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Author: Nicholas Henare

Take a Seat

Bold and innovative, the SEAT (pronounced ‘see at’) is a compact crossover vehicle (CUV). Direct from Spanish automaker SEAT, I even had the marketing manager greet me with ‘Hola!’



The Ateca is a 140 kW 4Drive with a price tag of $50,900. You have extra options like dynamic chassis control and 19-inch machined alloys on the one I tried which take it to $54,400. It has very similar specifications to another brand in the market which is $20,000 more and, to be nice, I won’t mention them but let’s focus on what’s good about the Ateca. Space!

The cabin room is impressive with the room to house five family members and their weekend away gear stowed in the back. Handling: it’s got a great pick up and handling ability, proven when doing a U turn in peak hour traffic on Halswell Road – I was greatly impressed. The exterior is a bit generic, but you can get used to that when it comes to bang for buck on engine and performance.

Founded in Spain in 1950, this is our real taste of the car and Archibald’s on Tuam has brought them in to see what Christchurch thinks. I think they are worth taking a look at purely for the fact that they are a bloody good drive and there’s a space for that in this price range. Take a seat in a SEAT and you’ll see at what I mean… see what I did there?


Oasis for the body & soul: Maruia Hot Springs

Two and a half hours from Christchurch, amongst the beach forest and rivers of the serene Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve, is the wonderful Maruia Hot Springs.



Set in a lush bush-laden area, the facilities feature three thermally heated outdoor rock pools, one main indoor Japanese bath style thermal pool and discreet private pools which all overlook the meandering Maruia River. Overall, it is breathtakingly tranquil and little else could compare on a nationwide level. The heated pools and luxurious accommodation make for an exceptional mid-winter escape.

The hotel can accommodate up to 50 but generally floats around 40, giving it a very exclusive ambience that makes you feel it is yours and yours alone, although it is popular for work groups, with the team from ‘Trees and Bees Apiary’ there over Mother’s Day weekend when I visited.

The steam room was unique, and I couldn’t handle it for long, but the dry sauna was perfect followed by the biggest challenge… the ice cold ‘plunge pool’. Invigorating is an understatement as your body is instantly freezing, but it all adds to the fun.

Mark Williams and wife Nicky were celebrating Nicky’s birthday during Mother’s Day weekend and the couple captured what Maruia Springs is best for; “It’s a romantic getaway from the stress of family and Christchurch for us. Why would you come here? It’s a treat!”



You do feel special, that’s for sure. The dining and meals by the beautiful open fire are divine. I sampled some of Reefton’s finest gin, ‘The Little Biddy’, before tucking into one of the best Lamb Cutlets I’ve ever had, charred in Horopito leaves. Staff on hand that night, Doug and Steph, were southern hospitality at its finest, with exceptional local knowledge they were all too happy to share. Then it was off for another hot dip before heading to the exceptionally spacious room for a restful sleep.

With 24/7 access to the hot pools, I was up again at 5am to take another dip, then another delicious meal overlooking the stunning view of the valley from the dining area. If you prefer, there’s private bathing available, which includes access to the public sauna and bathing experience.

Then came what I consider the apex of my stay; a 1.5 hour full body massage at the talented hands of the thermal resort’s very own massage therapist Julia. The pampering and aromatherapy, as well as the great wafts of lavender and other essential oils, is a spiritual experience. You find the stress of your week just melting away to a point where you think you’re almost asleep. Aches and pains evaporate and are replaced by a warm, relaxing bliss.



As I meandered for a walk by the river, I thought about how I would sum up what Maruia is all about. Sitting by the fire, relaxing hot pools, food, service, Julia’s massage and isolated serenity make for a magical getaway for a couple wanting to reconnect or for a group to relax and have fun. It’s a true haven for the body and mind.

Maruia has everything you need and it’s evident how the redevelopment team is so deserving of winning two World Luxury Spa Awards – Best Luxury Eco Spa Australasian regional winner and Best Luxury Mineral Spring Spa New Zealand winner, both in 2018. New Zealand Tourism has also awarded Maruia Hot Springs the prestigious Qualmark Silver rating.

Find the Maruia Springs Thermal Resort at 1513 State Highway 7, Lewis Pass. Phone 03 523 8840 or visit to find out more.


Beast Mode

I was at Mitsubishi in Moorhouse Avenue picking up the new Mitsubishi Triton VRX. As you would see in their marketing, it’s “In Beast Mode” and with a price point starting at $49,990.



With all the grunt of a great off-roader, the price point is quite exceptional. I had to ask Dave Boyce from Mitsubishi some pretty pointed questions. What are the four features that make it a stand out? “Just four?!,” he laughs. “Styling; it has a great look now, when it was polarising before. Ride quality; it is really quiet and smooth for a ute. Safety; it is class leading on things that count like safety and value for money. There are lots of little things as well; economy, turning circle, Apple Car Play and reverse camera in most models etc. Oh, and warranty. That’s a ‘salesman’s four’,” he laughs.

What’s next for David Boyce at Mitsubishi? “I have a few years left in me and have had the privilege of seeing the network and friendships I have built up consistently coming back and generationally getting smarter about vehicles and business decisions involving them.
“Personally, a focus on family, friends and company. Fishing; fishing is good. I am very lucky I have a dynamic and accomplished partner in life, talented kids and a busy work life.”



What’s coming from Mitsubishi that we can get excited about? “Our focus and effort is on our new Triton. It is a game-changer. But the big news I just learned is of a definite van return. Mitsubishi is part of a larger global alliance with Nissan and Renault. Expect value, safety and a big impact.

“Don’t ask me when because I don’t know. I suspect 2020. Mitsubishi is on the rise, Triton is match-winner; a new van is a game-changer. There are strong styling innovations as models constantly upgrade but is all in a background of one of Mitsubishi’s core principles – value. That isn’t to say just lowest price but it does mean the combination of features and benefits, particularly safety, economy and warranty delivered at excellent value. That is why we, for instance, can lease our Triton so well.”

The Triton handled exceptionally well and, even though David told me I could go up to 45 degrees using one of the four different differential modes, I managed not to damage it. With 3.5 towing capacity and massive cab space with a great tray for transporting anything, I can see it being a useful beast.


Bond is Back!

After the devastating events in Christchurch over the past few weeks, numerous events were understandably cancelled or postponed, including the acclaimed ‘The Music is Bond’, hosted and conducted by Tim Beveridge.


Tim Beveridge


We’re excited to announce that the The Music is Bond has been rescheduled to 8 May. “I am very excited to be returning to the Christchurch Town Hall,” Tim says. “It’s probably going to be a bit emotional to be back there after having had so many wonderful experiences performing there with the CSO. I’m just glad we can still bring the show to the people of Christchurch.”

Book now at and have a few martinis, shaken not stirred, before you go. Let’s support the people behind such great productions in the Garden City by getting out and seeing these performances. They are worth it.
We’re giving away a double pass to ‘The Music is Bond’. Just head over to our Facebook page, find the post and tell us who your favourite Bond character is to be in to win. Entries will be drawn 3 May.



Bang for Buck Supercar!: Christchurch European

When you wander the yard at Christchurch European, it’s a beautiful sight for any car enthusiast. From Porsche to Ferrari, Audi to Aston Martin, all the marques are there, including this beautiful, elegant, pure unadulterated V8 machine.




The Jaguar F Type R. With a 540BHP 5.0 V8 supercharged engine and 8-speed quick-shift gearbox you have the option of paddle control manual but as I put it into gear and touched my foot on the accelerator, I knew I didn’t want to go there quite yet. Damn! The sound of that engine is the sound of an automotive lover’s dream. It doesn’t purr like a cat, it growls like a Jaguar should.

I took it to Sumner, then over to Lyttelton and round to Governors Bay. If you know the roads, you know it’s a good road for curves. Its agile steering system made it seem like it was on rails. It has several options you can play with at the touch of a button – ice and snow mode and track but the standard suited me just fine. The Jaguar F Type R has the very latest touch screen Bluetooth streaming/navigation which makes listening to your favourite music great if you aren’t already spellbound by the sound of the Switchable Sports Exhausts. These F Type Rs represent very good value for money at $99,995.

When comparing other similar style European sports cars in this price range, there’s really no competition. Christchurch European currently holds three in stock, this vehicle in grey metallic with added ceramic brakes, a traditional Jaguar dark green vehicle and even a salsa red variant. Go down to 511 Blenheim Road and check them out. Christchurch European, the name says it all; elegant and stylish vehicles in Christchurch. Set your goals on something special and drive the dream you’ve always wanted.


Something Special

It’s always a pleasure driving a new car and the new Mercedes C220D is another great offering from this top marque.




With a good price point, it offers a lot of features for a luxury car. The sunroof is a good starter, giving the cabin an open and light feeling while the console is a polished grey and metallic finish; 1950cc, 4 cylinder, 143kW and 400 torque, it really is a beautiful car to look at as well as drive. It features dual exhausts and sleek curves, the fuel economy of diesel, its torque allows instant response when driving – 0-100 in 6.9 seconds – and it’s smooth and refined. It’s not touch screen on the Apple Play but after a bit of time with Mercedes and their control dial and touch pad system, I’ve become used to navigating it, though it did take a while to stray from my iPhone mentality.

Something I totally love about this vehicle are the stunning 19-inch bi-colour twin spoke alloys. The model I drove came white with black rims and boy does it look good. It just adds something a little special. When you meet the car at night, it has carpet lighting to help you out with an LED lighting system that helps show you the way – technology at its greatest. Its all-digital display and interface systems are getting easier to handle and a lot more simplistic for someone who is kind of plug and go. The steering wheel adjusts automatically to your specifications and it just ‘feels’ good.

The base model sits at $75,400 but my model had some great additions; AMG package $3700; seat comfort package $900; dark tinted privacy glass $700; and the vision package at $6300, all together making a grand total of $87,000. I definitely felt that I was driving something special. You see a few C-class models on the street but the C220D just felt… special. Earlier in the year I managed to grab a week with the C200; the little petrol sister to the C220, it is a 1497cc, 4-cylinder, 135kW, 280 Nm rear wheel drive, mild petrol hybrid at $73,900.

It had similar 18-inch bi-colour wheels and different upholstery, but it just isn’t as good as its big brother. I can’t put my finger on it because, although they look the same, the 220D just seems the better buy. That could be my macho ‘got to have more power’ driver mentality speaking but the C220D just feels better. I keep saying that and it really is personal opinion but perhaps you need to judge this for yourself by taking a test drive with the team at Armstrong Prestige. The C class is Mercedes’ core sedan range and after driving the C220D and the C200 I can see why they are such good staples in the Mercedes range.


Dog-gone it!

Four Ave Festivities

A beer-y good spot

A beer-y good spot

There’s a new brewery that’s opened its doors at 8 Bath Street with some great history and a stunning pilsner.

Lighthouse Brewery was started in Nelson by Dick Tout 21 years ago before he retired from the brewery business and listed the business for sale after finishing his last brew in July 2017.

Jason Revell relocated the brewery to Christchurch on Labour weekend in 2018 where he has been brewing for Ferrymead Night Markets, private weddings and now for the bar at the brewery site.

Beers from Lighthouse Brewing Company will soon be available at bars, restaurants and sports clubs.

The brewery site will continue with events and is available for private functions, special brew days and off licence will be available soon.


Dog-gone it!

Dog-gone it!

Dog-gone it!William Wegman: Being Human is on display at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from 6 April to 28 July 2019.

William Wegman: Being Human, is the artist’s first and only New Zealand exhibition and tracks three decades of relationships between the enigmatic American artist and his iconic dogs.

Man Ray, Fay Ray and her offspring are collaborators in Wegman’s photographic and video projects, which focus upon what it is to be human in the most enduring and deadpan way.

It’s a little bit different and a whole lot of fun so check it out at our local gallery soon.



Monkey-ing around

Monkey-ing around

On 8 June at the Isaac Theatre Royal, The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show.

It’s a unique concert experience with two of the stars of the hit TV show The Monkees, Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz. Times may change but infectious pop hits and wonderfully charismatic characters stay in our hearts and memories forever.

Anyone born in the 60s would have grown up with these tunes so it’s going to be a real flashback.

This will be the first time Mike has appeared in New Zealand since 1977, so be assured the shows will highlight many of his compositions, including some that have never been performed live.


Culinary collaboration

Culinary collaborationA culinary collaboration is coming to town! The Pescatore collaboration dinner will be two dinners in Pescatore on 10 May and a second dinner on 11 May, featuring some of Australasia’s best chefs – Cory Campbell, head chef at Vue de Monde in Melbourne, and Peter Gunn from Ides in Melbourne who was a sous chef at Attica in Melbourne and, of course,
Ryan Henley from The George.







If you have an event happening and want to let me know I’d love to hear from you. Flick me an email at

Nicholas Henare
Nicholas Henare


Shaun Wallace

The Dark Destroyer: Q&A with Shaun Wallace

I had the opportunity to sit down at Sugarhorse on Moorhouse Avenue with the star of TV’s The Chase, the one and only Dark Destroyer himself, Mr Shaun Wallace.


Shaun Wallace


Shaun was in New Zealand with Believe it or Not Quizz nights thanks to Brendan Lochead. “All he did for eight days whilst here was give his time, energy and passion. He must be mentally exhausted. We’d be late for events because he’d be signing every piece of scrap paper offered by every school kid so nobody left disappointed.

“He is a true gentleman; never failed to put others first and genuinely delighted in people and the energy he drew from them. It’s a week of my life I’ll never forget.” After waiting patiently at Sugar Horse for a gap in the crowd I sat down with the man himself.


How have you enjoyed New Zealand so far Shaun?
It’s been fantastic; just been down in Queenstown Bungy Jumping with my tour manager Brendan. One of the reasons I came to New Zealand was to say thank you to all the wonderful people in New Zealand for making The Chase so successful. I’ve been blown away by the way I’ve been treated here. It’s been a wonderful adventure.


How’s The Chase? Still enjoying it?
Loving it. We celebrate our tenth anniversary this year and I’m the world’s first chaser, so love every minute of it. It’s a joy and a privilege to part of it.


Where to in the future for The Dark Destroyer?
Chase will go on, but I never take that for granted. Everything has a shelf life and until that day comes, I’ll just keep being the best chaser I can be.


How do you retain so much knowledge?
I’m a trained barrister. I’m trained to react under pressure, think under pressure, think calmly, think quickly and to research so I have all those key skills. Crucial skills in the final chase.


How do you find out all the information needed for the show?
We keep ourselves contemporary. We already know the basics… newspapers, films, music, awards – no information is useless information; you never know when you could be asked it.


What’s after New Zealand?
Well this is the second leg of my world tour and I’m going back to England for a day’s rest then doing a cruise ship in the Caribbean. It’s not hard work, I’m just thanking the people for putting me in the position I am today. I’m truly grateful.


Your book, Chasing the Dream, tell us about it?
Well the story started and ended when I lost (gameshow) Are you an Egghead? Let me tell my life story in the hour it takes to listen to Steely Dan’s greatest hits. I want people to realise that everybody’s story is not plain sailing.

I’ve had my share of disappointments. You can overcome them with a focus and determination and support but it’s the reflection in the mirror that determines where you go in life. I had an ambition as an 11-year-old that I wanted to be a lawyer. It’s about setting goals and challenges and all that does is bring you to the start line of another challenge.


What challenges do you want to achieve?
With fame comes responsibility, I want to use my fame to inspire the next generation of people. I’m no different to anybody else. I don’t want to be better than anybody else. I want to see myself as a goal model rather than a role model.

My feet are firmly on the ground. If you look at my life and try to follow my philosophy that would be the greatest complement somebody could pay me. You can earn millions and millions of dollars, but mortality is the great leveller. When you’re dead you can’t take it with you but if you can use your name as a legacy down the years and say, that man stood for good things, then that’s what I want to achieve.



I left Sugar Horse with a new appreciation for a gentleman who is not only someone with great knowledge but a great entertainer who is truly, and I mean truly, grateful for his life. Read his book Chasing the Dream and you’ll understand why.



BMW X4 M40i

Tiger under the hood: BMW X4 M40i

My first car was a 1957 Morris Minor – 800 side valve, split windscreen, 0 – 100… never. My friend Geoff Mahon and I rebuilt her from a wreck in someone’s yard. I once dreamed of having a BMW.


 BMW X4 M40i


As I was pushing the new X4 M40i around the Port Hills, I flashed back to driving my first car up to Sugarloaf. Man, what a machine the X4 is. Its sleek lines and technology are both beautiful and fantastic to drive, I mean fantastic.

With power and style, this 8-speed, 4-cylinder, 265kW with 500Nm beast gives you great power at the touch of the accelerator. Gone are the days of horse power and engine size. Here is the finely tuned aggressiveness that is enhanced by engineering and refinement. Its starting price is a cool $126,500. I love my job.

BMW keeps pushing the technology and vehicles forward; better and better. My next drive will be the exceptional 3 series up in Auckland. With the 330i at 190kW and 400Nm, it will have a little bit less grunt than the X4, but it’s a sedan built for a comfortable city drive. Priced at $89,900, it is coming in at an accessible price range, offering bang for your buck and a great addition to the range that BMW is excited to show the New Zealand market.




Straight after I get back from Auckland, I’m in the X5, which I’ve already had some great time in and it will be interesting to re-acquaint myself with it again however, my favourite car from the X range, the X2, is back, badder than ever with the new X2 M35i, turbo-charged 225kW 450Nm. How can they make something so good better? Give it a whopping power increase with 84kw and 170 more torque, that’s how! It’s the old X2 on steroids!

The range is moving forward with an exciting Z4 and the incredible 8-series yet to be unveiled. Christchurch will be able to see these cars as they come in at the new showroom at 107 Moorhouse Avenue. It will house everything a Bayerische Motoren Werke fan will want to see and more.

After being provided with lessons from some of the best automotive drivers in the industry and being given track time and vehicles far beyond my wildest dreams, I never take it for granted.

Geoff passed away some years back now and I often think of my mate and I working on that tiny engine into the early hours. I wish he was here to hang out and talk about the latest models to hit the highway. He would love these new BMWs. But I’m very grateful that I can at least share these experiences with you.



We Will Rock You

We Will Rock You: In the City

It will be “Another One Bites The Dust” as I tick another great show off my bucket list with We Will Rock You in March.


We Will Rock You


I am a life-long fan of Queen, they are part of the soundtrack of my misspent youth, so it is fantastic news to hear that Showbiz Christchurch is staging the New Zealand theatre company premiere of We Will Rock You here in our iconic Isaac Theatre Royal this coming March/April.

This show has been rocking theatre fans all over the world since 2002, featuring 24 of Queen’s greatest songs woven into a hit show written by comedic genius Ben Elton (writer of Popcorn and Blackadder). More than 60 million people have seen it live in 28 countries, so now it is Christchurch’s turn!

Christchurch has certainly hit a golden age for major musicals with Showbiz Christchurch since its return to the rebuilt Isaac Theatre Royal in 2015, Showbiz manager Michael Bayly says. “Showbiz is at a pinnacle of our 80 year history. We are so delighted that we are able to create these major premieres here in Christchurch with local performers and crew so the city can enjoy these massive shows without the need to travel to Melbourne, London or New York.”

Timing is a wonderful thing and it could not be more perfect for We Will Rock You, with the world going crazy for the award-winning movie Bohemian Rhapsody which tells the story of Queen and its legendary front-man Freddie Mercury.
“From planning a musical season, through design, build and rehearsals, up till opening night is normally a four year journey for a major show, so the timing of Bohemian Rhapsody is fantastic good fortune,” Bayly says. “It must be the spirit of Freddie, guiding our hand.”

Well I for one loved the movie and can’t wait for the show. I will be sitting in my ‘Killer Queen’ seat on opening night, March 29, with autographed programme in hand and show memorabilia to add to my collection.
See the Showbiz Christchurch season yourself at the Isaac Theatre Royal.


The season is limited so don’t miss out by booking at