The Robinson family wanted a forever home that had it all – functionality, space and loads of storage with its own special signature.
After a two-year house hunt and realising building was the answer, Emma and Logan researched wisely and chose Daryl from DJ Hewitt Builders, who also helped choose the best section. The 926sqm site of an old villa in St Albans was perfect.
Now the high-pitched roofline and random-width cedar and plaster exterior, blends with the street’s historic homes.
“We have two young children so we needed a place to grow with us,” Emma says of the four-bedroom, 296sqm O’Neil Architecture-designed home.
Looking through to the lounge and garden from the front door exudes eternal space.
A cavity slider meets at the media room and kitchen/dining corner, sitting flush with the ground-level kwila deck.
The kids run from lounge to lawn and play cricket or pick homegrown veges and the open pantry leads out to the herb garden.
“Daryl helped us find cost-effective options where we needed them and had solutions for everything. Tara, his wife, was so helpful as our Interior Consultant, with lots of little pearls of wisdom. I always wanted a blue front door, and she suggested changing the aluminium joinery colour to suit, rather than going for our choice for the rest of the house – she was absolutely right.”
For family functionality, a cloakroom resides beside the entrance with an adjacent storage wall.
Other space luxuries are a large laundry, linen cupboard and under-stair storage.
The suntrap alcove with a large inbuilt window seat and library shelving is an inviting and much-admired spot.
“A key reason to build was to have a warm, dry house so we included underfloor and centrally-ducted heating.”
The upstairs bedrooms have separate temperature controls, with sensor lights for the bathroom and stairwell.
The master bedroom has an ensuite at the entrance, then a large walk-in robe incorporates a recessed stepladder leading to useful attic storage.
“The people who worked onsite and in DJ Hewitt’s office were outstanding; always really helpful and professional, nothing was ever a problem. The after sale service has been superb, with clear communication every step of the way and they’ve kept following up with everything.”
“We are so happy with the result – we will never move from here!”
As this issue goes to print, we are due to release the latest Quarterly Economic Report, a key metric used to track our economy and focus our own programme of work.
We aim to build and maintain a future-focused economy that raises the standard of living for residents.
A key way we drive economic growth is attracting business events to the city. We recently launched a new brand to do this – Business Events Christchurch – a partnership between Tourism New Zealand, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and ChristchurchNZ’s Convention Bureau.
Our city is primed to host large-scale business events with world-class venues, a humming business community, and a deep pool of expertise in our universities and public sector.
Another driver of economic growth are the city’s existing strengths helping to future-proof our economy.
We have worked with local industry and education experts to create our Supernodes initiative – areas of sustainable growth and high-value employment.
We’re working to attract talent in these areas, build career pathways and foster collaboration, and we’re looking forward to sharing more on this soon.
And there is little doubt IKEA’s recent announcement about opening a store in Ōtautahi Christchurch spurred excitement among our residents, and should create numerous jobs in the city.
We continue to drive economic growth during these exciting times for the city. We are well and truly regaining our status as a major New Zealand urban centre.
On a recent Saturday morning, walking to the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial service, I was struck by the importance of ‘people spaces’ to our central city.
A space like Worcester Boulevard, which existed before the quakes, connects the river and city centre at one end with the Christchurch Art Gallery, Museum, Botanic Gardens and the Arts Centre. On this mild, Saturday morning it was bustling with visitors and locals alike, many bound for Electric Avenue.
Along the Avon River Precinct, people were sitting on the leafy inclines of the riverbank. On the adjacent City Promenade, which is probably the most popular amenity we have completed to-date, a steady flow of cyclists, pedestrians and joggers were making use of this pleasant new central thoroughfare.
Heading upstream, I started to hear the buzz of the vibrant new Riverside Market, where happy diners were enjoying brunch in the sun on the seating that spills out onto the Promenade.
Contrast that with the sombre but serene feeling of the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial, where I was honoured to place a wreath.
Together with the grassy, tree-lined north bank side of the memorial, this is a great space to both sit and reflect, and for our city to host large, commemorative events.
My team at Ōtākaro is really proud of these ‘people spaces’ we are building in central Christchurch.
Clearly these places, where we get to experience the whole gamut of emotions, are important to us.
I remember the Commonwealth Games in 1974. I was a young teenager and the city was abuzz with excitement. I can still remember the song:
We’ve got to join together,
let our laughter fill the air
It’s time for every race and creed
to throw away their every care
Let sport unite us all as one
in the spirit of the lord above
And let us all remember
The games are for the fostering of
peace and love
Never would I have imagined 45 years later that the spirit of these words would be invoked in response to an atrocity such as we experienced on 15 March last year.
Although we will never forget the 51 people whose lives were taken, our memory of that time will always include the way we ‘joined together’.
We stood side-by-side regardless of ‘race or creed’. We were ‘united as one’, and the ‘fostering of peace and love’ was made real.
This act, which was inspired by hatred and was designed to divide us and tear us apart, instead united us with all our communities and embraced us in compassion and love.
The words of our Prime Minister and that of our local Muslim community leaders, who spoke of peace, love, compassion, unity and forgiveness, helped us through this time.
In a time of crisis, this is what the world needs to see and hear, and that’s what makes Christchurch such a special place.
International Women’s Day just passed and I’m thinking about why it’s hard to get a long list together of female startup founders in Christchurch.
The scarcity of female founders is a global issue and to appreciate the size of the problem here’s a few stats to consider: 83 percent of all venture capital investment goes to all-male founder teams, 12 percent goes to mixed gender teams and only a tiny four percent goes to all-female teams.
We also know that investor teams are mostly male. In the UK, 48 percent of VC teams are all-male with only 13 percent having a female senior executive.
The majority of startups attracting capital are technology-based and fewer than 26 percent of tech employees are women.
Attitudes to risk differ amongst the sexes, with men showing as more pro-risk than women.
High growth startups are inherently risky so maybe an aversion to risk is also one of the factors for why female founders are rarer than male.
But companies with female leaders are 12 percent more profitable than their counterparts.
We also know that, according to Pew Research, women are 34 percent better at working out compromises and 34 percent more likely to be honest and ethical.
Whether the problem is unconscious bias, lack of representation in ‘startup’ sectors, or gender profiles, we must get behind our female founders and give them the connections and opportunity they need to level up and, in doing so, benefit us all.
We all know climate change is the biggest environmental issue facing our planet, so what changes can we make locally to make a difference globally?
Some people have chosen to make their contribution by switching to electric vehicles (EVs).
While these aren’t a new invention, today’s versions continue to evolve due to significant technological developments.
In fact, automaker Volvo says half of its vehicles will be electric by 2025; Ford says a third of its offering will be electric by 2030.
Hopefully, as EVs become more mainstream, the pricing will also become more affordable.
In Ōtautahi, more than half of our carbon emissions come from transportation, so a switch to EVs is another way in which we can help reduce greenhouse emissions.
Combined with the fact that 85 percent of our electricity is renewable, the sustainability story behind EVs continues to evolve.
The Chamber is working in partnership with Orion to offer businesses the opportunity to test drive one of the latest EVs for a week, the new Hyundai Kona.
The initiative has been so popular that the vehicles are already booked well into 2021.
Orion is also installing vehicle chargers across the region, keeping EV users close to plug-in sources – we even have one in our Chamber carpark!
This complements Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods’ recent announcement about the EECA Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, which is investing to help establish a network of over 1000 EV charging stations nationwide.
Almost a decade has passed since the traumatic events of the 2011 earthquakes. That’s nearly 10 years of trying to get the city back on its feet. Bit by bit, building by building we’re started to rebuild the heart of the Garden City.
We’ve hunted out all the upcoming developments and cool things happening around town to get you excited about the year to come – we weren’t short of inspiration!
Christchurch Hospital Acute Services Building:
If you haven’t been into the CBD and seen this colossal 10-storey building creeping up in size near the Christchurch Women’s Hospital, then you may need to look again.
This gigantic project has been in construction since 2015 and, as the largest government project in Canterbury coming in at 62,000 square metres, it’s easy to see why this is such a big deal for the city – literally and figuratively! It’s set to throw open its doors later this year.
Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre:
The Convention Centre, scheduled to open in October this year, will provide the facilities we’ve been lacking since its predecessor was demolished in early 2012.
Supported by accommodation, retail, hospitality and public transport, it is set to be world-class and it’s certainly got the look down pat; the braided river façade of the new building is already the talk of the town.
With 43,000 herringbone tiles set to be installed on the building… no wonder it’s popping into conversation here and there.
The South Frame:
This project is in construction stage, with around three quarters of it already now complete.
Ōtākaro Ltd describes the site as “a place for markets, events and celebrations – an area to gather, dine, be entertained or just relax”.
The Greenway will be at the heart of this project, providing an oasis in between the hustle and bustle of city life.
3D interactive visualiser:
With all these new developments, you might be keen to look back on just how much this city has evolved in the few years following the earthquake.
The Christchurch City Council can help you do that with their ‘3D interactive visualiser of the CBD’.
Not only can you view the buildings we lost during the quake, but you can also see the revival and emergence of the new CBD.
It really puts into perspective just how far we’ve come in such a short time.
Canterbury Multi-Use Arena:
Labelled a ‘game-changer’ for the city, the multi-use arena will help Christchurch re-establish itself as New Zealand’s sporting and cultural capital.
The 25,000-seat arena is set to come in at $472 million to build.
A small(ish) price to pay to transform Christchurch into a super-host for major sporting and cultural events.
Showbiz Christchurch is set to raise the curtain on its first show for 2020, a stunning new production of the stage show described as the “musical of all musicals” My Fair Lady.
Based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, My Fair Lady is that rare musical by which all others are measured.
Pompous linguistics professor Henry Higgins wagers he can transform Eliza Doolittle (played originally by Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn), a street-smart girl from the East End gutters, into a proper Edwardian society lady.
But as audiences get to meet the feisty, independent and entrepreneurial Eliza, the question becomes ‘who is really undergoing the transformation here?’
My Fair Lady is set in 1912, and as Marketing Manager Wendy Riley explains, it was a time of massive social and class upheaval in England.
“There was the first national coal mining strike that year, followed by strikes from the dockworkers and tailors. Scabs were taking work from families already impoverished by the strikes, while many of the upper and lower classes, keen to get away from it all, boarded the Titanic for her maiden voyage to New York.”
It was also a time of change for women.
The Suffragettes were throwing themselves before carriages and chaining themselves to railings, determined to cast off the shackles of post-Victorianism and its attitude towards women.
When thinking of a young woman such as Eliza Doolittle trying to forge a life for herself in those somewhat turbulent times, it’s easy to understand why she was determined to have her own flower shop and thereby move out of lower-class squalor.
It also explains why Eliza’s story has been retold so many times in films like Pretty Woman, Educating Rita, Weird Science, Mannequin, She’s All That, and even crossing into Science Fiction in the 2014 film Ex Machina. Eliza’s story is timeless.
Christchurch-based, international performer Kira Josephson (Wicked, Les Misérables) has always dreamed of playing Eliza, a show she knew as a child growing up in Laguna Beach, California.
Kira feels the show has strong relevance to today’s young people because of its emphasis on class distinctions and education.
Higgins gives Eliza the tools to improve herself and her situation.
Eliza uses education to find herself. “It’s really a story about carving your own way – not being judged, not being taken at face value, but figuring out the tools for you to get people to understand who you are. The show isn’t about Eliza changing – she’s the same person – but what’s beautiful about it is that, by the end, it’s Higgins we see change, but it’s too little, too late.”
Working with musical director Richard Marrett has been a brilliant experience for Kira.
“His ear is incredible – not like anybody else’s. The score is amazing – it’s lush and wonderful. They just don’t write harmonies like that anymore. We have a huge ensemble and, already, everyone sounds just fabulous.”
Directed by Stephen Robertson, the principal cast of My Fair Lady features Roy Snow (Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls) as Henry Higgins, Peter Hind as Colonel Pickering, and James Foster and Ian Lester as Freddy Eynsford-Hill and Alfred Doolittle respectively.
Newly appointed General Manager of Showbiz Christchurch, Paul Christ, says it is an honour to revive a show of such notable and critical success.
“My Fair Lady has stood the test of time. Its original productions broke all previous sales records and set the standard by which future musicals are modelled.”
Catch My Fair Lady from 3 to 18 April at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
To find out how to go in the draw for a sumptuous high tea for two at Crowne Plaza Christchurch and tickets for My Fair Lady, turn to page 58.
Sir Bob Parker’s leadership was – and still is – widely regarded as what got our city through the dark days of 2011. We caught up with him about the poignancy of the nine-year anniversary.z
We’ve just passed the nine-year anniversary of the Christchurch earthquakes, how poignant is that date for you?
It is an emotional reminder for me of how much we lost, from people to places, on that day in 2011.
It is clear that for those of us who faced the terror of that day in Christchurch of just how far we have come with rebuilding the city but also how much the losses and fear of that day and the months that followed still shape our lives.
How did being stoic for the city help yourself dealing with the emotions and upheaval at the time?
Like so many others at the time in those first days, I was putting in long hours focused on the immediate rescue issues.
It was my job to keep our community informed as best I could.
This work meant that there wasn’t much space in my life for the luxury of personal reflection.
Personal needs took a back seat to community needs, so the emotion at that time was shoved into the background.
You smashed three ribs after landing on a wooden table in the Civic Building in the February quake, were the emotional scars as bad as the physical scars of the earthquake?
The simple answer is yes. Like many people that I have discussed this with since that awful day, the traumatic scars remain.
Those post-traumatic feelings don’t dominate my life, but they are there.
I still react to any sound that imitates the rumble an approaching earthquake makes, or any unexpected vibration of a building.
I am a master at imagining any building I am in collapsing around me; I know it is not likely to happen but I can’t stop that internal movie from popping up.
I’m always checking buildings out for potential structural shortcomings and part of me is waiting for the Alpine Fault to let go.
I know I’m not painting the most balanced picture, but I am not alone in this and it’s good to talk about it.
But at least I’ve stopped checking Geonet or Canterbury Quake Live every hour or so, trying to predict if another quake is likely!
I didn’t realise I had smashed ribs in the earthquake until several days afterwards, such was the adrenalin.
Joanna and I didn’t sleep for those first few days. Who could?
But I noticed that every time someone hugged me (there was lots of hugging in those early post-quake days) it was getting more and more painful.
I was at the hospital checking on my parents who’d both been admitted and when I complained about the chest pain to one of the staff they quickly arranged for an x-ray.
We then spotted that several ribs were damaged. It didn’t stop the hugging though.
I think that human contact kept us all going in Christchurch at that time. It was our emotional release perhaps.
Everything from there was unprecedented! The central city redesigned, whole suburbs closed and managed home repair schemes launched, laws bestowing special powers passed and a new Government entity formed to run the show. How much complexity did this add to your role?
The complexity was to be expected.
The 22 February earthquake was, and still is, the only national emergency ever formally declared in New Zealand.
It was always going to be a job that was bigger than Christchurch alone could deal with.
However the multi-agency complexity was tiring as it often interfered with what council regarded as normal council responsibilities.
That did lead to conflict at times. As the initial post-quake response descended into the daily grind of a community wanting to sort personal issues and needs, our council found itself under huge pressure from our people.
Our every move came under extraordinary scrutiny from all directions. At the end of that term in 2013 it felt like a lifetime since the quake, not just three years.
Facing urban decay before the earthquakes, Christchurch has risen in spectacular fashion. How proud are you of how Christchurch has been able to come back to life?
I am very proud of our city. It is really a tribute to the amazing people of Christchurch that we are an almost completely rebuilt, fully functioning city with a superb future.
Many people wrote us off. The most common question from foreign media was “does Christchurch have a future?”
I always answered emphatically “yes!” We had a lot of help from those around us in New Zealand and even from overseas but in the end ‘we’, the people of this place, did it.
What do you love the most about the ‘new’ Christchurch?
The newness; the new safe and strong buildings, the emergence of the waterfront along the Avon, the survival and restoration of key historic buildings which are now like diamonds set in concrete and steel surrounds.
I also have a new appreciation of the suburban centres which became the powerhouses of our city’s survival and recovery when we needed them most.
For me at that moment the city became more than just a CBD; rather a collection of villages clustered around a strong centre.
In a speech to the Local Government New Zealand organisation in 2013, then-Prime Minister John Key stated that your “commitment to the city during its darkest hours will be his legacy”. How proud are you of this legacy?
I was humbled by the Prime Minister’s words.
The legacy is shared with so many people. Every citizen who was here in that difficult time and who stayed the course is part of that legacy.
I am proud that the plan that my council and community created from our outstanding ‘Share an Idea’ project became the structural basis of the rebuild ‘Blueprint’ for the city.
Subsequent councils and governments have essentially carried out the vision we laid down.
So I love the feeling of the council that I led having been a key part of that planning. All of those councillors put incredible efforts into their roles in perhaps the most difficult of circumstances that any council in this land has ever faced. They all deserve much credit for that. That’s our collective legacy, of which I was but one small part.