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Time for a Queenstown staycay! – The Rees


It’s important not to ignore all of the amazing little getaway hotspots that we have in our backyard, especially now that the country is trying to get back on its feet. Make The Rees Hotel Queenstown the destination of your next holiday.

 

 

It’s easy to see why this hotel has a Qualmark five-star tick of approval; all you have to do is look at what it has to offer.

“Sixty hotel rooms, 90 apartments and five private, three-bedroom, three-bathroom lakeside residences, all with terraces, showcasing spectacular views across Lake Wakatipu to the alpine panorama of the Remarkable Mountain range,” Director of Operations Roman Lee-Lo says.

Not to mention the notable amenities: free parking, free Wifi, family rooms, airport shuttle, non-smoking rooms and a fitness centre.

Queenstown is calling and there’s a room at The Rees with your name on it. Book now via the website and check out their highly discounted rates on the STAY NZ page of their website.


 

Helping Hospo


You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the country’s hospitality operators as we moved into Alert Level 1. Gathering restrictions have been removed and all current COVID-19 rules on businesses and services have lifted.

 

 

The move to Level 1 means that many hospitality operators can now begin to reclaim a sense of normality and this will provide customers the much-needed confidence to go out and safely socialise (and spend) again.

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Julie White, says our team of five million should be proud of the significant achievement we’ve made in getting to no active COVID-19 cases.

“The hospitality sector has also shown incredible resilience throughout this difficult time banding together to ensure that the health and safety of our communities remains paramount,” she says.

“They’ve been forced to adapt to different ways of operating as each level has decreased, and the restrictions that hospitality operators (and their customers) have had to wrestle with have been incredibly challenging – so, we’re very excited to be getting back to business.”

Hospitality New Zealand expects that with restrictions such as social distancing and table service restraints lifted, businesses in the hospitality and accommodation sectors will start to recover and slowly return, over time, to profitability.

While some accommodation providers and leisure hotspots saw a return to normal visitor and occupancy levels over Queen’s Birthday weekend, the following day’s return saw a huge dip – with a mere five percent occupancy rate in the accommodation sector, demonstrating the long road ahead to recovery.

The full year forecast predicts 30 percent occupancy (at best) for accommodation and hotel providers.

Similarly, the challenges of COVID-19 have also led to a 30 percent reduction in employment across the hospitality sector.

While the recently announced changes to the Wage Subsidy extension is expected to assist an additional 40,000 businesses across the country, this alone won’t be enough to save many operators, Julie says.

If you’re financially able to, perhaps it’s time to consider taking a domestic ‘Staycation’ (booked through a local travel agent, of course!), heading out for a much-needed date night at a local restaurant and grabbing some gift vouchers from your favourite venues so you can share the love!

“The hospitality sector relies on people – tourists, office workers, social gatherings and foot traffic,” Julie says.

“With Kiwis now encouraged to go back to their workplaces, this presents a huge opportunity for people to support their local hospitality businesses.

“As a nation, we’ve shown solidarity and performed incredibly well to fight this health crisis.

With the transition to Level 1, we can all step up and play our part in supporting the full recovery of Kiwi businesses which have been hit so hard.”


 

Podcast supports small business


In New Zealand, small businesses are a big deal. There is, after all, more than 500,000 of them.

 

 

There’s a new podcast on the entrepreneurial block that has been designed to support and inspire local small business owners.

‘Kiwis in Business’ is a melting pot of informal, yet informative interviews by Public Relations specialist Linda Shackelford of Expand PR, who sets out to explore the different personalities, ideas and skillsets of innovative and entrepreneurial Kiwis.

The former journalist is impressed by the calibre of our local businesses.

“However, often smaller businesses go unnoticed and unrecognised or don’t know where to start on promoting themselves,” Linda says.

“My job is to uncover the inspiring and authentic stories behind business owners and their businesses and help get those stories out to the wider community.”

The first five episodes released on Spotify and Google Podcasts attracted positive feedback from listeners and Linda says she’s had an influx of emails from small business owners requesting to be interviewed.

“I am using my skills to highlight theirs – something which has turned out to be very fulfilling for both me, and other business owners, especially at this uncertain time when small business owners need all the support and publicity they can get!”

Each week, a new interview with a Kiwi business owner will be released to followers, with supporting content being rolled out on the ‘Kiwis in Business’ Facebook and Instagram pages.


 

The architecture of transportation hubs: WSP Architecture


It’s never been so important to attract and entertain visitors in our New Zealand towns and cities.

By Matt Sloper, Architect at WSP Architecture

A common problem faced by visitors and locals alike is access to transportation infrastructure.

Nationwide, councils are now looking to explore infrastructure developments designed to transform town centres, eliminating congestion issues, improving accessibility, providing new public amenity spaces and enhancing the visitor experience.

The key design driver for a transportation hub is a strong urban focus, resulting in high quality solutions that sit sympathetically within the urban context, address the surrounding street frontages, are inviting and safe, allow easy permeability through the site, provide added community amenity, and are well integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood.

Where natural beauty surrounds the sites; an appropriate design response is for the built insertions to be complementary with, but subservient to, the broader natural environment.

Texture, light, shade, materiality and colour are carefully considered to give the exteriors a sculptural quality, and one which adds interest whilst also reducing the overall visual impact.

These hubs service mixed transportation modes, including built-in capacity to accommodate greater numbers of electric vehicles in future.

Transportation hubs should embody connections with local culture and history, creating a distinctly local flavour that speaks of its place and reinforces the destination’s reputation as a meeting place and social and economic centre.

Although responding to a pragmatic functional need they make a positive contribution to the character and quality of New Zealand towns and cities for all to enjoy.


 

Subsidence and its risks


Post-quake every day New Zealanders were introduced to a number of new terms relating to engineering and ground movement.

 

 

One of those terms was subsidence; the gradual downward movement or sinking of an area of land which can cause the foundation of a home to gradually settle in one area or across its entire footprint.

Subsidence can result in expensive structural repairs, which may be a deal breaker for many house hunters.

For those homeowners looking to sell their property, the structural defects resulting from ground subsidence can significantly reduce their final sale price.

Mainmark Ground Engineering Sales and Business Development Manager James O’Grady fills us in on how to protect ourselves.

“While astute homeowners and buyers will recognise some of the warning signs of potential subsidence, major structural faults or safety hazards may not be visible at first glance,” James says.

“Extensive foundation damage should be fully assessed by a suitably accredited structural or geotechnical engineer, to identify the cause, how extensive the settlement is and whether the underlying cause of settlement requires fixing,”

The common causes of foundation ground issues often relate to moisture in the soil beneath the home’s foundations, he explains.

Different types of soil (such as reactive clays, sand and silt, fill, and organic soils) behave in different ways to changing moisture levels, so consider the following when investigating the likely cause:

• Water ponding around the house
• Excessive moisture leaking into the foundation ground, often due to broken pipes, making it too wet
• Invasive tree roots searching for water, making it too dry.

In many cases, foundation issues can be resolved quickly and efficiently using modern ground engineering solutions that are less invasive and costly than traditional underpinning.

Fixing the problem for the long term requires correcting any issues that might have caused the foundation damage and this may also involve consulting a plumber or other expert.

James recommends CSIRO Publishing’s Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A homeowner’s Guide as a valuable reference and says that if signs of subsidence have appeared, you need to consult structural and geotechnical engineers or ground engineering experts.

Mainmark has treated more than 11,000 sites throughout Australasia, from single-storey homes to large commercial buildings.

For more information and advice about ground engineering issues and remediation solutions, contact Mainmark on 0800 873 835.


 

Resilience in action


Resilience and wellbeing have recently gone from fuzzy buzzwords, to being recognised as extremely important concepts that we need to not only respect, but master, as our health and safety has been threatened.

 

 

So we caught up with one of the country’s leading academics specialising in the area, adjunct fellow at the University of Canterbury, Dr Lucy Hone who, along with Dr Denise Quinlan, heads the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience (NZIWR), about practical strategies for coping in the face of uncertainty and threat.


What is wellbeing and why is it critical to promote it?

I did my PhD looking at different ways wellbeing is defined and measured. On the back of that research we define wellbeing as ‘feeling good and functioning well’.

Because it’s not just about happiness – the feeling good bit – but also all the ways of thinking and behaving that enable us to get through, show up in our daily lives and perform to the best of our ability; I’m talking about experiencing strong, supportive relationships; having a sense of meaning, purpose and direction in daily life; being able to know what your strengths are and play to those strengths to leverage your best performance and weather life’s crappy times.

Strong supportive relationships, whether friends, family, at work or through school, hobbies, cultural or religious groups also have a huge impact on our resilience – either promoting or reducing it too. We don’t live in a vacuum but are very much part of our environments.


We’re out of lockdown now, but how long should we be hyper-aware of our mental health?

We need to always be aware of what’s working for our mental health and what’s dragging us down.

There is so much you can do yourself to promote and protect your own wellbeing.

In our work we teach people to catch unbridled pessimism and negativity, and establish whether the way they’re thinking is a) an accurate reading of the situation and b) if it’s helping or harming their quest to achieve what they’re trying to achieve.

What we have seen during the Covid pandemic is that the people who are operating from no reserves of wellbeing or who are really rigid in their ways of thinking and acting don’t do so well when their everyday environment is changed.

Mental agility is really important for resilience and it’s going to be absolutely critical as we move forward.

Some people are going to be going through some really tough times and I absolutely empathise with that, but the people who do best are the people who appraise their situations accurately, are realistic in sizing up the threat and somehow manage to accept what has changed and find a new path that will work for them.

I’ll grant you, saying that is much easier than doing it, but the research is clear: those who are flexible in their thinking and attitude do better during times of crisis and change.


What are some practical strategies for coping with challenging times?

I would suggest people look at their media intake over a 24-hour period and ask themselves if taking it all in is helping or harming the way they’re feeling and functioning.

Give your brain a break from Coronavirus; reading about it, talking about it, it’s exhausting. Give your poor, overthinking brain a break from time to time. One good way to do that is by taking part in something that really absorbs you.

Also, be really deliberate in seeking out the people, the places and the things to do that make you happy. We’re all concerned or worried, that’s totally normal, but studies show that positive emotions also have an important role to play during times of crisis.

One showed that the more positive emotions people felt in the period post 9/11, the more likely they were to be resilient.

I’m not devaluing negative emotions or saying we should shy away from them, but given the research it makes sense to also keep topping up on the things that make you laugh, feel calm, proud, inspired, awestruck etc.

Positive emotions are fleeting and tend to bounce off us; negative emotions are sticky like Velcro and really good at hanging around.

The trick is to know all those things that bring pride or amusement or inspiration and think ‘where can I get these from right now?’ because they’re important.

Be kind to other people but also remember to be kind to yourself too.

Research shows 76 percent of us are kinder to others than ourselves.

During lockdown, we came across a lot of people who were really beating themselves up on how unproductive they were being, how weak they felt and how exhausted too.

That is totally normal when there’s such huge stuff going on in the world, so we’ve been running webinars about lowering the bar, being kind to yourself and being realistic; it’s ok to not be okay right now.

Don’t beat yourself up, believe me, you are not alone!

The New Zealand Resilience Institute is now running the NZ Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing here in Christchurch over one week from 23 September. For more information, email sally@nziwr.co.nz. NZIWR’s webinars and other resources are available on the website.


 

Supporting tourism and hospitality: Peter Morrison


Peter Morrison is known as a guru of hospitality, or more formally as the President of Hospitality New Zealand – Canterbury, and senior member of the New Zealand Board. He is also World President of SKAL International, representing New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality sectors on the world stage and connecting tourism globally. Metropol caught up with Peter about how we can support our tourism and hospitality sectors moving forward.


How has lockdown been treating you Peter?

Yes, like everyone else it is very challenging in these such unprecedented times.


What are you most excited about post-lockdown?

To get my beloved hospitality and tourism industry back to being the number one export earner for New Zealand.

World tourism has taken a real beating and our Skal members world-wide are struggling.

Realistically this will take some time as we have been hurt the worst with social distancing, border closures and many more major issues putting big obstacles in our way.


You’ve long talked about the importance of community support for hospitality, what are some of the best ways we can look to support our tourism and hospitality businesses?

For hospitality venues – hotels, motels, backpackers, bars, restaurants and cafés – to survive, we are really going to need our local residents and domestic travellers to ‘come to the party’ and give us all the support they can possibly give.

This will apply to all retail shopping as well, not online!


What would you like to see coming through from Government level?

We are very appreciative of the Wage Subsidy that has been given; it is imperative that this is extended.

We are talking with Government to also give our industry priority.

We have been the worst industry affected and really been under siege.

In Australia the wage subsidy is for six months and small to medium businesses (SMBs) have been given between $20,000 and $100,000 to help with all the costs and overheads that still must be paid while businesses have been shut.


What advice would you give to businesses that are being hard hit during these challenges?

While we are aware how unprecedented this crisis is, we are together in sharing the immense challenge, change, sadness and uncertainty.

COVID-19 has been able to grip the world in a way we’ve not experienced before, but because of our connectedness, the tourism and hospitality industry’s strong ties are what will ensure that we will build our industry again – doing business amongst friends!


 

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 carolyn@mcatamneygallery.co.nz.