metropol » Archives for Melinda Collins

Author: Melinda Collins

Spring in your step

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, so instead of reminding you that we’re quickly heading into the time of year when spring cleaning is in order, we’re going to tell you about the interior opportunities the season of spring offers us.

It’s all about perspective, you see. Instead of the seasonal spruce up, why not look at it as an opportunity to introduce practical perfection and add some spring in your step? Yes, it’s time to invest and we’ve got a moodboard of sophisticated fundamentals that will help you to get your home in order.


  1. Set up: Bathrooms can be a bugbear at the best of times, but this stylish bathroom set will bring style to your wet room.









2. Sleek storage: Organisation has never looked more attractive than these cute little Mustard Made lockers that come in all shapes and sizes. Use it to display favourite ornaments, or to give clutter a home.




3. Standing out: Potted plants are an easy way to bring life and colour to your interior spaces and, when it comes to presentation, naturally plant stands are a great way to make your pots ‘stand out’.



4. Decked out: It’s time to get yourself decked out – after all, sunny days are just around the corner. This deck chair from Bastille and Sons will stand you in good stead.



5. Life of the party: It’s time to get your entertaining mojo back! When it comes to preparing for a busy schedule of hosting over summer, beautiful table linens will ensure you are the life of the party.



6. Printed perfection: Get some colour in your life with this apron from H&M. You’ll feel like cranking up the barbie in no time!





Performing under pressure: Q&A with Dr Ceri Evans

Ever wondered how the world’s top sportspeople deal with pressure? Dr Ceri Evans has seen the impact of pressure across the spectrum.



In his new book Perform Under Pressure, the consultant psychiatrist outlines his strategies for dealing with stress to get you performing at your best – whether on the sportsfield or in the boardroom. We caught up with Dr Ceri Evans about the state of play when it comes to the mine field that is performing under pressure.


You’ve had your own successful sports career, why did you then choose to move into the psychology side of things?
In fact, I’m a psychiatrist, so my pathway was through medical school. I was fortunate to be able to continue to play football throughout my medical training and so rather than one following the other, sport and clinical training went hand in hand. I was fascinated by how pressure affected people, no matter what the field of performance. For a period of time I was studying psychology at Oxford University while playing professional football, so I think I learned as much by exposure and experience as from theory. The linkages were unmissable. When it came time to specialise as a doctor, I was most interested in the mind/brain and it seemed like a natural progression to train in psychiatry. I then specialised further in forensic psychiatry, which might look very different, but if you see it as involving extreme human behaviour under pressure, it places everything on a spectrum. It felt right.

How critical is the mental side of sport?
Often there are small technical margins between individuals and teams, which magnify the importance of mental factors. As a rule of thumb, the further you want to go in any field, the more the ability to deal with pressure becomes the differentiator, and therefore the more the mental side comes into play. Of course, it is not just about sport – it is about any human undertaking that carries significance and the outcome matters to the people involved – which is the reason reality shows are so popular. We find the fact that under pressure most people succumb, but some triumph, engaging. Pressure, failure and success makes a compelling human story-line and we intuitively know that no matter how good someone is technically – take a cooking contest, for example – under pressure, they can fall apart mentally.

How does performing under pressure look?
Although you probably intend this to mean successful performance, there are two sides to performance under pressure. On the one hand, as a personal experience, it is when we are completely ‘at one’ with our immediate environment, when we feel calm, clear and act with precision. Looking on, we see performers who seem to have time, make good decisions, and are accurate. On the other hand, when we get a sense of overload and overwhelm and we feel the weight of pressure come down on us, we lose our nerve, lose our way and lose our touch. Looking on, we see people become hesitant, impulsive, stuck, and lose their ability to perform the basics, let alone perform with timing. It’s a two way street, it’s unpredictable, and therefore it draws us in.

Does performing under pressure look the same in the boardroom as it does on the field?
Although performance in different domains obviously looks very different in terms of the external world and circumstances, our internal workings are just the same. This makes sense: there is no ‘sports lobe’ in the brain; athletes don’t pop in a different brain for performances; and no matter how we perform in our selected field, we also all succumb to a sense of overload and overwhelm in our everyday lives – I name these ‘red moments’. So external pressure in the boardoom, on the field, in the classroom, in the clinic or at home, all lead to common, predictable internal reactions and therefore familiar behaviours. Although there will be obvious differences in intensity, the patterns will be the same.

Your Red-Blue mind model is renowned for its ability to help people serious about performing under pressure. Can you give us a rundown of the model and how it works?
I developed the Red-Blue mind-model with Renzie Hanham – a well-known local graphic artist, martial arts instructor and mental skills practitioner, who has a brilliant way of cutting through the complexity to give us the simplicity we need in those tricky moments – over the last 25 years.

For performance purposes, our mind can be seen as having two systems that interact with other. The Red system is primed for survival, keeps us safe, and runs on images and feelings. It is very fast but is based on quick impressions. The Blue system is primed for potential, allows us to learn and adapt, and runs on logic, words and numbers. It is slow and takes effort, but provides detailed analysis. The Red ‘feeling’ system can dominate and compromise the Blue ‘thinking’ system when we are under threat. The Blue system, in return, can reframe situations and calm Red reactions to some extent. We want Red and Blue to be in the right balance for the situation. Red is not bad and Blue is not good – we need the energy of Red and the clarity of Blue – so we are at our best when the two are balanced and we are ‘in the purple’.

Without giving away all your secrets… what are your key strategies when it comes to getting people performing at their very best?
The basic approach is to help people ‘see’ their immediate Red/Blue states of mind, understand them and make more conscious, effective choices about their responses.
First, we can’t change what we can’t see. You might be surprised by how unaware most people are of how much they are affected by pressure – even at moderate levels – and how this holds them back. The first step is to gain emotional control.

Second, it helps to have a clear picture of the overview so that we make informed decisions, not reckless ones arising from tension and tunnel vision, so that we have clarity. Rather than one-sided positive or negative thinking approaches, we want clear thinking under pressure.

Third, rather than waiting for something to happen so that we fall into the procrastination trap, we want to take effective action. Instead of avoiding tough moments and having as little discomfort as possible in our lives, we can see tough moments as the very conditions we need to put our Red-Blue pressure skills into practice.

By providing people with a method to hold their nerve, find their way and make their mark, it encourages people to not only tolerate tough situations, but to ‘walk towards the pressure’.

Why was this book important for you to write?
The book is a practical and personal undertaking. It is practical because I wanted to translate complicated neuroscience into very simple models and tools that we can actually apply when we are uncomfortable in pressure situations. It is personal in the sense that it is not a textbook – I have written it to so that people apply it to their own situations. I have worked for 25 years in clinical and performance areas with people who have been held back by mental restraints. I find it enormously satisfying when people can apply the simple language and terminology with professional benefit, but especially in personal situations. 

The best feedback I receive is when people find they are starting to ask themselves questions about how they can improve when before they were in a kind of comfort trance; and when people say they are feeling uncomfortable about keeping their status quo – they want to go further and perhaps even explore their limits.

What is the biggest take-away you hope readers can get from this?
Freedom from fear. That doesn’t mean that we won’t feel fear at all, just that it will no longer hold us captive. By developing an intention to be ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’ – not only tolerating tough moments but deliberately seeking them out and holding our nerve – people can get out of their own way, reduce their self-sabotaging mental chatter and escape behaviours and release themselves to perform. After reading the book, I hope that readers will want to face pressure, find their way through it, and in doing so feel free.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
I don’t know! Of course some current projects continue but I work primarily by word of mouth so I don’t actually know what is around the corner. I am inspired by people who have the courage to face tough moments, be outliers and operate at their limits, which is as much a mental challenge as a technical one. The one thing we can be sure of is that pressure will continue to show us that it is indeed real and can hold us back, and I hope to help people face this kind of mental challenge.



Literary hot property: Q&A with Paullina Simons

Russian-born American writer Paullina Simons has weaved her name throughout the global bestseller lists for more than two decades. Author of the novels Tully, Red Leaves, Eleven Hours, The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, and The Summer Garden, it’s not surprising that her latest trilogy is hot literary property. We caught up with Paullina during her New Zealand tour about what these books mean to her.




Can you tell us about the End of Forever saga and what these books mean to you?
They mean the last five years of my life. Literally. It sounds like a lot of time, and it is, but bear in mind that my books tend to be long and I usually spend about two years on each. So for three books, I’ve come out about a year ahead. This trilogy represents all of my hopes and dreams for my work for those five years. Every writer on every book worries they are wasting their time; that the story will never work; that readers won’t care. So I had all those concerns times three. But if it didn’t work, I wasn’t risking just a year or two. They represented a significant portion of my lifetime of work.
In addition, this is the first time since The Bronze Horseman that I’ve written this kind of sprawling epic love story. End of Forever is everything I’ve thought and felt about love and life and fate and grief in the intervening twenty years.

The trilogy started with The Tiger Catcher, you’ve just released A Beggar’s Kingdom and you’re releasing the third – Inexpressible Island – later this year. How intense has this been for you?
I thought it was a great idea when my publishers first suggested it, and I still think it’s a great idea for my readers, not to have to wait some inordinately long time to read the next book and the next. And clearly I’m hoping that when my readers finish A Beggar’s Kingdom, they will not want to do or read anything else until Inexpressible Island is finally in their hands –because I certainly didn’t! But for me, to revise, copy-edit, proofread, do the illustrations, go on tour, and promote all three books in quick succession, is both exhausting and exhilarating. I love getting the feedback on one book while I’m working on the third and promoting the second. It’s a heady combination of overwhelmed and deeply satisfied.

How long did they take to write?
Five long, tortuous years. I’m still writing them. Still changing words, adding sentences, thoughts, jokes, as the publishers are prying the books from my clutching hands so they can go to print on the final book in the saga, Inexpressible Island.

When it comes to writing, how strict do you have to be? Do you write full time or just when the inspiration hits?
I have to be strict, and I have to write full time. Sometimes I’m not, and I don’t. But when I’m working on a book, I force myself to stay alone in my office for about twelve hours every day, and hope that I can squeeze out a few lines, a page, a poem, a thought, a character, a story. Sometimes there is a trickle, sometimes there is a flood. Sometimes I feel pleased, and sometimes I feel raging self-doubt. If I wrote only when inspiration hit, I would probably never write at all. The inspiration comes from the daily grind of the work, not the other way around.

How connected to characters and a storyline do you get during the writing phase… is it sad to finish a character’s storyline after being so invested for so long?
When I was writing The Bronze Horseman books and for a long time after, I would dream of Tatiana and Alexander as if they were real people. Same thing with Julian and Josephine. I feel not just connected to my characters when I work, I am completely immersed in their struggles and stories. They live in me in technicolor and much of my actual life fades to black and white.
It is sad to finish, it is very difficult to let them go, but once I do, the colour gradually returns to the rest of my life. And afterward, the characters from my books live alongside me as real people with real lives. I often think about where they are and what they’re doing.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from people who say hello to me, women who travel with me, my sister who breaks up with her boyfriend in the middle of the Stanley Cup Final, Olympic ice skaters, Ivy League colleges, my homeland, the prairies of America, Truman Capote, John Steinbeck, and my friend Penny who said to me when I told her I was writing my first book Tully, “Paullina, please, whatever you do, don’t write the parts that I don’t want to read”.
Oh, and I also get my inspiration from How to Train Your Dragon 2, the movie.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
There is a trip to the Grand Canyon, a cruise to Cozymel, a writer’s festival in Dubai, a research trip to Utah, and then four planned books that need to be written and finished before the year is out.



Editor’s Perspective: 12 September 2019

“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not in the branch, but in her own wings. Always believe in yourself.” – Anonymous



I’m a fixer upperer. I’m not sure where this desire for improving things stems from, but I seem to get a greater satisfaction from renovating something existing, than from building from scratch. Whether it’s a house or a life problem, I love nothing more than getting stuck into a project.

So with my latest project being my health, I’m a little hindered by my lack of a medical degree; which is why Dr Libby Weaver is my new best friend.
In our 29 August issue of Metropol, Dr Libby talked about her latest book – The Invisible Load. A guide to overcoming stress and overwhelm, it covers the mental side of stress; how much of what we perceive as stress (such as that overflowing email inbox!), isn’t actually stressful (unless it really is life-threatening) and that the inner turmoil that we experience as a result of letting these things get to you is one of the greatest health crises facing the modern woman.

I don’t do life by halves; something my three kids, three dogs and the full time job that I passionately live and breathe, will attest to. I love every single one of these areas of my life, but it is a lot of love to juggle.

I’ve now got my hands on a copy of The Invisible Load, so it is perhaps ironic that the only problem I now have left to solve is how to find the time to start reading it.



Plant-based power players: Green Dinner Table

We’re craving convenience; and plant-based convenience, it seems, is at the top of the agenda, as we increasingly seek the simplicity of this lifestyle choice. Heading the change – and making it a much more palatable journey – are Cole Stacey and Tom Riley – who are delivering plant-based food boxes across the city under the moniker of Green Dinner Table.




Can you tell us about the background to Green Dinner Table and how you came up with the concept?
Cole: After my father had a heart attack and required a quintuple bypass, we were looking for ways for him to eat more healthily; time and time again research was showing how a plant-based diet could prevent and reverse heart disease. The only problem was making the shift from a traditional Kiwi diet to a plant-based one – luckily my friend Tom was a chef, so I approached him to help come up with some simple and healthy plant-based meals. This got us thinking that there were probably a lot of people out there who would like to eat a more plant-centric diet but didn’t know how.

When did you start and how has it been received?
Cole: We started doing up the British Hotel back in March ‘16 and our first delivery was in July ‘16. The response has been really positive, we’ve been running for a little over three years now and we continue to grow week by week. Most people tend to hear about us through word of mouth, which is testament to the fact that we have a lot of happy and loyal customers. There’s been so much demand that we recently launched into Wellington so we’re enjoying the process of getting that up and running.

How does the service work?
Cole: So, all orders are placed online and most people typically choose to get a weekly subscription. In Christchurch we deliver three and five-night meal plans every Sunday and Monday evening. We provide the recipes and all of the fresh produce, along with our house-made sauces and spices etc. I think that’s where our customers see the real value, we make up aiolis, marinades, hummus, falafel; we get a lot of positive feedback about them.

What are your backgrounds in the industry?
Tom: I’m a chef who has been cooking professionally for about 15 years. Over the last couple of years before starting up Green Dinner Table, I had been cooking more and more with plants. It’s a real change from basing a dish around a piece of animal protein to letting the vegetables shine. Cole has always had a big-time passion for health.

What are some of the best things about this business model?
Tom: There’s a heap. Being plant-based you have a lower impact on the planet. The health benefits of eating plant-based are widely known. It’s delicious, of course! The variety of food you can eat in a week is really broad, from laksa to shepherd’s pie, bahn mi to falafel bowls; you will never get bored. With this huge variety, if you were going to cook yourself, you’d end up having cupboards and a fridge full of stuff. We can give you the exact amount of saffron, hemp oil, preserved lemon etc so you use it for the recipe, then it’s gone. So the waste is minimal!

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
Tom: Keep cooking tasty food! We just opened up shipping to Wellington, so we’ll be pushing that, then the rest of the country, maybe… We get a lot of requests for our sauces and pickles!



Luxe Linen

Tough and durable yet soft to the touch, linen is a textile oxymoron and, despite being one of the oldest fabrics in the world, it’s making a stylish statement in the home as we look to the warmer weather that is just around the seasonal corner.




When it comes to upholstery and sheets, linen is a firm favourite, with its durability lending itself well to the family environment. Resisting wear from abrasion as well as dirt and stains, this tempting textile even stands its own against pills and stretching.

So, it’s not surprising that its use is spreading across an even greater range of homewares than ever before, with draperies, tablecloths, bedspreads, curtains, drapes and even rugs looking luxurious in linen.

Known rather romantically by the ancient Romans as textus ventilus, or ‘woven wind’, texture is linen’s main allure. Soft and cool, it’s a great summertime addition to the bedroom and it becomes softer after use.

Linen is, by its very nature (pun intended), a sustainable product – with flax plants requiring very little irrigation, pest control and processing energy. Inherently antimicrobial, linen is even resistant to mildew. What’s not to love?



Luxe Locks

When it comes to our hair, we’re constantly craving change, which is great – after all, our hair just keeps on growing! So we’ve checked out the latest looks for locks you can expect to see in 2019/2020.



  1. Bobs and beehives
    We’re heading back to the 60s, when bigger was better! Yes, bobs and beehives have both been spotted on the runways this year and we’re excited to see what comes of it.
  2. Cherry blonde
    It’s the tastiest hair colour trend to hit 2019; cherry blonde is the new rose gold of hair colours and we’re welcoming it with open arms with the warmer months in store. It’s the modern incarnation of the classic strawberry blonde and sounds just as delicious!
  3. Smoky pink
    It’s the grown-up chance to go crazy with pink hair. Soft and sooty, it has smoky, sophisticated undertones.
  4. The blow-dry is back
    The blow-dry – that had once blown right on by – has hit the style consciousness again. Where we have previously seen undone, messier hair, we’re now craving a sleeker, smoother, more polished look and, whether that look is wavy, curly or straight, the blow-dry can get us there.



A Stellar Designer

From a musician fronting one of the most successful New Zealand bands of the past two decades to a Kiwi fashion icon, Boh Runga is a creative force to be reckoned with. We catch up with Boh about her latest jewellery collection and getting an international nod from the Duchess of Sussex.



After carving a pop career fronting your chart-topping, multi award-winning band stellar*, you moved into jewellery design. Has that creative process always been something you’ve been attracted to?
I love jewellery and accessories so when the opportunity came up, I definitely jumped at it. Designing jewellery is different from songwriting, obviously, but I approach each collection as if I’m writing a song or telling a story. I like to try and bring meaning to each design, something for the wearer to connect with as jewellery can be very personal.

The Duchess of Sussex has been spotted wearing your 9CT Gold Discologo Studs gifted to her from the PM, Jacinda Ardern who is wearing your Egglet pendant in the upcoming British Vogue, which Meghan Markle herself guest-edited. How does it feel to get such a high-level international nod for your work?
Our site went mad!… all these people from all over the world were so curious to see what the Duchess had been given. We sold out in a couple of days in each metal choice. Every time she wears them we get another flurry online. The earrings have been featured in Harper’s Bazaar Australia, Harper’s Bazaar US and I did an interview for Japan Vogue which was very cool. I see the brand as a gifting brand first and foremost and having them given as a gift by our very own PM was very humbling. The Egglet represents new beginnings and since the focus of this particular Vogue issue is about positive change, I love it!

Do you have any favourite pieces you’ve designed or is that like picking a favourite child?
I love all my children equally and without bias! The pieces I wear the most often, pretty much all the time, are the Karearea wing bracelet swapped out with the Miromiro feather bracelet. Earrings-wise I love the Huia earrings, they are large statement pieces that are my take on the Huia feather and they are a bit of departure from what I’ve done before. I like to wear the Gentlemen’s Club signet ring that has the motto Kind, Brave, True and the accompanying story with that collection is what I believe are the qualities of a good man.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
From the natural world, from living here with our amazing wildlife and environment. I also get inspiration from different cultural beliefs and ideas. And the love people hold for each other and how something that is given with love is special for both parties. I like the jewellery to carry positive messages.

What do you love about what you get to do for a job?
There’s quite a bit of freedom with what I do. I like the creative aspect of it and I like that I am not a slave to the regular, like travelling in peak hour traffic every day. But with a small business there’s a lot of responsibility (we’re a team of four now) so it isn’t all hearts and flowers. I’m lucky to have such a great business partner and such a great team around me.

How much do you still get to dabble in your first love – music?
Not enough in the last few years since taking over the jewellery brand but we have a pretty great studio at home as my partner is a musician and has good ears and technical abilities so he’s offered to record some tunes that have been rattling around for a bit. It’s also the stellar* Mix album’s 20th anniversary this year so I’ll definitely get to do some playing soon with the guys which will be very fun!

How does a day in the life of Boh Runga look these days?
Monday is the only locked in day for me to be in the Boh Runga Bohtique in Ponsonby, Auckland, as most of the time I ‘work’ and ‘dream’ at home. That day is all about deadlines and scheduling new releases and additions, marketing and upcoming events, working out budgets for various things, brainstorming styling for photoshoots or planning trips to retailers etc with the team.

You grew up down our way with your younger sisters Pearl and Bic, what do you love about Christchurch?
Christchurch people are so resilient. They have been through some terrible times of late, devastating natural disaster and the most appalling act of hate but they’ve come together in a way that has made the whole country and even the world admire their heart and community spirit. It’s beautiful to see and I am proud of my hometown.


Boh Runga Jewellery’s new collection ‘Shapes’ will be released September and is available in Christchurch from Silvermoon or visit to find stockists throughout New Zealand. Head to Instagram and regram the Metropol cover, follow and tag @bohrungajewellery and @metropolmag to go in the draw to win a necklace from the new collection!



Overcoming Overwhelm: Dr Libby

A nutritional biochemist, bestselling author, speaker and founder of the plant-based supplement range Bio Blends, Dr Libby Weaver has been making her way around the country speaking about ‘overcoming overwhelm’, which she presents to Christchurch on 8 October.



We caught up with everyone’s favourite doctor about overcoming overwhelm and her latest book to hit the shelves.


Your latest book The Invisible Load has just come out. This is the book everyone needs to read! Why was this one so important for you to write?
So many people tell me that they feel stressed or overwhelmed by their everyday lives. Not only does this mean that for too many people, life has become a pressure cooker with very little space for anything outside duty and responsibility that brings them joy – but knowing what I know about biochemistry, I understand the true impact that this is having on their bodies and their health. It is possible to live a busy and fulfilling life that doesn’t have you feeling up to the eyeballs in stress and I wanted to help people to experience this for themselves.

What is your ‘invisible load’?
Each of us carries with us a weight that silently drives the stress we feel. We may not realise it is there, just as others may not know the load we carry, which is why I call it your invisible load and it might be physical or emotional, or both.

How much impact is the invisible load having on our health and our happiness?
Physically, your invisible load is your body’s manifestation of the stress you feel. It’s likely your body’s invisible load in action (as long as diseases have been ruled out) when you suffer with symptoms such as exhaustion, weight gain, digestive complaints like bloating, uncomfortable periods or menopausal transitions, frequent headaches, or even sugar cravings and restless sleep. However, we aren’t always aware that stress has been kicking on in the background for years so we may not realise this is what it is. The invisible load on your emotions is somewhat harder to pinpoint because you will probably feel that it is just part of who you are – it’s been fused with your identity. Constructed from your life experiences and the beliefs you have created from these experiences, it filters across every thought you have, affecting how you react and respond to the situations in your life that you face on a daily basis. Essentially though, it has an incredible impact on how we feel about our body and our life as well as significantly affecting our overall health.

A common theme that seems to run through a lot of your books is the idea that the thoughts we feed ourselves are just as critical as the nutrition we feed ourselves. Why is this such an important theme for you to get across?
We can’t control what happens in our day, but with awareness and practise, we can begin to catch a glimpse of how we’re thinking. This is the ribbon we need to grab hold of in order to unravel our stress once and for all. It’s catching these perceptions, thoughts and beliefs that will ultimately alter our biochemistry, transform our health and our experience of stress, as well as how we live.

What are some of your favourite ways to feed your soul?
I love to watch the patterns of nature, especially watching the sun rise or set or looking up at a sky full of stars. I’ve recently gotten back into tennis and playing this is another soul-nourishing activity for me. I also love to read and there isn’t much I find more nourishing than losing myself in someone else’s words.

If there was one key message you could get out to the overwhelmed working mums out there, what would that message be?
Prioritise your own nourishment and self-care. So often mums put themselves at the bottom of their own priority list, not realising that they’re actually doing a disservice to the people in their life they put ahead of their own needs. As the saying goes, we can’t fill from an empty cup. Everyone around you will benefit from you making time for your health and happiness. When we take good care of ourselves it has an immense ripple effect.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
After my spring tour around Australia and New Zealand which comes to the end in October, I will run my Essential Women’s Health Weekends, put the finishing touches on a new online course, and have some days not doing much. I can already feel the next book buzzing around in my head so I will likely start that soon too. And, in between those things, I will spend lots of time doing whatever feels right for me at the time. Anything from pottering in my garden and playing tennis to devouring some good books.



Editor’s Perspective: 29 August 2019

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Jennifer Dukes Lee



Dear Friday night emailer,
I usually start my email responses with ‘thank you for your email’. Unfortunately, in this case, I cannot do that.

I’m unsure if I’m more shocked or saddened by what you chose to email me; a complete stranger and someone for which you had no idea of what was going on in my life at that moment.

You mentioned your letter to the editor was not ‘publishable’ and I agree, but it was also not ‘send-able’. Yet for some reason, you thought it was OK to send it to me. Is it because the act of emailing de-humanises the recipient? Because I suspect – or at least I hope – that the email you sent me wasn’t how you would speak to your own family; your own friends; even your own acquaintances. If you’re about to click ‘send’ on an email you wouldn’t want someone sending your own child, then don’t click send.

I’m not sure whether it was Tiki Taane’s tattoos or mohawk that offended you so. Had you read the associated article, you would have found that there is so much more to Tiki than tattoos and a mohawk.

In fact, you would have found the back story of one of this country’s most prodigious talents; the story of a father; of a partner; of someone’s son; the inspiring story of how music saved him and of the beautiful way he proposed to the love of his life, with their children alongside.

I’m not angry with you for sending that email. If anything, I’m sad for you. I’m sad because the world is a big, vibrant melting pot of diversity and you’re never going to see the beauty in that.