metropol » Archives for Celine Gibson

Author: Celine Gibson

Touch of gold

Nothing delights the eye quite so much as the glitter of gold. Wherever gold is, gloom is dispelled. Be it the ring on your finger, the scarf around your neck, or the coverlet adorning your bed, there’s something about gold. Here are a few ways to get a touch of gold in your home this season.




  1. A gold chandelier: Choose an elegant chandelier that concentrates less on the metal but more on the glass – one with touches of gold on the arms will render a soft illumination without harshness.
  2. Window treatments: A single gold sash above the top of your curtains gives instant eye-catching glamour, or curtain hooks of antique gold that deserve to be seen. But for sheer drama, hang drops of gold organza over your existing drapes!
  3. Gold furniture: Swap curtains, linens, rugs and pillows with ones that have colour accents of gold. Create a glimmering gold feature wall, or if that seems too daring, paint a coffee table or the legs of footstools.
  4. Table touches: An exquisite gold runner along the dining room table cannot be underestimated. Pair it with a contrasting centrepiece, such as a dark bowl filled with gold decorative balls, or a black-based candelabra with long gold candles and you’re set for a year of beautiful dining.
  5. Light dark spaces: Gold wall sconces, mirrors with gold embellished frames, or photos framed in gold, will gently effuse a room in light, while side-tables dressed with a neutral lampshade with a gold base, or a black lampshade with gold lining, add that extra touch of warmth and illuminated drama.



Where the wild things are

We modern-day humans have long harboured a fascination for all things tribal and, thanks to children’s books and Hollywood, our collective imaginations have run riot on the subject.




Think of Tarzan swinging across the jungle; the dashing daredevil Lawrence of Arabia striding desert sands; Hepburn and Bogart pitted against the mighty Ulanga River aboard The African Queen and, for pure tribal embracement, nobody did it better than Eartha Kitt, famous for punctuating her songs with cat-like growls while slithering over sofas clad in figure-hugging animal prints.

In fact, the very word ‘tribal’ immediately conjures thoughts of perfumes, spices, exotic places, and err… seductive faces.



Tribal art is often ceremonial or religious in nature and has a global reach across Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, which encompasses Melanesia, Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand.

Many artists have been inspired by tribal arts; Pablo Picasso once stated that “primitive sculpture has never been surpassed”.

When it comes to home décor, tribal design and artware has long reigned supreme with its strong patterns and natural elements. In the latter part of the 20th century, tribal interiors tended towards the warm tones, but in the 21st century we’re trending towards the cool monochrome of black and white.



At first glance it may appear as a Scandinavian take on tribal, but with an imposing ethnic artwork in dominant position and a few large handcrafted vessels strategically placed, the look is much bolder than the gentle Scandi interior.

To really ramp up the tribal, think enormous basket-weave lightshades, low-level wooden coffee tables, and for eye-catching wall-art, horned animal skulls, feathered arrows, shields and spears, or a magnificent kilim of mural-sized proportion.

For a final flourish of monochrome tribal, whitewashed floors and walls contrasted with dark doors, louvres, storage shelves and screens deliver the ultimate in tribal chic.






A Day at the Polo


Saturday 7 December heralds a glamourous day out, as dapper-suited gents and fancy-frocked ladies gather beneath a marquee at the Port Hills Polo Club for A Day at the Polo.



The annual fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House South Island (RMHSI) is now in its eleventh year. Last year’s event raised $110,000, so there’s high hopes for this year’s total.

In this beautiful setting, ticketed guests will sip complimentary bubbles and dine at tables of 10 on delicious fare from Twentyfour Catering, a long-time supporter of RMHSI.

The live auction commences at 12:15pm with fabulous prizes, such as a trip to Sydney, stunning artworks, and a pair of magnificent Frobisher chairs worth $3,500, to name but a few. Silent auctions and raffles are also on the agenda.

The polo matches are the highlight of the day with the traditional ‘stomping of the divots’ being a fun way to reconnect with friends and colleagues out on the field.

Events Advisor Jodie Gill says it’s the generosity of donors that makes A Day at the Polo the enormous success that it is. “There are so many businesses that really get on board with this by donating incredible prizes or by relinquishing a day’s income to come and work on our behalf. It’s very humbling.”

With every dollar raised going back to RMHSI, book your table now for the most awesome event of the year!

The polo will be held at the Port Hills Polo Club, Gilmours Road, Tai Tapu from 11am-5pm.

For tickets, visit and for more information, email



The power of nourishment

When trained midwife Kat detected a sizeable lump in her pelvic region, she knew it was something to be concerned about and had it checked out immediately. Several tests and scans later, it was confirmed that she had metastatic melanoma, an aggressive type of skin cancer.



This came as devastating news to Kat, who was looking forward to marrying Darryl, the love of her life, in 2016 and settling down to a long and happy life together.

Kat underwent palliative surgery but refused further invasive treatments. Little did she know at the time that she was already on the journey to what was to become the most fulfilling work she and Darryl would ever know; and it all began with food presented on a hospital tray.

“I know budgets are tight, but the food was carcinogenic food that would literally support the spread of cancer,” Kat says.

One day Kat photographed her food tray and made a vow that should she survive the cancer, she’d do all in her power to try to help people understand that good foods can go a long way in preserving good health.

Kat never ate any of the hospital food; instead, she took her nourishment from the green smoothies Darryl brought to her daily.


Overall, the statistics for surviving metastatic cancer aren’t good. Kat says many people have asked her how she survived it and she says that language around the disease is very important. “I never owned it. I never got angry or thought about ‘fighting it’. But I did feel determined about going with my own instincts as to dealing with it.”

Kat’s instinct was to begin an eating regime based on the extensive reading and research she’d been doing on nutrition and healing from disease.

“I believe diet plays a big role in healing the body. Basically, with the disease I had – of that magnitude – I couldn’t afford to make bad food choices. I made the decision to eat food that would support my nutrition and immunity, and give me the vitamins and minerals I needed, and I steered away from anything that would cause inflammation and send toxins through my body.”

Four years on and Kat is finally making good on that vow she made the day she photographed her tray of hospital food.

“Our plant-based mobile café came about because of three things: I always wanted to have my own café; there was nowhere to eat out that served healthy and tasty food; and, most importantly, this is our way of paying it forward. If we can provide people with one meal a day that’s packed with all the wonderful things to support their health, then that’s our job done. The power of nourishment can never be underestimated.”


When not out in their mobile café, Kat gives cooking demos at her home, showing friends and colleagues how to make simple nutritious plant-based meals that aren’t expensive or time-consuming.

“I love the creativity of thinking up new and different menus, and experimenting with new recipes. I’m so happy when I’m cooking – listening to beautiful music… I even dream of food now!”

Currently Kat and Darryl’s mobile café services a city health provider two days per week, and visits Ohoka Farmers’ Market every Friday. They’ll happily cater for any function or event, and look forward to festivals, such as the 2019 FGS Vegefest on 24 November, and the Aroha Essence Festival, 17-19 January 2020.

“We’re passionate about what we do, and have big plans to grow our business,” Kat says, “There’s nothing more satisfying than handing over our life-affirming food to customers.”





Empowerment through service

Twenty-five years ago Janet Messervy founded the first Z-Club at Avonside Girls High School (AGHS) to encourage leadership and organisational skills in young women through service to their community.




On 15 October, when Zonta Z-Club celebrated its 25th birthday at Avonside Girls High School (AGHS) with Zonta’s Governor, Souella Cumming, affiliated Zonta Christchurch branches and various charities in attendance, it was clear that Z-Club has become a leader itself.

For 18 years it was the only Z-Club in New Zealand. Now, thanks to all the inspirational things achieved by AGHS Z-Club, New Zealand has eight Z-Clubs (formed on secondary school campuses or in communities) and Golden Z-Clubs (formed on college and university campuses).

These student clubs are designed to provide opportunities for young adults to develop communication and leadership skills, explore career alternatives, and increase their international awareness and understanding through service.

“I think things like this can slip by, as we take for granted what people do for others,” Phillippa Jacobs says of the importance of acknowledging the work done by Z-Club AGHS. She’s the Area 3 Director for Zonta, member of the Z and Golden Z Club International Committee, and chair of the Z-Club AGHS for 11 of the 13 years she’s been in Zonta.

“Awesome teenagers and young adults often go unnoticed when doing kind, caring things for others.”

It’s estimated that around 700 girls have passed through Z-Club AGHS – an impressive number that undoubtedly has been built from the continuous support from people such as AGHS Principal Sue Hume and AGHS teacher representative of 25 years, Anna McNeil, as well as Zonta Committee and past Z-Club members.

Like many teens in east Christchurch disrupted by the quakes, AGHS pupils were dislocated from their schools and normal school routines, but the girls of Z-Club AGHS found a sense of purpose by maintaining fundraising efforts and helping others in need.

The list of charities that Z-Club AGHS has supported speaks for itself: Cholmondoley Children’s Home; EB Charity; All Star Kids – Holiday Program; Canteen; Camp Quality, and this year’s chosen charity, Goodnight Sleep Tight.

Another charity they’ve had a long and ongoing association with is Ronald McDonald House South Island (RMHSI), of which the Z-Club AGHS bacon and egg pies are legend. However it is The Mural, on the corner of Linwood Avenue and Aldwins Road, that’s been, to date, their most epic fundraiser for RMHSI – it raised $6,000, which was donated to the charity to buy new ovens.

Phillippa’s closing words at the 25th celebration encapsulate best what its members have brought, and will continue to bring, to our community in the years ahead: “To be able to help children and families, to give a smile, to offer hope and love is a wonderful thing.

“Making cupcakes; running bake sales; waitressing at Zonta events; cutting dress patterns for a girl on the other side of the world; chocolate raffles; car washes; toy, book or blanket collections, or weekly rest home visits to the dementia care unit… it is a privilege to be in a position to help others. I thank the school deeply for allowing a Z-Club at your school to help so many lives. Keep up the wonderful work you all do.”


Making skin checks accessible

New Zealand currently has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Some skin cancers can be fatal; early detection and treatment is crucial to achieving the best cure rate.



Leeann Marriott is only too aware of the importance of early detection and the vast difference it can make in outcomes; she lost her brother, Andrew, to melanoma when he was 48 years old.

Though the primary source of his melanoma was unfortunately never found, Leeann recalls as children on summer holidays in Nelson; the family would head to Rabbit Island, where they would baste themselves in baby oil or Coppertone and let the sun bake their bodies.

Decades later, in February 2015, Andrew returned home early from a holiday because his wife was concerned about him; his normal brain function seemed to be impaired. Just 26 weeks later, after exhaustive scans, a biopsy – which initially showed a small shadow on the lung – and brain surgery to remove three tumours, plus extensive and intensive radiation treatments post-surgery, Andrew succumbed to his disease and died peacefully with his wife and dog, Dexter, by his side.

His untimely death set Leeann on the mission she was determined to make, to try to prevent other families experiencing the unnecessary heartache that Andrew’s wife and family went through.

In 2017, Leeann co-founded volunteer-based, non-profit organisation SkinCanNZ to raise awareness around skin cancer and to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with it.

The inaugural 2017 Free Skin Check Day was launched under the unforgettable campaign slogan ‘Get Your Kit Off’.

The free skin check sees a group of local dermatologists and GPs with a special interest in skin cancer provide an initial skin examination, free of charge, for anybody who has concerns about certain lesions on their skin.

A letter with relevant findings from the skin examination is then sent to the patient’s GP. If any concerning lesions are identified they then need to make an appointment with their GP so that appropriate treatment can be arranged.

From the outset, Leeann wanted a skin check service that was more accessible to everyone. “For those unable to pay to get a mole or lesion checked out, you have to think how the outcomes of that can affect an entire family.”

Leeann’s crusade against skin cancer also saw the installation of free sunscreen dispensers last summer at children’s playgrounds in the Botanic Gardens, Margaret Mahy Family Playground, North Brighton Pier and Scarborough Park.

This year’s ‘Get Your Kit Off’ campaign encompasses Christchurch, Ashburton and Lower Hutt. And yes, as no doubt Andrew would attest about his determined sister, Leeann has her sights set on more locations the length and breadth of New Zealand.


Free Skin Check Day: SATURDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2019

Christchurch: Canterbury Charity Hospital
Lower Hutt: Boulcott Private Hospital
Ashburton: Ashburton Hospital – Outpatients Clinic

For more information, email or visit



Orange chairs & big hearts

There was a time when we were able to tell ourselves that homelessness happened everywhere else in the world but here. But that was yesterday.



Today, in 2019, there are 41,000 people experiencing homelessness in New Zealand. It’s a staggering statistic, but that tally is being challenged and dealt to on a daily basis with the help of an orange van equipped with showers, washing machines, six orange chairs and amazing people with big hearts – people like Eddie Uini of the New Zealand operation, Orange Sky.

A former social worker, Eddie previously helped South Auckland’s homeless wash their clothes by partnering with a laundromat in Manurewa. He managed to fundraise almost $50,000 personally for this project, before joining Orange Sky as their sole New Zealand employee and operator, committed to delivering “the best laundry service New Zealand has ever seen”.

The three-pronged service provides a safe place to access showers, a clean change of clothes and genuine conversations. “The first things out of our van are six orange chairs for people to sit and talk. Awesome friendships have been forged on those chairs,” Eddie says.

Orange Sky was founded in Australia in 2014 by two 20-year-old friends, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, who installed a couple of washing machines and dryers in the back of their old van and visited parks around Brisbane to wash and dry clothes for free; they saw it not only as a way to improve hygiene standards, but as a way to restore dignity to people doing it tough.



The rising number of homeless people in New Zealand prompted Australia to reach out to their friends across the Tasman and, in October 2018, the New Zealand branch of Orange Sky was launched in Auckland. With a team of 1,600 volunteers and a fleet of 28 vans containing mobile showers and laundry facilities, they help wash more than eight tonnes of laundry per week – for free. To date, they’ve now washed over 4,700 kilograms of washing, provided 1,686 showers, and had around 2,500 hours of non-judgemental conversation with the homeless of Auckland in 13 locations.

Eddie says a huge reality check for him was the day he found himself washing the clothes of a guy who was in his class at school. “Things can go badly wrong for people for any number of reasons. It made me realise you can’t take anything for granted.”

Wellington is next in the sights of Orange Sky, and Eddie recently met with our Christchurch City Mission and heard some heartbreaking statistics. He says that ideally, and depending on fund-raising efforts, he hopes to see Orange Sky operating in Christchurch soon. “Kiwis have big hearts and are known for their generosity and supporting their community. We would love for people to continue to support Orange Sky’s mission through simple things like sharing our stories, donating and, most importantly, participating in genuine and non-judgmental conversations with our friends on the street.”




Born to Perform: Q&A with Ali Harper

Local award-winning talent Ali Harper has been wowing the crowds for years. We caught up with the lovely lady behind the microphone about being born to perform.



When did a life of performance first beckon, Ali?
Like many children, I was constantly role playing, always singing. I set up the ‘Fitzgerald Stationery Shop’ in my wardrobe, and the ‘Harper’s Bizarre Fabric Store’ which sold my mother’s leftover sewing remnants. All sorts of imaginary characters visited those shops! Then I found out I could take those characters, continue ‘playing’ and make it my full-time job.

In 2014 you were artist-in-residence at your former school Rangi Ruru. Teaching young women to grow their performance confidence must have been a wonderful experience?
I really enjoy working with young people – encouraging them to explore and delight in the total abandonment that comes through singing, movement and storytelling. We live in a society so caught up in what we do, what we look like, and worrying what others think. I want to impart that we’re all unique; there’s no-one else like us. I want our young people to embrace and celebrate that.

You won the Actress of the Year Award at the United Solo Festival 2014 in New York, and at the same festival, in 2019, won the Best One Woman Show Award for your Songs for Nobodies – how did that feel?
The Arts is not the easiest of career paths, so it’s wonderful to be recognised for the risks you take, on and off the stage.

Any favourite roles?
I’ve loved so many. Eliza Doolittle and Maria Von Trapp were a delight, while Mrs Johnston in Blood Brothers was a dream role. Songs for Nobodies was like a personal coming of age…celebrating being old enough to draw from a wealth of life’s highs and lows to play the often tortured ‘nobodies’ and ‘somebodies.’

Is there a “baddie” woman you’d relish bringing to life on stage or screen?
I’ve been watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. The lead baddie is Count Olaf, but I’d love to play that role as a woman, taking on the many disguises and accents. Mean, convincing, greedy… my boys would be so impressed!

You’re currently touring your solo show, A Doris Day Special, around New Zealand. What do you love about Doris Day?
Doris sang and danced with total joy and abandonment. Her life was often difficult, but it never defined her as a person. She retired early to commit her life to saving neglected animals. She was optimistic, kind and genuine – all qualities I greatly admire.

Which world-renowned venue would you love to perform in, if you could?
I saw Audra Macdonald singing with the San Francisco Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall last year. Fabulous! I kept looking at the elite New Yorkers’ in their box seats and imagined walking out onto that stage to take my place in front of that orchestra… pure joy!

Tell us about the importance of yoga in your life?
I realise more and more the importance of yoga not only in my life but for those around me. To take time out for yourself, to connect deep within, to listen and trust your intuition, cultivate self-love and, most importantly, breathe fully and deeply. When we align these things, it’s amazing how they impact so positively on so many other areas in our lives.

Recently I did my yoga teacher training in Thailand. It was a life-changing experience, and now I’m so fortunate to be balancing my life, teaching and sharing my passion for yoga, meditation and singing, as well as at home with my singing and acting students.

When not performing, MCing, producing, writing, teaching or doing yoga, what do you do for time out?
I have busy young boys and a daughter at uni, so time out is rather scarce, yet when I really think on it, the things I choose to do in my life are time out, because they’re what I’m passionate about.



Photography by Simon Greenwood from Canterbury Tales. Hair and makeup by Sarah Greenwood Buchanan at TheatricalStylistNZ.


A furry fun run

Calling all dog lovers, Sunday 22 September launches the inaugural off-road walking/running event ‘The 4 Paws Marathon’, a first for New Zealand and, according to event organiser and Sport and Exercise Medicine Specialist, Dr John Molloy, a first for the world.



John, who has run more than 80 marathons, loves running with his dogs. He describes the event as a celebration of ‘exercise is medicine’, as well as being a salute to our best friend and loyal exercise ally. “People with dogs get more exercise; they keep us more active. A dog is a portrait of our own fitness levels,” John says.

Designed for all fitness levels, the soft-under-foot marathon starts and finishes at Bottle Lake Forest, and comprises four popular distances – the Full Marathon (42.2km); the Half Marathon (21.1km); the 10km run; and the “fun for everyone” 5km run.

John encourages people to give it a go. “We’re becoming too sedentary, so we need to find ways to keep more active but enjoy it at the same time.”

The 4 Paws Marathon has garnered much attention, with more than 145 entrants already registered from here and overseas, to date. With St Johns Ambulance, Animal Management and Ourvets to be there on the day, the marathon is a well-supported event. “The key message is that this is a fun, enjoyable event in a safe atmosphere,” John says.

And yes, he does expect his dogs, Walter and Summer, to be running with him. Just try and stop them!

For more information, email or visit



Retirement Ready

If you ask a retired person for advice on how to have a good retirement, more often than not they’ll recommend you start planning well ahead to ensure a happy and stress-free retirement.



So, keeping that word ‘plan’ in mind, the simplest place to start your research on retirement is online.

Punch ‘planning for retirement’ into your search engine and reach for your reading specs, because there are a number of extremely helpful sites dedicated to guiding you through the process.

Early midlife (35 to 50) brings many financial strains, but it’s crucial to continue saving as much as possible. The combination of earning more plus utilising this time to invest and earn interest makes these years the best for saving.

Later midlife (50 to 65) generally sees financial constraints, such as mortgages, student loans, credit-card debts etc., being paid off, leaving people with more disposable income for investment.

While there is no official retirement age in New Zealand, many people aim to retire when they are 65 years old, which is when the New Zealand Superannuation starts to pay out and, with people now living longer – on average 80 percent of 65-year-old men can expect to live to 90, and 65-year-old women to 94 – there’s every reason to look ahead early and make sure you are retirement ready so you can live comfortably for longer.


Below is a summary to help you start your plan.
• Estimate how many years you’ll be in retirement and think about the lifestyle you want.
• Your budget – one of the best tools for managing money, whatever your age. There are free budgeting booklets available online.
• Where to live:

  1. Opting to stay in your own home:
    – Modify your house with ramps and rails and get home-help – but take into consideration the costs involved.
    – Take on a boarder – gives added financial security, as well as companionship.
    – Downsize to a smaller home – preferably close to shopping precinct and medical facilities, but remember that should you opt to move house, take into account the costs of moving – legal and real estate fees, plus the move itself.
  2. Opting to live in a retirement village:
    – Differs from buying a house in that the financial arrangements are more complex and villages vary in their accommodation and facilities, services, support and care, legal and financial structures, philosophy and management.
    – Retirement village living offers security and provides social interaction on a daily basis; they’re maintained by the village operator and should any problem arise, there is someone to call for assistance; many villages have in-house care facilities, assuring peace of mind and an easy move, should that day come.
  3. Life insurance and disability insurance:
    – Don’t neglect these because you want to know that family can survive financially without pulling from retirement savings should something happen to you.
    – Make an appointment with your lawyer to draw up your will.