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Author: Melinda Collins

Feast your way to fab skin

They say you are what you eat. But can you feast your way to fabulous skin?


Hannah Bird Photography


Metropol catches up with Oxford Women’s Health dietitian Sara Widdowson to discuss the impact of diet on your skin.

How much influence does our diet have on our skin?

It seems many of us have skin complaints we would rather live without and, while there is no shortage of topical creams and lotions claiming to give the results you desire, there is often little attention given to the importance of nutrition when it comes to skin health.

Zinc, vitamins A, C and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, are all key players in your skin’s health and the nutritional treatment of skin complaints.

What foods should we be avoiding?

There is some evidence that foods that contribute to a high glycaemic diet (high in refined carbohydrates and sugar) can contribute to the development of acne.

This is because high sugar levels in the bloodstream cause the release of a hormone called insulin, which increases production of androgens – hormones associated with an increase in acne.

When eating carbohydrates, aim to include those high in fibre, such as wholegrains, pulses, legumes, vegetables and fruit, rather than foods with added sugar.

What are some of the best foods we can eat to make the most of our skin health?


Zinc is an essential micronutrient for many processes within the human body, including skin healing.

Research has shown that those with acne have lower zinc stores than those without skin complaints.

The exact mechanism in which zinc assists in the treatment of acne is not fully understood but what is clear is that there is a relationship between zinc intake and acne.

Zinc is relatively safe to take as a supplement and is found in food sources such as red meat, shellfish and nuts or seeds.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A has been shown to prevent UV-light mediated skin damage and is likely useful for the treatment of psoriasis.

Vitamin A is found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, as well as eggs and dark leafy vegetables.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fats that are known to have health benefits, such as reducing inflammation in women with endometriosis and protection against heart disease.

When it comes to skin health, supplementation of omega-3 is useful for dermatitis and psoriasis treatment. You can find omega-3 in foods such as oily fish, avocado and olive oil.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is unique as it is found in poor quantities in our food.

Most of our vitamin D comes from sunlight but there is a fine line between sun exposure that is helpful for skin and increasing your risk of sun damage.

Vitamin D reduces inflammation and improves immunity and skin healing time.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is often taken to prevent or treat a cold but it also plays a valuable role in skin health.

Remember stories of sailors getting scurvy while out at sea for months without fruits and vegetables?

This is due to vitamin C deficiency. While deficiency in recent times is uncommon, appropriate intake does promote skin hydration and wound healing.


Empowering retirees’ independence

A new tablet-based health, safety and connection system, designed with the collaboration of Kiwi seniors, has won the financial backing of Qestral Corporation and is now installed in 200-plus independent living homes at Alpine View Retirement Village in Christchurch.



CEO of Spritely, Christopher Dawson, developed the system after his father suffered a medical event at home.

“I thought there had to be a way technology can help Kiwi seniors like Mum and Dad, not just to be safer, but also to be healthier and more connected.”

John Ryder, Executive Chairman of Qestral Corporation, describes Spritely as an important innovation in the New Zealand aged-care sector.

“We’ve invested in Spritely because we believe in its potential as a sector-wide solution to a number of big issues.”

Spritely addresses:

• A sensor in the home triggers an alert if there’s no movement after 10am (called ‘awake and well’ monitoring)

• Health vitals measurement and tracking; with wireless blood pressure machine and scales
• Day and time-packed medication dispensary and delivery (called ‘club med’)
• Medication alert reminders

• Digital phonebook
• Video calling
• Digital noticeboard
• Events and notifications
• A live weather forecast
Alpine View is the first retirement village in NZ to make this kind of touch screen communication system available in every house and apartment. Serviced houses and apartments also get additional Spritely Care features, including personal health monitoring etc, as outlined on their website.
Spritely is now available for retirement villages, with a ‘community version’ already in development.


Changing Lives

It was once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Renowned journalist Paula Penfold has taken a very literal approach to this adage.



From fighting to free wrongly imprisoned Teina Pora to uncovering the Kiwi link to the death of seven Afghan babies and opening up about her own decision to have an abortion at 21 as part of her Stuff Circuit investigation into the abortion law reform bill, Paula Penfold is fighting for justice.

We catch up with 2019’s Reporter of the Year about changing lives.

What attracted you to journalism?

I was 14, at high school, when a reporter from the Waikato Times came to visit our English class.

I found her utterly inspiring. Her job sounded hugely interesting; it was a mixture of fact and creativity, and it also meant the opportunity to sometimes make a difference.

I immediately loved the idea.

You’ve worked on some of the country’s most high-profile stories, notably the Teina Pora case and more recently fraudster Joanne Harrison’s hidden history. What do you consider to have been some of your own personal career highlights?

The Teina Pora case would be right up there.

We worked on that investigation over five years and it’s some of the most difficult but most satisfying work we’ve done.

There are other stories though which have less of a profile but are also important to me, though now that I think about it, the ones that matter almost always involve an injustice of some kind.

News organisations throughout the country have been cutting back on investigative journalism, meanwhile Stuff Circuit has been leading the country in this area. How exciting is it to be involved in something which has the power to change – and improve – lives by uncovering critical information?

I feel really lucky that I love my job! I’ve been a journalist for a long time but every story is different, so it never gets old.

I feel very fortunate that at Stuff Circuit we’re given the time and resource to properly dig into a story and uncover information that should be in the public domain, but for whatever reason has been kept secret or gone unreported.

It’s really satisfying trying out new creative ways of telling stories: investigative journalism done in new, multimedia ways, combining documentary with interactivity, text and whatever else we think fits the story.

So yeah, it’s hugely exciting, but it often comes with a fair amount of stress too, so we need to be careful about that.

I also feel really lucky that I work in an incredible team within Stuff Circuit; people who push each other creatively and journalistically, while also having each other’s backs.

How incredible was it to get named Reporter of the Year at the New Zealand Television Awards in November?

I know people always say this when they win awards, but it truly was a surprise – the other finalists in the category are journalists whose work I really admire.

I think, especially when I’m working in a relatively new venture like Stuff Circuit, winning something like that is useful to draw attention to our stories and the type of journalism we do.

And yeah, it did feel good as well!

How important do you think investigative journalism is to democracy?

I would say this, of course, but I believe it also.

I think investigative journalism and journalism in general is crucial to a healthy democracy.

Democracy is about more than just the right to vote; it’s about being fully informed and about being able to have proper conversations about our priorities and values as a society.

It’s the role of journalism to hold up a mirror to society, and to keep the powerful accountable by examining and questioning what they’re doing.

It’s so fundamentally important that it’s hard to imagine a functioning society without it.

The type of journalism we do is expensive, and time and resource-heavy, so if it wasn’t done by journalists with the backing of a major media company, it wouldn’t be done at all.

What have been some of your most memorable experiences in your career?

Driving up the coast of Leyte in the Philippines in the wake of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. It was apocalyptic and I will never forget it.

Making a rookie error by thinking we could cross the border from Texas to a Mexican border town and then sit back for a couple of mojitos!

We completely under-estimated the risk of trying to film in a town controlled by drug cartels. We were in and out of Mexico within an hour.

Filming at a mountaintop cemetery in Bamyan, Afghanistan, just a few months ago, with three mothers who between them had lost seven children, killed in an explosion.

The enormity of their grief, combined with the eerie beauty of the place, made it an unforgettable scene.

Being gathered in front of the TV with Teina Pora’s supporters watching as the Privy Council law lords delivered their decision, quashing his convictions (Teina couldn’t watch!).

The reactions from Malcolm Rewa’s other victims as the verdict came in finding him guilty of Susan Burdett’s murder.

On a lighter note (sometimes in this job there aren’t enough of these!), being with Tiki Taane in Vanuatu, as he sang, with his acoustic guitar, to patients waiting to get their sight restored, at a clinic run by the Fred Hollows Foundation. It was gentle and magical; soothing and beautiful.

What is the most fulfilling part of what you get to do?
Honestly, it’s giving a voice to people who might not otherwise have one.

Putting them in a position where they can tell their story or their side of the story, which has never been heard.

It’s really satisfying when that leads to change.

What does 2020 have in store for you?

A documentary which is very much a ‘story’ as opposed to an investigation and which I’m really looking forward to, and some more investigative work – we have some big stories in the pipeline.

And my youngest will be finishing her last year at school, so that’ll be the end of an era – and the beginning of a new one.


A growing passion

Wildly successful home design blogger Julia Atkinson-Dunn recently developed a green-finger. We caught up with Julia about her growing passion.



You started NZ’s very first – and wildly successful – design blog in 2008 before going through a bit of an evolution. How did you first catch the gardening bug?

I had always been a flower lover (and roadside thief!) but not at all tempted to grow my own garden beyond a house plant or two.

The exact moment gardening entered my life was three years ago when I saw the impressive, stacked vegetable beds in the backyard of our Linwood home-to-be.

I realised then and there that I would have to ‘grow things in it so it looked good’.

I think the turning point was the fact this garden wasn’t going to be rented, but instead a place I could transform to enjoy for the future!

As I got going, pestering my poor mum to answer all my questions, I slowly realised that gardening was a natural and welcome extension of my passions for design and decorating, in perhaps the most satisfying form of it all!

I think that my experience is pretty common of a lot of first-home buyers now, that’s why I wanted to get involved with the Grow Ō Tautahi Garden Festival and share what I’m learning.

How excited are you about being the Beginner Gardener Ambassador for the new Grow Ō Tautahi – Christchurch Garden Festival launching in March 2020 and what will your role involve?

Incredibly excited on so many levels!!! It’s such a thrill to be involved in an innovative, vibrant Canterbury event and even more so to have a public opportunity to source wisdom for all those local people out there who have shared a similar gardening adventure to me.

During the Grow Ō Tautahi festival, I will be running a series of panels on stage (free to attend) aimed specifically at helping beginner gardeners.

Here I will invite local gardeners and experts to impart specific advice to answer our questions around getting started, troubleshooting and those tricks and tips that you can’t google!

Where do you start when it comes to making heads and tails – or roots and leaves – of everything gardening?

The BEST source is a friendly gardener. I’ve discovered that gardeners are eager sharers and helpers and they can really help you on your way.

Honestly, it’s highly likely if you knocked on a neighbour’s door with a garden you love that they will come to wander yours armed with advice and maybe even plants!

Second to this, the Yates Garden Guide, which has been in print for nearly 80 years, is packed with so much valuable information relevant to our differing growing conditions in NZ.

It’s like the beginner’s bible and can support you as you get going and give you a resource to fill in the gaps after a googling session!

Or come along to Grow Ō Tautahi in March to hear ideas and talk with expert gardeners as part of my beginner gardener panels!

You are also welcome to follow me on Instagram/Facebook or read my blog posts sharing the snippets that I learn along the way too! @studiohomegardening


  1. Read the labels and do your research. If a plant requires full sun they aren’t kidding! The result is either plants growing horizontal to the ground searching for the sun OR simply not growing much at all.
  2. Dedicate yourself to watering or invest some time and money into an irrigation system – staying on top of this has been key for me!
  3. Muster up some patience. There is no beating Mother Nature on how quickly things will grow and if the weather suits. With that said, don’t simply revert to an “easy care” garden, it is astonishing how time flies and in no time you will have flowers blooming!
  4. Get a grasp on the plant types – perrenials, annuals, biennials etc. Having a basic understanding of plant life cycles will save you a lot of time and money in the long run! This will also help you build a plan for a garden that has interest all year round.
  5. Give yourself a break! Often as adults we don’t start learning new things from scratch, so allow yourself time to come to grips with it all. The actual process of learning, getting your hands dirty, researching bug problems and harvesting is as important as the atmosphere you are trying to create.

Anika Moa Unleashed

Anika Moa first burst onto the recording scene at the age of 21, when she released her debut album Thinking Room in 2001.



It reached the top of the New Zealand Singles Chart, yielding four hit singles. She’s remained perched at the top of Kiwi consciousness ever since.

Although life has changed considerably since those days, the now mother-of-four juggles being knee-deep in nappies with the same offbeat sense of humour that has made her a beloved presenter, MC and now radio host.

But nothing has changed perhaps more than her music.

Rather than lust, love and heartbreak, her latest album is jam-packed with witches, monsters and Mrs Heather Fiddly Widdly Bum’s Song About Veges.

Released in November, it’s her third Songs for Bubbas album; last, but not least. “I love working with babies and kids,” Anika says.

“It fills my heart and makes me proud of myself. I love singing to them and connecting with them; that’s when I feel my happiest.”

The journey from ‘grown-up’ country-pop-rock albums to children’s music was a fairly natural progression, Anika explains.

“The only way I can write is from what I know. When I was a youngster, I was well… young! Youthful you’d say!

“Life was learning how to control my emotions or even learning how to have safe emotions and to go through a lot of lust, love and heartbreak. It’s all so dramatic and rough, then you have kids and you dive into that world. You grow up quickly, but I am a child at heart so that will never leave me. So having children inspired me to write songs for my bubbas and it grew from there.

“I am a baby whisperer… just saying!”

The 39-year-old’s ‘bubbas’ include five-year-old Soren and nine-month-old Marigold with wife, TV news reporter-turned-producer Natasha Utting, along with eight-year-old twins Barry and Taane which she shares custody of with her ex-partner.

You can’t really imagine Anika not having fun, but I still ask, how much more fun is writing and recording children’s music?

“Every kind of recording is fun, whether it’s adult or kids’ music! I still have a wine at the end of the day!”

So how different is Anika Moa post kids to Anika Moa pre kids?

“Before I had kids I had a vision of zen, peace and lovely, well-behaved kids, but the reality is a lot more ‘cray cray’,” she laughs.

“Toys everywhere, screaming, tantrums, sugar highs, sugar lows, devices, more screaming (from me lol) and lots and lots of laughter and snuggles and love. It’s a really fine balance of ups and downs.

“Keeping it real and being kind to yourself is my mantra. Also – whoever smelt it first has to change it!”

Music too is a big part of life for all her children.

“My dream is for all my children to learn an instrument and to be as passionate about music as I am, but they will have their own dreams so I’ll go with them and their hearts. As long as none of them are gay. That’s disgusting,” she deadpans in a way only Anika Moa could possibly get away with.

Amongst the adults, she’s arguably better known today as a television presenter and radio host, having recently joined Stacey Morrison and Mike Puru as part of the Drive team at The Hits.

“I’d compare it to swimming in the deep ocean and just keeping your energy levels up with a heaving chest, then you go under, but voilà, up pops the head and you continue swimming… repeat that a million times a day and that pretty much sums it up!” she laughs.

“I do love my new job with Stacey and Mike. It’s nice to get out of the whare.”

Meanwhile, her unconventional interview series Anika Moa: Unleashed has proven so popular that TVNZ OnDemand has given the greenlight for Anika Moa: Reunited next year, and you’ll often find her face popping up on Seven Sharp, where she’s a fan-favourite guest host.

So how does a day in the life of Anika Moa look these days?

“Haha… wake up two to three times a night with Marigold; wake up; do kid things (food, walk, drop offs etc) then head to a filming or an ad or a song recording or an MC event or whatever you have for me, then head to The Hits, then drive home, put the kids to bed and have a wine, if I’m honest; talk to my wife for four and a half minutes then pass out, exhausted.

“Weekends are for gigs, MC work etc… so no days off, and making time for my mental health is very important to me, so I’m trying to walk more, talk more and have massages, lots more to unwind. Did I mention wine?”

Raised in Christchurch, she loves our little slice of heaven and gets down here whenever she can.

Her BFF Nicky Claridge, who took this photo and the cover shot, lives in Omihi, in North Canterbury.

“I love Ōtautahi! I love my memories of growing up there; the Cathedral; Hagley Park; New Brighton Beach; Scarborough Hill; Lyttelton; gosh there are too many beautiful spots to name. It is a sometimes dark city but very inspiring for a writer like me.

“A sensational part of the country/world, plus the rugby!”

So how does the next 12 months look in the Moa household?

“How long have you got?” she laughs.

“I started filming Anika Moa: Reunited – a show about reuniting some of Aotearoa’s finest bands! It’s awesome so far but a lot of work! I am going to tour songs for Bubbas 3 during the school holidays and I have a new baby business I am developing for Kiwi parents. I want to release a few books and merchandise and I’d love to record a country album…

“That’s just the first half of the year!”


A sweet empire

Oonagh Browne’s love affair with chocolate has been more rich, intense and satisfying than for most. In fact, she says, it saved her life. We catch up with the queen of chocolate about why she believes eight cacao beans a day keeps the doctor away.



Irish-born Oonagh had been climbing the corporate ladder in London after completing a business degree when her boss gave her “the greatest gift”.

“He told me that I would get to the top rung of that corporate ladder,” she explains.

Already unhappy in the corporate world, the conversation provided a moment of clarity and she realised reaching the top wouldn’t bring her any satisfaction.

Within nine months she had packed it in to travel.

Eventually ending up in Australia, she began training to be a yoga teacher. It was during her time here that she met Suzanne Johnson and Bernie Prior who would later open She Universe, the idyllic café perched at the top of Governors Bay.

It was when Oonagh decided to make chocolate for a charity event that she discovered an innate gift for the confection.

“It’s like some people who have this innate talent for painting,” she says. “I found that in chocolate. I fell in love.”

When Oonagh’s then-husband Declan suggested they move to Christchurch to help Suzanne and Bernie run She Café, the couple made a new home here, but their work in the café wasn’t to be, with a fire destroying it just three weeks after they arrived. It would remain closed for nine months.

So instead they started selling Oonagh’s chocolate creations at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, her Decadent Date chocolate and hot chocolate were instant hits with the locals.

When the rebuilt café opened, it was Oonagh’s creative chocolate flair that helped She Universe become a local Canterbury icon.

With the chocolate winning numerous awards, it was soon being supplied to outlets throughout the country and is now celebrating a move from Governors Bay to the new She Chocolaterie at Riverside Markets this year.

Post-quake though, Oonagh experienced severe depression or a ‘mental breakdown’.

“I was in the darkest place and nothing could help me, not even the support of amazing, wise friends,” she says.

Willing to try just about anything, she started researching natural antidepressants when she discovered cacao; the purest form of the very chocolate she was already in love with.

She vowed to have a cacao smoothie every day, combining it with another superfood maca which, combined with cacao, create a powerful antidepressant.

“Within 10 days I started coming out of the darkness and I started to have hope. I started to ‘see’ the thoughts rather than ‘be’ the thoughts and I soon learnt to master them,” she says.

“I started to delve into the health side of cacao and spend time on a cacao farm owned by a friend in Samoa. It was a profound experience as I discovered my depth of connection with this food. Cacao is one of the oldest foods, with the ability to heal our bodies and support us on so many levels.”

Cacao’s health properties are well-supported by science, with the powerful little bean not only packed with nutrients such as iron, magnesium and zinc, but also antioxidants for heart health and neurotransmitters which contribute to wellbeing and happiness. For Oonagh, it’s a daily medicine she swears by. “Eight cacao beans a day keeps the doctor away!”

Oonagh’s work in Samoa has expanded to Peru and the Solomon Islands, where she is endeavouring to reverse the damaging effect of global demand for chocolate for cacao farmers.

Since the commodification of chocolate, large companies have continued to drive the price of beans down, with the supply chain leaving many cacao farmers impoverished, despite hard labour.

The knowledge of cacao’s medicinal value has been lost, even to those who farm it and it’s no longer viable to be a cacao farmer, so young people are no longer staying on their farms.

Oonagh is putting heart and soul into getting infrastructure and training into these regions, enabling the farmers to earn more and encouraging young people to become cacao farmers.

One of the greatest impacts is teaching the farmers how to enjoy the bean themselves, creating cookbooks with recipes and teaching them how to make tea from cacao bean husks (known as Skinny Tea in the Solomons due to its ability to encourage weightloss) and even cacao face masks.

She’s passionately spearheading a cacao revolution.

“We want to connect the consumer and cacao farmer and close the gap, and for the cacao farmer, more than anything, to be empowered and proud of what they grow, but first they need to be earning a real income.

“Cacao was once honoured and revered, then we added sugar and it became something different; its time as a powerful medicine was forgotten, but now we’re experiencing a revolution; a cacao revolution.”

“I want people to know it’s the food of the gods.”


Editor’s Perspective: 23 January 2020

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie



When a New Year dawns it is already a great year – we’ve yet again been blessed with an opportunity to live and love.

And, although it seems rather cliché to say, it really is a time of year that is capable of inciting profound transformative change to mind, body and soul.

Of course while some changes in life work, others may not, but the whole point is about giving something new a go.

After all, as Einstein so wisely and poignantly pointed out, doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity.

So whether the changes you are contemplating in your lives this year are great or small – whether it is simply to turn your talented hand to a new hobby, curling your tongue around a new language, changing jobs or taking an entrepreneurial punt on a new venture – go hard!

It’s time to give it your best shot and don’t worry if it doesn’t work out entirely as you had planned, you will no doubt be richer for the experience.

The Metropol team is excited to embark on yet another adventurous chapter in 2020 and look forward to you joining us on this journey.


A powerful collection

Natalie B Coleman has long merged fashion and social activism and her latest collection is no different. A portion of all proceeds from her limited SISTERS collection – available exclusively at Zambesi – will be donated to the UNFPA for its life-changing work in the female sexual and reproductive space and local awareness-driven charity FGM NZ.

We caught up with the leading Irish designer about this powerful collection.

What attracted you to the design world?
I have always been interested in the transformative nature of clothing; the storytelling aspect of dressing up.

And now I am very much inspired by how many cultural codes a piece of clothing can carry.

Fashion reflects cultural perceptions, it reinforces values, definitions and norms, and I am working towards my designs making a difference, breaking down stigmas and taboos.

I also adore women and I love dressing them; I love how clothes can transform how you feel and what message they can give out to the world about who you are.

Can you tell us about your SISTERS collection and what this means to you?
The SISTERS collection is a collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, and it’s focused on celebrating and bringing attention to women’s sexual and maternal health.

The title SISTERS is influenced by the powerful bonds that exist between women and girls in our contemporary global society and the partnership wishes to emphasise the importance of sisterhood in times of rapid and turbulent social change.

The collection symbolises the collaborative power of sisterhood: the coming together of women to mobilise and build support systems – to fulfil the promise of rights and choices for all.

The work was influenced by messages around gender, bodily autonomy, and women’s rights, using dialogue between theory and practice to support expanded ways of thinking, being and doing fashion.

The capsule collection is created on a craftsmanship level, incorporating traditional techniques that would have been seen traditionally as female-centric skills, and using these in innovative ways, while reinforcing the mandate of the UNFPA through the symbolic prints.

Clothing skills and traditional crafting techniques unite women all over the world, providing independence to support families, educate, upskil, l and self-belief through equity.

The collaboration tells a strong message of female empowerment, solidarity, reproductive rights, and sisterhood.

The capsule collection consists of screen-printed sweatshirts, t-shirts, hoodies, and printed silk scarves that are sustainably produced, 100% organic and screen printed by hand in Ireland.

The prints tackle the issue of culture, how female sexuality is presented through design by subverting masculine imagery and historical and archival references and changing them into empowering, rebellious and strong imagery.

Why was FGM such an important practice for you to bring awareness to?
Female genital mutilation is an erasure of female power; the effects of mutilating a woman sexually have repercussions for the rest of these women’s lives, in terms of body image, intercourse and giving birth.

Infertility, repeated infections, even child and mother mortality in severe cases, are some of the short and long-term complications from female genital mutilation that are profoundly damaging and a violation of human rights.

In a lot of these cases the sufferers are not old enough to give consent let alone understand the procedure, which is often preformed under inhumane conditions.

It was necessary for us to bring as much awareness to the cause to end this outdated practice.

How have you captured the symbolism of this movement within the designs?
Using the typography SISTERS printed through the collection as a way of connecting the sisterhood, and each of our printed silk scarves is rich in meaning.

We adapted a very well-known image from Islamic fundamentalism and from this constructed a logo from swords which aims to operate as a brand mark for a resistance movement against the symbolic obliteration of female genitalia.

This motif reacts as an organised resistance and manifesto; a symbolic opening is held apart with a sword.

The two-tone colourway represents cause and effect, the reason (the drop) and the result (the star).

This acts as a call to arms. This print is on some t-shirt dresses and scarves.


Your time to zipline!

Adventure (noun): an unusual and exciting or daring experience

An exhilarating mix of adrenalin, speed and nature, ziplining is sweeping the world as a fun, safe alternative for thrill-seekers wanting to experience the sensation of flying. Editor Melinda Collins heads up the hill to check out the ziplining facilities at Christchurch Adventure Park and tells us why this should be your next epic adventure.



Action-packed, adrenalin-inducing adventure is there for the taking in the heart of the striking pine forest of the Port Hills that frames the city’s southern stretch. But Christchurch Adventure Park stands head and shoulders above the rest and not just because of the spectacular terrain that looks right out across the city.

Christchurch Adventure Park is the first lift-accessed, four-season mountain biking operation in the world featuring a chairlift specifically designed for mountain bikes and their riders. The long-awaited park opened just before Christmas 2016, boasting bike trails for all levels of riders, a mountainside café, ziplines and more than 120km of bike routes.

Although the network of advanced, intermediate and beginner trails on 358 hectares of land between Dyers Pass, Summit and Worsleys Roads was the jewel in its crown, the Christchurch Adventure Park is out to prove it is not just for mountain bikers.

A new zipline product, The Long Ride – which is the last and longest zipline in the tour – has been launched just in time for the summer holidays. It offers a quicker option for zipliners, taking about an hour to complete compared to 2-2.5 hours the full tour takes.

The full tour offers not just one but four great zips – each one of them something a little bit different. The first one offers sweeping panoramas which seem to stretch forever, while the second prepares you for the third, which is the highest in New Zealand – 150 metres! Meanwhile the fourth takes you above and through the trees for just over a kilometre!

The new zip isn’t all that’s new up the hill. Four new intermediate bike tracks have recently been incorporated amongst the trees below Dyers Pass Road, aimed at helping intermediate riders progress their skills, bolstering the already spectacular track network.

There’s even a walking trail that can be accessed from the village car park. From the top, you can take a free chairlift back down to the village. Check the website for access requirements

Absorb the stunning views from the chairlift or walking track; take in the stunning machine and hand-built mountain bike trails or just chill out on the large deck of the Adventure Park Café nestled in the pine forest. There’s something for everyone here – not just the thrill-seekers!



Top 4 reasons ziplining should top your bucket list

Challenge yourself
Ziplining is a great opportunity to challenge yourself and see just what you’re capable of. It is one of the safest outdoor activities available, but you still get the rush of cruising down the highest (150 metres!) and the longest (more than one kilometre!) zipline in New Zealand.

Adrenalin junkies
Team building exercises encourage meaningful connections among your employees while building a social network within your company. There’s nothing like a shared adrenalin experience to bring people together.

Flights of fancy
Humans have been crazy about flight since the beginning of time. And seeing as we haven’t figured out a way to grow wings yet, a trip through the Christchurch Adventure Park on a zipline is the next best thing!

Accessible action
You may not have headed up the hill yet because you’re not keen on the sweat, blisters and achy muscles that come with a mountainside bike ride but, accessible to everyone, ziplining is a great way to get the best of both worlds from an afternoon in the outdoors.


Who to take?

Ziplining is the ultimate escape right here in the city and Christchurch Adventure Park can accommodate groups, so grab a group of friends ‘just because’ or get in touch if you have an event coming up:
– Work colleagues
– Sports teams
– Wedding parties
– Reunions
– Icebreaker with in-laws!

A family pass is the ultimate stocking filler and gift vouchers are available!



Fabulous Finesse

Shelley Ferguson wears a lot of hats; she’s the editorial director of home and fashion magazines at Bauer Media, including Your Home and Garden; she’s the beloved co-host of The Block New Zealand; she’s also wife of Steve and mum to Flynn and Jett.


On Tuesday 12 November, she added another one, joining the judging panel of the Best Dressed competition at Addington’s Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Day alongside Jackie O’Fee from Signature Style, creative director Deanna Didovich of New Zealand-based brand RUBY.

We caught up with Shelley about her impressions of the day.

Christchurch was incredibly lucky to have hosted you recently when you came down to judge our Best Dressed competition. Did you get to spend much time down here and look around?
I was lucky to be invited! It was a quick 24-hour visit, but within that time I had a quick look around the city, got to spend the night in a hotel, had lunch with the organisers, judged the Best Dressed competition and drank some champagne before flying out, so I reckon I made the most of it!

What did you think of the fashions this year?
I was incredibly impressed; it was at an international level. The planning, themes, details, fit, fabric, accessories, hair and makeup many of the contestants showcased was impeccable.

Racewear is about getting every detail perfect and respecting heritage with a modern twist which takes time, money and an inherent sense of style.

There were so many different, unique and creative approaches which made for a visual feast!

What were some of the highlights of the day for you?
The entire vibe on the day was fabulous. This is an iconic event and I could feel the sense of pride and celebration on the day. It was a fantastic business card for the city that’s for sure.

What were some of the key things you were looking for when it came to selecting your top picks for the podium?
The first was a cohesive theme that was evident in every aspect of the look without going OTT which is difficult with racewear.

The other key element I looked for was fit and fabric. At this level every nip, tuck and pleat needs to be tailored to the body.

You are always exceptionally put together yourself. What do you love about fashion?
Oh thank you! I love to dress up; sometimes I don’t think we do it enough. I grew up watching classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and love iconic brands like Chanel.

There is a sense of celebrating womanhood by making an effort and dressing for the occasion, in whatever way that means to you personally.

Where was your beautiful Cup Day outfit from?
A Melbourne brand called Loreta.

How would you describe your own fashion philosophy?
Wear things that make you happy – feeling great leads to having more fun.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
Continuing to nurture my interior design business and clients, another season of The Block, and hopefully another trip to Christchurch for Cup Day 2020!