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Author: Tracey Edwardes

City’s Labour of Love

The Christ Church Cathedral reinstatement will be the city’s labour of love – and preparations are underway for early 2020, when the action starts.


Project Story | Olivia Spencer-Bower


Although nothing appears to be happening at the moment, plenty is going on in the background. Excitement is building at Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Project headquarters, where a tight team of up to 10 prepare for the 12 to 18-month initial stabilisation phase. “This is our Notre Dame. It’s not your regular doer-upper,” Project Director Keith Paterson says.

“A complex job always requires more planning. In the heritage world especially, things take time – and this is the crown in Christchurch’s rebuild. We are working through the best ways to make it structurally sound and safe to work in.”
The reinstated Cathedral will look similar – only greatly enhanced for the future. “It will provide more flexibility, be far more comfortable and functional,” he says.

Expect a warmer place of worship with improved acoustics. The main building will be stabilised and repaired first, then comes the visitor’s centre, and finally a new tower – offering the quintessential Christchurch experience of climbing up its stairs once again.

Paterson says waiting this long has its positives, as the industry has had time to develop new techniques and test them throughout the rebuild. “We have to make sure we get it right. It’s not the place to take any risks.”

The concept design is being fronted by Warren and Mahoney and Holmes Consulting Limited partnership, with input from Rawlinsons. Naylor Love Canterbury has been appointed for construction logistics, methodologies and programme advice, which he says is a good fit with other projects they’ve been involved in such as Christ’s College, Isaac Theatre Royal, and currently Wellington Town Hall’s strengthening and base isolation – that the Cathedral also requires.

The required skills of artisanship will be sourced locally as far as possible, and internationally where appropriate. “You could say we are rebuilding the skeleton from the inside. The walls, up to 1.2 metres thick, will be stripped from the inside and the existing rubble fill replaced with steel or reinforced concrete. It’s going to be complex, and it is always harder to retro-fit – especially a Cathedral.

As much heritage as possible will be retained, including items like the recently recovered stained glass angel’s head. He says the reinstatement will be a monumental structural repair of international significance. Likely the most complex Cathedral repair project globally, it will be worth the patience. The team is exploring ways of making the reinstatement accessible to the public using technology like CCTV as part of a temporary visitor experience centre.

“It takes a community to build – or in this case rebuild – a Cathedral and an independent trust has been established to fundraise and oversee the use of public funds,” Paterson says. “A public campaign will be launched next year, but anyone is welcome to donate now online, by post, or in person.”

The Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Lawrence Kimberley, is delighted that progress is being made. “It will be a joy to see the Cathedral on its way back to becoming a sacred and welcoming place for all,” he says.

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Captain of his own vessel

The official date is 31 December. That’s when the CE of Lyttelton Port Company, one of Canterbury’s largest employers, will step down and become captain of his own vessel.



After his 16-year tenure, Peter Davie will set sail in May around the South Pacific in a 47ft Dutch-designed Van der Stadt. Yachts are complex, but he’s ready for the challenges of a maritime adventure on a more intimate scale.

“Our three kids have left home and there’s no grandchildren on the horizon, so we’re off for a year, or more, depending what the Admiral says!” referring to his wife Wendy, who works as an emergency nurse.

Hailing from Tai Tapu, he joined Lyttelton Port as a marketing junior with a commerce degree. Then Australian waters beckoned and Peter became Victoria’s Port of Portland’s youngest CEO at age 35.

Reeled back to home waters in 2003 for his current role, the now 58-year-old has weathered a bigger storm than most port chiefs.

The picturesque port which operates 24/7 servicing South Island imports and exports, was remarkably only closed for three days, after being at the epicentre of the 22 February earthquake. The development of the Lyttleton Port Recovery Plan was completed to budget and to time – and the Port has since doubled its container volumes.

“My role certainly changed quickly and I did what was needed to be done. We could now design a Port for the future. I’m immensely proud of everything and everyone. It took real expertise to do such a complex job. It was that huge pressure – a multi-pronged, constant adrenalin rush.”

Peter says that now everything is smooth sailing again, it would almost feel like going backwards, career-wise, to stay.

He refers to the Port as a fish bowl, connected by road and rail, as the lifeblood to Lyttelton and South Island communities for many daily essentials, such as coffee and mega-tonnes of bananas – of which Kiwis are the largest consumers globally. And 55 percent of the world’s carrot seeds leave from New Zealand’s third largest Port.

He says the toughest part is juggling the multi facets of the Port, from the hills to the seabed – with many integrating factors to consider, such as planting that mitigates erosion, to improve water quality. “But underneath it’s all our people – they are what makes the Lyttelton Port Company what it is.”

Evans Pass Road is now open and Canterbury’s only floating walk-on marina, with retail and hospitality, is being designed, with a cruise ship berth on track for late 2020. Lyttelton Port is the only port in New Zealand with the ability to expand their land area.

With consent for a total of 34 hectares, the first ten hectares of east-side reclamation used the city’s earthquake rubble – a monumental feat in upcycling. Currently, a further six hectares are being reclaimed using quarry fill from Gollans Bay.
“It’s been a privilege to work with real toys and such big machines. When I see a cargo ship, I see the sum of someone’s hard work, ready for export.”

Peter says he’ll miss the crew and working from the rebuilt headquarters “with the best view in Christchurch”.

His successor will be appointed this month. On the possibility of returning someday, he says “never say never”.

“I might pop up somewhere, but it’s time for someone fresh and to pass the baton. My parting wish is to see this Port flourish.”



Many humanitarian hats

Zahra Hussaini first arrived in Christchurch as a 12-year-old Afghan refugee – the baby of eight siblings. Back then she didn’t speak a word of English, but the proactive 28-year-old is now an interpreter for the Muslim community. However, this is only one of the many humanitarian hats she wears.




Zahra graduated as a lab technician from Ara, but was encouraged, because of her authentic compassion and love for people, to stand as councillor and community board member in the local elections for The People’s Choice Labour Waimairi. She enjoys going door-to-door, alongside Jake McLellan, a candidate for Central Ward, and having personalised conversations.

“I’m so happy to see such diversity in candidates this year – such as Indian, Israeli and Afghan,” she says. “It’ll make a more inclusive community. That’s the beauty of it, to have the voice of everyone.”

Immaculately presented and gracefully elegant, she believes in the importance of taking pride in her appearance, to look and feel confident – while still staying true to her faith and culture.

Since studying fashion design as a student at Hagley Community College, Zahra believes women can have the best of all worlds, and plans to bring modest Muslim-inspired fashion, that’s also beautiful and modern, to Christchurch.

Zahra is in the planning stages for launching her boutique in the near future – so the community can shop local for New Zealand and international made clothing. “What made me think about this was that when you go shopping here, it’s so hard to find something modest! Much of what is available is often too revealing for Muslim women. It’s easy to shop online, but I like to feel and see the fabrics, and try things on.”


An expert in layering, she loves chiffon. Separate sleeves are often chosen to stylishly cover the wrists and turtlenecks are a flattering favourite. The colours Zahra absolutely adores are maroon and burgundy, which pair exquisitely with her neutral of choice for shoes, bags and scarves – tan.

A stunning agate stone of cultural significance is worn around her neck, set in silver, and long elegant jackets over skinny pants and this season’s high-heeled boots is a go-to. She loves Linden Leaves, Nars makeup and wears Burberry Black perfume.

Lots of interesting scarves fill her wardrobe, particularly one from Krama & Co – which supports Cambodian weavers – that she wore at a recent ‘Uniting Canterbury Women’ event. In Canterbury colours, she says it pairs perfectly with a nude-coloured hijab.

Busy planning and creating events, she’s committed to local environmental and water bottling issues and having a multi-cultural centre at Christchurch’s heart. She also volunteers for ‘Who is Hussain?’ – a worldwide organisation focusing on empowering communities.

Actively involved with community youth work, she loves children and is the ‘favourite aunty’ to her nieces and nephews.

Zahra lives in Wigram with her parents and says, “I’m so proud of my mother and the support she gives me. And my father, well he’s my champion – he has given me wings to fly.”



Mother & daughter volunteer team

Move over Marie Kondo, Sue and Sheree White are ladies with an eye for detail, generously volunteering their organisational talent at Pregnancy Help Canterbury.



Unbeknown to the mother and daughter team, Pregnancy Help staff nominated them for the Volunteer Recognition Awards 2019 through Volunteering Canterbury. The Coordinator surprised the unsuspecting pair with an excited phone call that they’d been recognised alongside other community volunteers.

The resource and support centre in New Brighton is a non-judgmental safe haven for expectant mums and parents with little ones. Among the helpful services are shelves of preloved baby items, ready to be given out to parents in need throughout Christchurch.

A year ago, Sheree was recovering on ACC and wanted to volunteer while job hunting. She encouraged her mum, who was in between jobs, to join her in volunteering two afternoons a week. With reducing, reusing and recycling at the forefront, Sue and Sheree handle hundreds of generously donated items from bibs and onesies to pretty dresses – merino outfits are the most sought-after staple for winter.

They diligently sort each container with expert eyes, ensuring essentials for newborns to one-year-olds are sized and up to standard before they are distributed to clients. While the centre closed for Christmas, they even worked from home, ensuring baby clothes were ready for the New Year.

However, it’s the banter, camaraderie and welcoming warmth that makes them love volunteering here each week. And, as Sheree poignantly mentions, “I feel useful again and can see that my work really does make a difference”. Meanwhile, Sue jokes about hoping to sort baby clothes for her own grandchild one day. “She’s constantly teasing me about that!” Sheree laughs.

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Walking the talk

Walking the talk and making changes one step at a time is Sara Templeton’s lifestyle for herself and family, the city she loves – and the planet.



After her role as Hagley Ferrymead Community Board Chairwoman, Sara was voted in as Councillor for the Heathcote Ward in 2016. Her new position was very motivating. “I was now in a job that I can really help make a difference in the wider community,” she says.

“I didn’t like the idea of puffing my way to work on a regular bike, but believed in the cycleways’ potential to cut emissions, so did some research and bought an e-bike. By car it’s 20 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic, but on my bike it’s 24 minutes every day.”

The e-bike gave some base fitness and adding in a little jogging led to her entering the 10km section of the Christchurch Marathon in 2017. Sara went from an overweight middle-aged mum with three to the healthiest she’s been in decades.

This January, Sara sold her own vehicle and now mainly cycles, busses or occasionally uses Yoogo Share – a shared 100 percent electric car fleet. “If we all didn’t use our cars for just one workday each week, it would bring Christchurch’s daily traffic numbers down by 20 percent.”

Taking her coffee KeepCup everywhere, she has only used six takeaway cups since being elected – and they’re drinks others have bought her. The Templeton family haven’t used plastic shopping bags for a decade – only cloth, mainly ones she makes. She uses solid-bar shampoos to omit plastic bottles, eats less meat, and buys organic where possible.

“Transitions are never easy when it comes to social movements and large-scale change,” she says. “For example, the Suffragette movement took three petitions before victory. We tend to over estimate what we can achieve in a year and underestimate what we achieve in a generation.”

Now it’s on to the next personal goal. Sara made a pact to buy no more clothing for a year. “On average, an item of clothing only gets worn seven times. It has made me look into my wardrobe to find a few things I had forgotten about!

“My floral blazer from the Woolston Sallies and my Jane Daniels jacket from Time and Time Again in Sumner still get complements. We’re far more critical of ourselves than others are. No one really cares how often we re-wear something.

People may have noticed her necklace from social enterprise Bead and Proceed. Each coloured wooden bead represents one of 17 United Nations sustainable development goals. Sara chose five that represent what mostly matters to her – good health and wellbeing, gender equality, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, and peace, justice and strong institutions.

The Coastal Pathway is where Sara recharges. She says the clear space on the wide, well-lit walk is so good for the brain. It’s here, or while cycling, that she now does her thinking, planning, and practising Te Reo.

“It’s the small things we do every day. It’s not all or nothing – it’s just making a change. And we don’t need to be perfect at everything.”



New Zealand’s fastest mum

Helena Dinnissen is testimony that if you’re born to do something, you can get over life’s hurdles, bounce right back – and take off.




A competitive sprinter, the 34-year-old holds the title of New Zealand’s fastest mum, with three children under 10 in tow.

The surprising twist on her inspiring journey is that just over two years ago she was overweight, unfit and struggling with depression. She is now training to represent New Zealand in the Oceania Masters Athletics next month, with four other mum sprinters. Then it’s off to the World Masters Athletics Championships in Toronto next August.

At high school, Middleton Grange, Helena felt like an ugly duckling even though she was an all-rounder academically, also winning a fashion competition. However, her stand-out talent was that she was fast. “But that was the reason others didn’t want to pair up with me at PE. The message I gave myself was that no one would want to be my friend, as nobody likes that kid who beats everyone,” she says.

“I then massively regretted giving up athletics. I couldn’t even watch the Commonwealth Games on TV. There was also a high financial cost of competing, so I didn’t follow through.”

Debilitating depression clouded her twenties, including post-natal depression and bulimia. Bringing up terrified children during the earthquakes also added stress. She underwent three surgeries for endometriosis, and an earlier back injury still requires weekly physiotherapy. She also has mild hip dysplasia to boot.

“But one day I realised that only person who is going to make my life better is me. I decided I needed to get moving again.”




With only 14 weeks to train, she ran the 21km Christchurch Marathon – just after her youngest turned one – having barely run more than 5km in her life. However, the event also included a 100m race, in which Helena competed exceptionally well against much younger women in their 20s. “Strangely enough I find jogging exhausting. Very few people are built to sprint. I was built to sprint and jump – I’m really bouncy.”

Completely hooked, she then enlisted the help of coach Andrew MacLennan of GFS (Get Fast and Strong) who has helped other top athletes with their careers.

After the Oceania Masters, she will compete at the World Masters in the sprints, hurdles and jumps, plus the heptathlon, 200m, 800m, hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put and even the javelin, which she is now learning. Beating some national records as well as bringing back gold medals – plural – is Helena’s goal!

Weight training, running and technical training each twice a week, every week, are all important. “There can be an impact of up to five times your body weight as your feet hit the ground.”

Her husband Adrian, Facilities Manager for Life Church and its La Vida Conference & Community Centre, fully encourages her dream. “My half marathon running friend Julianne is also an awesome supportive friend from my church community.”




A light breakfast is always timed an hour or so before training. Then the busy mum downs a protein shake for lunch. “But I make sure I have a massive bowl of greens with dinner. I eat with the family and healthier during the week, and more relaxed in the weekend. I’m a massive foodie, I love cream in my coffee – and I eat cake!” She bakes and decorates exquisite cakes for her children’s birthdays.

Seemingly always on the run on and off the track, Helena’s creativity is yet another strength. Running her own business for over a decade, to enable her to work from home, the busy mum has a business which fundraises for charities by transforming school children’s drawings into necklaces and key chains.

As part of her own fundraising for both events – the world champs cost a hefty $40,000 – she’s working towards sponsorship. Helena’s positivity and inspiration is infectious, and is why she enjoys public speaking, having engaged with an audience of hundreds in the past.“I’m very keen to offer inspiring talks for businesses,” she says.

Helena acknowledges that even with all the highs and lows, it is the overall balance that grounds the bubbly, bouncy athlete in her race to succeed. To support Helena with her fundraising for both Masters events, she can be contacted via Facebook Also track her progress on Instagram, find her jewellery business at, or contact Helena to find out how to make a donation.



Rockstar of Construction

A rockstar Health and Safety Manager in Christchurch is concrete proof that success can take off in all sorts of directions.



Steffany Beck was convinced as a six-year-old she would be asked to join the Spice Girls. “I used to slide along the kitchen floor in my socks with my hairbrush microphone and rehearse four times a week – I was going to be named All Spice,” she laughs.

Instead, now 29, she began her construction career in admin at Horncastle Homes – promoted after six months to Health and Safety Co-ordinator, then Manager. She then joined Contract Construction in 2017 in her current role as Health and Safety Manager. “I just want to make sure everyone gets back to their families each night, as one day my dad didn’t, so I know what it’s like to not have him come home. I genuinely care about my team.”

Steffany’s dad died in a freak accident in Hanmer Springs in 2013. A skilled carpenter, Michael Beck had brought his family out from Portland, Oregon in 2006. With building in her DNA, Stephanie is fourth generation in the construction carpentry industry. “We always used to sing in the car together. He loved music.”

When Steffany was 19, she won a national songwriting competition with I Have A Dream, appearing on the Erin Simpson Show. Next month she will launch her first EP of six songs. Two singles have already been released: Destined to You, a duet with her studio producer Eddie Simon, and her favourite, Worthy, a song about not feeling good enough, but still finding your worth.

The other four country-pop ballads include Blue Eyed Girl, which is the title of the EP, Heart Beats For You, Am I Too Late, and then the singer/songwriter rocks it out with catchy grooves in her weekend anthem, Good Times. “I enjoy being a self-managed artist as I know exactly what’s happening – I get to steer the direction I want to go in creatively and not be put inside a cliché box.”

The songstress says her schedule is non-stop. It’s a 5am start most mornings with yoga and rehearsing, before her working day starts and there is something on most evenings. On top of her full-on but exciting double life, she volunteers as Events Co-ordinator for the Christchurch Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and she also assists organising conferences for Health and Safety Professionals New Zealand (HSPNZ).

Contract Construction General Manager John Cleary says Steffany combines rare attitudes of being a team player and self-driven in a pressured environment. “And all this is done with a smile and a happy demeanour,” he says. Steffany’s co-ordinating skills and love of music was born from singing in church and looking after the Primary Sunday School programme. She’s also auditioned for this year’s Coca Cola Christmas in the Park.

“Dreams don’t have a timeline,” she says. “But if you keep consistently working at them – someday they’ll come true. However, I couldn’t have succeeded without my husband, Mingo, supporting and inspiring me day and night.
“Ultimately, I am drawn to health and safety, and music, as both are about connecting people and I can make a difference.”

For the music links, follow her on




Breaking free of diets

Tansy Boggon believes eating intuitively and savouring every joyful moment can help us to nourish and nurture our body and mind.



She debunks diet industry constraints in her first book Joyful Eating: How to Break Free of Diets and Make Peace with Your Body. As a qualified nutritionist and wellness coach, Tansy explores how eating to nurture our bodies can be pleasurable, and how restricting and depriving ourselves holds us back from a vibrant and joyful life. “There are no diet plans. It’s more a philosophical guide that explores how our sense of self-worth and emotions influence our relationship with food and how people of all shapes and sizes can be healthy!”

Australian-born, Tansy moved to Christchurch last year with husband Rob Hutchings, a Chiropractor at Happy Spine. Her calling in nutrition and eating psychology began a decade ago after 15 years in the environmental science field. Brought up a health-conscious vegetarian, she has spent the last two years juggling writing her book and coaching clients – and also provides nutrition advice and recipes for New World.

Tansy says that change needs to come from within, as when we rely solely on the experts, it can erode trust in ourselves and our own body. “Every one of us is different. We have different genetics, microbes, lifestyles, upbringing and culture that play into how our bodies respond to the food we eat and how we relate to food and our bodies. Even if we had a perfect diet, it is unlikely practical due to our individual uniqueness.

“Diets can be another stress on an already stressful lifestyle. In my book, I help people explore their own beliefs, habits, emotions and associations to free themselves of diet stress. Joyful Eating is about being curious and exploring why you ate or didn’t eat, without judgement or guilt. When you tune into your body, savouring food’s sight, taste, touch and feel, it can aid digestion and satisfaction. “The problem lies with diets and strict rules – not ourselves!”

Mingle with the author during the book’s launch at Mt Pleasant Community Centre on 24 August, which happens to be Tansy’s 42nd birthday! RSVP at or purchase the book at

Metropol has two of Tansy’s books to give away. Just jump on our Facebook page and tag a friend to be in the draw!



All that glitters is gold

Yellow gold is the hot pick to invest in this year and it’s now even hotter to go all out in its gorgeous glitter.




People have adorned themselves in gold chains since early Egyptian times – guarantee that bejewelling yourself in the planet’s most beloved precious metal will always spell style. From Cleopatra through to the Kardashians, golden glam has remained a star. Recently the glittery little gold dress has even stolen the spotlight off the little black one. And piling on the gold now is not overdoing it – it’s rocking it!

Karen Walker captures the beauty of yellow gold in her just-launched jewellery collection, Society. She has crafted a signet ring and KW-bow adorned bracelet and necklace with a disc that can be engraved with a personal initial. And how divine are her gold Electric Heart earrings?

With gold prices soaring to a six-year high, maybe our psyches are revaluing its sheer preciousness. The more yellow a gold piece is, the more carats it contains. However, quality gold-plated jewellery and accessories are as affordable as ever. Classic and refined, wear for its beguiling, glittering charm. Yellow gold suits everyone but especially on neutral or warm-toned skins.

For the demure amongst us, a gold necklace on a simple outfit instantly adds a million-dollar feel. Yellow gold buckles and embellishments on a black handbag totally ups the sophistication score. Just like first prize at the Olympics, timeless true gold will always represent number one in the wardrobe.



Fabulous Footwear

This season designers aren’t completely reinventing the wheel. Instead, they’re building upon the already strong foundations, adding embellishments here and there or introducing new shapes and materials. Stepping out has never been this much fun.




  1. Flat out
    Flat shoes are this winter’s busy life saviours – and they don’t even have to be pretty. Clunky comfort rules, as these edgy pavement pounders are super practical and super comfortable. Sneakers have snuck into our lives in such a big way now. They are often really affordable – so lace up a pair for every look.

  2. Cute Boots
    Slouchy or sleek, knee-high boots look groovy with this season’s minis for that back-in-fashion ’70s vibe. And under the midi and maxi lengths, they guarantee complete cover-up from the bitter chill. Block, cylindrical heels and square toes reign in vegan leather through to swish suede. Sturdy-heeled ankle boots are also pumping the fashion trail, so very sassy teamed with skinny pants and flowy-sleeves.

  3. Beyond the black
    Try zipping up your boots in chic navy, utilitarian khaki and tan tones, or rich racing green. Blush pink is still a staple, streamlining nude-toned winter outfits. Pale pairs well with light and natural heels. On the deeper side, burgundies and all the hues of a vintage-wine cellar look sumptuously warm where you would usually choose a noir neutral.

  4. Toe-tapping texture
    Embellishment with brocades add a crafty cool look, which is great with denim, whereas the high-gloss patent-leather look trawls back all the fun of the glam-rock ‘80s and the swinging ’60s. Hot tip: this shiny canvas is so easy to keep clean and footwear seems to retain its newness. Studs are making a statement, if you prefer to incorporate attitude into a pretty pair.

  5. Designer foot work
    New Zealand-designed Mi Piaci footwear are slinking in the texture of snake-effect leather, along with funky flared and offset heels, and also asymmetric top lines. Minx footwear has futuristic black and white flats with thick-soled bounce. And the Kiwi-made queen of comfort, Ziera, is offering up white-soled sneakers this season, seen in silver, classic styles and even floral. Locally, Mikko Shoes has pulled together one of our favourite ranges of quality, hand-selected footwear.


So be prepared to make room in the wardrobe for a bigger shoe rack – no one will be able to walk past this winter line-up.