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Sophie Pascoe: Star Power

Canterbury’s golden girl Sophie Pascoe is one of New Zealand’s most successful athletes, with nine Paralympic swimming gold medals and six Halberg Awards already under her professional belt.



Now she’s shooting for more than the stars; Sophie has lent her high profile to a new role as the 2020 women’s ambassador for underwear brand Jockey, which she says is not just a huge boost for the Paralymic movement, but also for herself.

“To be a para-athlete showcasing all of my body in lingerie, it is very raw and knowing those pics in particular have had little to no touch-ups at all is a proud moment.

“I’m proud to showcase my body and show people like me that they don’t have to be afraid of their bodies.”

As a professional athlete, Sophie has a unique relationship with her body, having pushed it to its limits to be leader in her field.

“There are times in my life and there are still times in my life that is really challenging for me to look in a full-length mirror. These pics showcase all of my body, which is really powerful and great for my confidence.”

She will of course not be resting on her laurels this year, as she prepares for the nationals in April, the qualifying round for the Tokyo Paralympics in August to September.

“Sport created this identity for me, but to have this identity outside the pool that people can relate to is really powerful,” she says.

“It was really a no-brainer to align with a company that showcases real women with real bodies and expressing how positive that is to society.”


The Influencers: Joanna Norris

ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

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.


Gauguin in Aotearoa

An exhibition showcasing the works of artists Gabriel Heimler and Anna Proc is soon to open at McAtamney Gallery in Geraldine.



Titled Gauguin in Aotearoa, the exhibition features a series of paintings inspired by a time when French post-impressionist artist, Paul Gauguin had a ten day stopover in Auckland in 1895, en route to Tahiti.

Gauguin visited the Auckland Museum and, discovering the then newly-opened Māori Art wing, immersed himself in studying and making sketches of the artworks on display.

“Gauguin was a world-citizen; he was half-Peruvian and half-French,” Proc explains.

“He felt himself to be already cosmopolitan and, although he lived in France for some years, he didn’t feel at home there.

Gauguin was searching for a newness, for diversity… he dreamt to find an optimal inspirational place and Tahiti seemed an idyllic destination for his creativity.”

Proc says that, like Gauguin, she and Heimler are from Europe and have been searching for a place that is new and diverse yet also rooted in its history.

“Our inspiration is to ask ourselves what would Gauguin paint if he were here in New Zealand now?

Our work also asks can we choose another country and represent it; interpret this new land – our fascination with Māori culture and that underlying female presence?

Gauguin’s paintings of women are rather mysterious; our big point of difference is that certainly, we want to celebrate and show the beauty and importance of women, but integral to our work is to make them contemporary – of today’s world.”

Heimler and Proc have been painting collaboratively for 10 years.

They work in tandem, from large wall murals through to diptychs. Gauguin in Aotearoa poses many questions, such as why alongside the Polynesian women featured in the series, there are also blue-eyed blondes, sports cars and, somewhat surreally, Heimler, Proc and Gauguin chatting in a doorway!

“In sum, our art is a reflection of our quest to gain a deeper understanding of our single and united selves,” Proc says, “Our work is not didactic; rather, we raise questions. Our process is as much one of exploration as of discovery.”

Find McAtamney Gallery and Design Store at 40a Talbot Street, Geraldine. Phone 027 305 3000 or email


Luxe Landscapes

With more than 15 years of landscaping and construction experience in England, Australia and New Zealand, Carl Gildea specialises in designing stylish, unique gardens for homeowners to enjoy.



It all began on a working holiday in Australia where he enjoyed the creative and satisfying work of laying paving and building retaining walls.

When he arrived in New Zealand, Carl established his own company Willow Landscapes, covering all aspects of landscape design and construction from decking and retaining walls, to driveways, lawns and creating completely new gardens.

“I’m told I have a very good eye for detail and symmetry. That’s why I love paving, but because one of my hobbies is building timber furniture, I am also passionate about using timber in gardens to fashion pergolas, screens, fencing and decking.”

Carl’s pavement designs are bespoke and beautiful, ranging from perfect straight lines, to sweeping koru-shaped patterns.

All paving, patio builds and other concrete works are completed to professional top-quality standards by masonry craftsmen.

Decks, pergolas, raised garden beds and fencing are all simple, yet stylish ways Carl and the team can transform bare landscapes into modern, appealing spaces to entertain, relax and enjoy.

He also has a deep appreciation for New Zealand’s flora and fauna and is passionate about introducing natives into all the gardens he designs and constructs.

For a free quote and design inspiration, call Carl on 021 536 442.


The Influencers: Marian Johnson

It’s hard to say goodbye to that most wonderful of things – the Kiwi summer holiday. In between the pavs and beach cricket this year, it was hard to miss the horror of the human and ecological tragedy unfolding in Australia giving us all a window into the impact of climate change.


Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

With the passing of the Zero Carbon amendment last year, New Zealand is taking a lead in the global charge against climate change. And Christchurch, with its aggressive goals of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, is a part of that charge.

Behaviour change will certainly be required to hit these targets; innovation and technology breakthroughs will also be critical to their achievement.

It’s encouraging then to note that Callaghan Innovation’s CPrize, a national innovation challenge, chose environmental sustainability as its 2020 challenge theme.

Just as we broke for the holidays at the end of last year, 10 finalists were chosen from the national entries.

A quick look at the teams show solutions in agriculture, waste management, packaging, and aquaculture – each driving sustainability across mega industries or individual behaviours.

We’re very proud to count three of the 10 ventures are Christchurch-based including Radius Robotics who are part of the startup cohort at Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth & Innovation.

Miraculous innovations aside, we’re all facing an individual challenge in this battle.

Our city’s carbon emissions break out thus: transportation 53 percent, stationary energy 23 percent, agriculture 11 percent, waste nine percent, and industry four percent. What can each of us do to reduce our own emissions?


Making Good Cities Great

It’s a competitive marketplace in the 21st century and it seems that competitiveness extends to our cities.



According to the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI), we need a more comprehensive and holistic set of measures to assess and report on the capability, functionality and ‘health’ of New Zealand’s cities and towns, in order to remain competitive in the city stakes.

NZPI Chief Executive David Curtis applauds a recent PWC report on ‘Competitive Cities’, describing the collection of data about city competitiveness as integral to making good cities great.

“Functional cities and towns create great spaces for people to live, work and play, celebrate their culture and facilitate engagement with their communities,” Curtis says. “As such, they are an essential element of overall wellbeing in New Zealand. A significant proportion of our population lives in urban areas, so when these are functioning well, that’s good for the whole nation economically and culturally.”

Curtis says that the ability of cities to attract and retain residents – their ‘competitiveness’ – is very much influenced by the availability of housing and employment, however other factors are as important to help New Zealand cities compete against, say, Australian cities, for the skilled workers needed to fuel economic growth, innovation and development.

“Climate, schooling, the availability of recreational facilities and open spaces, public transport, the physical layout of the urban space, access to cultural facilities, even food and entertainment all influence where people choose to live, and on how well that city and the people in it function – how ‘healthy’ those cities are.”