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Chelsea Winter is unleashing her culinary creativity on the world yet again, but not like you’ve ever seen before. Because Chelsea, who has long been famed for her down to earth approach to butter, cream and meat, has ditched them all for a plant-based model. But if you think plant-based is parlance for deprivation, then you’ve got another thing coming.

 

Photography Tam West

 

After all, there’s nothing lacking when it comes to Winter’s Banoffee Pie, Chicken-out Mayo Sammies, Oozy Quesadillas, Chocolate Mousse, Elvish Toast Bread, Jellytip Cheesecake, Snausage Rolls (which we have the recipe for on page 66), Macho Nachos, Creamy Alfredo and Gooey Caramel Slice – dairy or no dairy. And there definitely is no dairy here folks!

Despite the surname, Winter is a ray of sunshine; bubbly, passionate and so beautifully down to earth. It’s what has endeared the country to her since she took out the third series of television mainstay, Masterchef in 2012.

She went on to put out an incredible five cookbooks in five years – beautiful, but accessible recipes for everyday Kiwis, culminating in the best-selling New Zealand cookbook and the best-selling book overall of 2017, Eat.

But it seems in 2020 Kiwis have had their fill of the classics and were craving something different – Supergood served up just that and was on its third reprint less than a week after hitting the streets!

“I think this was the most exciting one yet,” she says of the latest cookbook, which came after a three-year hiatus.

“This book being particularly close to my heart, it was like Christmas Eve for a little kid the night before launch! It’s an incredible feeling seeing all the energy, hard work and love you’ve put into something there as a real, finished thing. Then seeing the book in people’s kitchens and the food being made is a real thrill.”

Supergood is a strong reflection of the changes in Winter’s own eating, a natural evolution she has made with partner Douglas and their 15-month-old Sky, who you’ll find, more often than not, attached to Winter’s hip in the kitchen – “I can still manage to do everything except chop,” she laughs.

Photography Tam West

“I’ve been on a bit of a journey of knowledge and awareness over the past few years, intuitively eating more plant-based food, until I got to a point where it’s pretty much all I eat now,” she explains.

“And I’ve fallen in love with this lifestyle; this beautiful, sustainable, utterly delicious way of living. Now I’m just beyond excited to share it with people and let them see that plant-based food does not have to be scary, bland, boring or skimpy! No disappointing salads in this book. I think it’s the future.”

So how can the recipes be any good without all the cheese and butter and cream and chicken?

“Trust me, they are. I’ve worked a bit of wizardry to create an entire book of plant-based comfort food – you wouldn’t even know there was no meat or cheese or eggs if you were just flicking through the book. And based on the overwhelming feedback I’ve had from hundreds of home cooks, the recipes are going down a treat with even the hardiest of carnivores!

“This is exactly what I had in mind and I’m tickled pink.”

When quizzed on its popularity, Winter suspects that it’s all simply down to making a new way of eating accessible. “I honestly think it’s because the book is plant-based, with a gluten-free option for most things – and because people trust my recipes,” she says.

“It seems to me that people are more than ready to be inspired for a new way of cooking and eating. They just need the right recipes to do it; recipes that are easy, use mostly normal ingredients and recipes that the whole family will eat, and that’s what I’ve tried to do with Supergood.”

So does this self-confessed purveyor of deliciousness and everyday gangly blonde Kiwi have a favourite Supergood recipe or are they all her babies? “It’s way too hard to choose,” she laughs.

“The Macho Nachoes and Creamy Dahl with Crispy Potatoes have been hugely popular. The Jellytip Cheesecake on the cover and the Snickalicious (choc peanut) cheesecake are pretty incredible too. And you can’t go past that amazing 10-second aioli!”

So, what is next on the culinary cards for Chelsea Winter? “Considering I spent all last summer in the kitchen working on Supergood, this summer I am having a rest! I plan to chill on the beach with the family, eat good plant-based food and enjoy this beautiful life I’ve been given.”

Photography Tam West

 


 

An acoustic ambition


At just 19, local singer-songwriter Amber Carly Williams is set to perform at the Bay Dreams music festival in Nelson this summer. Metropol catches up with the first-year Ara Music Arts contemporary vocals student about her musical journey.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR GENRE AND MUSICAL BACKGROUND?
I enjoy writing and recording my own music – it can often start off a certain feel and end up something completely different, but I tend to go for pop /indie. I like playing solo and using my loop pedal…but I’m also in the midst of forming a band for certain performances coming up.

WHAT DRIVES YOUR MUSICAL PASSION AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE CRAFT?
I first started playing guitar when I was 8-years-old, as I was always surrounded with music in the family. My mum passed away when I was young so seeing her do music was quite inspiring for me and I wanted to relate to that part of her. A few years down the track I started singing, just along with the guitar, but then my voice kind of took over and I realised I really had a passion for singing and that’s when song writing came in too. Being able to write my own music and express my thoughts and opinions has become something that has helped me through some challenging times.

WHAT PROJECTS HAVE YOU WORKED ON SO FAR, AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP?
I’m in the process of writing new music at the moment and recording it myself in my wee bedroom studio setup which is looking to result in an EP or maybe even a potential album. Over summer I’m looking into gigging more around the South Island in conjunction with my set at Bay Dreams Nelson in January. This will be the biggest performance I’ve ever done by a long shot so this is very exciting!

WHO / WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR WORK?
My dad [Peter Williams of Acoustic Architecture] is my biggest supporter and without him I would’ve had no one to take me to my music lessons and take me to all my gigs when I didn’t have a car and accompany me when I was underage. I take influence from solo performing musicians like Tash Sultana, and some of my favourite artists include Phoebe Bridgers, Jeremy Zucker and Lennon Stella.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE TAKE AWAY FROM LISTENING TO YOUR MUSIC?
Something I really try to aim for is making sure that my music isn’t just a catchy hook. I love being able to put my experiences and thoughts into my music, and it’s important to me that when people listen to it, they can relate to the lyrics in some sort of way or something stands out and makes them think of a time something like that happened to them.


 

Tame-ing the Politicians


Jack Tame has spent 15 years keeping New Zealanders up to date on the biggest stories from around the world. Metropol catches up with the Christchurch-raised broadcaster about what it takes to take on the politicians ahead of an exceptional election.

 

 

One of New Zealand’s most recognisable television journalists, Jack Tame has been on our screens since he was hired by TVNZ at 19 years old. In that time, he’s chased news stories across all seven continents – narrating the most defining events of the last two decades.

The 33-year-old spent five years as the state-owned broadcaster’s foreign correspondent in New York, where his final assignment was the infamous 2016 US election.

Now, as the host of the hard news and current affairs show Q+A he’s holding New Zealand’s politicians to account amidst an unprecedented pandemic election.

“There are a few interesting dynamics at play,” he says about the current campaign. “First of all, it’s amazing to compare this election with the last election, I think of all the things this election isn’t about.

“Over the last three years the government has had to deal with a series of massive crises. Most people would probably say they’ve been fairly successful in dealing with those crises and have done on the whole a pretty good job.”

However, he says progress made on the domestic agenda – around mental health, child poverty and housing affordability – don’t stack up with promises made ahead of the last time Kiwis voted.

“In a normal election campaign, the government might feel a lot of pressure from the opposition to deliver on their promises – but this isn’t a normal election. Covid-19 has changed everything about how we live.”

A fact which, Jack says, sees Labour and National offering similar solutions.

“I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference between our major parties when it comes to policies. It’s almost like Covid-19 has brought them closer together than they might have otherwise been.”

The build up to a general election can be a hectic time for journalists. Long hours, a lot of travel, and considerable pressure to be all over the ever-breaking latest news.

So what happens when that all-consuming period is extended another month?

“The only certain thing in the world at the moment is uncertainty, and journalists and newsrooms thrive in trying circumstances,” he says.

“As difficult as this year has been for all of us, it has also been a rewarding year and a thrilling thing to be part of. It’s not good Covid-19 is here or anything, but it’s in these moments of crises that you feel like you’re contributing to the greater good.”

And it has been a year where audiences are more tuned into the news than perhaps ever before.

“The decision to move alert levels really impacts our lives in a significant way – so it’s no wonder people have been interested,” he says.

With that attention, though, comes extra scrutiny and criticism.

“I get a lot of hate mail. I just accept that that is part of the job. What I strive for is to be hated evenly. I want both sides to be calling me biased.”

This criticism, however, is not always from the audience. A recent Q+A interview with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters made its own headlines when the political stalwart took offence to a line of questioning about NZ First allegedly leaking information about Green Party funding. During which, he called TVNZ a “disgrace” and called Jack “James” repeatedly.

“It was very funny,” says Jack nonchalantly.

“He and I have had many interviews, many times and it was hardly the first time we’ve seen Winston Peters rallying against the media.”

While such confrontations would make many people sweat, Jack says he backs his well-researched questions and believes Kiwis are owed the answers.

An approach which will only intensify as we get closer to polling day.

• The 1 NEWS Your Vote 2020 Election Night Special airs 7pm Saturday 17 Oct, and the Q+A Election Special airs Sunday 18 Oct, 8am, TVNZ 1.


 

Tackling tall poppy syndrome


Tall poppy syndrome (n) a perceived tendency to discredit or disparage those who have achieved notable wealth or prominence in public life.

 

Kiwis have long valued hard work and recognition. Just don’t achieve too much; that’s the message that’s coming through loud and clear to our young people, whether it’s on the sports field or in the classroom.

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya called out tall poppy syndrome on a national stage as he was awarded the New Zealand sportsman of the year title at the Halberg Awards in February, encouraging the public to embrace the country’s success stories instead of knocking them down.

“New Zealanders are known as friendly, hardworking and laid back, but live here for a while and you’ll also discover that sometimes we have a bad habit of criticising, resenting and cutting down those poppies who seek to do something different or succeed,” E Tū Tāngata founder, Jay Geldard says.

A new social development programme designed to tackle tall poppy syndrome, E Tū Tāngata was launched last month in Christchurch. “E Tū Tāngata seeks to change the narrative. Instead of objections and unhelpful criticism we want to raise the bar,” Jay says.

Most Kiwis, when asked how they see themselves out of 10, will answer a ‘six’ or ‘seven’, including Jacinda Ardern and Bill English who were asked this question in a 2017 Leaders’ Debate. “This is seen to be ‘the right answer’ for New Zealanders,” Jay says.

“However, when we apply the E Tū Tāngata mindset to this conversation, it creates an environment where we can call out greatness in ourselves and others. Surely, we don’t want to be a nation that undermines ourselves or systematically cut others down to make ourselves feel better. This should not be a part of our DNA. Instead, we need to Stand Together / E Tū Tāngata.”

Jay describes the programme as a toolkit to help us understand the way we see ourselves and others.

“The feedback from schools and workplaces hints at the transformation possible when people’s eyes are opened to this way of being; genuine change has occurred within those who have participated individually and collectively.

“E Tū Tāngata is more than a programme; it’s a conversation that we need to have around the dinner table, classroom, maraes and community.”

An online learning programme, E Tū Tāngata encourages personal reflection, group work and community contribution.

But it is so much more than scratching the surface, with very real research at its heart.

Psychologist Gabrielle Bisseker leads the research team behind the programme, ensuring a strong evidence-based foundation for the social enterprise.

She is supported by the University of Canterbury’s Dr Myron Friesen, who has a focus on developing, implementing and evaluating E Tū Tāngata using the Theory of Change framework from Harvard University.

And it has had Sir Steve Hansen’s support from square one, with the former head coach of the All Blacks describing the programme as embracing humanity at its best. “Everyone wants to be valued and cared about, it is the greatest thing that can happen to any individual because it gives them worth and if you have worth, you can go out and achieve whatever you want to do,” Sir Steve says.

Pointing to our high suicide rates in New Zealand, Sir Steve says it’s critical that we start looking at anything we can do to help in this area and starting the conversation is the first step to solving it. “Success creates a perception, but doesn’t actually define who you really are; I think your character does that,” Sir Steve says.

“It’s not about one person succeeding; it’s about all succeeding together. Jay wanted to put together E Tū Tāngata to start that conversation, understand the key principles around this and how we can be successful together.”

In the words of sportsman of the year Israel Adesanya, “If you see one of us shining – whether it be the netball team, the Black Caps, the sailors – pump them up; embrace them, because if they win, we win. If I win, you win.”


 

Armstrong Interiors – Looking ahead


Metropol catches up with award-winning interior designer Angelique Armstrong about supporting local and plans for Armstrong Interiors moving forward.

 

 

The vibe in the studio is buoyant and positive.

“I get so much joy from being surrounded by our inspiring Work Room environment; the colours and textures, my staff and wonderful clients,” Angelique says.

The team at Armstrong Interiors are looking ahead with enthusiasm.

Although working from home had its challenges during lockdown, it gave them an even stronger desire to get back to work, because that is what they love doing – being together, and creating beautiful spaces.

Angelique has long been a supporter of ‘buy local’ and loves the phrase ‘back your backyard’.

“Going forward I have no hesitation on continuing to support our local manufacturers and fabricators. We have beautiful New Zealand designed products in all aspects of design and manufacturing. I encourage you to think twice and make a conscious decision when shopping. When you buy New Zealand products, you not only buy quality, you are supporting a local business.

“Armstrong Interiors is boutique in size, which allows us to really get to know each and every client. Working closely to my clients’ briefs; I present mood boards, floor plans, product boards, and source furniture, art, rugs, wallpaper, lighting and accessories options. Our in-house CAD designer creates 3D images of kitchens, bathrooms and joinery. She creates plans for you to review throughout the design process, which will then allow you to see the end result.”

Armstrong Interiors proudly offers a bespoke design service.

This means you can select the size, material and colour of your choice, to best reflect your style and space.

Angelique’s passion for design and a love of all elements related to interior design, art, furniture design, product design and textile design enables her to create exclusive items.

“I love to create beautiful unique pieces in collaboration with our clients.”

A monthly newsletter has recently been launched, featuring the latest news, designs, and interesting updates on what is happening in the Interior Design world.

Email or phone the office to be added to the mailing list.

To find out how the team at Armstrong Interiors can help you with your next interior project, and make a time to discuss the options available.

Phone 03 356 2636 phone, email office@armstronginteriors.co.nz or armstronginteriorsltd on Instagram.


 

Jay-Jay Feeney: Off The Cuff


You can tell a natural-born performer by how an interview request is met; the plan-ahead type introverts want emailed questions, sometimes even to answer via email. Jay-Jay Feeney, on the other hand, is completely comfortable with ‘off the cuff’; live radio Monday to Friday will do that to you. So too will a life in the limelight.

It’s a life the 91 MORE FM host has craved since the age of nine. “I used to listen to the radio as a kid and just loved it! I had absolutely no idea how to actually get on the radio,” she laughs. “But I would spend hours making my own radio shows at home.”

It was at the age of 15 when the dream began to materialise in the form of work experience at New Plymouth’s Energy FM.

This would be the time in the story to add, ‘and the rest is history’, but then that would seriously sell short the incredible career Jay-Jay has been able to craft for herself – one that has seen her meet Pink five times, hang out with Tom Cruise in his personal trailer and get awarded for her Outstanding Contribution to Radio at the Radio Awards in 2018 (even if she was in the toilet when her name was called!), to name just a few of her professional accomplishments.

But it’s the station’s annual Jingle Bail – which saw her and co-host Flynny locked up in a 5x5m ‘jail cell’ for five days – that she is most proud of; an annual pilgrimage which raised $158,661 for Koru Care NZ and sent 39 Kiwi kids on a plane to the Gold Coast in its 2019 incarnation.

“It’s such a fun week; exhausting as hell, but so rewarding!”

Open and honest by nature, Jay-Jay’s always found it easy to talk – even about the difficult stuff. “I love connecting with people,” she says.

“We’re so lucky in radio that we get to do that, more so than any other medium. That’s why I do it, whether I make someone laugh, cry or just relate!”

Over the years she’s shared the love (former co-host Dom Harvey), the heartache (their infertility struggles) and the pain (their marriage break up and her mental health struggles); you could say she wrote the book on it – which she did in 2013 with Misconception, about her battle for a baby.

“It was real, it was honest, I knew only people who needed it would read it, so it wasn’t for a mass audience,” she says.

But it also came with its pitfalls.

“Once you do talk about something like that, you do become the poster person for it and that’s quite draining; the same happened with talking about depression.

People will say ‘thanks so much for talking about it and opening up’ but then they want to tell me their heart-breaking stories and ask what they should do.

“I’m not the expert; I’ll share my story, but I can’t help you work out what to do.”

She’s sharing the love again, this time with her off-shore Algerian beau, Minou, who she has spent a summer of love with, travelling the length and breadth of the country.

“It’s been really cool travelling around New Zealand and seeing the country through a tourist’s eye,” says Jay-Jay, who admits she hasn’t seen as much of her own country before – like many of us!

“Everyone needs a foreigner to visit,” she laughs.

The couple checked out Te Anau and the Milford Sounds; they experienced the Māori culture at Te Puia in Rotorua; they went jetboating in Taupo; then there was kayaking, glow worms and hotpools in the mix.

“The hardest part is he gets four weeks of holidays a year – and he’s just used them! So he can’t go anywhere.”

So she’s applying for a visa to head to Algeria herself in the next couple of months and while she’s confident her boss will give her two weeks, she’s going to beg him for three!

In the meantime, she’s planning on working hard and looking after herself.

“Those three things will make me very happy – having a great time with work, looking after my mental health and love!”


 

Changing Lives


It was once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Renowned journalist Paula Penfold has taken a very literal approach to this adage.

 

 

From fighting to free wrongly imprisoned Teina Pora to uncovering the Kiwi link to the death of seven Afghan babies and opening up about her own decision to have an abortion at 21 as part of her Stuff Circuit investigation into the abortion law reform bill, Paula Penfold is fighting for justice.

We catch up with 2019’s Reporter of the Year about changing lives.


What attracted you to journalism?

I was 14, at high school, when a reporter from the Waikato Times came to visit our English class.

I found her utterly inspiring. Her job sounded hugely interesting; it was a mixture of fact and creativity, and it also meant the opportunity to sometimes make a difference.

I immediately loved the idea.

You’ve worked on some of the country’s most high-profile stories, notably the Teina Pora case and more recently fraudster Joanne Harrison’s hidden history. What do you consider to have been some of your own personal career highlights?

The Teina Pora case would be right up there.

We worked on that investigation over five years and it’s some of the most difficult but most satisfying work we’ve done.

There are other stories though which have less of a profile but are also important to me, though now that I think about it, the ones that matter almost always involve an injustice of some kind.


News organisations throughout the country have been cutting back on investigative journalism, meanwhile Stuff Circuit has been leading the country in this area. How exciting is it to be involved in something which has the power to change – and improve – lives by uncovering critical information?

I feel really lucky that I love my job! I’ve been a journalist for a long time but every story is different, so it never gets old.

I feel very fortunate that at Stuff Circuit we’re given the time and resource to properly dig into a story and uncover information that should be in the public domain, but for whatever reason has been kept secret or gone unreported.

It’s really satisfying trying out new creative ways of telling stories: investigative journalism done in new, multimedia ways, combining documentary with interactivity, text and whatever else we think fits the story.

So yeah, it’s hugely exciting, but it often comes with a fair amount of stress too, so we need to be careful about that.

I also feel really lucky that I work in an incredible team within Stuff Circuit; people who push each other creatively and journalistically, while also having each other’s backs.


How incredible was it to get named Reporter of the Year at the New Zealand Television Awards in November?

I know people always say this when they win awards, but it truly was a surprise – the other finalists in the category are journalists whose work I really admire.

I think, especially when I’m working in a relatively new venture like Stuff Circuit, winning something like that is useful to draw attention to our stories and the type of journalism we do.

And yeah, it did feel good as well!


How important do you think investigative journalism is to democracy?

I would say this, of course, but I believe it also.

I think investigative journalism and journalism in general is crucial to a healthy democracy.

Democracy is about more than just the right to vote; it’s about being fully informed and about being able to have proper conversations about our priorities and values as a society.

It’s the role of journalism to hold up a mirror to society, and to keep the powerful accountable by examining and questioning what they’re doing.

It’s so fundamentally important that it’s hard to imagine a functioning society without it.

The type of journalism we do is expensive, and time and resource-heavy, so if it wasn’t done by journalists with the backing of a major media company, it wouldn’t be done at all.


What have been some of your most memorable experiences in your career?

Driving up the coast of Leyte in the Philippines in the wake of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. It was apocalyptic and I will never forget it.

Making a rookie error by thinking we could cross the border from Texas to a Mexican border town and then sit back for a couple of mojitos!

We completely under-estimated the risk of trying to film in a town controlled by drug cartels. We were in and out of Mexico within an hour.

Filming at a mountaintop cemetery in Bamyan, Afghanistan, just a few months ago, with three mothers who between them had lost seven children, killed in an explosion.

The enormity of their grief, combined with the eerie beauty of the place, made it an unforgettable scene.

Being gathered in front of the TV with Teina Pora’s supporters watching as the Privy Council law lords delivered their decision, quashing his convictions (Teina couldn’t watch!).

The reactions from Malcolm Rewa’s other victims as the verdict came in finding him guilty of Susan Burdett’s murder.

On a lighter note (sometimes in this job there aren’t enough of these!), being with Tiki Taane in Vanuatu, as he sang, with his acoustic guitar, to patients waiting to get their sight restored, at a clinic run by the Fred Hollows Foundation. It was gentle and magical; soothing and beautiful.


What is the most fulfilling part of what you get to do?
Honestly, it’s giving a voice to people who might not otherwise have one.

Putting them in a position where they can tell their story or their side of the story, which has never been heard.

It’s really satisfying when that leads to change.


What does 2020 have in store for you?

A documentary which is very much a ‘story’ as opposed to an investigation and which I’m really looking forward to, and some more investigative work – we have some big stories in the pipeline.

And my youngest will be finishing her last year at school, so that’ll be the end of an era – and the beginning of a new one.


 

Anika Moa Unleashed


Anika Moa first burst onto the recording scene at the age of 21, when she released her debut album Thinking Room in 2001.

 

 

It reached the top of the New Zealand Singles Chart, yielding four hit singles. She’s remained perched at the top of Kiwi consciousness ever since.

Although life has changed considerably since those days, the now mother-of-four juggles being knee-deep in nappies with the same offbeat sense of humour that has made her a beloved presenter, MC and now radio host.

But nothing has changed perhaps more than her music.

Rather than lust, love and heartbreak, her latest album is jam-packed with witches, monsters and Mrs Heather Fiddly Widdly Bum’s Song About Veges.

Released in November, it’s her third Songs for Bubbas album; last, but not least. “I love working with babies and kids,” Anika says.

“It fills my heart and makes me proud of myself. I love singing to them and connecting with them; that’s when I feel my happiest.”

The journey from ‘grown-up’ country-pop-rock albums to children’s music was a fairly natural progression, Anika explains.

“The only way I can write is from what I know. When I was a youngster, I was well… young! Youthful you’d say!

“Life was learning how to control my emotions or even learning how to have safe emotions and to go through a lot of lust, love and heartbreak. It’s all so dramatic and rough, then you have kids and you dive into that world. You grow up quickly, but I am a child at heart so that will never leave me. So having children inspired me to write songs for my bubbas and it grew from there.

“I am a baby whisperer… just saying!”

The 39-year-old’s ‘bubbas’ include five-year-old Soren and nine-month-old Marigold with wife, TV news reporter-turned-producer Natasha Utting, along with eight-year-old twins Barry and Taane which she shares custody of with her ex-partner.

You can’t really imagine Anika not having fun, but I still ask, how much more fun is writing and recording children’s music?

“Every kind of recording is fun, whether it’s adult or kids’ music! I still have a wine at the end of the day!”

So how different is Anika Moa post kids to Anika Moa pre kids?

“Before I had kids I had a vision of zen, peace and lovely, well-behaved kids, but the reality is a lot more ‘cray cray’,” she laughs.

“Toys everywhere, screaming, tantrums, sugar highs, sugar lows, devices, more screaming (from me lol) and lots and lots of laughter and snuggles and love. It’s a really fine balance of ups and downs.

“Keeping it real and being kind to yourself is my mantra. Also – whoever smelt it first has to change it!”

Music too is a big part of life for all her children.

“My dream is for all my children to learn an instrument and to be as passionate about music as I am, but they will have their own dreams so I’ll go with them and their hearts. As long as none of them are gay. That’s disgusting,” she deadpans in a way only Anika Moa could possibly get away with.

Amongst the adults, she’s arguably better known today as a television presenter and radio host, having recently joined Stacey Morrison and Mike Puru as part of the Drive team at The Hits.

“I’d compare it to swimming in the deep ocean and just keeping your energy levels up with a heaving chest, then you go under, but voilà, up pops the head and you continue swimming… repeat that a million times a day and that pretty much sums it up!” she laughs.

“I do love my new job with Stacey and Mike. It’s nice to get out of the whare.”

Meanwhile, her unconventional interview series Anika Moa: Unleashed has proven so popular that TVNZ OnDemand has given the greenlight for Anika Moa: Reunited next year, and you’ll often find her face popping up on Seven Sharp, where she’s a fan-favourite guest host.

So how does a day in the life of Anika Moa look these days?

“Haha… wake up two to three times a night with Marigold; wake up; do kid things (food, walk, drop offs etc) then head to a filming or an ad or a song recording or an MC event or whatever you have for me, then head to The Hits, then drive home, put the kids to bed and have a wine, if I’m honest; talk to my wife for four and a half minutes then pass out, exhausted.

“Weekends are for gigs, MC work etc… so no days off, and making time for my mental health is very important to me, so I’m trying to walk more, talk more and have massages, lots more to unwind. Did I mention wine?”

Raised in Christchurch, she loves our little slice of heaven and gets down here whenever she can.

Her BFF Nicky Claridge, who took this photo and the cover shot, lives in Omihi, in North Canterbury.

“I love Ōtautahi! I love my memories of growing up there; the Cathedral; Hagley Park; New Brighton Beach; Scarborough Hill; Lyttelton; gosh there are too many beautiful spots to name. It is a sometimes dark city but very inspiring for a writer like me.

“A sensational part of the country/world, plus the rugby!”

So how does the next 12 months look in the Moa household?

“How long have you got?” she laughs.

“I started filming Anika Moa: Reunited – a show about reuniting some of Aotearoa’s finest bands! It’s awesome so far but a lot of work! I am going to tour songs for Bubbas 3 during the school holidays and I have a new baby business I am developing for Kiwi parents. I want to release a few books and merchandise and I’d love to record a country album…

“That’s just the first half of the year!”