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Best foot forward: Mikko Shoes

It’s been six months since Mikko Shoes arrived in Christchurch and opened its beautiful Victoria Street store. After a busy winter, the family-owned company has been preparing for the warm season ahead.



Metropol sat down with Mikko’s founder, Michaela Longstaff, to discuss some of the new trends arriving in store now.

  1. What are the key trends to look out for this coming spring/summer?
    Each new season we look for the vibrant new styles that are on trend, while ensuring they still feel classic enough to last for years to come. A great example of this is animal print – a huge trend for spring, but in our opinion, it’s now a neutral. This season the print du jour is the subtle, sophisticated snakeskin texture – we’re huge fans.
  2. How about new colour palettes?
    It’s all about those citrus and sorbet tones. From peppermint and seafoam to tangy tangerine, we can’t get enough of these dreamy feminine and joyfully bold colours that bring grace and energy to summer dressing.
  3. What new shapes are you excited about this season?
    There are so many beautiful, interesting heel shapes. Our elegant courts range includes styles with sculptured, art deco inspired heels which add gorgeous sophistication. And of course, Mikko shoes come in premium, soft leather and offer foot support. Comfort has never been so fashionable.



Pop in to 143 Victoria Street, Christchurch, to see Mikko’s experienced styling team for a personalised fitting. There is something to suit everyone this season from their unparalleled collection of heritage, handcrafted European brands.



Performing under pressure: Q&A with Dr Ceri Evans

Ever wondered how the world’s top sportspeople deal with pressure? Dr Ceri Evans has seen the impact of pressure across the spectrum.



In his new book Perform Under Pressure, the consultant psychiatrist outlines his strategies for dealing with stress to get you performing at your best – whether on the sportsfield or in the boardroom. We caught up with Dr Ceri Evans about the state of play when it comes to the mine field that is performing under pressure.


You’ve had your own successful sports career, why did you then choose to move into the psychology side of things?
In fact, I’m a psychiatrist, so my pathway was through medical school. I was fortunate to be able to continue to play football throughout my medical training and so rather than one following the other, sport and clinical training went hand in hand. I was fascinated by how pressure affected people, no matter what the field of performance. For a period of time I was studying psychology at Oxford University while playing professional football, so I think I learned as much by exposure and experience as from theory. The linkages were unmissable. When it came time to specialise as a doctor, I was most interested in the mind/brain and it seemed like a natural progression to train in psychiatry. I then specialised further in forensic psychiatry, which might look very different, but if you see it as involving extreme human behaviour under pressure, it places everything on a spectrum. It felt right.

How critical is the mental side of sport?
Often there are small technical margins between individuals and teams, which magnify the importance of mental factors. As a rule of thumb, the further you want to go in any field, the more the ability to deal with pressure becomes the differentiator, and therefore the more the mental side comes into play. Of course, it is not just about sport – it is about any human undertaking that carries significance and the outcome matters to the people involved – which is the reason reality shows are so popular. We find the fact that under pressure most people succumb, but some triumph, engaging. Pressure, failure and success makes a compelling human story-line and we intuitively know that no matter how good someone is technically – take a cooking contest, for example – under pressure, they can fall apart mentally.

How does performing under pressure look?
Although you probably intend this to mean successful performance, there are two sides to performance under pressure. On the one hand, as a personal experience, it is when we are completely ‘at one’ with our immediate environment, when we feel calm, clear and act with precision. Looking on, we see performers who seem to have time, make good decisions, and are accurate. On the other hand, when we get a sense of overload and overwhelm and we feel the weight of pressure come down on us, we lose our nerve, lose our way and lose our touch. Looking on, we see people become hesitant, impulsive, stuck, and lose their ability to perform the basics, let alone perform with timing. It’s a two way street, it’s unpredictable, and therefore it draws us in.

Does performing under pressure look the same in the boardroom as it does on the field?
Although performance in different domains obviously looks very different in terms of the external world and circumstances, our internal workings are just the same. This makes sense: there is no ‘sports lobe’ in the brain; athletes don’t pop in a different brain for performances; and no matter how we perform in our selected field, we also all succumb to a sense of overload and overwhelm in our everyday lives – I name these ‘red moments’. So external pressure in the boardoom, on the field, in the classroom, in the clinic or at home, all lead to common, predictable internal reactions and therefore familiar behaviours. Although there will be obvious differences in intensity, the patterns will be the same.

Your Red-Blue mind model is renowned for its ability to help people serious about performing under pressure. Can you give us a rundown of the model and how it works?
I developed the Red-Blue mind-model with Renzie Hanham – a well-known local graphic artist, martial arts instructor and mental skills practitioner, who has a brilliant way of cutting through the complexity to give us the simplicity we need in those tricky moments – over the last 25 years.

For performance purposes, our mind can be seen as having two systems that interact with other. The Red system is primed for survival, keeps us safe, and runs on images and feelings. It is very fast but is based on quick impressions. The Blue system is primed for potential, allows us to learn and adapt, and runs on logic, words and numbers. It is slow and takes effort, but provides detailed analysis. The Red ‘feeling’ system can dominate and compromise the Blue ‘thinking’ system when we are under threat. The Blue system, in return, can reframe situations and calm Red reactions to some extent. We want Red and Blue to be in the right balance for the situation. Red is not bad and Blue is not good – we need the energy of Red and the clarity of Blue – so we are at our best when the two are balanced and we are ‘in the purple’.

Without giving away all your secrets… what are your key strategies when it comes to getting people performing at their very best?
The basic approach is to help people ‘see’ their immediate Red/Blue states of mind, understand them and make more conscious, effective choices about their responses.
First, we can’t change what we can’t see. You might be surprised by how unaware most people are of how much they are affected by pressure – even at moderate levels – and how this holds them back. The first step is to gain emotional control.

Second, it helps to have a clear picture of the overview so that we make informed decisions, not reckless ones arising from tension and tunnel vision, so that we have clarity. Rather than one-sided positive or negative thinking approaches, we want clear thinking under pressure.

Third, rather than waiting for something to happen so that we fall into the procrastination trap, we want to take effective action. Instead of avoiding tough moments and having as little discomfort as possible in our lives, we can see tough moments as the very conditions we need to put our Red-Blue pressure skills into practice.

By providing people with a method to hold their nerve, find their way and make their mark, it encourages people to not only tolerate tough situations, but to ‘walk towards the pressure’.

Why was this book important for you to write?
The book is a practical and personal undertaking. It is practical because I wanted to translate complicated neuroscience into very simple models and tools that we can actually apply when we are uncomfortable in pressure situations. It is personal in the sense that it is not a textbook – I have written it to so that people apply it to their own situations. I have worked for 25 years in clinical and performance areas with people who have been held back by mental restraints. I find it enormously satisfying when people can apply the simple language and terminology with professional benefit, but especially in personal situations. 

The best feedback I receive is when people find they are starting to ask themselves questions about how they can improve when before they were in a kind of comfort trance; and when people say they are feeling uncomfortable about keeping their status quo – they want to go further and perhaps even explore their limits.

What is the biggest take-away you hope readers can get from this?
Freedom from fear. That doesn’t mean that we won’t feel fear at all, just that it will no longer hold us captive. By developing an intention to be ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’ – not only tolerating tough moments but deliberately seeking them out and holding our nerve – people can get out of their own way, reduce their self-sabotaging mental chatter and escape behaviours and release themselves to perform. After reading the book, I hope that readers will want to face pressure, find their way through it, and in doing so feel free.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
I don’t know! Of course some current projects continue but I work primarily by word of mouth so I don’t actually know what is around the corner. I am inspired by people who have the courage to face tough moments, be outliers and operate at their limits, which is as much a mental challenge as a technical one. The one thing we can be sure of is that pressure will continue to show us that it is indeed real and can hold us back, and I hope to help people face this kind of mental challenge.



Born to Perform: Q&A with Ali Harper

Local award-winning talent Ali Harper has been wowing the crowds for years. We caught up with the lovely lady behind the microphone about being born to perform.



When did a life of performance first beckon, Ali?
Like many children, I was constantly role playing, always singing. I set up the ‘Fitzgerald Stationery Shop’ in my wardrobe, and the ‘Harper’s Bizarre Fabric Store’ which sold my mother’s leftover sewing remnants. All sorts of imaginary characters visited those shops! Then I found out I could take those characters, continue ‘playing’ and make it my full-time job.

In 2014 you were artist-in-residence at your former school Rangi Ruru. Teaching young women to grow their performance confidence must have been a wonderful experience?
I really enjoy working with young people – encouraging them to explore and delight in the total abandonment that comes through singing, movement and storytelling. We live in a society so caught up in what we do, what we look like, and worrying what others think. I want to impart that we’re all unique; there’s no-one else like us. I want our young people to embrace and celebrate that.

You won the Actress of the Year Award at the United Solo Festival 2014 in New York, and at the same festival, in 2019, won the Best One Woman Show Award for your Songs for Nobodies – how did that feel?
The Arts is not the easiest of career paths, so it’s wonderful to be recognised for the risks you take, on and off the stage.

Any favourite roles?
I’ve loved so many. Eliza Doolittle and Maria Von Trapp were a delight, while Mrs Johnston in Blood Brothers was a dream role. Songs for Nobodies was like a personal coming of age…celebrating being old enough to draw from a wealth of life’s highs and lows to play the often tortured ‘nobodies’ and ‘somebodies.’

Is there a “baddie” woman you’d relish bringing to life on stage or screen?
I’ve been watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. The lead baddie is Count Olaf, but I’d love to play that role as a woman, taking on the many disguises and accents. Mean, convincing, greedy… my boys would be so impressed!

You’re currently touring your solo show, A Doris Day Special, around New Zealand. What do you love about Doris Day?
Doris sang and danced with total joy and abandonment. Her life was often difficult, but it never defined her as a person. She retired early to commit her life to saving neglected animals. She was optimistic, kind and genuine – all qualities I greatly admire.

Which world-renowned venue would you love to perform in, if you could?
I saw Audra Macdonald singing with the San Francisco Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall last year. Fabulous! I kept looking at the elite New Yorkers’ in their box seats and imagined walking out onto that stage to take my place in front of that orchestra… pure joy!

Tell us about the importance of yoga in your life?
I realise more and more the importance of yoga not only in my life but for those around me. To take time out for yourself, to connect deep within, to listen and trust your intuition, cultivate self-love and, most importantly, breathe fully and deeply. When we align these things, it’s amazing how they impact so positively on so many other areas in our lives.

Recently I did my yoga teacher training in Thailand. It was a life-changing experience, and now I’m so fortunate to be balancing my life, teaching and sharing my passion for yoga, meditation and singing, as well as at home with my singing and acting students.

When not performing, MCing, producing, writing, teaching or doing yoga, what do you do for time out?
I have busy young boys and a daughter at uni, so time out is rather scarce, yet when I really think on it, the things I choose to do in my life are time out, because they’re what I’m passionate about.



Photography by Simon Greenwood from Canterbury Tales. Hair and makeup by Sarah Greenwood Buchanan at TheatricalStylistNZ.


Dinner with a twist! Q&A with Corey Hume

The Ronald McDonald House Supper Club is one of the hottest events on the social calendar, but if you missed the Christchurch event, Queenstown is getting the mystery dinner treatment on Friday 18 October. We caught up with one of the country’s leading chefs, Corey Hume, who spearheaded this mystery dining event.




Can you tell us a bit about your culinary journey?

I trained at Christchurch Polytechnic in Professional Cookery under the guidance of Neil MacInnes, the coach and manager of the New Zealand Culinary Olympic Team and Dennis Taylor who was a great technician.

While there, I was approached by Armando Javellana who was the best pastry chef in New Zealand at the time, and decided to specialise in Patisserie. I first started to represent New Zealand in 1997, winning multiple international gold medals and being involved in the Australian and, more recently, the New Zealand Culinary Olympic Team.

In 2004, I was judged as the Best Seafood Chef in New Zealand, at an invitation only contest for New Zealand’s leading chefs.

I’ve since worked around the world and opened the first SLH property for Six Senses in the Middle East, which is one of the top resorts in the world. For the past eight years, I’ve been working at Blanket Bay as their Executive Chef and gained exposure in several Michelin starred restaurants in the United States; Gary Danko, Quince, Coi and The Restaurant at Meadowood, the last being such an inspiration to work in.

I’m a board member and Coach for the Bocuse d’Or New Zealand. The Bocuse d’Or is the most extreme and demanding culinary competition in the world today for an individual.

My style is always evolving.  I like all types of food, and I have big influences recently from Japan, Singapore, the USA and New Zealand of course. I’m really proud of the food that is being served in from certain restaurants around New Zealand. They give me hope and encourage me to keep moving forward and to never stop growing as a chef. People often told me what I couldn’t do, and I’ve since proved them wrong. I still intend to!

What attracted you to the industry?

My passion for food, art and the discipline required daily to be great at what you do in this industry.

I did well in art at school, but I found it somewhat limiting, and I really liked working with food. One of New Zealand’s most prominent Chefs sat me down and told me about his career when I was in high school. I was hooked. My tutors at Polytech were very encouraging.

Back then, I felt like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I had discovered a world where I knew I belonged, and that world of Chefs and cooking was happy to embrace me.

How did you become involved with Ronald McDonald House?

In one of my roles representing New Zealand overseas, I met one of America’s greatest Chefs’, Reimund Pitz who was the Continental Director of the Americas for the World Association of Chefs Societies. He had started a great movement with the ACF Chef & Child Foundation and it was inspiring. I thought I could do something like that when I was older.

I couldn’t wait, so after a quick chat with some young Chefs in Christchurch who were keen to support my not so crazy idea- that young NZ Chefs could cook with a senior mentor to help raise funds for a Charity. It was about a movement at the time in our industry I was spear heading to give younger Chefs more credibility around the world.

In 2002, I literally dressed up in a suit and hit the pavement in Christchurch, knocking on doors, offering to tell my idea to a Charity who would listen.

A lot of charities weren’t interested surprisingly. I even went into the Children’s Ward at Christchurch Hospital with no luck. My Grandad mentioned about Ronald McDonald House opening in the South Island after seeing an advert in the paper. So the next day, I approached the Chairman at the time, Stuart Leck, to relay my idea. He was keen. This was before the House had even opened.

Very few people knew of my idea to say the least, and I wanted to make sure there was an interested charity first!

I had the full backing of Canterbury Chefs, a branch of the New Zealand Chefs Association, and from then onwards, the rest is history! I was 25 years old at the time. The first event was called Miles of Smiles, and it was about young chefs, supporting young children in hospital and their families.

Since I had moved overseas in 2006, I had lost touch with the initiative, but was very happy to have RMHSI’s events advisor call me inadvertently to ask if I was interested.

Little did she or I know how the conversation was going to reignite my passion for the cause as I had no idea that the event was still running! I was blown away to see how it had been transformed.

I was only too happy to be involved again! Since I had left Blanket Bay, I had joined Ryan Henley, The Chef de Cuisine from Pescatore at the George Hotel for the Christchurch Supper Club in June.

How important is supporting Ronald McDonald House South Island to you?

I spent a lot of time in Christchurch Hospital as a child. I understand what it is like for the children and how having their families close to them can literally mean a real difference in their recovery from illness and support during some tough times. It’s hard for them to be able to tell adults this, but it’s something that I’m sure gave me the strength to carry on and saved me from dying multiple times when I was close to the edge. The support of my family being close certainly made a difference looking back as an adult.

I feel like this fundraising event is a voice for them, that it’s a way we as adults can come together over a plate of food cooked with love, to help support families who are there to support their children in their time of need.

It’s been my way of giving back to the community of Christchurch that has supported me through my earlier career by paying it forward.

You’ve got the iconic Ronald McDonald House mystery dining experience – Queenstown Supper Club – coming up on Friday 18 October. What can guests look forward to from the night?

It will be another memorable event. It’s going to be a great night in a secret location, which is really special, hosted by some former Supper Club attendees. Great to see for them how it’s coming full circle, and for me to have the opportunity to cater for them. It will be a memorable night in a truly memorable location.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?

It’s an exciting time ahead! I’m grateful for the experience I had with Blanket Bay as their Executive Chef, where I’ve had the privilege to cook for some of the world’s most discerning and influential diners.

Now I’m starting my own business. I’m excited about being back in the public forum, but my focus will be on private dining. I’ve had numerous requests over the years to be cooking for people in their homes, and I hope to make Queenstown my base of operations, going as far as overseas if required.

Running my own business is something I have always wanted to do, and of course it’ll be with my own twist. It’s about providing a personalised experience above all else to a wider range of people, as I have a broad range of dietary requirements that I’m able to cater for in the future.

I aim to bring that international exposure I’ve had to people’s homes, venues and unique locations in a bespoke manner, individually tailored to their needs and unique dietary requirements. To tell a story using the ingredients from  New Zealand with a unique point of view for locals and international guests with a wow factor for those who want something a little different in a particular way that I envisage.

In addition, I’ll be collaborating with different artists as well on related projects which I can’t say anything more about at this point in time, but which I’m very excited about. I’m extremely creative and like nothing more than collaborating with like-minded and passionate people, where we can bounce ideas off each other and have the means to create truly memorable experiences.


Literary hot property: Q&A with Paullina Simons

Russian-born American writer Paullina Simons has weaved her name throughout the global bestseller lists for more than two decades. Author of the novels Tully, Red Leaves, Eleven Hours, The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, and The Summer Garden, it’s not surprising that her latest trilogy is hot literary property. We caught up with Paullina during her New Zealand tour about what these books mean to her.




Can you tell us about the End of Forever saga and what these books mean to you?
They mean the last five years of my life. Literally. It sounds like a lot of time, and it is, but bear in mind that my books tend to be long and I usually spend about two years on each. So for three books, I’ve come out about a year ahead. This trilogy represents all of my hopes and dreams for my work for those five years. Every writer on every book worries they are wasting their time; that the story will never work; that readers won’t care. So I had all those concerns times three. But if it didn’t work, I wasn’t risking just a year or two. They represented a significant portion of my lifetime of work.
In addition, this is the first time since The Bronze Horseman that I’ve written this kind of sprawling epic love story. End of Forever is everything I’ve thought and felt about love and life and fate and grief in the intervening twenty years.

The trilogy started with The Tiger Catcher, you’ve just released A Beggar’s Kingdom and you’re releasing the third – Inexpressible Island – later this year. How intense has this been for you?
I thought it was a great idea when my publishers first suggested it, and I still think it’s a great idea for my readers, not to have to wait some inordinately long time to read the next book and the next. And clearly I’m hoping that when my readers finish A Beggar’s Kingdom, they will not want to do or read anything else until Inexpressible Island is finally in their hands –because I certainly didn’t! But for me, to revise, copy-edit, proofread, do the illustrations, go on tour, and promote all three books in quick succession, is both exhausting and exhilarating. I love getting the feedback on one book while I’m working on the third and promoting the second. It’s a heady combination of overwhelmed and deeply satisfied.

How long did they take to write?
Five long, tortuous years. I’m still writing them. Still changing words, adding sentences, thoughts, jokes, as the publishers are prying the books from my clutching hands so they can go to print on the final book in the saga, Inexpressible Island.

When it comes to writing, how strict do you have to be? Do you write full time or just when the inspiration hits?
I have to be strict, and I have to write full time. Sometimes I’m not, and I don’t. But when I’m working on a book, I force myself to stay alone in my office for about twelve hours every day, and hope that I can squeeze out a few lines, a page, a poem, a thought, a character, a story. Sometimes there is a trickle, sometimes there is a flood. Sometimes I feel pleased, and sometimes I feel raging self-doubt. If I wrote only when inspiration hit, I would probably never write at all. The inspiration comes from the daily grind of the work, not the other way around.

How connected to characters and a storyline do you get during the writing phase… is it sad to finish a character’s storyline after being so invested for so long?
When I was writing The Bronze Horseman books and for a long time after, I would dream of Tatiana and Alexander as if they were real people. Same thing with Julian and Josephine. I feel not just connected to my characters when I work, I am completely immersed in their struggles and stories. They live in me in technicolor and much of my actual life fades to black and white.
It is sad to finish, it is very difficult to let them go, but once I do, the colour gradually returns to the rest of my life. And afterward, the characters from my books live alongside me as real people with real lives. I often think about where they are and what they’re doing.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from people who say hello to me, women who travel with me, my sister who breaks up with her boyfriend in the middle of the Stanley Cup Final, Olympic ice skaters, Ivy League colleges, my homeland, the prairies of America, Truman Capote, John Steinbeck, and my friend Penny who said to me when I told her I was writing my first book Tully, “Paullina, please, whatever you do, don’t write the parts that I don’t want to read”.
Oh, and I also get my inspiration from How to Train Your Dragon 2, the movie.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
There is a trip to the Grand Canyon, a cruise to Cozymel, a writer’s festival in Dubai, a research trip to Utah, and then four planned books that need to be written and finished before the year is out.



A Stellar Designer

From a musician fronting one of the most successful New Zealand bands of the past two decades to a Kiwi fashion icon, Boh Runga is a creative force to be reckoned with. We catch up with Boh about her latest jewellery collection and getting an international nod from the Duchess of Sussex.



After carving a pop career fronting your chart-topping, multi award-winning band stellar*, you moved into jewellery design. Has that creative process always been something you’ve been attracted to?
I love jewellery and accessories so when the opportunity came up, I definitely jumped at it. Designing jewellery is different from songwriting, obviously, but I approach each collection as if I’m writing a song or telling a story. I like to try and bring meaning to each design, something for the wearer to connect with as jewellery can be very personal.

The Duchess of Sussex has been spotted wearing your 9CT Gold Discologo Studs gifted to her from the PM, Jacinda Ardern who is wearing your Egglet pendant in the upcoming British Vogue, which Meghan Markle herself guest-edited. How does it feel to get such a high-level international nod for your work?
Our site went mad!… all these people from all over the world were so curious to see what the Duchess had been given. We sold out in a couple of days in each metal choice. Every time she wears them we get another flurry online. The earrings have been featured in Harper’s Bazaar Australia, Harper’s Bazaar US and I did an interview for Japan Vogue which was very cool. I see the brand as a gifting brand first and foremost and having them given as a gift by our very own PM was very humbling. The Egglet represents new beginnings and since the focus of this particular Vogue issue is about positive change, I love it!

Do you have any favourite pieces you’ve designed or is that like picking a favourite child?
I love all my children equally and without bias! The pieces I wear the most often, pretty much all the time, are the Karearea wing bracelet swapped out with the Miromiro feather bracelet. Earrings-wise I love the Huia earrings, they are large statement pieces that are my take on the Huia feather and they are a bit of departure from what I’ve done before. I like to wear the Gentlemen’s Club signet ring that has the motto Kind, Brave, True and the accompanying story with that collection is what I believe are the qualities of a good man.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
From the natural world, from living here with our amazing wildlife and environment. I also get inspiration from different cultural beliefs and ideas. And the love people hold for each other and how something that is given with love is special for both parties. I like the jewellery to carry positive messages.

What do you love about what you get to do for a job?
There’s quite a bit of freedom with what I do. I like the creative aspect of it and I like that I am not a slave to the regular, like travelling in peak hour traffic every day. But with a small business there’s a lot of responsibility (we’re a team of four now) so it isn’t all hearts and flowers. I’m lucky to have such a great business partner and such a great team around me.

How much do you still get to dabble in your first love – music?
Not enough in the last few years since taking over the jewellery brand but we have a pretty great studio at home as my partner is a musician and has good ears and technical abilities so he’s offered to record some tunes that have been rattling around for a bit. It’s also the stellar* Mix album’s 20th anniversary this year so I’ll definitely get to do some playing soon with the guys which will be very fun!

How does a day in the life of Boh Runga look these days?
Monday is the only locked in day for me to be in the Boh Runga Bohtique in Ponsonby, Auckland, as most of the time I ‘work’ and ‘dream’ at home. That day is all about deadlines and scheduling new releases and additions, marketing and upcoming events, working out budgets for various things, brainstorming styling for photoshoots or planning trips to retailers etc with the team.

You grew up down our way with your younger sisters Pearl and Bic, what do you love about Christchurch?
Christchurch people are so resilient. They have been through some terrible times of late, devastating natural disaster and the most appalling act of hate but they’ve come together in a way that has made the whole country and even the world admire their heart and community spirit. It’s beautiful to see and I am proud of my hometown.


Boh Runga Jewellery’s new collection ‘Shapes’ will be released September and is available in Christchurch from Silvermoon or visit to find stockists throughout New Zealand. Head to Instagram and regram the Metropol cover, follow and tag @bohrungajewellery and @metropolmag to go in the draw to win a necklace from the new collection!



Overcoming Overwhelm: Dr Libby

A nutritional biochemist, bestselling author, speaker and founder of the plant-based supplement range Bio Blends, Dr Libby Weaver has been making her way around the country speaking about ‘overcoming overwhelm’, which she presents to Christchurch on 8 October.



We caught up with everyone’s favourite doctor about overcoming overwhelm and her latest book to hit the shelves.


Your latest book The Invisible Load has just come out. This is the book everyone needs to read! Why was this one so important for you to write?
So many people tell me that they feel stressed or overwhelmed by their everyday lives. Not only does this mean that for too many people, life has become a pressure cooker with very little space for anything outside duty and responsibility that brings them joy – but knowing what I know about biochemistry, I understand the true impact that this is having on their bodies and their health. It is possible to live a busy and fulfilling life that doesn’t have you feeling up to the eyeballs in stress and I wanted to help people to experience this for themselves.

What is your ‘invisible load’?
Each of us carries with us a weight that silently drives the stress we feel. We may not realise it is there, just as others may not know the load we carry, which is why I call it your invisible load and it might be physical or emotional, or both.

How much impact is the invisible load having on our health and our happiness?
Physically, your invisible load is your body’s manifestation of the stress you feel. It’s likely your body’s invisible load in action (as long as diseases have been ruled out) when you suffer with symptoms such as exhaustion, weight gain, digestive complaints like bloating, uncomfortable periods or menopausal transitions, frequent headaches, or even sugar cravings and restless sleep. However, we aren’t always aware that stress has been kicking on in the background for years so we may not realise this is what it is. The invisible load on your emotions is somewhat harder to pinpoint because you will probably feel that it is just part of who you are – it’s been fused with your identity. Constructed from your life experiences and the beliefs you have created from these experiences, it filters across every thought you have, affecting how you react and respond to the situations in your life that you face on a daily basis. Essentially though, it has an incredible impact on how we feel about our body and our life as well as significantly affecting our overall health.

A common theme that seems to run through a lot of your books is the idea that the thoughts we feed ourselves are just as critical as the nutrition we feed ourselves. Why is this such an important theme for you to get across?
We can’t control what happens in our day, but with awareness and practise, we can begin to catch a glimpse of how we’re thinking. This is the ribbon we need to grab hold of in order to unravel our stress once and for all. It’s catching these perceptions, thoughts and beliefs that will ultimately alter our biochemistry, transform our health and our experience of stress, as well as how we live.

What are some of your favourite ways to feed your soul?
I love to watch the patterns of nature, especially watching the sun rise or set or looking up at a sky full of stars. I’ve recently gotten back into tennis and playing this is another soul-nourishing activity for me. I also love to read and there isn’t much I find more nourishing than losing myself in someone else’s words.

If there was one key message you could get out to the overwhelmed working mums out there, what would that message be?
Prioritise your own nourishment and self-care. So often mums put themselves at the bottom of their own priority list, not realising that they’re actually doing a disservice to the people in their life they put ahead of their own needs. As the saying goes, we can’t fill from an empty cup. Everyone around you will benefit from you making time for your health and happiness. When we take good care of ourselves it has an immense ripple effect.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
After my spring tour around Australia and New Zealand which comes to the end in October, I will run my Essential Women’s Health Weekends, put the finishing touches on a new online course, and have some days not doing much. I can already feel the next book buzzing around in my head so I will likely start that soon too. And, in between those things, I will spend lots of time doing whatever feels right for me at the time. Anything from pottering in my garden and playing tennis to devouring some good books.



Tiki Taane’s Romantic Proposal

Tiki Taane wears a lot of hats – musician, experimentalist, musical activist, producer, live engineer, loving father and partner. But there’s one more hat he’s looking forward to wearing in the near future. We caught up with the prodigious talent about his romantic proposal.  




You’ve just recently proposed to your lovely partner Rachel in the most romantic way possible! How much time, effort and planning went into that?
I had the idea pretty early on in our relationship, but the process took just over two years of crafting and planning. Organising the proposal video so Rach didn’t suspect anything was always going to be the hard part, but luckily my mum, kids and friends helped with the surprise.
The other sneaky part which took some time was the design and making of the ring. Rach’s mum kindly gave me her old rings so I could get them melted down and turned into something new. So with help and guidance from Filigree Jewellers in Christchurch, we came up with the most beautiful ring that we are so blown away with.

Can you tell us about your new single that has just been released with the footage of your proposal and what the song means to you?
The song is called Serendipity which is a perfect description of how Rach and I first met at The Edgewater Resort in Rarotonga. It was definitely a love at first sight type scenario and one that we often reminisce about, as it’s really special.
So with all that in mind, I wanted the proposal to be something that we could always look back on and celebrate, but to also hold our relationship accountable during those hard times.

You performed in a benefit concert, Brainwaves, for the Tourette’s Association NZ on 6 July. How important is celebrating diversity to you and how amazing was the opportunity to get to give young New Zealand musicians with neurological disorders the opportunity to perform?
Brainwaves was a lot of fun and an awesome cause to get behind. The opportunity for the kids to play music on a big stage with big production was something they will never forget. Music can help so many people and can connect those from all walks of life; it was a real privilege to be part of that concert.

Can you tell us about your journey into music?
Well it’s a story with a few ups and downs but in a nutshell, I knew at 13 years old that music was all I wanted to do. So I started my band at 14, was onstage at 15 and haven’t stopped since.

Do you consider music to have been your saviour?
Yes, most definitely, especially during my early teens when I was young and reckless, then during my late 20s when I was drinking and drugging way too much, music helped pull me out of that destructive lifestyle. Music has enabled me to travel, explore countries, connect with different cultures, have adventures of a lifetime and take me places that I’d never dreamt possible.

What do you love about what you get to do?
I love that my job is about creating something out of nothing and that something then becomes a vehicle for me to travel and connect with like-minded people all over the world. That something can even be a catalyst for political, social, environmental, spiritual and conscious change, which is my ultimate goal when doing this music thing.

Speaking of catalyst for change, you are incredibly passionate about sustainability, can you tell us about your journey within this space and some of the things you do to live a more sustainable life?
I’ve been exploring ways of trying to live a more sustainable life where possible, which includes switching my home and studio to solar power five years ago. I’ve also had an electric car when I partnered up with Hyundai, which was an epic experience being able to charge the car via the energy we created from our solar panels. I feel bad about the carbon foot print I’m causing by travelling all the time, so I’m trying different ways of living that leave less stress on Papatūānuku – Mother Earth.

I understand you’re also vegetarian. How long have you been vegetarian and how have you found that experience?
Yeah, I’ve been living a plant-based diet for four years now and it’s been the best transition for me so far. I felt that by cutting meat out of my diet would not only help the planet and animals, but would also improve my health, which it has done big time. My kids still eat meat which is totally fine by me, but if they wanted to switch to a plant-based diet then I’d be all for it.

How does it feel to be in a position where you have the opportunity to inspire real-world change for some of these areas – such as animal rights – that you are so passionate about?
It’s an awesome feeling knowing that my music and brand can help causes that I’m passionate about. I’ve always wanted to be able to do things like that. I’m inspired by people like Bob Marley, Michael Franti and Nahko Bear who invoke change through their music and lyrics, which is a powerful thing.

What do you consider to be some of your career highlights?

What is something that people would be really surprised to know about you?
I’m a very tidy person at home, perhaps a little OCD about it. I just like things to be neat and tidy, especially if I have guests coming over. But if it’s party time, then I like to let it all hang out!

How does a day in the life of Tiki Taane look these days?
Well in the weekends I’m off around the planet playing shows and rocking out, then during the weekdays I’m in my studio making music for myself or other artists and, in between all that, I balance being a dad and partner while trying to keep my fitness up by going to F45 Mt Maunganui and Snap Fitness Papamoa. Oh, and walking our dog – that’s a must.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
Touring the planet and making music in my studio is a constant, so that will never change. But I’d say planning a wedding will be the new project on the list. I have a feeling it will probably end up being a mini festival though, by the looks of all the musicians and singers who are on the invite list. At least I won’t have to hire a band or any DJs!



Like a Queen: Q&A with Constance Hall

Constance Hall has a lot of haters, but she also has a lot of lovers – 1.3 million on Facebook alone.



After the Australian blogger launched her Facebook page in late 2015, she has laid it all out bare – sex, body shape, the end of a marriage, the start of a new one and the challenges of raising a blended family of seven children. But along the way she’s created an entire community of ‘Queens’; women who are fighting loneliness, sexism, postnatal depression and body issues, and she’s done it through love, kindness and humour. We caught up with Constance ahead of her TEDxChristchurch talk on 25 August.


You’ve had a pretty massive year, how is everything going?
Everything has finally settled into a beautiful space. It took a while to adjust to life in Sydney for Dancing with The Stars, I missed my kids and don’t love the media world, then even coming home took some adjusting too, back to a world of forest and ocean and piles of washing. But now, the sun is out and I feel extremely happy.

How excited are you to be heading to Christchurch for the TEDxChristchurch event in August?
There was some divine intervention that made TEDxChristchurch be the place I was asked to give this talk. New Zealand is my favourite place in the world. Never has a country embraced me like New Zealand has and when I visited Christchurch two years ago, my shows sold out and I was completely blown away by the crowd, almost like I had finally come home. I couldn’t be more excited to share this experience with Christchurch, it’s a new experience for me and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervously pushing the boundaries of what I’m comfortable with, which makes me happy I’ll have such friendly faces in the crowd to keep me on track.

What are you going to be talking about?
I’ll be talking about my experiences with my blog and life taking off in public and how quickly that was followed by online bullying, how that has affected me and what I think we can all do to make a difference to the bully culture we live in online.

You have developed a global following by empowering women with your messages about self-love and supporting other women. Why do these messages resonate so strongly with you?
The messages of self-love and women supporting women resonate so deeply with me because at a point in my life I realised how lonely I was, I saw an invisible barrier between me and the women I met, and I realised that when that barrier was broken down I was completely fulfilled and at my happiest.
I realised that in order to get there with each other, we needed to love ourselves. Lack of confidence as women was what made us competitive, which was making us lonely. Once I came to this place, I wanted to share the message as far and wide as I could to bring about a sisterhood and village that I knew we could all thrive in. Or maybe I just wanted a job that included a f**k load of girls’ nights and drunken 3am conversations in the toilets like, “No you’re prettier… I’ve always had a girl crush on you!” That’s where the magic happens.

What have been some of your most powerful posts in terms of engagement?
I think the biggest post I wrote was about communicating with our kids, how we need to stop thinking we failed if our toddlers are whinging, teens are complaining and kids are fighting. It’s the quiet kids, it’s the kids who are trying to disappear, not communicating and locking themselves in their rooms, that we need to worry about.
A child therapist explained to me that it’s not so much about how the kids are communicating with you but the fact that they are that’s important. And it resonated because so many women think we are doing a bad job if our house is chaotic, or our kids just screamed “I hate my life!” But that’s all normal stuff and we need to be a bit easier on ourselves. Keep an eye out for kids that aren’t communicating at all; they are bigger warning signs than a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Really we all just need someone to tell us that we are doing OK. The blogs that remind people that they are doing OK, that there is a bigger picture, that everything is going to be just fine, are the ones that do well.
So much of the internet is designed to make mums and women scared; “If you don’t buy this you are screwing up your kids,” or “If you don’t do this your husband will cheat”. We leave the internet feeling like crap. People leave my page thinking….. it’s gonna be OK and even if it’s not, Con’s definitely got it worse!

How does it feel to be making such a positive difference to women throughout the world?
You never sit back and say, “Wow, look what I’ve done”, you just sit back and say “Wow, what else can I do?” It’s terrible but it’s the way we are designed. I wish I spent more time enjoying my accomplishments and taking the things women say to me on board and less time pressuring myself to do more, but I think that’s just the way the human brain is designed.

It seems these days that people – particularly women – can’t do anything right. Why is it so important that we stop this culture of ‘mummy shaming’?
I think mum shaming has peaked and it is dying; I hope so anyway. Women don’t really judge other women; they judge themselves and it makes them pretend to judge other women as a way of deflecting their self-doubt. My mantra: “When you can love you, you can love me”.

What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
Who the hell knows? Life is crazy. I want to open a shop for my clothing label, but I also want to give away everything I own, buy a bus, teach the kids what our country really looks like while I vlog my life to the world. There is always the option of nothing. The ocean calls, it calls every day and that might just be enough.


To find out more about TEDxChristchurch, check out page 26.



Gathering pace: Q&A with Gatherings’ Alex Davies

The ‘root to tip’ concept of food is gathering pace as clever culinary creators seek to reduce waste and encourage sustainability. Alex Davies from Gatherings Restaurant is playing no small part in this movement.


We caught up with Alex ahead of him judging the Christchurch regional finals of the Rabobank Root to Tip competition on 2 August.


Can you tell us a bit about Gatherings and how it came about?
Gatherings came about after working as a chef for 12 years and always wanting to do my own thing. After being in a partnership with Shop Eight on New Regent Street, I decided to leave in 2016 and work closer with growers to understand the whole process behind the culinary world. I worked with organic vegetable growers for a year, accumulating ideas and developing a better understanding of the whole process from seed to plate. Having seen this first-hand, I wanted to make a space that highlighted the work of the growers and celebrate the work in which they conduct.

Why did you become a chef and what attracted you to the industry?
I initially became a chef after my parents immigrated to New Zealand in 2005. I had just turned 20 and, having just moved countries and left university, I couldn’t figure out what to do next. I enrolled as a chef at Ara as a way to meet people and make friends and quickly realised it was something I was good at and fell in love.

What’s your foodie philosophy?
To work with what you have available around you and create dishes that reflect the seasons and the weather, whilst always honouring the land and what it provides us, even in the scarcest of times.

What are some of your most popular dishes?
My menu constantly changes to adapt to the time and what is happening in small farms throughout the region – as a result I find my most popular dishes and favourite dishes constantly change. Asparagus in the middle of spring is perfect, as are tomatoes in summer, squash in autumn and onions in winter; the dishes change so much that there can never be a favourite.

Why are you so passionate about Garden to Table initiatives?
Garden to Table connects children to the food they grow, to the table they eat from, with the rapidly changing world and with climate change a genuine threat to ourselves and more so, the next generation who will suffer at the hands of our actions today, the ability to evolve, adapt and feed oneself is one of the most important skills you can have. As a result, the Garden to Table scheme is vital in maintaining traditional knowledge and self-sufficiency, once a completely normal thing, lost in two generations. The importance of bringing this back from a health perspective and an ecological one cannot be overstated.

You are judging the Christchurch regional finals of the Rabobank Root to Tip competition on 2 August where 9-11 year olds will be creating vegetarian dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. How great is it to see our young people excited about creating cuisine they’ve been involved with from the ground up?
It is well and truly 100 percent one of the most inspiring things you can experience. To be in a room with children of this age, and see the passion for growing and cooking, and the engagement they have in what they do is so, so special. This is my third year doing this, and every time I do it I come away feeling inspired and in awe of what they are doing. (I also feel a little jealous that it took me well into my 20s before learning this stuff!) The next generation of young chefs and just general cooking learnt through learning these skills is exciting as anything. The future certainly looks bright!

You’ve been presenting dishes at Gatherings inspired by the dishes the children have created. How have these been received?
People have really been into it, they love the story behind it. I have really enjoyed interpreting the dishes and understanding the ideas behind them a little more, it has been heaps of fun. I can’t wait to try the original dishes designed by the children themselves, which I’m sure will be way better as they have the true understanding and original concept behind them, they also have such passion that I’m sure we will taste on the day!

What do the next 12 months have in store for both you and Gatherings?
Having just returned from a trip around Europe doing Gatherings pop-ups overseas and opening our sister bar ALFRED next door, my focus will be on that. I have a few pop-ups in store in and around the country as well, but they are being kept under the hat for now! I also have a one-and-a-half year old daughter who I will be investing all my time in, making her feel loved and ready to take on the world!