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An exceptional update: Elmswood Retirement Village


“Our residents are just so excited. They can hardly wait to see their refurbished serviced apartment or studio and move back home after being off site,” Elmswood Retirement Village sales consultant Donna Monk says.

 

 

Donna is equally thrilled about the makeover renovation that is happening in the Avon Wing at the village.

“Twelve serviced units are being updated with new carpets, new lighting, new tapware, beautiful benchtops and tiled bathrooms – a stunning fresh look. These Avon Wing serviced units will be ready for occupation in mid-September and we have three available for purchase.”

The large serviced units with stylish furnishings have been designed to enhance the living space – “plenty of room to entertain guests” – while at the same time retaining original features.

“One of the great advantages of the serviced units is that they are all on ground level and open out to their own private patio and the village’s gardens. Being able to walk straight outside easily is extremely important for many residents.”

Another innovation of the refurbishment is that a cosy social area has been incorporated into the design. “This fully utilises all the available space in the wing and gives the residents another option to meet with friends and family.”

Another six serviced units will be refurbished following the completion of the first stage.

“It’s all part of a major project for the whole village that will include the rest home as well.”

To find out more about the serviced units for occupation, phone Donna Monk on 03 351 0974 or 021 241 9979.


 

She had a dream


Sometimes all it takes is perfect timing to bring your best achievement into the limelight.

 

 

When she was 20, local Christchurch musician Steffany Beck won a grant with the foundation Rise NZ, to record her song I Have a Dream. Now at 30 she has just commercially released her favourite original to the world.

“The lyrics are about what the world would look and feel like if everyone accepted each other for who they are, allowing people to just follow and live their dreams,” she says.

At the time, the inspiring indie pop-rock song was recorded professionally with a full band, released on the Rise website and showcased on the Erin Simpson Show, but that was the limits to the song’s publicity.

“Only my friends and family really knew it existed back then – there was no opportunity for it to go anywhere,” Steffany explains.

“However, a teenager did recognise me in the mall and said it completely inspired her. That really meant a lot; creating your community and connecting with them is what inspires me the most. It’s who you do it for.”

The song title was inspired by Martin Luther King’s famous 1963 quote when he called to end racism in the United States.

It was watching videos of his speeches that the American-born songstress got inspiration to write and headline the song.

“Coincidentally this even has relevance with what’s been going on recently,” she says of the lyrics which she hopes will inspire others to be more accepting.

“Helping people is all I have ever wanted to do.”

When it comes to inspiration, it was in fact her own song that inspired Steffany to write and record her EP Blue Eyed Girl last year.

“This February I realised this song (I Have a Dream) was actually the prologue to my EP – the reason. My gut instinct told me I had to now share it with the world.”

When the original was released, Steffany was a budding artist but decided to learn the marketing side of things and be her own manager to get her music out there.

“That’s what many musicians are doing now,” she says. “There are so many platforms you can put your music on that weren’t there 10 years ago.”

Instead, Steffany arranged interviews on radio stations, TV segments, even for a music magazine in India! “The whole world is my platform,” she says.

Over the last decade the songstress has been reinventing herself and counts being chosen for a song-writing workshop weekend with Kiwi icon Bic Runga as one of her professional highlights.

The brunette Stephanie from the original YouTube video of I Have a Dream has now become a more talented and very blonde, Steffany.

“I changed my name spelling as there were so many other Stephanie Becks. You need to be easy to find,” she says.

Steffany’s working week is busy as a full-time Health and Safety Manager at Contract Construction, a career she adores.

Lockdown gave her the chance to let herself relax a little and get the re-release of her original I Have a Dream organised.

“I really want to inspire people. Especially now with everything in crazy chaos, you still owe it to yourself to live your own dream.”

Her original song is now up on Spotify, iTunes, apple music, Sound Cloud and Facebook and the latest video went live on YouTube on 15 July.

 

Song Spotify/ iTunes/ Apple Music

smarturl.it/SteffanyBeck

Music video

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq_x6Xi4buA

Social media

www.facebook.com/steffanybeckmusic/


 

Kiwi icon of comedy


It’s all about hearty belly laughs – even in times of adversity – for this Kiwi icon of comedy.

 

 

Peter Rowley is an actor well-loved by those who were glued to the telly in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

He was the straight guy in many a Kiwiana satirical series, such as McPhail and Gatsby, and most notoriously, the Billy T James Show, of which Peter also wrote the scripts with his late, great best-bud Billy. More recently he stared in 2018’s Mortal Engines.

This eternal funny guy still rocks the enthusiastic energy he’s infamous for, even at the suave age of 68.

During Stage 4 lockdown he got up-close and personal with his ‘lockdown comedy’ on Facebook every single day.

The rendition of traditional funny-bone ticklers, showcased his repertoire of impersonations, accents and elastic expressions – adding the odd sound effect with a click of a talented tongue.

He does a Billy Conolly arguably as good as the Scotsman himself. Being too PC or polite doesn’t feature in a Rowley script. It’s comedy in its riotous raw. A

“I resonate with today’s straight-shooting comedians like Ricky Jervis and I admire Spike Milligan for introducing absurdity into comedy.”

Being exceptionally observant is his recipe for creating good comedy.

At this year’s World Buskers Festival, he took to the Spiegeltent stage for the Palaver Grand show. “My happy place is stand-up comedy, so I’m all for its resurgence.”

Born in Timaru and Christ College schooled, he became the “funny boy” so people would like him – and his grandmother was also a comedian.

Peter’s been ensconced back in Christchurch where he grew up, since 2018, after a stint as a Central Otago radio jock.

Prior to that, Peter lived in Melbourne, acting in shows such as Underbelly and Neighbours… and even a Viagra commercial!

“I was pretty much an unknown over there, until I walked into a pub and mentioned I was the voice of Dog in the movie Footrot Flats: A Dog’s Tale. It was all matey hugs and beers after that! The Aussie’s love it.”

Son of a wartime fighter pilot, Peter’s other passion is flying and he’s also enjoyed MCing and livening up many a corporate event.

A voluminous CV of screen and stage stints has led to opportune moments, like having a cuppa with Joan Collins and smoking a cigar with Tommy Lee Jones and Dudley Moore.

This comedic character once owned a Russian Vodka bar.

And recently he conjured up the recipe to his own gin label.

Unsurprisingly christened Laughing Club Gin, the tasteful tipple of London Dry style botanicals, has a beguiling backstory involving Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, sea voyages and British Kings – well matched to its rather glam Art Deco logo.

And why gin? “Because you can always have a great laugh with friends over a really good gin – responsibly of course!”

A boutique Marlborough distillery is preparing for production. “We’ll use a traditional copper still to produce a top-quality mellifluous mouthfeel, which will be PH perfect.”

Peter, who bounced back from a heart attack in 2005, is even more in tune with his creative life mission.

His advice to artists and entrepreneurs?

“It’s courage. When you don’t have fear, then you can allow yourself to be brilliant.

Take your life and make it into the best story in the world!”


 

Financial advice: adapting to change – Alistair Bean


Firstly, we at Alistair Bean & Associates – Financial Advisers want to send our best wishes to all, hoping that you and your families are fit and well.

Personal disclosure documents are available free on demand

By Alistair Bean & Associates Managing Director Alistair Bean

Among other things, financial change has hit most of us like we have never known before and this causes concern for past, present and future planning.

But this is exactly what we must do. We must continue to plan; however it doesn’t need to be difficult.

Sticking to your own rules is extremely important but adapting those rules to situations as they occur is vital to success.

Re-visiting the reasons for your short, medium and longer-term goals are imperative however, it doesn’t need to be cumbersome.

Your short-term goals should include immediate plans for spending like upgrading cars, home maintenance and perhaps family weddings.

Overseas trips may now be deferred for some time and maybe you have received a hotel refund and an airfare credit, so include these figures in calculations.

We say that you should have a three-month backstop of emergency savings for expenses; my recommendation is that you now make this at least a 12-month back-stop.

For medium and longer-term, look at the reasons why you originally selected your investments.

For example, was it because you were going to get a good rate of interest and this has now reduced, or you bought some shares only because you were to receive a dividend, but that dividend is no longer there or reduced significantly.

Perhaps you purchased another investment in an industry that may now not see recovery for a number of years, whether it be property, tourism or entertainment.

For these decisions maybe it’s time to consider investments in sectors that now look more in need.

Discuss these short, medium and longer-term plans with us.

We can individualise what is best suited to your own situation; it may be that you continue as you are, or we can recommend adapted changes as appropriate to your own needs.

Interestingly what gives me some comfort lately is an article I read recently, in the current Covid environment; 96-year-old Charlie Munger, (investment guru, Warren Buffett’s offsider) said, “there is no need to rush when making investment decisions to buy, hold or sell”.

I thought, when a 96-year-old says there’s no need to rush, then you should probably listen.

He went on to say that moving investments at the right price is the right thing to do.

This isn’t about market timing; it’s more about what makes sense as opposed to ‘common’ sense.

We at Alistair Bean & Associates – Financial Advisers understand the market highs and lows, and we can help guide you through these unprecedented times.

Our specialty is “to make decisions for you, so you don’t have to”.

My team and I look forward to assisting you to help review your past, present and future ongoing needs. Please feel free to contact us today to assist you in adapting to change.


 

Making Moves


So you spent lockdown hibernating, that’s ok! Maybe it’s time you pulled the activewear out of the bottom drawer and get a wriggle on! Getting back into it isn’t as overwhelming as you may think. We’ve pulled together some of our top tips to make a move and introduce more exercise into your day to day life.

 

 

  1. Take a hike: So you spent lockdown hibernating, that’s ok! Maybe it’s time you pulled the activewear out of the bottom drawer and get a wriggle on! Getting back into it isn’t as overwhelming as you may think. We’ve pulled together some of our top tips to make a move and introduce more exercise into your day to day life.
  2. Beauty and a beat: It’s undeniable that the right song on the dancefloor can get anyone grooving, it’s the same when trying to motivate yourself to run. Running isn’t for everyone, but it’s made a lot easier with a tune that will put a spring in your step. If you’re feeling like you need extra motivation download Zombies, Run! free from the app store. It’s an ultra-immersive running game that assigns you the role of the protagonist, where every run becomes a mission. Again, it’s not for everyone but it might just be the cool new form of running that will get you to enjoy it.
  3. A block…and a bit: A good way to introduce more movement into your life, is through limiting how much you drive your car. If it’s within walking distance – walk, if it’s a nice day outside and you have some time to spare – walk. It’s better for both you and the environment. Or take it in small steps by parking a block away from your workplace or meeting… then a bit more next time. There’s nothing better than already feeling a sense of accomplishment when you walk in those office doors in the morning.
  4. You vs you: If month long or weeks-worth of challenges aren’t for you then take on ‘mini exercise’ challenges instead. When hanging out the washing, pick up every item individually and properly complete a squat each time. Do a few sets of sit ups, crunches, lunges (or any exercise of your choice) while you’re binging your favourite Netflix show. Increase the complexity by completing a set every episode (for extreme bingers only). The only person who can hold you acceptable to those challenges is yourself.

the voices of hope


When you are experiencing mental illness, it can often feel like there is no way out.

Metropol caught up with Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton from Voices of Hope to get their top tips for those who are struggling and to find out what resources are available.

 

Genevieve Mora (left) and Jazz Thornton (right)

 

Can you tell us a little bit about Voices of Hope and what your purpose is?
Gen: Voices of Hope was started by myself and Jazz in 2017. We wanted to create content that we wish we had had when we were unwell. When you are experiencing mental illness it can often feel like there is no way out, that this will be your reality forever. Voices of Hope aims to give hope to those struggling by sharing stories of those with lived experience. People who have been through it and are now well. We believe that sharing your struggles and successes allows others to feel safe to do the same.


How much harder is lockdown for those who are suffering from mental illness, whether it’s anorexia, depression or anxiety?
Jazz: Lockdown is really difficult for everyone, but especially those dealing with mental illness. It is mentally isolating, so adding physical isolation makes everything 10 times harder.


Is there some overall advice you could give to people who are suffering from mental illness during this time?
Gen: Be kind to yourself. We are facing a lot of uncertainty and change and with that can come heightened anxiety and struggles. Remind yourself that you are not alone in this, we are all facing this ‘new normal’ together and that it’s understandable that you are struggling a little more now perhaps. In saying that, make sure you reach out for help, tell those around you that you’re struggling and know that this will pass.


What are some of your best ways to keep happy and healthy during lockdown?
Jazz: Keep a routine. Go to bed and get up at a reasonable time. Keep a schedule as much as you can doing things you would usually do (showering, get changed, eat at normal times). Make sure you connect with people too because while we are physically isolated, we don’t have to be socially isolated. Reach out, get on facetime or zoom – you are not alone!


If there were some messages to get out to people who are suffering right now, what would they be?
Jazz: You are not a burden! Just because we are in a current world crisis doesn’t make your struggles any less valid or real. Don’t let it silence you, continue to speak up and ask for help.


What other resources do you recommend for people who are struggling?
Jazz: At Voices of Hope we are hosting online events three times a week to create some sense of community for those who need a boost. As well as this we have had many people blog for us on this topic.


 

Acclaimed British writer hits city


Fans of literature are in for a treat when highly acclaimed British author Zadie Smith hits the city for her first – and only – New Zealand appearance at the Christchurch Town Hall’s James Hay Theatre on 13 November, presented by WORD Christchurch and Penguin Random House New Zealand.

 

 

Smith has turned her highly acclaimed authorial hand to race, religion and cultural identity, and her novels are becoming known for their eccentric characters, savvy humour and snappy dialogue.

She exploded onto the literary scene 20 years ago with her debut novel White Teeth, which captured London in all its multi-cultural glory, and she has gone on to an illustrious career in writing, producing novels, essays, and short stories.

Out this month is her new book Grand Union, a collection of sharply alert and prescient short fiction stories which move exhilaratingly across genres and perspectives from the historical to the dystopian.

“Zadie Smith is one of the most important voices of her generation,” WORD Christchurch Programme Director Rachael King says.

“She is a sought-after voice on issues of culture and creativity, but also on race, class, politics and feminism. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be hosting her in Christchurch.”

Smith will appear in conversation on stage, with a chance for the audience to ask questions and to meet her afterwards at a post-show book signing.

‘An Evening with Zadie Smith’ is at 7pm on Wednesday 13 November at the James Hay Theatre, Christchurch Town Hall.

For ticketing information visit www.wordchristchurch.co.nz.

 

 


 

Expert photography workshops


Multi award-winning photographer Scott Fowler first picked up a camera at age six – and for the next 50 years he has barely put it down.

 

 

After being successful in a number of international photography competitions in 2008, people began asking Scott for his expert advice, so he started running one-day workshops from home.

Today, Scott is sharing his passion and creativity with budding photographers all over the country and overseas – and many of them are going on to win international accolades themselves. “I encourage my students to enter internationally and they do very well.”

From portrait classes and one-on-one lessons to six-day workshops in stunning Central Otago settings or 14-day photography tours in Samoa, part of his teaching is around full immersion. “When you’re practising something 24 hours a day and totally immersing yourself in the subject without any distractions from the outside world, it really accelerates your learning.”

Scott is also a sought-after commercial and wedding photographer, as well as an accredited judge with the Photographic Society of New Zealand and an online instructor for the Photographic Society of America.

His storyteller’s imagination and love of surreal imagery keeps his students coming back for more. “I will always go the extra distance for you to get the right shot. I tell all my new students that the time it takes for you to get the right shot is the time it takes, so go at your own speed.”

Visit www.scottfowlerworkshops.com for more information.

 


 

Be part of the magic!


Get ready for the biggest week in Christchurch!

 

 

Starting at Addington Raceway, Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Day on Tuesday 12 November will be full of excitement to toast Christchurch Casino’s 25th anniversary.

This year elegant glasses of Lanson Champagne will clink, gourmet cuisine will be served, and the 116th running of the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup and 11 spectacular races will amaze.

Fabulous race day attire will be seen on the catwalk, with The Crossing Fashion Starts Here Competition heats and semi-finals being held in The Edge Public Village, and finals in the presentation area. Competition will be fierce with over $20,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, including phenomenal international travel courtesy of Air New Zealand.

This year promises to build on all the excitement, glamour and entertainment the event has become famous for during its proud history that spans more than a century.

On Cup Day, Addington is proudly supporting St John and Ronald McDonald House South Island. The week’s excitement continues at Addington’s Show Day Races on Friday 15 November, Canterbury Anniversary Day, with great racing, live entertainment and a free kids’ entertainment zone and petting zoo. Entry is by gold coin donation to Māia Health Foundation and no public surcharges will apply.

During Cup Week, Addington will be offering an exceptional range of hospitality options, including private and shared marquees, prime viewing hospitality and indoor and outdoor choices. Limited options remain for both days.

Public tickets go on sale 2 September. For full details about how you can #bepartofthemagic, visit www.addington.co.nz.

 


 

A global odyssey


It was a “life is too short” moment that led a photographer from Loburn on a journey to meet the people who have lived on earth the longest.

 

 

Last year, Katherine Williams of Tandem Photography travelled to some of the world’s most interesting crevices, which culminated in her winning New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) Nikon Photographer of the Year 2019.
After a back injury that kept her out of the action for 10 months, she realised that saying “we’ll do it in three years’ time” just meant continual postponement.

Katherine committed to take her husband and business partner Neil – also an award-winning photographer – and her two daughters, on an educational worldwide odyssey. The goal was to capture the essence of her chosen photographic subjects – centenarians. Deciding on the ambitious project came after one of those unexplainable eureka moments. “I knew it was something I just had to do.”

The creative couple refinanced to fund the trip. “But it wasn’t until literally the week before leaving that everything came together including renting our home out to make it possible.”

 

 

One of the first stops was the lush jungle of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, where the family slept on bamboo slats with no mattress or pillow, the patter of piglets and roosters outside – and the odd snake wriggling across the path. The seven-month journey then traversed the likes of Japan, Alaska, Cuba, Costa Rica, Croatia, Mexico and Montenegro, and the less-trodden paths of USA, Italy, France and the Greece Isles.

“I was confident my daughters would learn immeasurably more about life, not by just having conversations about different cultures, but by walking amongst them. The only way was to show them, not just tell. I wanted to empower my children – completely and utterly – with an appreciation of experience and basic street smarts. Nothing beats that immersion.”

She enlisted locals as interpreters to help her extract the stories behind the well-lived faces. “These people all had something special to share,” she says. “It’s not just a life story engraved into their facial lines, but their surroundings I capture to tell the story too – inviting a peek into their environment.”

 

 

Katherine has curiosity and deep empathy for the people she photographs. “One of the common threads for the reason of their longevity was tenacity for life, the ability to ride the storms – those hardships, trials and tribulations.”
Dramatic landscapes, such as daunting mountains tumbling into frothy seas, didn’t escape her lens either.

On harnessing courage to embark on an adventure, Katherine says, “You need the fortitude to jump in head first, then back that up without needing to know every detail. It will just fall into place.”

Back home, an enchanted heritage building in Ferry Road houses the studio for wedding and portrait photography. However, for her evolving creative project, Katherine is looking for more centenarians of different nationalities to immortalise in a website, book and exhibition.

“Some of my subjects have already died, so it will be in honour of them and their families. It’s nowhere near complete yet – but I’m comfortable with it being a slow project.”

www.katherinewilliams.co.nz