiration behind your designs?

Julia and I selfishly design the collections each season based around what we are wanting to wear ourselves… we celebrate with colour when designing our summer collections as our customers often have cocktail events, weddings and annual race events etc over the summer months that are a perfect showcase for a beautiful feature shoe to complement their outfits.


After 15 years, how are you feeling woman’s fashion shoes are progressing in New Zealand?

New Zealand women love to look good, but most importantly feel good in their shoes and we have prioritised comfort into all of our designs so that our promise to our customers is around providing a shoe that can see them through from 8am when they leave the house to 11pm when they arrive home after a fun night with friends.
We are finding our customers are more open to wearing colour especially on their feet and like to buy quality items that last and wear well, not having to replace footwear each season. We love this and really enjoy seeing customers wear their favourite pair from years before.


What kind of challenges have you experienced in that time and what hurdles have you had to overcome?

I would have a long list of challenges we have experienced over the 15-year journey of the brand! We are constantly learning and developing as a team to ensure each season we are better than the one previous.
Our main hurdles have been around logistics and freight handling being so far away from all of our suppliers in Europe and Asia however, these systems are improving every year with specialists such as DHL on board to make the process run smoothly.

How would you style your bespoke Clicquot belt?

It can be worn high as a waisted belt with summer dresses and blouses with matching pink heels… or low on the hip with jeans and a white t-shirt / blazer combo with trainers. It’s super classic and versatile to be dressed ‘up or down’.


How do you make each Clicquot in the Snow show better than the last, given this is your 7th year.

Haha this is something we joke about every year, as the calibre of the event gets higher and higher each year with the tickets selling out in under three minutes this year! We surprised and delighted the audience with Clicquot’s famous ‘twist’ and enjoyed wowing the guests with a playful and celebratory catwalk event… with the best playlist of 80s/90s favourites!


What kind of values do you and Veuve Clicquot share – the partnership seems to work so well?

Veuve Clicquot love to celebrate innovation and creativity, along with women in leadership and business and we are lucky to align all celebrations throughout the year. It is the 8th year we have been aligned as an ambassador and I am very proud of the association, hoping to encourage more women as entrepreneurs to raise the bar and keep thinking BIG.

foodie philosophy

No-fuss foodie philosophy: Q&A with Sarah and Nick Freeman

Sarah and Nick Freeman put Lyttleton’s London Street on the culinary map when they opened Freemans in 2006. Now they’ve brought their simple, no-fuss foodie philosophy to the heart of Beckenham with The Birdwood, which opened earlier this year.

foodie philosophy
Metropol sat down with this dining duo to discuss their culinary journey and their latest offering.


How did your culinary journey begin?

Nick is from Poole on the south coast of England and I am from Christchurch. We met 20 years ago at a Christchurch hotel and both shared a love for great food and hospitality. Nick ran fine dining restaurants in London and quickly developed a passion for Italian cuisine.

You put Lyttelton’s London Street on the map with Freemans, now you’ve opened The Birdwood. What sets the two apart?

The Birdwood offers all day dining with our eatery on one side during the day and our wood fired pizzeria on the other, which kicks off in the late afternoon. Our philosophy is exactly the same as Freemans, good hospitality. We believe the recipe is simple, make people feel welcome, serve great food and go above and beyond their expectations.

Why do you think people have connected so strongly with what you have created here?

The Birdwood is a place where we want people to feel like they are part of our culture and our family. We love knowing their names, what they like to drink, what school their children go to and how their day has been. There is nothing nicer than chatting away to a customer perched at the bar waiting for their takeaway pizza while they relax after a busy day.

What are the key things that set the Birdwood aside from other dining options in the city?

Our strong focus on family. It is a place where inviting booth seats in the pizzeria encourage families and their kids to pile in, eat some amazing pizza, have a few wines and feel like they have had some quality time together. We spend a lot of time as a team perfecting our craft and talking about ways to give a great hospitality experience.

What are some of your favourite menu options?

In the eatery we do a great brunch. Creamy mushrooms with a crumbed egg on soft polenta is definitely a favourite. We roast our coffee in house and our takeaway coffee window is a little slice of Melbourne on the streets of Beckenham. In the pizzeria, of course pizza! Hand-made and hand-stretched sourdough bases that are given time to rise with good quality ingredients make, we believe, the best Italian pizza in Christchurch. We also hand-make our pasta which is a real hit with our customers.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of what you do?

The people we interact with every day. We are blessed with a team of people who inspire us. We respect their skill, their craft and their tireless commitment to be the best at what they do. Our customers fill our space with energy and love. This is a job we love and it is a real joy to wake up and come to work.

Judy Bailey

Mother of the Nation: Q&A with Judy Bailey

She was adopted by the country as its unofficial ‘Mother of the Nation’. Now, after many years fronting the news, Judy Bailey has gone back to her roots freelancing, blogging, spending time with her grandchildren and finding adventures on a global stage.

Judy Bailey

You have had an incredible career, what attracted you to journalism?

I’ve always loved writing and, being an inherently curious person, I guess journalism seemed like the ideal career. It’s the storytelling that attracted me, not so much the presenting out front. I’ve now come full circle and returned to the storytelling with my writing.


What would you consider as some of your most defining career highlights?

In the very early days, working for the South Tonight in Christchurch I did a couple of specials I was very proud of…. one about abortion and the other about the Cooperite sect then based near Rangiora. Being asked to front Top Half with John Hawkesby, was another, then the move to anchoring the main evening bulletin. Fronting telethons was always a highlight; seat of the pants broadcasting for 24 hours on the trot was quite a challenge but always great fun, especially in the early days. More recently, fronting Maori Television’s ANZAC coverage was extraordinarily special for me. It was an honour to be asked to do it.


What have you been up to in 2018?

I’m an ambassador for Samsung and that saw me, remarkably, in Korea in January, running in the Winter Olympic Torch Marathon! I’m the last person you’d imagine would be doing that as I have never run a step, willingly, in my life! I surprised myself though and managed to get reasonably fit in time to do it…. It’s never too late to do that!
I also do some promotional work for Avalon Waterways and that saw my husband, Chris and myself off on a trip down the Seine to the Normandy Beaches in May. I’m currently thoroughly enjoying writing a series of profiles on New Zealand women for the Australian Woman’s Weekly. I also do some travel writing and various other bits and pieces. We are heading to Africa this month to trek into the mountains of Uganda to visit the gorillas, something I’ve long dreamt of doing, so that will be a real thrill.

What have been some of the most fulfilling aspects of your career?

It’s hard to single things out but I think overall, being on the spot when history is being made, bringing those stories into people’s living rooms and forming a connection, albeit through a television screen, with so many New Zealanders.


How does a day in the life of Judy Bailey look these days?

Because I’m freelance and involved in lots of different projects, my days tend to be a bit chaotic and differ from day to day. I do try to fit in a pilates class most weekdays if possible and a dog walk. We have two cairn terriers who get very lemon lipped if they don’t have a good long walk!
I’ll probably attach myself to the computer for a while, answering emails, researching or writing. We have seven beautiful grandchildren ranging in age from eleven to newborn and all of them live in Auckland, so being a granny is high on my list of priorities! I love spending time with them and I have the second youngest for the day most Wednesdays.
I’m actively involved with a number of charities so there’s always something happening. As well as that I do some work as a brand ambassador for Samsung and some promotional work for Avalon Waterways. For the past few years Chris and I have also taken small tours of people to wonderful destinations around the world with Auckland company, Bon Voyage Travel. I also have a travel blog, still very much in its infancy, ‘On The Road Again’.


How close to your heart is the Women’s Refuge and how fulfilling is it to lend your profile to such a worthy cause?

The Women’s Refuge movement is extremely close to my heart. The levels of domestic violence in this country of ours are among the highest in the world, so high it’s hard to comprehend. It’s vital that women and children are supported to leave violent situations. Living in constant fear can cause lifelong changes in the brain.
Another of the charities I’m deeply involved with is the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa, which brings the latest research in neuroscience to anyone who influences the life of a child. What that research tells us is that our earliest relationships are more important than we ever believed possible; they literally wire up our brains and determine the sort of adult we’ll become.
The child that’s born into a loving, warm, nurturing, emotionally responsive home will typically flourish but if you live in constant fear of your caregivers, if your emotional needs are not met, then it’s likely your brain will be wired for the fight or flight response. You’ll be concentrating on survival, you won’t trust the world, you’ll find it difficult to form stable relationships, to concentrate and become an able learner, to empathise with others, even to feel remorse.
That is not what we want for our children. The refuge gives women and their children a safe place, a haven from which to begin new lives without fear. They break the cycle of violence. They do wonderful work. Having been around all those years on the telly has given me a bit of a profile so it’s great to be able to use that to highlight the great work that non-profit organisations are doing.


You’ve done a lot of travel writing, what are your favourite destinations?

Africa would definitely be right up there, particularly Botswana. It is beautiful, unspoilt, alive with animals and birds and the people have a great sense of humour. Other favourites are India…. particularly Kolkata and Ahmedabad for the children we met, and Cuba for its music, its history and its people. Having said that, I’m a travelholic…. I love an adventure and each place we’ve been has had its own special attraction.


What do you love about New Zealand and always brings you back?

It’s home! It’s in my DNA; my children and my friends are here. I love its beauty, its diversity and the fact that it continually punches above its weight on the world scene. We are a nation full of surprises!

Kelly Coe

Kelly Coe’s Colourful crush: Q&A with Kelly Coe

The Augustine and Charlo labels have been injecting colour into Kiwi fashion for more than a decade. With Augustine currently showing at New Zealand Fashion Week, Metropol talks to Founder Kelly Coe about how colour makes the world a happier place.

Kelly Coe

How did the Augustine story begin?

Augustine began like all good stories, in our garage. It came from seeing a gap in the market for special occasion wear for everyday NZ women, at attainable price points and grew from there. It was a hope and a dream that we knew NZ fashion needed but didn’t know it yet haha. Nathan and I started it from an idea and slogged it out until NZ women noticed, started to follow along with us and joined the colour revolution.


You would be one of the most followed New Zealand fashion labels on social media. Why do you think people have connected so strongly with what you do?

I think because I was the first person to put myself out there personally and really put a face to my brand. I didn’t get a marketing assistant to do all my posts for me or hand it over to a social marketing company, I didn’t heavily stylise my photos, I just showed myself with my kids at the park wearing my product, or Nathan and I out for dinner wearing Augustine. I recognised that my customers are from all over NZ and are just everyday Kiwis and mums and they want to be included and part of something. Country Road, Witchery etc are faceless to them; they don’t belong to that team, but I have always wanted Augustine to be a team/family that you can all be apart of and feel that you can relate to my life. And if they thought I was too dressed up at school pick up then maybe it inspires them to wear their best clothes daily rather than save them for a special occasion. My followers feel like they know me and often stop and tell me that they feel like my friend. I love that – I would love to have 160,000 friends haha.


Your collections are filled with colour, something that at face value people might not think would necessarily strike a sartorial chord with New Zealanders. Why did you think this would be such a success?

At first I didn’t know if it would be, I just hoped it would. My first collection was sooo colourful that most of the stockists I showed it to didn’t get it and didn’t buy it. It has taken years to push through the barriers of black and white dressing in NZ, but we are getting there. I see so much more colour now than I did 10 years ago and that makes me very happy. Colour makes the world a happier place.


You’re showing at NZ Fashion Week (August 27 to September 2), what are you looking forward to at this year’s event?

We sold out our show in a day, so I am most excited to put on a cool show for the 700 ladies that snapped up tickets so quickly. I always feel pressure to thank them for supporting me by making sure it’s a feast for the eyes and a fun amazing show. I love that the crowd that turns up to my show are so colourful and polar opposite to who watches the shows during the week of fashion week. It’s like a rainbow hits the waiting area at fashion week right before our show; you know it’s time for Augustine to hit the catwalk by the sea of colour waiting outside. That makes me so very proud and happy of how far we have come with the colour debate.


Can you give us the low down on some of your upcoming collections?

We are heading into summer so it’s a rainbow of colour coming which is how I like it. Lots of maxi dresses, sequin skirts, floral prints, and of course a new kimono every week. I love summer. We also have the most amazing colourful wedges coming out in our shoe range that I can’t wait to have in every colour, especially the fluro yellow ones.

Alex Ricketts

Getting The Last Word: Q&A with Alex Ricketts

At the heart of New Regent Street’s The Last Word is an extensive whisky collection – more than 360 at last count. Owner Alex Ricketts gets ‘The Last Word’ in on this tempting tipple.

Alex Ricketts


How would you describe The Last Word to a stranger?

The Last Word is an intimate and beautiful whisky and cocktail bar that feels as comfortable as having a drink in a close friend’s home. It is a table service only venue, is open late in the evening and the emphasis is on looking after people and doing things properly.


What motivated you to buy the bar off its previous owners?
The Last Word was a bar that I thought had a wonderful feel and combined with the opportunity to work alongside our friends at Whisky Galore was enormously appealing. Now it feels like an extension of me.


What do you think The Last Word does best?
Whilst The Last Word has a huge focus and a loyal following for its whisky selection (over 360), what it does best is welcome and look after people from all backgrounds who enjoy a quieter, considered environment and the opportunity to learn about what they’re drinking along the way.


How did you come to have such an interest in whisky?
It’s a difficult one to pin down. My personality is such that once I learn a little bit about something, I want to know more. Whisky is a wonderful combination of history, science, commerce, romance and legend.


What do you like about New Regent Street and being based there?
New Regent Street is one of the best streets anywhere. We have wonderful neighbours and cultural opportunities all around us. We feel right in the centre of our new city whilst having the honour of being on Christchurch’s only historic street that remains post-earthquake.


Can you describe the fit out, the atmosphere at The Last Word?
The fit out is fairly classic, with some items of furniture that people remember from their childhoods. We have cards and some board games along with an eclectic selection of old books and magazines. The atmosphere is warm and a little dark with the emphasis on conversation and a little escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Having fun with fashion

Having fun with fashion: Q&A with Laurinda Sutcliffe

Loobie’s Story is a Kiwi brand that is a little bit playful and a whole lot of fun. Metropol talks to Co-owner and Designer Laurinda Sutcliffe about her design philosophy and her latest collection.

Having fun with fashion


How would you describe your design philosophy?

It must be beautiful – beautiful to look at, beautiful to wear and still beautiful and relevant in your wardrobe after many seasons. We design with a woman in mind who is not afraid to buck the trends, who likes colour and who confidently mixes and matches to create her own unique style.


Can you tell us about your new SS18 collection?

Our SS18 collection is called ‘The Jetsetter.’ It’s relaxed and fresh, yet completely luxurious. Designed with a free-spirited woman in mind, it’s influenced by a resort style with a hint of the urban. You’ll find a glorious mix of pattern and colour on soft silks and viscose plus touches of sequin or pearl details. Styling varies from ankle grazing maxis to embroidered tees and tasselled lace shift dresses. We believe this is one of our best summer collections!


Why do you think New Zealand women have connected so strongly with your brand and what you represent?

We were the first brand to offer the New Zealand woman a completely different look. A touch of bohemia with playful bright colours and bold prints – in our first few seasons we didn’t even offer black, which was almost unheard of by a New Zealand brand!
We make it easy to combine and layer our garments with complementary colour palettes so our customer can confidently pull her own look together. The Loobie’s Story woman wants to look good and feel good, but she doesn’t conform to fads.


What is most important to New Zealand women when it comes to fashion?

I think the New Zealand woman secretly wants to fall in love with what she wears, but she also likes to be practical!
Not only do New Zealand women have to love the garment, but it needs to be versatile for their busy lives and have longevity. They want to be able to buy that special piece to dress up for a special occasion, then pair it with their favourite jeans for a completely different look.

Miriama Kamo

Our extraordinary expat: Q&A with Miriama Kamo

Miriama Kamo has graced our screens with her warmth and charisma for many years. Metropol catches up with Christchurch’s extraordinary expat about a life well lived.
Miriama Kamo

You’re a Cantabrian girl at heart, can you tell us about your upbringing in Christchurch?

I’m one of five kids, smack bang in the middle – an older brother and sister, and a younger brother and sister. I’ve always loved that, knowing what it’s like to have one of each. We’re a pretty tight bunch, the Kamos. We always have been.
We were raised in South Brighton, so we spent a lot of time at the beach. Mum and dad were both catholic prison chaplains and we kids regularly went with them to their services. It was a pretty extraordinary upbringing in many ways. Mum and dad’s friends were an eclectic bunch – social justice campaigners, activists, Christians, changemakers, lawbreakers, musicians… and we had a massive extended whānau on both the Māori and Pākehā sides.
Mum and dad often had social events at our house; massive birthday parties, hāngi, Christian gatherings, muso evenings. We grew up on our marae, Rāpaki and went to kapahaka every Sunday at Rehua Marae in central Christchurch. Mum and dad raised all of us with a sense of service and to this day we’re all mindful of giving back.
As to our house, it was huge rambling affair – dad built it himself, often enlisting his mates to help. He and mum built more rooms on, the more kids they had. Plus, we usually had a cousin or two, or a grandparent living with us and mum loved animals, so we had cats, dogs, birds, chickens, lambs, mice and rats, guinea pigs, rabbits. When I think about it now, I can understand why I’ve chosen the life I have – a bit mad, overcommitted, but full of… everything!

How did your upbringing set you up for a career in journalism and broadcasting?

My family, on both sides, are storytellers – and the people mum and dad exposed us to living the most amazing lives; they all gave back. I think people who lay their lives down in the service of others often do have the most interesting tales to tell; they set about creating new narratives; better ones. I admire that sort of person and I’m inspired by their intention to make change. I find storytelling so satisfying and broadcast journalism, being a wide-reaching platform, has the power to be transformative, so I guess in some ways I’m trying to follow in the footsteps of those I grew up around.

What initially attracted you to the industry?

The journalism, the fun, the travel, but mostly the chance to meet and tell stories, to be given the privilege of people’s trust. To this day, I’m humbled by that. It’s an honour and one I take seriously.

Your success as an interviewer has been put down to your natural kindness and warmth. Why do you think people have connected so strongly with you and what you do?

That is so lovely to hear; if I have those qualities it’s because they were bred into me. I’ve always been aware of the privilege of growing up in the family that I did, that we never went hungry and that we had so many friends and a loving whānau. At the same time, we were exposed to need, to despair and to injustice. I care very much about people and I’m always grateful when they allow me into their lives.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Writing, I always have a few projects on the go. I have another book I’m working on and I’m trying my hand at a screenplay. I’m an ambassador for Pillars which supports children of prison inmates, and for Endometriosis NZ. I love going to the movies. I’m launching a mentoring programme soon to encourage young Māori into mainstream media. And I’m working on a few different kaupapa with my husband – a translation project, for example, which will translate 100 books into te reo.

How important is Pillars to you and what attracted you to become involved?

As I mentioned my parents raised us in the social justice arena. And we lived across the road from Verna McFelin, the founder of Pillars – a warrior if ever there was one. The work is vital. Children of prison inmates are nine times more likely to go to prison, than those who don’t have parents in prison. It’s not okay that these children should be so disadvantaged; they’re innocent and need protection and the same opportunities as any child. And, if we want safer communities for everyone, then it makes sense that we make a different future for these children. I admire our mentors at Pillars more than they’ll ever know – they’re heroes. Many of the mentors are in their twenties – I’m so amazed and grateful for that; our future is in good hands.

You’ve had an amazing career already, what are you looking forward to in coming years?

There’s a lot to look forward to, our wee girl is still only seven but she’s a joy to watch grow. Our son is off to uni next year and I can’t wait to see what he does in his life. My husband and I would love to be foster parents, in fact, we’re in the process of being approved. But there’s so much to do in just one life. The enemy is time – so many things to achieve, so little time.
If I could, I’d love to build an affordable retirement village for Māori built around our culture and customs; I’d love to write a drama series and a movie; I’d love to be the ambassador to Germany – there are so many goals and dreams. 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.

Jack Tame

Jack Tame Going Places: Q&A Jack Tame

From a Christchurch upbringing, to an international correspondent in the US to Breakfast’s Auckland hotseat, Jack Tame’s career has taken him places – both in the literal and figurative sense of the expression. Every continent on earth, in fact.

Jack Tame
“I always liked the idea of being an eyewitness to history”


He’s covered the Christchurch earthquakes, the Pike River Mine disaster, Hurricane Sandy, the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting and the Boston Marathon bombings. He sat through the David Bain retrial in 2009 and reported on the Rugby World Cup for CNN.
And he’s still found time to learn New Zealand’s indigenous language, receiving recognition at the 14th Māori Language awards last year for championing the use of te reo Māori. Metropol caught up with Jack ahead of Maori Language Week next month to talk about learning te reo and growing up in Christchurch.


Did you have a lot to do with Te Ao Māori growing up in Christchurch and what prompted your decision to learn te reo?

I didn’t have heaps to do with Te Ao Māori although I’ve always been interested in Māori history and culture. Ironically, the real turning point for me and the language came when I was living overseas. I was living in Spanish Harlem in New York City and all of my neighbours could speak at least two languages. When they asked me about New Zealand’s indigenous language, I was ashamed I couldn’t speak more reo.

How important is it to you that New Zealanders are given the opportunity to hear the correct pronunciation through the likes of the media?

I think good media reflects and celebrates its audience, which is an academic way of saying people like to see themselves on TV. I’m lucky to work in a diverse workplace, and on Breakfast we absolutely strive to pronounce reo as best we can. Te Ao Māori is at the heart of the New Zealand identity – no matter whether you’re Māori or not. I think all Kiwis have a responsibility to make an effort with the language and that reo is at the front line of Māori culture.

How long have you been learning te reo Māori for and how easy/difficult was it to pick up?

I’ve only been learning since the start of last year and I’m still pretty average! I go to uni one day a week and I really enjoy the mental challenge of learning something new. It’s never easy to hit the books after rising at 3.30am but our class is really diverse and I’ve made some good friends. One of my current classmates is a 74-year old Pākehā! Though I’m fortunate to have a pretty good ear for pronunciation, I still find the grammar really difficult

What attracted you to the journalism industry?

It sounds really cheesy, but I always liked the idea of being an eyewitness to history. I wanted to experience the full richness of life. I wanted to travel. I wanted to meet interesting people. I love telling stories.

Who have been some of your biggest career inspirations?

I deeply appreciated the support I received from Sir Paul Holmes and it was a huge privilege to assume his slot on Newstalk ZB. I’ve also been fortunate to work alongside some incredible journalists and broadcasters such as Lisa Owen, Mark Crysell and Hilary Barry. Perhaps my favourite writer is the late A. A. Gill, whose words transfer from the page into my mind as if by beautiful osmosis. And I’d have to admit my mum’s insatiable work ethic has probably rubbed off…

Having grown up in Christchurch, how much does the city mean to you?

I had a wonderful childhood and carry the fondest memories. I spent years of my life mountain-biking the Port Hills, mucking around at Taylor’s Mistake and shivering in Sydenham Park. Covering the earthquakes was both a devastating and uplifting experience. I try to visit a few times a year and I’m always inspired to see progress.

You’ve had an impressive career already, what do the next 12 months have in store for you?

Early starts and six-day work weeks! But I’ll try and take the summer break to disappear for a few weeks overseas… Lebanon and Jordan are high on the list.

27 Steps

Stepping Up: 27 Steps Q&A

Headed by Emma Mettrick and Welshman Paul Howells, 27 Steps is one of the hottest new kids on the culinary block. Metropol talks to these formidable foodies about stepping up and their recipe for success.

27 Steps
27 Steps has stepped up as one of the hottest dining destinations

Can you tell us about your culinary journey and how Twenty Seven Steps began?

Emma: I remember my parents bribing me that if I learnt to eat with my knife and fork I could have a meal at a restaurant. I remember loving the whole experience. My first job was at the Astrolabe in Akaroa working for Tui Joblin, a fantastic woman whose daughter Madi now works for us. Chicken, cranberry and brie was revolutionary and the aim was to get the highest, frothiest cappuccino. For me, food has always been intertwined with people and experiences and realising that everything we know is fluid and constantly evolving – nothing is a given and rules change.
Anne Edmond and Annie’s Wine Bar showed me NZ wines, put me through art school and sent me travelling. In London, working for Lisa and Agnes at the Jazz Café meant seeing amazing musical acts whilst being paid and a restaurant attached to a fringe theatre in South London introduced me to a whole other world. Finally, Aiobheann MacNamara at Ard Bia in Galway, Ireland (where Paul and I met) showed me the worth of celebrating and having pride in what is in your local environment.
We originally set up an Akaroa restaurant naively thinking we could live six months there and six months back in the UK however, Finn coming along changed that. Post quakes, I got very nostalgic about Christchurch. After falling in love with our space, we sold up in Akaroa, went to battle with bureaucracy and got the doors open.
Paul: I was always destined to work in the food industry in some way, shape or form. My elder brother was in catering college when I was 6/7, so his cook books and chefs whites were always strewn across the bedroom we shared.
My mother was, and still is, a tremendous cook. Her ham hock soups, corned beef and tomato pie, Manchester tarts and homemade breads were amazing. For me the journey started at home. It’s testament to her that both her sons would go on to be chefs and restaurant owners. Her pumpkin, feta and rosemary bread she taught me to make when I was eight is the house bread at 27.
Inevitably my brother got me my first job in a kitchen. I’d spend my summer holidays topping and tailing countless boxes of green beans, shucking oysters and de-podding mountains of fresh peas. I loved the cut and thrust of kitchen life; the mickey taking, the banter and the industrial language.
Having a smaller restaurant before taking on 27 was particularly important for me – I really did learn a hell of a lot in the five years we had it however, for me personally, I think from a food sense we had taken it as far as it could go. It was time for a fresh challenge

How would you define Twenty Seven Steps?

Emma: We wanted to create a classic restaurant that needs no explanations nor has any pretensions. We have been magpies grabbing what we thought worked at previous jobs and melting them all together into a place where we would like to eat.
Paul: Honest, classic, natural, simple.

You’ve become one of the city’s hottest dining establishments, what has been your recipe for success?

Emma: That’s a very generous statement! We have just done what we know and done it with integrity. That and a lot of elbow grease and luck. It helps that between us we have both sides of the restaurant covered, are hands on and are blessed to be surrounded by likeminded people helping us do what we do. And, of course, that people chose to spend their money and come and dine with us – without that we have nothing.
Paul: The most important part for me is that you have to be totally consistent in everything you do.

What attracted you to the hospitality industry?

Emma: There was something about hospitality that I always thought was cool. You worked hard and played hard. You can work anywhere and the people are great – most of my closest friends I have met through this industry. There is something that gets under your skin. After 22 years I genuinely still get a kick when our diners leave happy at the end of the night or by introducing a customer or staff member to a different wine that they really like, made by someone cool. There’s a bunch of fab people in this game whether it is those creating/growing what you sell, manning the grill or those on the floor beside you

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

Emma: Who knows?! If it’s more of what we are doing currently, I am happy. Paul’s been talking about a cookbook for years so you never know…

Nigel Latta

Nigel Latta’s Words of wisdom: Q&A with Nigel Latta

Now he’s using his voice to support the Cystic Fibrosis NZ Canterbury branch, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in New Zealand and Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Week 13-19 August.
Metropol caught up with Nigel ahead of his Christchurch presentation for the charity, Adventures in Parentland on 21 August.

Nigel Latta
A New Zealand psychologist, author and television personality, there’s not a lot Nigel Latta hasn’t been willing to comment on – from parenting, to money matters and even the country’s criminal justice system.

You’ve made a name for pushing against political correctness, how damaging is it for people to try to be ‘perfect’ and politically correct at all times?

The politically correct thing has taken on a whole new tone with Donald Trump. When I was talking about that stuff, I was talking about being overprotective of our kids, now political correctness has become a catch phrase, so it’s not a term I use anymore. When I used it, I was just saying raising kids is hard, we’re not perfect.
There’s always been a lot of pressure on kids and with the rise of internet and the ability to Google everything, it’s become harder. It’s hard to know how to prepare kids for a future that is increasingly uncertain. Half the problem is experts saying ‘if you don’t do things my way, you’re going to screw your kids up’. It’s actually hard to screw up kids. Yes you will be imperfect and do things that in hindsight you wouldn’t do, but that’s raising humans.

How fulfilling is it for you to be able to use your high profile to support worthy organisations such as Cystic Fibrosis Canterbury?

Being a TV presenter is stupid. Being on TV is an empty and vacuous thing. There’s nothing in it, but what it does mean is you can use that profile to do things that are positive and helpful, such as helping to raise funds and doing TV shows about things that are helpful for people. If you can leverage off the public profile for good, then it makes the rest of it bearable. The public profile is the least enjoyable part of what I do. I’d rather make tele and nothing else, but it’s good to be able to use that for something this positive.

What are some of the myths about parenting?

Almost all of them! It’s endless; we overthink just about everything; we think everything is more important than it is; we micro critique every single thing. Parenting is about the lifetime score not your daily average. There are solo parents with no support, who can’t provide their kids with the basics, but if they love them and do their best, they’ll be ok. Of course it would be nice to not have kids in inadequate housing etc, but the biggest thing is that you love them and do the best you can.
There’s this myth of the ideal family; mum, dad, dad goes to work, mum’s at home totally focused on the kids all the time. It’s nonsense. Kids have been raised in imperfect families for forever; we didn’t always read them 50 bedtime stories. If what you’re doing, you’re doing it for them, it will work out fine.

Did you put your own parents through their paces?

I was a sh**. I thought I knew best when I was 14 and of course I didn’t, because I was 14. I had a mum and dad – dad worked, mum didn’t so mum was always there. We didn’t have lots of money; dad was a builder when people weren’t building houses. But I had parents that cared about me; I didn’t have a pony, but having parents that care about you is a big deal and not everyone gets that.

How does successful parenting look to you?

I don’t think there is such thing. So long as everyone loves each other at the end, if they’re decent enough people and look after the people around them. I don’t think it means your kids need all the trophies or you’re at all the awards ceremonies because that’s bulsh**. Do your kids know how to go about life? Because life is often sh***y. There are huge numbers of kids experiencing depression etc. What I think it’s about is teaching kids how to live an imperfect life. You need to give them strategies so when they have sh***y times – which they will – they can deal with it and chug on.

What would some of your key advice be for struggling parents?

Embrace the imperfectness of it. What people need is simple strategies that strip away the self-doubt. Never believe anyone that says ‘if you don’t do things my way, you will damage them’. The most important thing you have with your kids is your relationship with them. That’s the building blocks for everything.
It’s the relationship when they get older that’s important, they can say they hate you; it may take 20 years, but they will eventually come around. Humans are wired to connect, you just need to keep believing in that and keep backing them and you’ll eventually get there – in a messy and imperfect way. Part of the problem is the belief that some people have their sh** together. That doesn’t mean there’s no point, so stop trying; it means embrace the imperfect things in life.

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

We’ve got a neuroscience series coming out soon. I think it’s some of the best tele I’ve been involved in. It’s looking at what we know about the brain. It’s been amazing to make. So that will be out soon. Then I’m working on a parenting app. Books are ok, but people today don’t have the time to read a whole book written for all parents, because all kids are different. I wanted to build an app for what to do for your kid, not a generic kid.

Nigel will be presenting Adventures in Parentland for Cystic Fibrosis Canterbury at the Isaac Theatre Royal on 21 August. Tickets are available from