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Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie: A living legend

Last month, Christchurch was witness to one of the best musicians of the 1980s. The legend himself, Lionel Richie.

Lionel Richie
MATT HENRY PHOTOGRAPHY + AMBIENT LIGHT

Songwriter, actor, singer and record producer, he has been gracing our televisions of late with his role as an American Idol judge. With such hits as Endless Love, All Night Long, Stuck on You, Say You Say Me and, of course, the heart-wrenching Hello, the hits from his years with the Commodores and many, many more, his ability to bring a stand up and dance moment at his concerts is never in question.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with him the night before the concert for a chat. “It’s Lionel Richie!” I said as I approached.
“Have been all my life,” he said in the beautiful gravelly voice of a seasoned pro.

How do you find New Zealand audiences?
“It’s a great country and I always enjoy coming here. You are all so friendly!”

It’s such a privilege to meet you, I grew up with your music in the 1980s and Hello is such a beautiful song
“You know what? I grew up with that music too! When I first started, people would say ‘what a sexy man’. When I got into my late 20s early 30s, people would say, ‘what a handsome man’. Now all I get is… ‘You look good for your age!’
“I was out in a bar in New Orleans and I saw this attractive woman looking across at me and I started looking at her, she looked at me and I was giving her ‘the look’ when she came over to me and said in this French accent ‘Yoouu are Lion-Nell Reechiiee?’ And I said ‘Yeeeesss, I am Lion-Nell Reechiiee’.
“She then handed me her mobile and said, ‘I’m friends with your daughter Nicole, she wants to say hi’. That’s when I got an earful from my daughter about hitting on her friends. I’m OLD now!”

How do you find the audiences respond to your music these days?
“Nothing’s changed except for the fact when I started off everyone said that if I kissed a girl at the front of the stage, the audience would go nuts – so I started doing that. Obviously now it’s a lot harder to lean that far down, so I don’t do that anymore. I’m OLD. I’m really looking forward to the Christchurch audience. You’re going to have a fun time tomorrow night.”

And he was so, so right. Those fortunate enough to be at Horncastle Arena were subjected to hit after boogie-down hit. The energy that this 68-year-old can conjure up on stage would make any teenage musician envious. Reminding us just how prolific and how relevant he was during the decade of music that was the 80s, back when he had us all singing We are the World, which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson. Music royalty was visiting Christchurch.
“As always, Lionel put on an amazing show, we love hosting him at Horncastle Arena,” Turlough Carolan from Vbase says.
“It’s also great to see such a varied range of events visiting the city over the coming months, from the incredible Dynamo (20-21 July) to the sublime Queens of the Stone Age (25 August), yet again, Vbase will be bringing many more great acts to Christchurch.”
Marvellous to have caught up with a living legend here, such a down to earth man with a beautiful voice for singing and conversation. A moment all those who saw him in concert will remember for a long time. He had us all, Dancing on the Ceiling.

Karen Walker

Striking sartorial gold: Q&A with Karen Walker

Every industry has one; the prodigious talents whose comfort zones are outside of the box and for whom rules are more guideline than instruction. They’re the rebels, the misfits, the rulebreakers and the nonconformists. But equally, they’re the trendsetters, the innovators, the visionaries and the true talent. For New Zealand fashion, that’s Karen Walker.

Karen Walker

In 1989, at 19 years of age with just $100 in her pocket and two shirts in her commercial repertoire, she launched the Karen Walker label. Since then, she has steadily grown to be New Zealand’s most famous fashion export, with more than 1020 stores globally stocking her fashion, eyewear, jewellery, fragrance and paint collections, and a cult following from Lady Gaga to Madonna.
With the ability to pair neons with pastels and floral prints with military touches in a way that only a true talent can, she has struck sartorial gold with her androgynous and offbeat designs distinguishable by their punchy, tomboyish edge.
Metropol caught up with the sartorial powerhouse after a whirlwind trip to Dunedin where she was judging this year’s iD Fashion Week.

What was a standout at this year’s iD Fashion Week?
The stand-out for me, obviously, was our first prize winner, Damir Begović, but there were a lot of other collections that I thought were really excellent – I was very impressed and delighted to be there.

How important is it to you to support emerging designers coming through the industry?
I think it’s very important for anyone who’s well established in this industry to support emerging talent and iD Fashion Week’s got a great structure in place for doing this in a unique and outward-facing way.

Karen Walker has become an iconic Kiwi label, why do you think it has been such a success and how do you continue to stay ahead of the game in such a constantly evolving industry?
It all comes down to the ideas and we’re very fortunate that people like what we make. With regard to staying ahead of the game, I guess that’s just a result of us being interested in new ideas.

What drew you to fashion in the first place?
The feeling it gives you when you create or find something truly new/exciting/great.

How would you define the Karen Walker brand?
Chic meets eccentric.

You’ve been involved with some pretty cool collaborations recently, including cookie mix and cute canine accessories. How much fun has it been to do something completely different?
We’re in this business because we love to work with and create new ideas, especially ones that put a smile on people’s faces, and we’re always thinking about and working on projects that are new and exciting.

We have to ask the cliché question – what are your biggest style secrets?
A combination of lots of things really but the things that are important to me include: quality, a sense of self and a calmness within that, plenty of sleep and, for me personally, if in doubt… navy. And never, ever, ever counterfeits.

What can we look forward to from Karen Walker this coming year?
Coming up in the second half of the year we’ve got new eyewear (guys and girls), new ready-to-wear and bags and a big, exciting, top secret collab to top the year off.

Angela Stone

A woman of many hats: Q&A with Angela Stone

Angela Stone was just 14 when she started her modelling career, working with top retailers and international brands across Sydney, Melbourne, Milan and London and, at just 21, opened the doors of Portfolio Model Agency here in Christchurch, before starting her own styling business, Angela Stone Consulting Ltd seven years later.

Angela Stone

Today stylist, fashion designer, author, lifestyle guru and full-time mother are just some of the very stylish hats she wears.
Metropol talks to this fashionable entrepreneur ahead of her attendance at the Women Inspiring Women luncheon at the Addington Event Centre which brings together some of the country’s most inspiring women in support of some of the city’s most worthy causes.

Can you tell us about your early career and how you got yourself established in an industry which is said to take no prisoners?

My career has always been so much more than fashion, for me it’s been more about making a difference to how people feel about themselves. I dress people from the inside out. Looking after one’s self on the inside ensures for an even better dressed person.

How does a day in the life of Angela Stone look these days?

I get up at 5am every day, I arrive at the gym at 5.30am, home at 7am, I get dressed and ready for my day which starts at 8am and the rest is unlike any other day. I could be flying somewhere, on a photoshoot, working on events, personal shopping, corporate styling… seriously no two days are the same.

What’s the most enjoyable or fulfilling part of what you do?

I love training. I run a number of training courses and I get to work with people who are looking for next level empowerment.

How do you define style?

Classic, feminine and professional

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

I love researching our top 100 companies. I listen to inspirational speakers every day while I am working out at the gym. My personal trainer Jamil and my children, because they keep everything real.

What do you see as some of your biggest accomplishments?

The great gains just keep on coming. I am grateful for every up and every down as this has shaped my life.

What are you looking forward to over the next year?

I am so excited to be kicking off my nationwide tour – Teens, Style & Etiquette Course! It’s going to be action-packed.

Benny Castles

King of his Castle: a fashionable Q&A with WORLD Director Benny Castles

He started as a retail assistant, but Benny Castles has worked his way up to the upper echelons of fashion royalty, making his name as the king of colour, with a personal style that is as vibrant and worldly as the brand which he is now a director of.

Benny Castles

Fresh from a whirlwind trip to Dunedin to judge the iD Dunedin Fashion Week for 2018 alongside Karen Walker and Maggie Hewitt, Metropol talks to WORLD Director Benny about how he defines style and pushes the envelope.

You first started at World as a part time retail assistant, what attracted you to the industry?

A job… a welcome alternative to schooling. Little did I know… I had always been interested in fashion and shopping, so it seemed a natural place for me to spend my time – around a host of uniquely interesting people and within an enviroment and business that offered such enticing ideas.

How do you define style?

I do not even try, except to say that it is not an entirely visual pursuit. Style and fashion add to one’s sense of self and, if done correctly, they can express your personality and character in a way that makes you feel the best possible version of yourself.

What is the best part about what you do?

The people. World is a personality brand, it was founded by characters and individuals and this continues through its staff and clients who are all interlinked, even though they are all so different, by a string of personality that makes the brand so much richer. We have a team of eclectic and distinctive individuals and the same can be said of our customers.

World has become an iconic Kiwi label, why do you think it has been such a success and how do you continue to stay ahead of the game in such a constantly evolving industry?

Francis Hooper and Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet who founded World are mavericks, their boundless energy to push the envelope and evolve alongside their self created rules are what has continually made World a brand people can connect themselves to. We care little for what others are doing or what the game currently is, we do what pleases World and hope that our customers will enjoy our independent vision.

What was a standout at this year’s iD Fashion Week?

Inspiration – fashion at its most innovative, emerging and creative should move you. The freedom of emerging designers should elicit a joy in their work and I was pleased to see this spark in the work of what are some very talented designers.

What are some of the things we can look forward to from World this coming year?

Our new World Christchurch store will continue to evolve as we grow our collections of beauty brands and the seasons change. We are continuing to work with a host of artists and creatives on making sure the concept window on High Street and the store itself are ever changing environments.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Sweet as sugar: cuisine Q&A with Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Sweet versus savoury have been waging a delicious battle against each other for the longest time, recruiting devotees along the way. One of the most dedicated advocates of sugar, spice and all things nice, is Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

The sweet toothed cuisine Queen talks to Metropol about her recipe for living a sugar-coated life – the best kind.

You are refreshingly flipping the clean eating obsession on its head, why?

Baking for me will always be about good old sugar, just the way my parents have always baked. There is just no substitute that tastes as good to me. I love food and I’ll give anything a go but this is home for me.
I’ll admit, it’s not friendly on the waistline and I wish I had the willpower to eat healthy all the time, but I just love sugar and carbs too much.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Have you always had a sweet tooth and what are some of your favourite concoctions?

I grew up in my parents’ bakery, so I basically inherited a sweet tooth. My childhood was filled with sweet treats, but I ate way too much of it early on. I got tired of cake (yes, it’s possible) and given the choice, I’d always choose savoury over sweet. It wasn’t until I was 18 when I started baking for myself that I got my sweet tooth back.
My favourite concoction is my chocolate and raspberry brownie. It’s so simple but seriously so good. I can’t tell you how much I’ve eaten (too much) but I’m still not sick of them yet, so that’s a good sign.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

You are very generous with your recipes – do you come up with these from scratch or look to innovate existing ones?

I always bake from a recipe. I research a tonne of recipes before I get into the kitchen and have had such good luck finding ones that I love. I make tweaks here and there, but I don’t have the talent to come up with recipes from scratch. I bow down to everyone that can – it’s hard work!
I’d say I’m more of a recipe curator than maker. I’d also happily put my hand up to be a recipe tester if anyone’s looking!

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

What’s on the horizon for Laced with Sugar?

Nothing as of yet, unfortunately! I’ve still got so much left to learn so that will be me for the next wee while. You never know though, a little Laced With Sugar shop might just be around the next corner!

Annabel Langbein

The free range cook: one on one with Annabel Langbein

She’s one of the country’s most beloved cooks, with a cooking style that is as down to earth as her personality. Metropol talks to Annabel Langbein as she tours the country lending her talented hand to a range of worthy causes such as Life Education Trust Canterbury.

Annabel Langbein

How did your love of cooking and baking begin?

When I was very little I used to love hanging out with my mother in the kitchen. She was an amazing baker and there were always delicious beaters and bowls to lick! But before long, I was in there helping to stir and roll, mixing cakes and biscuits. I just loved it. I discovered a magical sense of making people happy when I appeared with a batch of fresh-made biscuits or a cake. As a young kid it was wonderful to get that feeling of success and usefulness. I was hooked for life.

Why do you think your recipes and therefore your cook books have struck such a strong chord in New Zealand?

I’m a very busy person but I like to eat well and I love making food that brings people together around the table. When I started cooking, often things didn’t work out, or I would get lost trying to follow a complicated recipe – and whenever this happened I would lose confidence.
I think a large part of my own success as a writer of recipes comes down to practicality – the recipes use everyday ingredients, they don’t take forever for make, they work and most importantly they taste yummy (you’d think that would be a given, but trust me, it isn’t). When I’m cooking for myself I spend a lot of time working out how to streamline the process and make it failsafe, and I figure if it works for me in my busy life then hopefully it will be useful for other people.

Your new book ESSENTIAL Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion is all about the sweet side of life. Are you a bit of a sweet tooth yourself and what are some of your favourite recipes?

I actually don’t have a very sweet tooth, but I love to bake and when I make something sweet I want it to be fabulous. Baking and dessert making is an area of cooking where a good recipe is absolutely crucial, as it’s all about chemistry and ratios.
I love making biscuits to have in the tins when people come over or to take to someone as a little gift. My legendary chocolate chippie biscuits have evolved out of my mother’s recipe, and I love that wonderful idea of carrying on the torch. And I love to make cakes, as they deliver such a sense of celebration that makes any occasion a special occasion.
When I’ve got friends coming over for dinner I’ll always make a dessert as it’s such an easy way to make people feel treated. I love desserts that you can make in advance, from my tart tatin with its gorgeous, rich caramelised apples and crisp pillowy crust, to the silkiest chilled spiced orange crème caramels, my vegan frozen caramel cheesecake, my incredible ice-cream cassata with mandarin and pistachios and my rolled pavlova with apricot cream

How does it feel as a beloved New Zealand personality, to be in a position to support and raise awareness of incredibly worthy causes such as the Life Education Trust Canterbury?

That’s a very nice thing of you to say. I do feel very beloved and it’s something very special for me that I never take for granted. I just love it when people come up to me excitedly to tell me what they’ve been cooking, or that I have helped them to feel confidence and success in the kitchen. I love being part of people’s lives like this, it’s an honour. And being in this trusted position does mean that I can help to make change and put my weight behind important initiatives like Life Education Trust Canterbury. The work they do to help kids build a sense of self-esteem and make healthy choices is so important. If the next generation can grow to be strong and healthy and happy then our New Zealand society will be strong and healthy and happy.

What is the most enjoyable or fulfilling aspect of what you do?

I think it’s about helping people to feel empowered. In my own life I have found cooking to be a rich, strong thread that weaves all the bits of my life together and I feel there is so much merit in the idea of building a good life and a strong family around the table. Food and cooking connects us to nature and the environment, to our friends and family, to our own culture and community, and when we cook with a new and unfamiliar ingredient from some foreign shore it connects us to other cultures. Best of all it connects us to our own creativity.

Check out our competition to win a copy of Annabel’s latest book here  Win with Metropol: Annabel Langbein cookbook Essential Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion

Mike King

Mike King’s mission: this funny family man has tasked himself with making a serious difference to New Zealand’s youth

Popular New Zealand personality Mike King may have made his name as a comedian, but these day’s you’ll find him delivering a much more serious message. He’s been heading up and down the country – a 4000km journey – on a 50cc scooter for the past five years, addressing youth suicide. We talk to the mental health advocate about his personal mission for this very worthy cause.

Mike King

How big is the youth suicide issue in New Zealand?

How long is a piece of string? The issue of suicide across the board is big and how we’re dealing with it needs addressing. Currently those in crisis have to ring ‘this number’ or see ‘this person’. Everything is aimed at the person in crisis; nothing is aimed at the 65/70 percent of the population who have no problems.
People hold onto problems for so long and they’re only being referred when they’re at critical point. We’re trying to promote the fact that it’s ok to talk about small problems before they become big ones and someone becomes suicidal.

You’ve been making your way around the country on 50cc Suzukis to raise awareness, why is it such an important issue for you to tackle?

In February 2013 I spoke at a small rural school in Northland which had lost five children to suicide. I have discovered through this experience that our young people don’t feel like us old people are listening to them.
So we went around schools listening, listening, listening. We discovered that all kids, regardless of religion or colour, have the same problems and they’re not talking about them; they’re holding onto them until they become overwhelming.
Their inner critics, the little voice second guessing all their decisions, are huge. From there we worked out a strategy – help the inner critic; he’s the cornerstone of 9 out of 10 of the mental health problems. We need to normalise the inner critics by changing society’s attitudes.
Last year we discovered that of those who will have a major mental health problem, 80 percent won’t ask for help. They don’t feel safe. The simplest thing we could do is come up with a signifier of someone safe. We created a simple wristband with ‘I am hope’ on it. This says: I won’t judge, shame, gossip, ask stupid questions, try and fix everything for you; all you’ll get from me is unconditional love and hope, but most importantly, if you want to talk to someone, I am here.

What are some of the key ways New Zealand can start to make some ground in this area?

Parents need to know that all kids are born perfect. The only thing that can screw them up is us. We apply all these rules and only give conditional love – if you do this or that, pass this test, then I’ll love you. We can understand the logic of that, because we’re adults, but kids are thinking there must be something wrong with them if they’re not getting unconditional love.
If there’s five things they do, four are good and one is bad, we focus on the bad, what we think we’re saying is ‘we love you, but you can do better’, but what our kids are getting is ‘no matter what I do I can never be good enough’. How we’re speaking to our children becomes an inner voice.
These become little criticisms that mean nothing in isolation, ‘yes you’re an idiot I asked for a screwdriver you bought be a spoon’. But that’s one hell of an inner critic we’re planting in our kids’ heads.

How does it feel to be in a position where you can play such a positive role in raising awareness of issues such as this?

It’s a privileged position. We have to be very responsible; people are placing a lot of trust on our shoulders. We don’t take or accept government funding; we’re funded by the public of New Zealand. A lot of organisations out there take government money and public money. That’s like having a wife and girlfriend; you have to lie to please both. We only take public donations and apply for grants, so the public will let us know when we’re out of a job; it keeps you honest. It’s a cool position to be in.

Photography by Johannes van Kan

An arty restoration: Photographer Johannes van Kan captures The Arts Centre coming back to life

Home to one of the most significant collections of heritage buildings in New Zealand, The Arts Centre is a must visit for fans of beautiful architecture – particularly those with an interest in the distinctive Gothic Revival style.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

Photographer Johannes van Kan had front row seats to the buildings’ extensive restoration after they suffered extensive damage in the Canterbury earthquakes.

Did you have any ties to The Arts Centre prior to this project?

I had previously photographed events and people around The Arts Centre but nothing actually for The Arts Centre itself.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

What was it like having the freedom to observe the restoration through your lens rather than being told specifically what to photograph?

The freedom allowed me to be expressive. It allowed me to discover images. It was unique as an opportunity and I was very fortunate to be part of it.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

A lot of the images displayed in your exhibition at Pūmanawa earlier this year were black and white – what was the reason behind that?

Black and white imagery has a simplicity that is very much about using light to tell a story without the complications of colour. Actually, my biggest bugbear was orange cones.

 

Do you think the public understands the amount of work going into the restoration at The Arts Centre?

I would be surprised if many people had a full idea of what’s really involved. It is a huge project made up of many parts with many experts bringing everything together. There were unique skills like lead working and heritage masonry work, combined with modern engineering technology. There were multiple construction companies dealing with complicated strengthening and restoration. If there was another earthquake, I would go to The Arts Centre to be safe.

Did you learn some interesting stories about the buildings or tenants who used to occupy them?

The Arts Centre is full of stories of what people used to do there. The stories I was most interested in were those told by what was left behind in the spaces immediately after the earthquakes.

Photography by Johannes van Kan
Photography by Johannes van Kan

What were some of the challenges of shooting photographs on an active worksite?

Being aware of health and safety was the main one. There was dust everywhere and changing lenses was always a concern. Working in this environment is all about respect. It was important that I had as little impact as possible on the imagery aside from being the observer.

Did you gain an understanding of the stonemasons’ craft?

To understand stonemasonry, you need to wield the tools. You need to strike the stone with chisels. You need to cut, lift, sweat and breathe in the dust – through a mask, of course. I saw what they did and was aware of the care they took but it would take a lot more to understand stonemasonry.

Untouched World founder Peri Drysdale

The untouchable Peri Drysdale: our Q&A with the seriously clever and savvy Untouched World founder

A less is more approach isn’t one traditionally taken by a successful fashion label, but then Untouched World founder Peri Drysdale isn’t one to play by the rules. Doing things differently is, after all, what has cemented her place in the upper echelons of entrepreneurial royalty.

Untouched World founder Peri Drysdale
New Zealand Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs inductees, Untouched World founder, Peri Drysdale MBE (left), entrepreneur and prolific director, Mavis Mullins MNZM (centre) and Fashion Week founder, Dame Pieter Stewart (right).

Metropol talks to Peri about her recent achievements and striking a sartorial chord.

How does it feel to have been recognised at such a high level, as one of the 2018 Company of Women Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame Inductees?
It was humbling to be recognised amongst such a group of enormously courageous and successful NZ women. However, I am only the face of our company and our success is the result of incredible input from amazing people I have had working alongside me now and in the past, and with fantastic family input and support.

Can you take us back to the start of Untouched World, what sparked the idea for the business?
As I travelled around the world selling our knitwear I had become extremely concerned about the trajectory the planet was on. I could see environmental degradation going on from visit to visit. Government and business talk the world over was all about GDP and financial bottom line. I worried about what could one person, one company could do. The problem was so big, but I came to the conclusion that we had to do something about it. So, long story short, we decided to create a sustainable lifestyle fashion brand.
I wanted a brand that would model a new way of doing business, that would highlight that style and quality could be achieved without pollution to water and air, filling landfills or treating workers poorly. Back in those days sustainable clothing had a hemp sack reputation, but I wanted to reach people who were in a position of influence to really make a change. So we had to create luxurious, high quality products that would appeal to that market. I also wanted a brand that would give back, put its money where its mouth is and wanted a project to coalesce the stakeholders and get them thinking about what was happening to the planet. So, Untouched World was born – with the bold vision to use fashion as a vehicle to champion what is possible for our planet and its people.

Why do you think the business story of Untouched World struck such a chord and, as a result, has become such an incredible success?
Untouched World is a brand of enormous depth, the kite logo and brand story has an incredible resonance with people all over the world. It is creative, different and has a great energy. People talk about finding Untouched World inspiring. The fact that we built the brand on a sustainable model, though ahead of its time from a commercial point of view, meant that we have been global leaders in this space, so have always had highly engaged followers. Strangely after nearly two decades, Untouched World still feels fresh and ‘new’ to me.

You are one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, what has been the winning formula for you – hard work, dedication, passion, a great product?
Ha ha! All of the above! I think stickability; an utter belief in what you are doing and being prepared to do things differently are key.

What has been some of the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Early on, it was to not go into partnership with someone else. We looked at partnerships a few times. I was given the sound advice that a partner who shared the same motivation and goals during a start-up phase, wouldn’t necessarily share the same vision in years to come, which could ultimately result in more effort going into running the partnership than the business. Early on it is tempting to take partners on as you don’t know what you are doing. Keeping control has meant we have been able to stick to the values that underpin the business, the raison d’etre that gets me up in the morning.

What’s the best part about what you do?
Pretty much everything! I love it all. I love the people – our team, our customers, our suppliers, our foundation team. I love the design and creative process as well as production. I wake up and look forward to another day.

O.G.B. owner Nick Inkster

Old meets new: Q&A with O.G.B. owner Nick Inkster

The central city is becoming a hotspot for local talent to realise their creative dreams, with historic buildings providing the inspirational canvas. Such dreams have been realised in the CBD’s grand Old Government Building, which opened in 1913 and now O.G.B is a perfect way to get a taste of old Christchurch, with staff in suspenders and newsboy caps.

O.G.B. owner Nick Inkster
NICK INKSTER (CENTRE) WANTED TO CREATE SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR HIS HOME TOWN.
IMAGE: NANCY ZHOU

Owner Nick Inkster talks about his motivation for setting it up, his plans for expansion and the city’s transformation.

What were you doing before you set up O.G.B?
I’m a carpenter by trade and was working in Western Australia’s oil and gas industry for seven years. After the earthquakes [of 2010 and 2011] I wanted to come home and give back by spending my hard-earned cash on something special for my home town of Christchurch.

What was the motivation behind opening O.G.B?
From the age of 21 my father told me he could see me building my own bar one day. I loved the concept of a bar where people meet, talk and socialise and where the bartender knows your name. I love old buildings so after the earthquakes I had my eye on one location in the city – the Old Government Building.

O.G.B.
What drew you to the Old Government Building?
Cathedral Square. I love that it is the heart of our city and always will be. The Old Government Building is, I believe, Christchurch’s Buckingham Palace. I was always drawn to it as a kid when I used to bus into the Square from Dallington/Linwood growing up. So many of my customers, somewhere along their life, have come into contact with the Old Government Building. There are many, many stories, which is another reason why it is so special.

Can you tell us a little bit about your other projects, such as the restaurant opposite the bar and Frederick Woodwards Barber Shop?
Frederick Woodward was a local barber tobacconist who had Woodwards & Co back in the late 1800s/early 1900s in Cathedral Square. I’ve honoured him with a timeless, classic-style barber shop. The restaurant will undergo a Gatsby-style fit out in good time but for now we have a beautiful big grand piano that we have pianists play on every weekend.

Parlour is opening next to the O.G.B soon – what’s the vibe going to be there?
Parlour will be the best room in the house, the house being the Old Government Building. It will be a space to speak, bringing people together to generate debate and discussion. It will be where conversation is had, where the ladies can go to talk about the gentlemen.

Is our city different now to what you remember growing up?
It is very different but I’m excited to see it become a liveable city with farmers’ markets, apartments, residents and an awesome hospitality offering. I can’t wait to build more projects for the people of Christchurch.