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Building workplace wellbeing

As lives – and livelihoods – remain disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, a new platform to help small business owners monitor their team’s wellbeing has been launched.


The Check In is an online tool for small business leaders to help them facilitate free activities to support their teams and empower team members to support themselves.

Launched by cloud-based accounting software platform, Xero, The Check In has evidence-based ideas and insights to assist businesses to cultivate workplace wellbeing.

It also includes additional wellbeing resources and policy guides for small businesses that want to take wellbeing further.

Managing Director for New Zealand and Pacific Islands at Xero Craig Hudson, says the impact of the pandemic on the small business industry is far-reaching – impacting wellbeing and inflating day-to-day stresses.

“All workplaces play a central role in building people’s resilience and positive wellbeing, helping them to be healthy, contributing members to their families and communities.

“After specialist mental health services and primary health care, workplaces are the next biggest place of mental wellness support in the country, and 97 percent of New Zealand businesses are small businesses. So it’s vital that small businesses know what to do and how simple it can be.”

Likewise, the evidence for cultivating healthy workplaces shows returns, says Hudson.

A Deloitte study in the UK found mental health awareness and proactive intervention can result in a return on investment (ROI) of up to $8 for every $1 spent, while reactive support can result in an ROI of up to $4.50 for every $1 spent.


European Flavour: Molto Bella

Reap the benefits of continental jet setting just 40-minutes from Christchurch. Molto Bella in Rangiora has an exclusive collection of clothing and homewares from the dreamiest European locations, including the Amalfi Coast, Greece, Spain, Belgium and Denmark.


Curated by owner Anette Drewery, each piece is lovingly considered for its style and design.

“No one in New Zealand has what we have,” says Anette, who aspires to bring the best of international style to her customers.

From Parisian chic, to Italian elegance and Scandinavian design, you’ll find pieces in natural fibres like silks and cottons alongside New Zealand OBR merino.

The latest lines of French favourites Rhum Raisin drop twice a year, for summer and winter.

Adorn your home with furnishings and inspired European touches, like books from Denmark, Belgium tapestry and quirky cushion designs, and locally made ceramics.

The store itself is tranquil with a pop of fun, just like any good vacation.

Peruse the exclusive selection to the ambient sound of the in-store water feature and get to know loved locals Flynn the golden retriever and Ash the cocker spaniel.

This is your final boarding call.


Explore Antarctica from home

Sir Edmund Hillary’s hut is the coldest new hotspot to open its virtual doors. The Antarctic Heritage Trust, in partnership with Auckland University of Technology (AUT), has developed a unique virtual experience that transports viewers to the chilly continent.




The project came about to celebrate New Zealand’s first presence in Antarctica, thanks to Sir Ed and his 23-man team building Scott Base’s first hut over 60 years ago.

The virtual experience means you won’t have to face the extreme and harsh environment that Hillary did, but you will get to tour five rooms of the hut and view hundreds of artefacts.

Professor Barbara Bollard from Auckland University of Technology played a huge part in getting this project up and running.


“It’s one thing to read about a place or see photos, but to interactively walk around and experience it as if you are there, really cements the connection,” she says.

“It creates a greater awareness and appreciation of the importance and value of these places.”

Ryman Healthcare was a principal sponsor of the unique experience, and Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod says the project will bring a unique Antarctic experience to thousands of people who otherwise could not get there.

“Sir Ed’s hut is part of the rich history of Antarctic exploration and we will be taking this experience to as many of our residents as we can. I am sure they are going to love it,” he says.

Antarctica New Zealand and Staples VR were also supporters of the project.

Put your explorer gear on and take a tour of the hut yourself, through the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s app and the gaming platform Steam.



Make-up your mind on study: Kristen Stewart School of Makeup

All beauty gurus start somewhere. And at Kristen Stewart School of Make-up graduates not only earn an industry-recognised diploma in make-up artistry – they gain real world experience alongside the best of New Zealand beauty.

KSSM’s huge Brutalist-esque building at 3C/75 Peterborough Street is custom fit so students have ample mirror space, great lighting and luxe chairs for a truly professional feel.

As an official partner to the prestigious New Zealand Fashion Week, KSSM is the only school in the country that takes graduate and attending students to the event – and have been doing so for the last 11 years. Runway makeup is often regarded as a pinnacle of makeup artistry, so students add that notch to their belt early on in their careers.

The school is sponsored by industry-leading MAC cosmetics and has one-on-one classes with Kristen herself and two of her best graduates; Michelle Raasch and Tessa Taylor. But aside from learning from the very best – students get very hands on work experience including the ARA Pitch Fashion Show, Lynn Woods show, and local productions including school productions, Star Jam, Jump Jam, Christmas in the Park, Cup and Show Week, Ronald McDonald House, and the much-anticipated New Zealand Fashion Week.

Photos by Getty Images NZFW 2019 Make Up by #teamkssm

KSSM’s top makeup tips:
• Focus on creating – not covering – healthy skin
• Keep heavy “Instagram makeup” online
• Barely there or minimal makeup is trending
• Know what you’re doing and if you don’t – find out through courses and industry professionals

Made up your mind yet? Find out how to apply for the October 12 intake online.


Preparing for alfresco living: The Crowded House Furniture Company

It may be winter, but it only takes a few warm nor’westers and a couple of 20°C days for us to start planning for sunny days and al fresco entertainment. So, it’s no surprise September is one of the busiest months for The Crowded House Furniture Company, purveyors of stylish and competitively priced outdoor furniture.


Since launching in 2011, the company has sourced and imported its own brand of New Zealand-designed furniture to Kiwi specifications (generous proportions, tough enough to handle sunshine and snow).

Dealing directly with manufacturers keep prices competitive, as does its no-showroom, viewing by appointment model.

Ranges of mix-and-match dining settings, lounge suites, and large bar and stool combos are constructed of UV resistant polyethylene rattan over solid powder coated aluminium frames, in classic black and brown, complete with cushions.

Call Jodi on 0275332298 to arrange a viewing, or shop online.


John Bridgman

The Influencers: John Bridgman

One of the pleasing aspects of our work delivering anchor projects for Christchurch is the positive impact on suppliers.

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

We’re spending over $10m a month in the city at the moment. We’ve profiled some of those suppliers in recent in-house video updates.

Local company, John Jones Steel is producing 4500 tonnes of fabricated steelwork for the large Metro Sports Facility. It’s the biggest project in the company’s 50-year history and will keep them busy for a year.

John Jones Steel notes that their staff and families look forward to swimming in the competition and leisure pools, and playing on the court and other facilities, making it a special project for them.

That steel is being hoisted into place by Titan Cranes, which has three of the largest cranes ever used in New Zealand on-site, including a massive 500-tonne crawler crane especially imported for the project. I’m with one of the crane operators who notes excitedly: “You’re never too old to ride a hydroslide!”

But it’s not just the large companies that benefit from these projects. Remarkable Surfaces, a small family business based at Wigram, is spray painting the 487 gilded boxes that compose the ceiling design in the vast banquet room at the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.

This is the largest project that Remarkable Surfaces has ever undertaken, and they are indeed doing a remarkable job.

With Covid-19, these are challenging times to be delivering major construction projects. We look forward to having them completed for the enjoyment and benefit of us all.



Practising with purpose: Godfreys Law

Ensuring people are protected for their future – whether that’s buying an earthquake damaged home, preparing their will and powers of attorney, or moving into a retirement home – is what drives Christchurch lawyer Shona Senior.


My advice for young women coming into law now would be to choose a firm which is the right fit for you and the area of law you want to practice in.

After retraining as a lawyer 10 years ago, Shona wanted to specialise in “elder law”, the legal issues impacting the aging population.

Growing up she watched her parents care for her grandparents, who lived into their late 90s, and this piqued her interest in legal issues that affect people as they age.

“I wanted to help families navigate the myriad of issues which come with old age, like asset planning, residential care costs, preparing robust wills, family trusts and advising on occupation licences.”

She also enjoys helping home buyers of all ages, ensuring they’re protected from the risks of buying and selling homes – especially earthquake damaged and poorly repaired houses.

Working as a woman in a traditionally male field, Shona says it was initially challenging juggling motherhood and long hours with little in the way of flexible work practices.

“Studying law when my daughter was quite young, that was quite hard as a lot of firms worked the traditional way, which was long hours and without any allowance for attending to childcare.”

There are now many women in the legal profession in New Zealand, and she says the profession is slowly changing and becoming more flexible.

She values Godfreys Law for its flexibility, and she works part-time so she can help her own parents as they get older.

“My advice for young women coming into law now would be to choose a firm which is the right fit for you and the area of law you want to practice in.”

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Shona worked as a librarian in Christchurch and government researcher in Wellington.

Contact Shona on 0800 131 001 or


Bespoke and inspired kitchens: Trends Kitchens

Trends Kitchens has long established itself in New Zealand as a trusted brand with a stellar portfolio, sealed with a gold stamp of approval from thousands of Kiwi homeowners who have had a bespoke kitchen and joinery designed, manufactured and installed by Trends.



The individually New Zealand-owned and operated company has been leading the way for nearly 25-years, drawing on its experience in the field to provide expertise in kitchen and joinery design, manufacture and installation across our branch network.

Chosen by design-savvy homeowners, architects and builders who want more than just a kitchen, Trends delivers only the highest standard of product and service.

The company sources a mixture of trusted local and exclusive high-quality products from Europe to bring homeowners the most innovative products at an affordable rate.

The product range is a result of well-considered decisions, and above all shows the team’s devotion to quality.

TriStone 100 per cent acrylic solid- surface, silica-free, BPA-free benchtops, Lazio sinks, AGT doors and panels are just some of the options available as well as finer details such as hardware and fittings.

Many of the products have 10-year or lifetime warranties and Trends’ own workmanship is guaranteed for 10 years.

All cabinetry is custom-made to fit exact measurements so homeowners have a design tailored to their exact requirements, further strengthening the company’s brand worth.

Whether you’re looking to create strong forms or a no-nonsense kitchen, Trends will ensure homeowners have confidence in their decision-making and are kept in the loop throughout the entire design process.

Combine expertise, craftsmanship and top-of-the-line products and you have highly functional kitchen and joinery solutions for modern families who seek beautiful workmanship and attention to detail.

Trends is the perfect place to find inspiration and talk with experienced and knowledgeable designers who will offer expert advice.

View the range of high-quality products on display at showrooms located nationwide, Christchurch, Cromwell, Blenheim, Nelson and Auckland.

If you’re building from the ground up or updating for modern family life, visit Trends for all of your joinery needs. From design and manufacture through to installation – you will be inspired every step of the way.



New directions: Art Metro

Painting may have been one of the hobbies New Zealanders took up over the course of the lockdown. YouTube tutorials may have sufficed then, but now it’s time to increase those skills further.



Enter Art Metro, a creative hub that has produced hundreds of happy students.

Metropol caught up with owner Simon Walmisley about the art school and the exciting opportunities arising for him.

“I believe that what we do here at Art Metro is far more than running a business,” Simon says.

“It’s a community service for people from all over the city, a social experience in a studio space where more than 300 students can enjoy each other’s company.”

Taking that community service as a springboard, Simon has decided to branch out into politics this year, standing under the New Conservative Party banner for the Ilam electorate.

“New Conservative’s strong focus on families and communities really appeals to me and I am excited to represent them as a candidate. I am sure campaigning will be just as challenging and rewarding as I have found being a business owner is,” Simon says.

“As I have with Art Metro, I will make the most of the opportunities that arise.”


Cementing a new trend

The historically exterior concrete is creeping indoors and cementing itself as one of 2020’s top interior architecture trends.



As design thinking moves towards more natural aesthetics, the seemingly eternal trend of stark white kitchens may be coming to an end, and hand trowelled- effect concrete may well be taking its place. Described by Italian architect Andrea Maffei as “the material that best defines modern architecture”, concrete is rich in hue and texture bringing a sleek and contemporary feel to the home when paired with wood grains and solid monochromatic palettes.

Concrete benchtops are far from new, but how about concrete cabinetry and rendered feature walls? Enter Lookcrete, an authentic concrete-look melamine product available in New Zealand and used for everything from kitchen doors and bathroom cabinetry, to feature islands, wall panelling, bookcases, and desks…and it can be done with paint!
When using concrete or adhesive alternatives are out of the picture (or price range), a realistic concrete effect can be mimicked with paint. Porter’s Paints has a range of paints which can achieve the coveted concrete finish, like its lime-based Interno Lime Wash when applied by block brush in random left-to-right strokes.