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Author: Tracey Edwardes

NZ’s biggest deconstruction

Remaining in the 72,000sqm of what once was Lancaster Park lies the last of the rubble, and truck-loads of memories.



Christchurch City Council’s Project Director Lee Butcher says it was overwhelming to see the public queue at the gates for a glimpse of the icon being striped to its bones and brought to the ground.

A new community sports park has been council-approved, with design and construction commencing towards the end of 2020.

A staggering 65,000 tonnes of concrete from the two main stadiums alone has been removed. “We’re on track for our goal of two percent un-recyclable material, and we’re under our budget of $12 million,” Lee says.

For those who worked on the project, it wasn’t just a job, but one respected for its history and what it meant for the people. “As the biggest deconstruction in New Zealand, none of us have anything like this on our CVs, and likely won’t again!”

The main contractors involved were Aecom for environmental controls support, Ceres removed seats and some memorabilia, Aotea services for services removal and decommissioning management, Taggart for soft strip (building strip-out) and Tui Stand demolition, Clearwater Construction for roof removal works, Daniel Smith Industries and Canterbury Cranes for crane supply and rigging staff, Yakka Contracting for main demolition, GE Construction for fencing and gates, and ATF for security and automatic gates.

“Especially with earthquake-damaged buildings there were no guarantees of how anything was going to go. The huge roof with beams of 48 metres long was taken off separately, required months of planning, lots of signs offs, and removal of countless brackets and bolts.

“It’s quite surreal to come to the finale.”




Another savvy Stockman

Following in her parents’ footsteps, Gabby Stockman was born to excel in the building process.



As the youngest daughter of Christchurch property developer Shaun Stockman, the 25-year-old is raising a family, while stamping her own imprint on the city’s rebuild.

Her dad is central to many exciting CBD developments – a character with inciteful ideas and infamous pointy shoes. “He’s cool and quirky, and can have a good laugh. He’s a big part of my life and between Shaun, Nigel and Julie there is a deep wealth of experience available to me.”

Her mum and stepdad, Julie and Nigel Lundy, own Metro Advances Ltd – with Gabby being one of their irreplaceable project managers. She gave birth to Isabelle, now two months old, a fortnight before the company’s latest townhouses were completed, remaining invested until the end – her project just as much her babies were!

As an Avonside Girls student, she had a tourism career in sight and completed her Diploma in Business. This was put to great use in converting and expanding Metro’s Southwark Apartments building in the CBD to visitor accommodation following the earthquake; a business she started from the ground up in her late teens. However, the creative buzz with property projects remains her passion and her real calling was obvious.

While officially on a break, Gabby admits, “it’s very hard to tear myself away”.

Her four-year-old Jack attends Learning Curves Montessori preschool – as will his little sister next year.

Gabby is grateful for her close, supportive family. Where does work-life stop and family-life start? “It doesn’t,” Gabby laughs.

“We are always discussing work around the family dinner table. But we love it.”

It’s a family affair, with her two sisters, brother, step-brother and uncles in the industry too, and husband Jericho is her other half in more ways than one. “He’s my right-hand man and is responsible for the workers on site. We have a smooth-operating partnership; I can’t remember when we last had a fight!”

Tradesmen, friends and family will often ring Gabby up for her savvy design advice. “Functionality is key. I like to step it up and invest in quality. I love bathrooms and search out Australian designers for trends, and also choose luxurious tapware, vanities, baths and showers. Landscaping is my other love and I sometimes get told off for going over budget. It’s hard not to – we are the Garden City! Budgets can be a frustration but the skill is in the compromising.”

Gabby started out with post-earthquake bungalow renovations, but now leans towards Scandinavian style. She cites good organisation and being available for her team as her strengths.

To de-stress, the busy mum’s advice is to take a deep breath, sit down and eat and drink something. “With so many trades being involved, you need to go away and investigate before jumping to conclusions if things go wrong,” Gabby says. “If something is leaking, it’s not necessarily the plumber!”

The couple live in Julie and Nigel’s CBD pad while they build their own home.

“The city is fantastic, I love strolling down Victoria Street and we have a yearly family tram pass. It’s important to create projects that entice people into the city.

As to when the hard hat is back on, “I’m keeping it open and just going with the flow”.




Stars in her eyes

A Christchurch Instagram star has just launched her e-book on how to become a successful social media influencer.



Nikita Rindel has clocked up an impressive number of followers in her Instagram page ‘Nikitahhx’ – the ‘hhx’ standing for ‘hug, hug, kiss!’

Today she’s the oracle on everything to do with making up beautiful eyes. It all started five years ago with Instagram, where she has now reached 303,000 followers, with an additional 76,000 on YouTube over the last three years.

Her e-book is titled How to become a successful influencer – the good, the bad, and the things no one tells you. It is a generic, inspiring practical guide for all types of influencers. It explains in simple steps how to create a platform, get a following, the importance of ‘hanging out’ with other influencers, how to collaborate with brands – and, of course, amazing tips.


“At high school, an influencer wasn’t yet a thing, so there was no one to help me; I just had to find my way,” Nikita says.

“That’s why I wanted to help others. I’m always there to answer questions and dispel myths, such as the one about instant success and lots of money! It’s not like that at all. No one seemed to have a book out there on how to do it.

“I have no qualifications. You just need a passion for what you do.”

The 25-year-old emigrated from South Africa as a 13-year-old. Her big brown eyes – genes inherited from her Italian grandfather – make the perfect canvas to showcase her tutorials.


Why eyes? “They are the first thing that people look at. It all started when I got out my camera out for a close-up demonstration shot of my favourite brand I’d been following – with Anastasia Beverley Hills Dip-brow Promade. It came out really well!”

Nikita creates her tutorials from her couch using a Canon EOS 650D, just a metre away on a tripod.

“It’s sometimes hard to keep a steady hand,” she says. “But everything can be edited to become perfect. You don’t have to be tech savvy at all. Although, Brett works in IT. That has helped!” And to reverse roles, he recently featured in a tutorial as her makeup artist!

Nikita now showcases her favourite makeup brands and how great brushes do all the hard work. A lot of planning goes into her presentations and explaining ‘why’, rather than just demonstrating, is part of her success.



Although her statistics are impressive, she says content is now more important than ever before. It’s no longer just about the number of followers, especially since Instagram have now removed the visible ‘likes’.

Nikita has been approached by around 20 international brands such as Maybelline. “It’s really important to have good rapport with the suppliers; most of mine have approached me, rather than the other way around, which can be a lot more challenging.”

Nikita has settled down and bought a house in Casebrook with her husband Brett. “I absolutely love Christchurch,” she says.

She works up to 12 hours a day and loves every second. “I especially enjoy helping people, and having lots of followers is just a bonus really.

“I don’t often get people recognising me on the streets of Christchurch – but when they do they’ll always get a big hug from me!

Follow @Nikitahhx on Instagram/Facebook/YouTube/Twitter/Snapchat.


Metropol has five e-books to give away. To enter, head to the Metropol Facebook page to follow the instructions. Don’t forget to follow Nikitahhx!



Head-turning Homes: Metro Advances

Five high-end townhouses at 55 Bishop Street have the best of everything – a head-turning design in cedar, with distinctive extras in the mix.



In the tranquillity of a quiet tree-lined St Albans street, these freehold three-bedroom apartments have just been completed – with two having sold already.

Nigel and Julie Lundy of Metro Advances Ltd chose the sizeable parcel of land, once the site of a derelict villa, for its fantastic location. The company has completed a large number of quality builds in recent years, including, in addition to their specialty quality housing, commercial investments such as the office building at 254 St Asaph Street (Unknown Chapter café), the popular Southwark Apartments hotel complex, and the Stor-Ezi storage units at 62 Factory Road, Belfast.

The company’s Project Manager Gabby Stockman says after a carefully executed design and consent stage, the build has taken a full year. “No shortcuts have been taken with the build; it’s quality all the way. They are on the right side of the street for really good sun in the living areas, and are a short walking distance into town. And the cafés of Edgeware village are not far either.”


Gabby has another strong family connection to property, as she is Shaun Stockman’s daughter. Shaun is renowned for developing CBD icons such as the award-winning Billens Building.

Both Metro and Shaun utilise the talented flair of architect Andrew Evans.

Under a pitched iron roof, the sumptuous golden cedar blends effortlessly with Rockcote. This exclusive, no-expense-spared design culminates in a striking street appeal. Builder Jack Forrest has also crafted some stunning boxed windows for extra space.

“One great feature is the really good-sized bedrooms, which is a rarity in new townhouses these days,” she says.

“The thick double-framed inter-tenancy walls are well-insulated for warmth and privacy. We have kept the interior décor light and bright with LED lighting, light-grey tiling, carpet and ‘Mt Aspiring’ painted walls.”


For the kitchen, Gabby chose either a timeless light walnut grain or natural wood, with all-white stone benches, pendant lighting, induction hobs, and reliable Omega appliances. “An architectural-designed steel rail leads to the ample landing space, which is large enough for a study nook. We always utilise every space as best as we can.”

The fully-tiled bathrooms have had no expense spared, with Italian-made black tapware, light timber-veneered vanity and a separate stone wash-bowl. The concrete-look tiled walls are simultaneously modern, classic and practical. The entrance is a beautiful cedar door, giving a Scandinavian-spa touch and that calming woody scent.

The middle units of the freehold townhouses are a comfortable 145sqm with single garaging, a private courtyard of aggregate and grass, and a tenancy fence of hardwood horizontal slats.

The larger back unit has a 175sqm footprint and two-car garaging. The wooden patio is built around an existing fruit-bearing feijoa tree. One of its three bedrooms is conveniently downstairs, and the main bathroom is embellished with a feature wall and a double-sized shower.

“These townhouses will suit so many people – young families, families with teenagers, retirees or professionals; anyone who wants an extremely low-maintenance home for years to come.”

Priced affordably for its unique quality, 55 Bishop Street (55B and 55E) in St Albans can viewed at or contact Richard Dawson of Harcourts on 021 387 105.




Waste-free Bathrooms

The bathroom wastepaper basket might soon be a redundant commodity as we go from wasteful to tasteful in the busiest little room of the house.



We look at tips to keep the bathroom a stylish, sustainable sanctuary – where consciences will also get a good clean.

Those plastic shampoo, conditioner, and beauty product containers all add up. Imagine what a family uses in a month – then do the maths. Thankfully, solid soap and beauty bars with recyclable cardboard packaging are a popular and evolving eco choice. And some innovative products are making it simple to start, and keep, a new sustainable habit.

Christchurch-based company Ethique, who has recently won the Westpac Champion Innovation Award, has deliciously scented, natural solid shampoo and conditioners that last and last – as well as cleansers, scrubs, moisturisers and serums. Solid beauty products are value for money too, as you’re not paying for extra packaging and fillers. And soap that comes in cardboard, or handmade varieties sold simply as is, are usually as good for your skin as they are the environment.





Favour the luxury of cotton facecloths, instead of disposable wipes. Loofahs, which come from a tropical vine of the cucumber family, are biodegradable and have long been a bathroom basic for expert exfoliation. Along with natural sea sponges, they also look great in the eco bathroom, blending with the trend for natural materials such as timbers and stone.

Bamboo for the bathroom is sustainable and affordable, and right at home here. Bamboo and wooden toothbrushes can replace all those colourful plastic ones that choke the landfill. Use bamboo cotton buds, and even hairbrushes or scrubbing brushes – along with natural wood, they create a spa-style Scandinavian vibe in the bathroom too.





For the sustainably serious, toothpaste can even be bought in a jar, or you can make your own all-natural concoction. Stainless steel safety razors should last a lifetime and replace another high-turnover item that has over-taken in its mainstream plastic form. Also, go for glass containers over plastic.

Ladies, consider reusable sanitary options like menstrual cups or reusable pads – this saves a mountain of plastic and packaging over time. Buy toilet paper in bulk to save on packaging, or change to a paper-packaged brand – and recycled toilet paper is even better. Choose the refill options of your favourite products, especially cleaners.




Try and use up what you already have in the house before buying more – for example those fancy soaps that have been given as presents. Be inventive and creatively recycle. Perhaps cut up old towels to make facecloths or to wrap around soap for a DIY lathering body scrub.

Online shopping sites such as are specialising in sustainable beauty products. And many owner/operator gift shops have sustainability top of mind when sourcing for their stores.

The fresh new focus on pure artisan eco beauty is luring us away from our no-longer-viable dependence on plastics. The bathroom is a great place to start cleaning up the planet.




Ever Green

The colour green has long had a transformative effect on our internal spaces. We look at how to incorporate the natural beauty of lush green into the home.



Green returns inside and flourishes in all directions for 2019. The trend has been growing steadily since leafy indoor plants have also taken root.

Blocks of deep olive green through to more ethereal tinges of teal are laying out the interior landscape. And, as colour has a harmonious effect on our moods and our psyche, this trend is certainly a nurturing and grounding breath of fresh air.

Create a real sanctuary of tranquillity with this cool colour favoured by Mother Nature. Emitting a balance of feminine and masculine energy – and rarely offending anyone – green can be a change-up from neutrals for those redecorating for resale.





Try a mint-green paint to refresh a wooden retro chair, or emulate a mossy fairytale forest with a plush velvet green throw.

Indoor plants need not be plonked on their own, gratuitously in a corner. The trend now is to creatively bunch them up as mini forest features for amazing atmosphere – not to mention that extra shot of oxygen.

Feature wallpaper and wall murals in bold prints totally transform a space with a breathtaking impact. Embrace green in larger-than-life foliage-festooned prints. Modern or vintage – leafy outdoor-themed wallpaper is a total transformation that is hard to overdo.



Try gilded mirrors against an emerald wall, or glazed peacock-green tiles in the bathroom. Add handblown green glassware or mosaics for texture.

Pair with pale, especially for summer. Even the deepest of muggiest greens look delicious against clean white or antique cream.

Just as in nature, green upon green just seems to go! Imagine a large foliage print against a solid apple-green wall, behind a deep buttoned olive-green couch with burnished-lime linen cushions and an art-deco bottle-green glass lamp – with a swirly patterned emerald byzantine rug underfoot.

It is perfectly sane to mix up the palette story with this shade – as long as the theme is green!




Beautiful moon rising

Last time the moon theme outshone our interiors it was the early 90s, but it seems moons are rising in popularity once again.



Creative crescents have returned in all sorts of wistful guises. This time, more mysterious streamline silhouettes, as opposed to friendly man-in-the-moon faces, beam down on us.

Either waxing or waning, a crescent or half-moon osculates between the emotive full moon and a rousing new moon. We’re not even fussy about which, we are craving the celestial in all its forms as we gaze to the universe for inspiration.

An aura of sensuous subtilty, half moonlight softens and enchants. LED lighting is a natural pairing to award this theme the limelight – from wall art to lamps.

Although the moon never really disappeared from our décor, we’re seeing more unique custom-made pieces in authentic mediums from metals to woods.

The minimalist moonbeam is our new moon. Crescents are often fine and elongated, like a thinly sliced wedge of melon – or the Cheshire cat’s smile! Frameless crescent-shaped mirrors lend a shard of light – perfect for narrow spaces, corners, to hide flaws, or to reflect light.

Garlands are not just for Christmas. Half moons seem at home recreating the night sky indoors. Artisan half moons – a juxtaposition of natural wood or crafted metallics – make beautiful textured, tiered wall-hangings. Move over wind chimes, suspended in space, la luna is orbiting ceilings or walls in eye-catching mobiles.

From fabrics to furniture, this heavenly body appears as relevantly futuristic as it is timeless.

The moon can arise from any room or outdoor space – an instantly recognisable enigmatic shape.




Born for the Arts

A local actress with her own distinctive vibe has been fundamental in helping the local art scene get a wriggle on.



Phoebe Hurst put on her first solo performance of WORM last week, which had an intimate audience squirming with mirth. “It is weird – but it’s a comedy with no linear storyline, designed for the audience to participate and have fun and disconnect from reality for 50 minutes.”

She takes the Glitter and Chaos production to Auckland’s Basement theatre next month, opening on 15 October. Where WORM will wriggle to next will be interesting. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is her goal post.

Born for the arts, Phoebe spent two years at Hagley Theatre Company before moving to Wellington and graduating from Toi Whakaari, New Zealand Drama School, in 2011.

Now well-seasoned on the Christchurch theatrical scene, she stole the show last May in The Court Theatre’s dark comedy Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “I was in male drag as Yitzhak. He was a beautiful, humble, charismatic and patient character.”

However, her Christchurch stage debut was in 2015 as part of the musical production That Bloody Woman at The Christchurch Arts Festival, which then went on to be performed up and down the country. “I was super stoked to be involved in such a successful project.”

Phoebe, who lives in Linwood with her husband, has just turned 30. “I feel like I have crossed an imaginary threshold. When I graduated, I was crippled with self-doubt and suffered depression.”

She decided back then to be a musician instead. With two EPs under her belt, That Bloody Woman came along and thankfully created the opportunity for acting to take centre stage in her life again. This led on to other ventures such as working with Silo Theatre, The Auckland Philharmonia and The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Alongside WORM, Phoebe is currently working on a cabaret act for the 2020 Jazz and Blues Festival with Two Production’s co-artistic director, Holly Chappell-Eason.

“Acting is a remedy and illness at the same time,” Phoebe explains. “It helps me to process stuff – it is a double-edged sword.”

In this year’s 48-hour film festival, her team Snack To The Future won the national grand final with their film A Familiar Feeling. “We were given the genre ‘gross-out/cringe comedy’. It’s about two people who meet in a bar and discover they have more in common than they think.”

A must-see, the film can be watched on Phoebe encourages anyone and everyone to support local theatre.





If it suits

Suits are head-turning, confidence-creating and fabulously flattering – and have now relaxed into an exciting wardrobe staple. We check out the hottest suit styles for the coming season, to take us into 2020.




While women once minced in demure pencil-skirt and jackets of the 1930s and 40s, this season’s trouser suits are taking bigger, bolder strides leading into the next decade.

Anything goes in the material stakes. Ice-cream coloured pastels are a delicious summery wardrobe treat, while on the other end of the fabric spectrum, tweeds are teaming up as dapper trouser suits for dames. Everything goes, from slippery velvets, breathable summer-weight silk, perhaps black and white in a stylish wool-blend, hot fuchsia in cool linen, or metallic in modal. Suits make a unique statement.

Individual personality this season takes the suit far, far away from any corporate connotations – it’s all about suiting up and owning your own style. Celebrities from Michelle Obama to our royal influencers are flaunting floral-bombed patterning to gorgeous blocks of colours and timeless neutrals. In cute or courageous original outfits – the cue is to make your own mark.

Wide pants are swishy, slouchy comfort to the max – quite the opposite to what you’d expect to feel in the usual tailored two-piece. Go high-waisted and wide-legged from the hip, or do a glam Charlie’s Angel-style ’70s flare from the knee. Larger jackets have lots of wiggle room with full-on sleeves still a big fave. Teamed with high-rise heels or chunky flats – this look is quick to transform from daytime to drinks-time at the flick of a heel.

Cinched in via a wide tied belt or beautiful tailoring to show off the waist, a suit jacket adds flattering femininity. But equally so, the baggier, edgy boyfriend blazer will be strutting most of our streets, paired with perfectly matching pants. Structured shoulders are invited to team up with slouchy-crotched trousers. Tiny fitted tops are tasteful under long languid jackets; juxtaposition is, after all, hip.

Flattering for every figure, suits suit most bods. The silhouette-slinking sameness will elongate the shorter stature, and jackets and pants can be made to skim over or figure-hug any feature. No matter how casual the suit is stitched up, the wearer will always look somewhat polished and purposely dressed. Don’t forget, a tailor can alter any part of an otherwise perfect suit. Think about buying a suit that will look good with most of your summer shirts.

Emulate a dramatic three-piece with a matching coloured top. Plunging necklines also render a sassy suit, creating a sizzling contender to the little black dress.

And worth every penny is the suit’s sassy versatility in all weathers. Throw the jacket over the back of a chair and you instantly have a cooler, different look. There’s no need to find that co-ordinating summer jacket either – phew. It’s really a great two-in-one investment!



Destination Honeymoon

The honeymoon; that blissful life event in both time and place, when you get to have your new spouse all to yourself.



Nowadays, honeymoons are an evolving rehash on tradition, to fit in with our unique and crazy lifestyles, and new possibilities the world has to offer. Nonetheless, they are best totally tailormade to each twosome.

One thing is for sure, ironically even the most spontaneous adventures are best well planned. Booking your honeymoon in advance is always the best adage. This is to take full advantage of lucrative flight deals, exclusive sought-after accommodation and perhaps that coveted honeymoon suite. To be assured of getting in to the resort which has the most azure waters, or the room with the best views, it’s the early bride and groom that gets rewarded. It’s one big important job out of the way too, while wedding frivolities are filling up the diary.

There is plenty of evidence to suggests that looking forward to a holiday is just as pleasurable as being on one! Have the travel wallet ready on the mantelpiece and start dreaming. The destination and budget may not be a problem, but time is increasingly of greater issue to couples. Mini-moons are bite-sized holidays, where you can snatch say a luxury three-day romance across the ditch, and then save the fortnight full-on safari for a year down the track. It is sure to keep the flames of love flickering.

If you have a ho-hum budget, lavish it up locally and go 5-star all the way, without the travel expense. You’ll be far too busy looking into each other’s eyes to notice the familiar scenery anyway. Just be sure you are tucked away from everyone you know. Also, many new resorts and hotels have amazing opening specials. You could nab a 5-star experience for a 3-star price. This is where a travel agent in the know can be a godsend.

Honeymoons can have another purpose, perhaps to learn a new skill or share a mutual passion or hobby, even one that got you together in the first place. Perhaps a culinary educational tour for foodies or a cycle adventure. Find a romantic city and immerse yourselves in every crevice of its art and culture scene. Or flee straight to where the snow is falling and ski your hearts out. Eco-based holidays are also a choice of heart.

What lures most couples though is sunny beaches where toes entwine in white sand – with frozen margaritas to cool off. Sigh. There are romantic clichés for a reason. Check out resorts that families are unlikely to flock to. Pick the quiet season, or a secret spot with no crowds. Choose a cruise that’s not a party ship – one where you can have the option of dining and reclining alone together under the full moon.

Don’t forget to tell everyone, from the airline to hotels and restaurants, that this is your honeymoon. You never know your luck; many people in the tourism industry are only too pleased to dish out the royal romantic treatment.

Occurring once in a blue moon, this is the holiday that you’ll be asked to talk about until the end of time. The photos will up there with the wedding pics. So, make it a magical, memorable one – or two.