MECCA Bang-For-Your-Buck Gifts

When it comes to the holiday season, every penny counts and we have done the work to come up with the top 10 bang-for-your-buck gifts at MECCA to help your money go further this festive season. From fragrance discovery sets, and party-ready makeup that brings colour and sparkle, to the skincare superstars that will have your entire routine sorted, there is no girl math necessary with these value-for-money gift sets – thank us later!

Kiehl’s MECCA Favourites $130 NZD

Starting off with a bang, this holiday gift set features a trio of our best-selling hydration products valued at $168 AUD/ $174 NZD (that’s a saving of $43 AUD/$44 NZD), including our Ultra Facial Cleanser, Ultra Facial Cream and Avocado Eye Cream. This set makes for a great gift to give or keep for yourself. Featuring a limited edition holiday design by artist Duo Icinori.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian The Set of Precious Elixirs Oud Satin Mood $213 NZD

Nothing screams value for money more than a fragrance discovery set, and this OUD Satin Mood Extrait de Parfum gives off a mysterious trail of oud wood from Laos, roses, violets and lush vanilla. This set of precious elixirs is the perfect way to test and trial your next signature scent without having to splurge on the full size!

Laura Mercier The Guiding Star Translucent Loose Setting Powder & Puff $78 NZD

A limited-edition Translucent Loose Setting Powder with the signature Velour Puff in special limited edition design, Laura Mercier’s Holiday 2023 collection takes inspiration from the overwhelming beauty of the night sky—its velvet darkness bursting with radiant constellations and incandescent stardust.

NARS Gold Star Laguna Duo – $58 NZD

Show up sun-kissed anytime, anywhere with this duo of Laguna cheek essentials. Perfect for the summer season ahead, take these exclusive minis with you on your next summer vacay and seamlessly build a golden glow with mini Laguna Bronzing Powder and add a rush of bronze radiance to cheeks with mini Afterglow Liquid Blush’s limited-edition shade.

By Terry Opulent Star Stunning Eyes Cracker $78 NZD

This stunning eye beauty cracker includes the bestselling cream eyeshadow Ombre Blackstar in shade N°4 Bronze Moon and a mini-to-go version of the iconic Mascara Terrybly in shade N°1 Black Partis-Pris, helping you effortlessly create a captivating look. Presented in festive eco-friendly packaging, making it an ideal gift.

Origins Fantastic Favourites Skincare Essentials $105 NZD

Six best-selling essentials—from cleanser to moisturizer—sized to go wherever the holidays take you. These essentials go the distance: cleanse with our #1 Cleanser; purify pores with our Charcoal Mask; soothe the look of redness with Treatment Lotion; boost glow with Vitamin C Serum; intensely hydrate with Weightless Moisturizer and brighten under eyes (now and later) with Refreshing Eye Cream.

Drunk Elephant Day Dazzle: The Morning Kit $178 NZD

The dawn is breaking, the sun is shining, and your complexion is glowing: A complete morning routine to give you and your skin a fresh, healthy, moisturized start to the day. Protini™ Cream moisturizes and strengthens, C-Firma™ Fresh brightens and firms, B-Hydra™ hydrates and replenishes the complexion, and C-Tango™ delivers brighter, firmer skin around the eyes.

Urban Decay Eye Liner Trio
 $104 NZD

Available in a range of intensely vivid shades, save $14 AUD / $25 NZD with this trio of liners infused with jojoba oil for a bolder, long-lasting pigment. Perfect for creating precise lines or smudged for a smokier feel. The creamy, waterproof formula glides across the lid without grabbing or pulling to deliver a high-impact colour.

Ellis Faas Holiday Set $137 NZD

Beauty can rarely be defined, however, this Ellis Faas is one of the best bargains this holiday season, valued at $151 AUD | $170 NZD (save $30 AUD/$33 NZD). Included in this limited edition set are three of Ellis’ (and our) favourite products, Creamy Eyes, Eyelights and Creamy Lips, pair them all together to create an iconic masterpiece.

Diptyque Eau de Parfum Holiday Discovery Set $225 NZD

Have you been tossing up which Diptyque scent is for you? Look no further than the Holiday Discovery Set, filled with some of the brand’s best-selling scents in a limited edition travel size, only available during the holiday season, run don’t walk!

Related Article: Powerhouse Designer Kiri Nathan On The Challenges Underlying Her Success

The Insiders Guide: Wellington

Heading to our stylish capital city? Wellington local, Sopheak Seng, has shared their hottest spots and hidden gems, with everything from great coffee shops to memorable day trips, so you can make the most out of your stay.

Best Coffee

Coffee is serious business in Wellington, everyone has their faves and will fight to the bitter end, ‘scuse the pun, over whose recommendation reigns supreme. While Customs Brew Bar and Pour & Twist were also a tie for first, I had to choose just one… Evil Twins: A local family-run business that started as a hole in the wall, that now has its own bricks and mortar coffee shop. Its vibe is all about community, connection and creativity. The usual fare of choice when it comes to coffee, but these guys also do the best jar drinks with their ‘Matcha Love’ being their absolute best seller. 

Best Thrift

Wellington style is always eclectic and fashion forward thanks to its treasure trove of thrift stores. You can simply walk Cuba Street and find many a door to the thrifting of your dreams, but my standout of them all is… Zigguarat: With true vintage pieces from the twenties right through to modern fashion, Zigguarat is truly a fashion lover’s dream. Beautifully arranged in a way that you can lose hours in there with something for everyone, at every price point. From costume jewellery to archival Karen Walker, it’s a Wellington institution for a reason.

Best Bar

With special mention to Elixir in Chews Lane, because it truly is a hidden gem with superior sips and an equally delicious menu, however, my take on the tipple of the town is… Puffin: Dark and moody with velvet banquets and taxidermy – think luxurious speakeasy vibes. The menu focuses on classic cocktails with a twist, beer on tap, with a focus on natural organic wines. This is where you come to either start off your night or end it as its cosy intimate seating is perfect for couples as well as big groups.

Best Takeaways

The Wellington food scene is never short of amazing options when it comes to takeaways, whatever your mood is there is something for everyone. KC Cafe: A Wellington institution and is perfect for those seeking something cheap and cheerful and always reliable. The menu is extensive, but well worth it. Their dumplings are some of the best, as is their duck. Hearty Asian fare that always delights. Good Boy Sammies: Born out of a few drinks at the pub, Good Boy Sammies really do deliver some of the best sandwiches in town. A hole in the wall that is only open Wednesday to Sunday they serve up some truly out of this world combinations. Tomboy: If you are after a sweet treat, you really can’t go past Tomboy based in Mount Victoria. Kate is a true master of their craft. The cheese scones are legendary as are her cakes and sweet treats. Her cabinets are always filled with some of the most delicious and Insta worthy food.

Best Day Trip

On a nice sunny day, catch the ferry to Eastbourne and spend the day at the beach or enjoy lunch at the Pavillion or one of the beautiful cafes around. Alternatively, you can also take the ferry across to Matui/ Somes Island and walk the trails. Pack a lunch and enjoy the views of Wellington from the other side. This is a great way to escape the city for a few hours and be at one with nature.

Best Beach Spot

There are so many options when it comes to beaches in Wellington, being surrounded by water means that there are so many choices, so much so, I couldn’t choose just one. Lyall Bay is great for surfing and people watching, Scorching Bay is the perfect summertime family beach with a beautiful grassy area for picnicking and soft sand for swimming, sunning (safely) and watching boats. Also, you must stroll across the road to Scorchorama for an ice-cream or one of their famous thickshakes. Oriental Bay Beach is an oasis in the middle of the city. You can sit along one of the park benches and watch the world go by with a coffee or good book.

The IYKYK Spot

Wellingtonians love nothing more than getting out into nature. There are so many fabulous places to walk and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. From Massey Memorial walk, which takes you to the memorial, the old gun embankments and through to the old Miramar prison in the Eastern Suburbs, to Mount Kaukau which is great for seeing an almost 360 view of Wellington Harbour – yes, it is worth the trek up the hill. You also can’t beat Mount Victoria lookout and the Green Belt- there are so many tracks and ways that you can get there depending on where you start and the level of intensity you want to go for.

City Escape

Nothing beats getting out of the city and heading over the hill to Wairarapa/ Martinborough. An hour’s drive away from Wellington, this is the perfect day trip or weekend away. Here you can visit local galleries or for the wine and food lover there are numerous wineries and eateries, and trust me, Moy Hall is a must for lunch while overlooking their vineyard. You could even hire a bike and do wine tastings. My top picks to try are Escarpment, Palliser, and Ata Rangi.

Hidden Gem

Take the cable car up to a true hidden gem – Fragrifert Victorian Perfumery. A truly unique Wellington experience. There you will find fragrances by artisan perfumer Francesco van Eerd, featuring NZ florals and botanicals. It’s a great place to not only view Wellington from up high but also learn about the craft of distilling from the knowledgeable staff.

Local Must Do

Sunday Markets on Wellington Waterfront is a great way of seeing Wellington in action. This small haven is perfect for picking up the week’s veggies, discovering local producers and food artisans, as well as watching the coming and goings of Wellingtonians and visitors alike. Grab a souvlaki from the Greek Food Truck and sit on the steps of the Te Papa and enjoy a few hours of the Wellington vibe.

Art Scene

There are so many choices when it comes to galleries and the art scene. From private galleries to public institutions there is always something happening art-wise. Enjoy Contemporary Art Space: Features an ever-rotating schedule of work, Enjoy is perfect whether you are an art aficionado or a casual art lover. You will always find something that will tempt you in to view. McLeavey Gallery: A name that is synonymous with the art world. Started by Peter McLeavey, dealing in contemporary NZ art, the gallery has held over 560 exhibitions to date. The Dowse: Located in the Hutt, The Dowse has managed to carve out a niche for itself by showcasing interesting and fantastical exhibitions where applied arts is concerned. With a focus on ceramics, textiles, weaving and the likes, the museum has garnered over 3,500 objects to delight its visitors. Its focus on accessible art and exhibitions makes it one that is also very family friendly.

Top Eats

Kisa Slinging Turkish and Middle Eastern inspired eats, Kisa is a must-dine spot and its open windows overlooking Cuba Street also make it an ideal place to watch the world go by. Koji: Asian cuisine with NZ ingredients, Koji serves up great eats with an unusual spin that is forward-thinking and always creative. Liberty: From the team at Logan Brown, Liberty is a more casual take on its older sibling. More sharing plates and an innovative menu. Liberty is all about pushing the boundaries of what you would expect and making the ingredients the star.
Rita: Book in advance… if you can. This one’s harder to get into than your local doctor, but well worth it! Cute cottage serving incredible food. The three course menu changes frequently, so no two meals are ever the same! Hiakai: Helmed by celebrity chef Monique Fiso, this is a gastronomic tour of the taste buds. Hiakai celebrates Māori ingredients and cooking styles and serves up truly mind-blowing creations.

Related Article: What’s On This December

What Drives Dame Anne Salmond

On the release of a new book that revisits some of her best pieces of writing, Dame Anne Salmond pays tribute to the one person who has been her main inspiration.

Esteemed anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond is a national treasure who has helped Aotearoa New Zealand understand our cultural history through her writing and her life-long love affair with Māori.   

At 78, Salmond, winner of New Zealander of the Year in 2013, has recently been reflecting on her ground-breaking work as an anthropologist, environmentalist and writer with the release of her new book, Knowledge is a Blessing on Your Mind; Selected Writings, 1980–2020. It’s a collection of forty years of Salmond’s key written work about the Māori world, Te Tiriti and the wider Pacific and embedding her writing with her life, her relationships, her travels and friends.  

The collection includes Hui: A Study of Māori Ceremonial Gatherings, Eruera: The Teachings of a Māori Elder, and more recently, writing about race and Te Tiriti.   

“I’ve led a joyful life. It hasn’t been an angst ridden journey. It’s been a lot of fun,” she says.  

“It was wonderful to retrace my journey, going back to the beginning and remembering all of the relationships I’ve had, the people that I’ve known and the things that I have been involved with.”  

But the release of her new book comes with a tinge of sadness for Salmond. One of her biggest supporters, her husband Jeremy Salmond, one of the country’s leading conservation architects, died earlier this year. He encouraged Salmond to write this book, and passed  away before the book’s release.  

Anne Salmond

“We were together for 54 years and extremely close. It’s like losing half of yourself. He was a major personality in his own right, a gorgeous man who was very much loved by everyone. It’s been a very tough year,” she solemnly says.  

 “When you’re with someone for a very long time, and your lives weave together. you become a unit in a very deep way.”  

Jeremy shared Salmond’s love for history and the environment and often took many photos she used for her work.

Born in Wellington and raised in Gisborne, Salmond is a Pākehā New Zealander who has always had a special bond for Māori and their history.   

She says her connection to telling Māori stories stemmed from her great-grandfather, James McDonald, who was born in 1865, and was a photographer and filmmaker who had a close friendship with prominent Māori lawyers and politicians Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck. James filmed, photographed and used cutting edge technology of the time to document Māori history because he feared that the culture was vanishing.   

Salmond shared her great grandfather’s passion, and also inherited his notebooks of his work.  

She went on her own journey of discovery, learning how to speak Māori, after she spent a year in the US as an AFS exchange student.  

“When I was in the US, I had to do a lot of talks about Aotearoa. That’s when I realised I knew very little about Māori, that I was completely ignorant. When I returned, I was fascinated with the culture and I learned te reo Māori.”  

Salmond has a close connection to the University of Auckland, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1966 and a Master of Arts in anthropology in 1968. She later became a highly acclaimed Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Māori Studies. She gained a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 with her thesis titled Hui – a study of Māori ceremonial gatherings.  

Salmond not only became a lecturer in Māori studies, but she was also involved in some of the major activist activities in the 70s that impacted Māori. including Bastion Point and was pregnant when she marched across the Auckland Harbour Bridge during the infamous 1975 land march led by Dame Whina Cooper. Her close friendship and working relationship with kaumatua Eruera and Amiria Stirling helped her build close connections and relationships in the Māori world.  

Despite her extensive work, Salmond has never claimed to speak for Māori. Her passion has always been around her willingness to observe and document.  

“I don’t claim any type of authority,” she says.  “What I share is a journey and sense of wonder, and excitement. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been surrounded by elders and kaumatua with a great deal of mana, and I’ve had a korowai wrapped around me to protect and support me.” 

These days, at 74, Salmond is still working, focusing her time on environmental projects. As with anthropology and Māori culture and history, she has excelled in writing, research and in practical work in the fields of conservation and preservation.  

“I work on environmental projects because of my four grandchildren. I want them to have a future and a world to live in.”

Related Article: Pacific Health Leader Shares Her Painful Medical Battle

Christmas Dessert Hacks: Entertaining, Bring A Plate Or Hostess Gift!

Tis the season to be jolly, but who said it can’t be the season to be savvy? As the festive vibes kick in, the last thing you want is to be tangled in the tinsel of stressful dessert preparations. This Christmas, Woolworths has a sleigh full of hacks that will save you time, and stress with their ready-to-devour desserts! From trifles to tarts, meringues to mince pies, cookies to cheese and all things in between, they have everything you need to help make Christmas special. 

Gold Chocolate, Coconut and Raspberry Yule Log – $43 

A Christmas classic, but who has the time to roll and bake a log-shaped cake from scratch? Yule love this easy-peasy Yule Log from the bakery department, hand decorated and is a perfect blend of flavours and textures. 

For a homemade touch, dust with sugar, top with fresh fruit and a sprig of holly! 

Dulce De Leche Trifle – $45 

The unsung hero of holiday desserts! This hand-finished masterpiece is layered with dulce de leche, custard, and sponge, promising a rich and indulgent experience with every bite. 

Top it off with edible glitter or festive sprinkles for a homemade touch!

Gingerbread DIY House – $25

Photographer: Timothy Roberts

A labour of love, and patience you can be the holiday hero without breaking a sweat (or cracking an egg) This DIY Gingerbread House comes complete with pipe-able icing and a variety of decorations, allowing you to customise your creation to your heart’s content. 

Limited-edition Christmas Smash Cake – $50

Have your cake and smash it too this silly season, with Woolworths’ most highly anticipated Christmas item hitting stores this week. The supermarket’s limited-edition Christmas Smash Cake sold out in 2022 and is expected to fly off shelves again this year. Designed to bring a little moment of magic to young and old alike, the festive favourite has gone viral on TikTok and is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleasing centrepiece this Christmas. Simply crack open the solid chocolate dome to reveal layers of rich chocolate sponge and buttercream, topped with an assortment of sweets! Then slice, slice baby – it can be shared with up to 26 people, making it an affordable treat at just under $2 per serve. 

So, there you have it dessert dreamers, a guide to hacking Christmas with store-bought desserts that will leave your guests wondering if you have a secret family recipe. Woolworths Food range has everything you need to help make Christmas special. Visit in-store or online to see the full range here Christmas at Woolworths.

Related Article: WOMAN Relaunches As A Quarterly Magazine!

What’s On This December

This festive season brings us many exciting events to jot down in our calendars, check them out!

Kāpiti Food Fair
2 December 

More than 220 food vendors, and a bustling crowd of 10,000 people, the Kāpiti Food Fair is a scrumptious showcase of everything that we love about New Zealand food. Don’t bypass the Tuatara bar and stage for local brews and grooves.

The Jingle Bellethon Telethon Christmas Show
On Now until 22 December

Celebrating its fourteenth year, The Basement Theatre Christmas Show is back, and this time it’s going off the rails with Janaye Henry (Ngāti Kahuki Whangaroa) and Bea Gladding (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) steering the comedic sleigh. Brace yourself for the perfect blend of scripted brilliance and spontaneous hilarity as Jingle Bellethon Telethon takes the stage and flips the classic Kiwi Telethon on its head.

Christmas in the Park
Christchurch, Auckland
25 November, 9 December

Photo: Richard Linton

It wouldn’t be a December events list without the iconic Christmas big bash. Two nights, in two different cities, and another year of musical and dance entertainment plus a jaw-dropping display of fireworks to top off the festivities. This free knees-up should be a fixture in your Christmas calendar.

JW Marriott
Now until 5 January

This festive wonderland, located in the JW Marriott hotel’s Premium Suite, is a luxurious holiday accomodation option for those who love everything Christmas! For those looking to ditch their aprons, JW Marriott Auckland will also be hosting three festive dining packages: Christmas Eve Dinner featuring a tailor made 4-course set menu, Christmas Day Buffet, and the New Year’s Eve Dinner. Available for booking now.

South Island Wine & Food Festival
2 December

This festival in Christchurch’s Hagley Park is your ticket to drinking and nibbling your way around the South Island. The Black Seeds will provide easy listening reggae as your soundtrack for the day.

Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Exhibition
14 December-28 April

Explore the Marvel Universe and discover the stories behind the superheroes at this world-premiere exhibition at Tākina Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre. Celebrating 80 years of Marvel, you will have the chance to see original comic art, film props and costumes and exclusive memorabilia, as well as meeting the creators and minds behind the characters. Tickets required.

Boxing Day Festival
Hawke’s Bay
26 December

Onto its eighth edition, the Cape Estate fest is a family-friendly staple in Hawke’s Bay and we can see why. A Boxing Day of pure bliss in the open-air garden setting, with a picturesque view of Cape Kidnappers, good food and great musical line-up.

Related Article: Meet WOMAN’s New Editor Angie Fredatovich

December Energy Forecast From Gaia Chinniah

Gaia Chinniah is an internationally known healer, medium and spiritual coach. She founded Soul 33 a healing company and the modality of Soul Progression Therapy. Using the energetic cycles and seasons to set your goals, heal and manifest what you want in life is such a powerful tool to help us to navigate life daily without resistance. To use this December Energy Forecast, review once in its entirety and then at the beginning and end of each week remind yourself what the energy of the week is asking of you.

Week One: 1 – 10 December

The final month of the calendar year is here, and things are wrapping up. There is a lot of power this week to discover yourself through some independence and making a commitment to your greatness. Do you understand the power you have within your circumstance?

You will receive intuitive guidance through your meditation practice and quiet time to be sure, wait to ensure you are not being negative and then use your voice to articulate what you need. This is a week of following your dreams, taking a stand but not from a negative stance and revealing your truth through your expression. Take action! You be surprised as to how influential you are.

Card of the week: Signs

The intuitive messages you will receive this week are through signs and synchronicities. Receive signs without looking and spend time deciphering what they are telling you before speaking and acting. This card comes up to remind you to ask for a sign!

Week Two: 11 – 17 December

Mind your thoughts this week, be realistic and don’t over think when it comes to exchanges. Exchanges in terms of what you are giving in return for something. Are you doing things only to get something in return? There may be some sort of conflict or inner conflict but look at how you can come together with another and converge rather than working to fulfill independent needs. Intend and surrender, be in the flow. Be balanced by being patient but also remember memories are being created and you want them to be impressions that are lasting for how you made someone feel. Be in the flow of life this week.

Card of the week: Trust

Trust that relationships are coming together for a common purpose. Trust in yourself that you are enough. This card comes up to remind you that you can trust what is happening for you.

New Moon: 12 December

We have a new moon and it’s time to intend bigger things for yourself. Remove mental limitations from your intentions and create the roots for feeling safe before the New Year.

Mercury Retrograde: 13 December 1 January

The planet Mercury is said to rule our communication, our minds and our emotions. It is a planet with strong forces that impact us because energetically we are all connected as people, as souls and with the planets that are in our Universe. Spirit tells me to be more mindful of exchanges of your energy during this period. Think before you speak or write and be clear in the mind before you say anything. Mercury Retrograde is nothing to fear, it’s a time to get clear on your intentions and be clear with your energetic exchanges, communications and the outcomes you desire.  

Week Three: 18 – 24 December

We have the solstice this week which is a time of purification and a new beginning! We want to think about applying purification and simplicity in our life, especially in areas where you feel you have lacked progress. What value does this area or person hold in your life?  Why do you want to keep it? Find your courage and determination to see the situation with new eyes; paint a new reality! There are some closures this week, things that will make you feel like you want to be done with certain things and this is so you can unlearn and let go. Abundance is in the air once we can move past ourselves, and you will see support showing up around you to remind you that you are not alone.

Card of the week: Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth comes from awareness of what is ending and beginning in your life. You are spiritually growing this week by allowing closures and recreating a new perspective. This card comes up to remind you that you are growing!

Week Four: 25 – 31 December

It is Christmas this week and there is magic in the air. While it can be a triggering and confronting time of year we are being asked to be as emotionally balanced as possible, be gracious and social by living in the present moment. There is a turning point and truths being revealed about how you feel about certain things, take some time out if you can and retreat and gain power from the knowledge that you receive. Tune into the collective and embrace the festive season of giving, receiving and feeling the sacred bonds you have with yourself and those around you.

Card of the week: Masters

It is not surprising the Masters card comes up for us this week to remind us about why we celebrate Christmas. The Masters card appears when there is deep guidance back to what is most important. This is a reminder that you are divinely connected and are safe and supported in life.

Full Moon: December 27

The emotions that come up this week may be around home, family and feeling de-stabilised by triggers. With this full moon phase you have the opportunity to get some relief and a strong foundation for January 2024.

This is a magical month with a lot of support showing up for us and the ability to be courageous in our direction. Many truths will be unveiled for us to have clarity and to allow things to end for a new beginning which will be a vital part of how we begin a new year. You will find your power and your voice this month but be sure to take a moment before speaking and acting. You want to be clear in your mind first.

Related Article: WOMAN Relaunches As A Quarterly Magazine!

Strawberries & Cream Tiramisu Recipe

Delicious tiramisu recipe courtesy of Luna Bakehouse and Brown Brothers.


  • 4 fresh strawberries (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam (50gms)
  • Fresh cream (120mls)
  • Mascarpone (100 gms)
  • 6-8 ladyfingers
  • Brown Brothers Moscato Strawberries & Cream (100ml)



  • Whisk the fresh cream and jam until slightly thickened
  • Add Marscapone and whisk until stiff peaks form
  • In a deep bowl, dip one side of the ladyfingers into the Brown Brothers Moscato Strawberries & Cream
  • Layer the dipped ladyfingers in a serving dish
  • Spoon the cream mixture over the ladyfingers
  • Repeat the layers until at the desired height
  • Add fresh sliced strawberries on top 
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
  • Slice and serve chilled
  • Enjoy your Tiramisu!

Related Article: Three Delicious Cocktail Recipes from Good Cocktail Co.

Powerhouse Designer Kiri Nathan On The Challenges Underlying Her Success

Fresh from her stellar runway show at New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria 2023, fashion designer, Kiri Nathan, tells journalist and playwright, Aroha Awarau, about her electrifying show.

Kiri Nathan

Māori designer, Kiri Nathan (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Hauā), opened this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week in August, with an emotive runway show chronicling the history of Māori garments. Fashion bible Vogue Australia described the experience as “the changing of the guard” in New Zealand fashion.

Kiri blushes whenever she’s congratulated about the milestone spectacle that she created and, in the process, becoming the very first Māori designer to open New Zealand’s premiere fashion event in its 20-year history.

Instead, Kiri prefers to give credit to the 280 whānau and friends who worked tirelessly to make the show happen. Importantly, she also acknowledges the up-and-coming Māori and indigenous fashion designers that are making their own mark in the fashion industry.

“After the show, we were given a full-house standing ovation. It was joyous and celebratory. This kind of reception hardly happens at New Zealand Fashion Week. Everyone connected and responded to the runway experience. It made an impact,” Kiri explains.

“It was a powerful moment for Māori fashion. The garments told stories of how Māori wore and made clothes, based on social and environmental impacts. Our history and our aspirations for the future were all connected.”

Kiri established her eponymous high-end brand thirteen years ago. Her distinctive fashion garments, jewellery, and pounamu designed by co-founder and husband Jason Nathan, weave together Māori culture, tradition, and contemporary designs. She uses ancient techniques like weaving, and kākahu (handwoven garments and cloaks) to create her pieces. Her clothes honour the world of Māori by acknowledging whakapapa (genealogy) and utilise sustainable materials to form a deeper connection to the environment.

Kiri Nathan

When Kiri first started her brand, some fashion insiders told her that her unapologetic focus on Māori and indigenous ideologies had no place in modern fashion.  But Kiri stuck to her principles, believing that her authentic indigenous lens was what made her unique, and her brand became well-known locally and internationally. She has designed garments and gifted pounamu and kākahu to international personalities like Barack Obama, Meghan Markle, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, and her gowns have appeared on the red carpet at the Oscars and Hollywood premieres.

“It’s been an evolution, for me personally, as a creative and as a businesswoman. I continue to learn and grow. During the early years, it was extremely challenging. There were many negative experiences within the industry, I found the frameworks and how people treated each other especially difficult.”

Kiri’s business has become so successful that a year ago she moved her base from her tiny Auckland home and studio, into her own showroom and operations hub situated in the heart of the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes.  Named Te Āhuru Mōwai, meaning shelter or safe haven, the working space is where Kiri not only makes her clothing and woven kākahu, but it’s also a community hub for the future of Aotearoa fashion to be mentored in design and business.

Kiri proudly takes us on a tour of her immaculate showroom, renovated from recycled and repurposed wood and furniture.  Clothing is not arranged in seasons, like other fashion houses. Instead, they are arranged by various components of the Māori world. For instance, there’s a Matariki collection, with each garment inspired by the nine stars of Matariki.

She based her workshop in the working class suburb of Glen Innes, as opposed to the inner city, because Glen Innes is where Kiri was raised and went to school. It was important to return home, to re-connect and give back to her community.

“My formative years were spent here in Glen Innes. This is where my creativity started, it was an outlet that always brought me into a space that felt safe and secure.”

There are many taonga (treasures) displayed inside Te Āhuru Mōwai that have great significance. In one corner lies a giant mauri greenstone gifted to her by the people of the South Island iwi of Kai Tahu. In another corner is her most precious taonga, an old Singer sewing machine owned by her paternal grandmother, Inez Fullerton. Inez was a talented seamstress who sewed and knitted clothes for her whanau.

“I used to sit at the foot of the sewing machine and spent hours watching grandma sew. I used to watch her cut patterns and make clothes. It was calming for me,” adds Kiri.

“As I got older, she let me have a go at sewing and making clothes. I always wanted a place to honour her sewing machine and the memories that it holds.”

At 18, Kiri became a single mother to her son Astley. To help provide a future for herself and her baby, Kiri spent three years completing a diploma in visual arts at the Manukau Institute of Technology, majoring in fashion. But after she graduated, Kiri was disheartened with fashion and became a flight attendant and an in-flight manager for Ansett and Air New Zealand for fourteen years.

“By the end of the three years of study, I never wanted to see a sewing machine again. The theory-based course killed my desire to create for years.”

She met her husband Jason and his daughter Ahmardia in 1998. They married and went on to have three more children.

While juggling a career at Air New Zealand and family life, Kiri entered various fashion competitions including the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards. In 2008, she won the Supreme Award at Style Pasifika with a garment that was inspired by a picture of her grandparents when they were younger. Winning the major prize, and with the support from her husband, they had the confidence to start their own label. 

“We were clueless, completely green with no idea where to start. In our divine wisdom, we thought it would be a wonderful idea to start a business, and work around the kids.”

Today, that decision has paid off. Kiri has become a major influence in New Zealand fashion and for indigenous designers around the world. She became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2020 for her contribution to Māori and the fashion industry.

In 2017, she founded Kahui Collective, a community to support Māori fashion designers in their businesses and creative endeavours.

“It’s important to bring all of our like-minded and creative whānau together. We’re in an industry that is still on its journey to fully understanding and realising the potential of Māori fashion. For Māori fashion to be successful, it has to be a collective effort.”

This article was published in Volume 1 of WOMAN Magazine, on sale now at all good magazine retailers.

This is public interest journalism funded by NZ on Air.

Related Article: Pacific Health Leader Shares Her Painful Medical Battle

Pacific Health Leader Shares Her Painful Medical Battle

The leader of a major Pacific organisation is making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure more women are aware of the dangers of breast cancer.

Debbie Sorensen is the chief executive of the Pasifika Medical Association, the largest Pacific non-governmental organisation in New Zealand, and for 16 years she has helmed the entity with a strong and confident style of leadership.

But last month, she allowed herself to be vulnerable when she released a short documentary detailing her diagnosis with an aggressive form of breast cancer and the medical battle she endured to save her life. This was Debbie Sorensen whom her colleagues, peers and the public have never seen before. She was emotional, fragile, sick in a hospital bed with little hair on her head, allowing the world to see her experience the harsh reality of fighting breast cancer.

“We’ve watched too many sad medical movies when things don’t end well and people die. But this is a different story. I’m not dead yet.  We really need to encourage our Pacific women to not be so fearful. We can’t afford to have our Pacific mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and sisters die, so we have to do something about it,” she says.

Debbie was initially hesitant about letting the cameras in. She agreed to be filmed because she wanted to show a high-profile Pacific woman going through this experience and hoped it would encourage other Pacific women to have regular mammograms.  She also wanted to dispel the myths and anxieties that may surround chemotherapy and radiology treatments.

Debbie accepted that the most impactful way to spread the message was to show the rawness and honesty of battling breast cancer.

“If the documentary was a nice, flowery floating story, then women wouldn’t feel like they needed to act.  But actually, it’s very serious. I want people to be shocked, and that to be a call to action.”

A report published last year by Breast Cancer Foundation NZ found that Pacific women were 52% more likely to die of breast cancer within 10 years than Pākehā and had the highest rate of stage 3 and 4 breast cancers and of HER2+ cancers, and more grade 3 tumours than all other ethnicities.

Debbie’s breast cancer was discovered last April after she went for a check-up. It was an aggressive form of breast cancer that needed urgent attention, and she had a biopsy after her examination. Ten days later, she was in the theatre having a partial mastectomy, and ten weeks after that she started chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

“I was in shock. No one on either side of my family has had breast cancer. I thought I could get lots of other cancers, but not breast cancer. My father died of bowel cancer. When I was young, I smoked, and it would have been easy for me to get lung cancer. I was expecting the doctors to tell me it was only a breast lump. Lots of women have lumps removed and examined and they are benign.”

Once the seriousness of the cancer was confirmed, and the treatment plan had been put in place, Debbie prepared herself for the gruelling days of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“I’m not a person to feel sorry for myself. We just needed to get on with it. If they hadn’t found this early, then I might be planning a funeral,” she says.

“My overwhelming feeling was one of gratitude. I feel grateful that it was found, grateful that I was able to access health services, and grateful that I work in such an organisation where all my bosses are doctors and were very supportive.”

Debbie is a Tongan leader, a mother and a grandmother, who started her medical career as a nurse. She branched out into governance, management, and health advocacy for the Pacific community when she helped establish the Pasifika Medical Association in 1996. The association includes Pasifika Futures, the Whanau ora Commissioning Agency for Pacific families and ETU Pasifika Primary Care services in Auckland and Christchurch. 

Today, Debbie is back at work and feeling much better. She has yet to be given an all-clear from her doctors and still requires regular checks.

“I have to continue to be vigilant, and positive and continue to listen to my doctor’s health advice.”

She says the experience has given her a deeper insight into the public health system and has encouraged her to continue to fight for health equity for the Pacific community . 

“This experience has made me insightful. It’s made me determined to make sure that everything that we do makes it better for our Pacific people and their engagement with the health sector,” she says.

“The experience has also made me realise how loved I am and how important it is for me to get better and live the best life that I can.”

Watch Debbie’s documentary here.

This is public interest journalism funded by NZ on Air.

Related Article: How Miriama Smith Learned How to Love Acting

WOMAN Relaunches As A Quarterly Magazine!

With the digital platform in growth mode, School Road Publishing are coming back into the market with WOMAN magazine, giving the brand more exposure and credibility than ever.

WOMAN magazine returns to the newsstands Monday 27 November in a new more stylish and directional seasonal format. 

The changes come after Martine Skinner (ex Bauer/ACP) was announced General Manager and Sarah Hoffmann (ex Bauer, STUFF and NZME) was appointed Sales Director of School Road Publishing, owned by the Waitapu Group. 

 “We’ve bought the magazine back in a redesigned, contemporary matt format with more content so our audience can enjoy WOMAN in a more relaxed and tactile way during their leisure time, while still receiving continuous updates from and its social platforms throughout the week,” says Skinner.

Through a unique commercial model, WOMAN has invited a limited number of well-known brands to be Preferred Partners over the summer months and who are seamlessly integrated into the magazine.  

“We could not have delivered this issue without our preferred partners. We’re excited to be collaborating with them and sharing their stories through a mixture of editorial and sponsored editorial across all platforms” says Hoffmann.

At the helm of the first new look issue is Editor Angie Fredatovich, working alongside the creative talents of Waitapu Group’s other companies including the specialist visual storytellers at Film 360 and Stanley Street Agency’s design talents.  Experience editor and publisher Christina Sayers-Wickstead has contributed to the issue.

WOMAN Magazine is on sale now at all good magazine retailers.

Meet WOMAN’s New Editor Angie Fredatovich

It’s a ‘pinch me’ moment to be introducing myself as the new editor of WOMAN Magazine. Thirteen-year-old me who read fashion magazines cover to cover used to dream of one day being the girl who got to be the captain of such a creative ship. Secret confession — I also wanted to be the person who got to give nail polishes those clever, quirky colour names.

As we get to know each other you’ll learn that the one thing I dislike more than anything else is ageism. It’s important to me that whether you’re 19 or 90 you’ll find lots of things you love and can relate to in our newest issue (on sale Monday 27 November). You can rock the fashion, find inspiration, enjoy the escapism and get lost in the reads.

At the heart of WOMAN are the profiles we write about other women and this issue is filled to the brim with smart, inspiring and wonderful wãhine toa. It’s not just about giving voice to the women we write about, it’s also about giving you a voice. Please know that you can always reach out to us, and tell us what you’re thinking or what’s inspiring you, we’d love to hear from you via hello@

I want to leave you with one last thought before you read the newest issue. Attitude not age, because it’s not about the number of years you’ve lived, but the way in which you’ve lived them.

WOMAN Magazine is on sale now at all good magazine retailers.

Karen Walker on her Limited Edition Puzzle

With a cult international following and collections stocked in more than 1,000 stores in over 40 countries, Karen Walker is undoubtedly New Zealand’s most famous fashion export. She’s a self-confessed lover of creating order out of chaos and mixing pragmatism with eccentricity —both of which apply to her prowess as a fashion designer and her love of a good puzzle. We talk to NZ’s most acclaimed fashion designer Karen Walker about the inspiration behind the design of her Runaway Stamps puzzle, how she prioritises wellbeing in her day and, of course, delve into her love affair with the humble puzzle. 

The Karen Walker x Piecehouse puzzle is inspired by her childhood stamp collection, rich with adventure and exotic locales.

Your pieces are usually found on catwalks, not in a box. What led you to this collaboration? 

As a puzzle fanatic, I’ve actually wanted to create a jigsaw puzzle for many years! When PieceHouse sent us a puzzle to look at out of the blue, we knew we’d found the right partner. They’re puzzle fanatics like me and create lovely puzzles that are carefully crafted. 

We’ve spotted your signature Runaway Girl, but tell us more about the Runaway Stamps puzzle design.

We reworked a print from our 2018 collection called Love Letter a montage of vintage postage stamps that nod to Edwardian etchings and feature camels, giraffes, a kiwi bird and, of course, the graphic silhouette of our Runaway Girl with her shoulder-slung bindle front and centre. As a child, I was a bit of a stamp collector and was always drawn to the multifarious graphics and the sense of adventure and possibility they suggested. We took the original fabric, recoloured the graphics and repositioned the stamps, taking care to have them placed in just the right way to create a puzzle that’s challenging but still fun. 

You’re a self-confessed puzzle fanatic; where did it all start?

I’m a lifelong puzzler. My first, as a very young child, was an old wooden puzzle found at the back of Grandma’s games cupboard. The scene: a Regency painting of a grand drawing room with parquet floors, chandelier, harpsichord and a woman in a white gown by a large window. I was hooked. From then, every winter school holiday had a puzzle – 1,000 pieces minimum. One of the Eiffel Tower was the only one to beat me – too much flat, blue Parisian sky. Forty years on, that defeat still stings. 

Tell us what your dream puzzling scenario looks like.

Having company when puzzling is great fun (with the right types at the table), but they are also divine solo. My perfect puzzling scenario is a mid-morning empty house, a fresh pot of Earl Grey tea and one of my favourite podcasts or audiobooks. I’ll often do a bit of binge and really enjoyed having every John le Carré for company on one such binge (le Carré himself a lovely reader) and, on another, worked my way through every 007 (David Tennant is particularly good company) followed by every Jeeves and Wooster (Martin Jarvis does a lovely job). That’s a lot of puzzling and a lot of fantastic books. 

How do you juggle seemingly endless work demands with personal wellbeing? What advice would you give those aspiring to live a balanced life?

What works for me is building my wellbeing into my schedule as I do with my work responsibilities. That might be scheduling a dog walk, yoga class or meditation without guilt. These tasks are just as important as anything else in my day. I also start a puzzle at any time of year when I notice my mind’s buzzier than I like it to be, as a puzzle is one of the best ways I know to calm that buzzy state. 

Q&A credit to Piecehouse.

Related Article: Kowtow’s Gosia Piatek On Fashion, Sustainability And Making A Change For Good

Dietitian Deb Sue’s Top Tips for Supermarket Shopping with Kids

Supermarket shopping with kids can be a stressful exercise, so in a bid to make the experience easier for shoppers big and small, Woolworths is making changes at checkouts all across the country.

80 percent of food items at checkouts will carry a Health Star Rating (HSR) of 3.5 or above, with the remaining checkout space undefined by HSR, and kids confectionery will also be removed from checkouts across Woolworths supermarkets nationwide.

While treats and snacks will still be available for customers to choose in other parts of the supermarket, Woolworths New Zealand nutritionist and registered dietitian, Deb Sue, says the supermarket is giving shoppers a helping hand to make healthier choices at the checkout.

Deb Sue

“We want to give all New Zealanders healthier snack options to choose from at the checkout which is why you’ll find a selection that’s focused on higher Health Star Ratings. We’re not telling anyone what they should be putting in their trolley, but by upping healthier options and moving less healthy choices into aisles, hopefully it makes it that little bit easier.”

Those end-of-shop negotiations from the little ones will get a little less theatrical as parents can take comfort in knowing more healthy options are replacing products aimed at children at the checkouts.

But how to get to the end of the shop smoothly? Dietitian and mum Deb Sue shares her dos and don’ts to tackle any trolley tension:

  1. Don’t shop when you’re hungry, particularly with hungry kids

    • Go after breakfast or lunch and you’re less likely to make impulsive or hangry decisions, and bring the kids’ water bottles to keep them hydrated so they don’t mistake thirst for hunger

  2. Get the kids involved with meal planning and finding the groceries they need in store

    • If the kids are helping to make their favourite meals during the week, they’ll be more invested in getting the right ingredients to complete their goals

  3. Get the kids looking out for the HSR rating in store and knowing what this means

    • The HSR rating uses a rating scale of 0.5 to 5 stars. When comparing similar foods, foods with more stars are healthier than foods with fewer stars
    • Educate and distract at the same time!

  4. Role play shopping at home with your little ones

    • Give the kids an insight into the things you need to think about (and ignore) while shopping and they might have a little empathy next time

  5. Get them to help make the shopping list before you go & match it as much as possible to match the layout of the store

    • Call it orienteering or a treasure hunt and get the kids to select as many of the things on your list without backtracking or going down the same aisle twice
    • Tip: The myCountdown app has a product locator so you can find the exact aisle number

  6. Always start the shopping process in the fresh fruit and veg section – look out for the free fruit for kids tubs

    • Fill as much of the trolley as you can with vegetables and fruit so the kids see the trolley become full at the beginning, plus filling them up on free fruit will keep them distracted, full and less likely to want a packaged treat

  7. Pre-select a treat

    • If your little one is going to demand something no matter what, agree on what they can have before your shop. Even better, give them two healthy options so they feel they have a say on the matter when choosing between the two
    • Better yet, keep the focus off food and entice them with a non-food treat like going to the park, pool, or library afterwards (and it’s likely to speed up the shopping!)

  8. Make it fun

    • Distract the kids and get them to count how many blue shirts, or hats, or sneakers they can see throughout the shop

Related Article: The Importance of a Will for Blended Families

New Zealand’s Best Wedding Cakeries

Calling all lovebirds! Are you ready to embark on the sweetest journey of your lives? Well, hold onto your cake forks because we’re about to take you on a whirlwind tour of New Zealand’s top wedding cakeries! These talented bakers and decorators have mastered the art of turning sugar, flour, and a whole lot of love into edible works of art that will leave your taste buds begging for more. So, grab your sweetheart and get ready to discover the crème de la crème of the cake world right here in NZ!


Cake & Co.

Let’s begin our journey in the vibrant city of Auckland, where you will find the land of heavenly sweets. First stop is Cake & Co. This bakery is a little piece of paradise with mind-blowing creations that seem to have come from a fairytale run by the wonderful Jackie who you will fall in love with!. From elegant and classic designs to trendy and modern masterpieces, their cake artists will bring your wildest dessert dreams to life. 

Just Jess Boujee bakery

The Just Jess Boujee bakery is quickly becoming everyone’s favourite bakery.  With a name like “Just Jess,” you know her work will come with a personal flair. Her cakes are edible works of art that will have your guests taking photos from all sides. 


Bluebells is a cakery that will make your heart skip a beat. If you have read some of my wedding writing before, you may have picked up that I’m a florist, and it just so happens that I am a florist that actually does a lot of the flower action at the Bluebells Kingsland bakery, nestled in the heart of Auckland. Bluebells is a hidden gem that has been crafting edible works of art for years. Their dedication to perfection and their love for all things sweet shine through in every wedding cake they create.



Sweet Avenue Cakes

Travelling south to Hamilton, this quaint city is home to a little piece of heaven called Sweet Avenue Cakes. They will design a cake that tells your love story with their extraordinary attention to detail and dedication to perfection. Sweet Avenue Cakes will bring a touch of sweetness and charm to your special day, whether it’s with whimsical woodland themes or glitzy showstoppers.

Chrissy Cakes 

We have another sweet surprise from the city of Hamilton. The queen of sweets, Chrissy Cakes is able to fulfil all of your wedding cake fantasies. With her artistic flair and culinary expertise, Chrissy will whip up a masterpiece that not only tastes divine but also showcases your individuality as a couple. Trust us, Chrissy Cakes will leave your guests in awe and your taste buds in everlasting bliss.


Sage & Grace 

On this sugar-coated journey, Tauranga is the next stop. You’ll be taken to a world of sophisticated flavours and culinary artistry with every bite. This is my all-time favourite caker on this side of NZ. You must follow their Instagram for a constant stream of wedding inspo.  Sage & Grace is the cakery to go to if you want a cake that exudes grace and charm. These images above will tell you just that. 


Em & Skye

Em & Skye of Wellington is ready to add a little magic to your wedding day. These cake masters have mastered the technique of fusing flavour and design to produce jaw-dropping works of art. Em & Skye will completely mesmerise you and your guests with their whimsical creations and bold colours. Additionally, they provide bespoke designs to satisfy your most extravagant cake fantasies. 


The Cake Eating Company 

Now, we’re off to Christchurch, where The Cake Eating Company reigns supreme. These cake maestros are true artists, crafting cakes that are almost too beautiful to eat (almost!). From delicate hand-painted watercolor designs to intricate sugar sculptures (check out that monstera stencil! The Cake Eating Company will create a masterpiece that perfectly complements your wedding vision. Trust us, your taste buds and your eyes will thank you!  


Weeping Willow Cakes

Ah, Queenstown, the South Island’s crown jewel. This breathtaking location demands an equally breathtaking wedding cake, and we know the perfect bakeries to make that happen! Your go-to place for mouthwatering, picture-perfect cakes is Weeping Willow. They will produce a cake that is as lovely as Queenstown itself thanks to their attention to detail and commitment to using only the best ingredients. This team will turn your cake fantasies into a reality, whether you want rustic naked cakes or lavish tiered creations.

The Country Cakery

With their exquisite designs and mouth-watering flavours, the Country Cakery will tug at your heartstrings with their exquisite designs and flavors that will make your taste buds sing. With a dash of romance and a sprinkle of elegance, you can count on Nadine to create a cake that is an expression of your love story. From the first bite to the last, your guests will be transported to a world of pure culinary delight.

So, dear couples, as you embark on this sweet journey towards your big day, remember that your wedding cake is more than just a dessert — it’s a symbol of your love and your style. Let these talented cakeries work their magic and create a cake that will not only tantalise your taste buds but also capture the essence of your love. I hope these amazing cakeries make your wedding day a truly delectable experience. Happy cake hunting, lovebirds!

Related Article: Decadent chocolate cake with butterscotch frosting

Three Delicious Cocktail Recipes from Good Cocktail Co.

Check out these tasty Good Cocktail Co. recipes below — perfect for the warmer weather on the horizon. WOMAN tried and approved.

Lemon Foam Margarita

Good Cocktail Co.


  • Good Cocktail Co. Margarita Mixer
  • Altos Tequila
  • Garnish with Good Cocktail Co. Chili and Sweet Orange Salt Rim Garnish

Add 45ml tequila and 75ml Margarita Mixer into a cocktail shaker.

Add ice into the cocktail shaker and shake well.

Strain into a glass full of ice.

Garnish with Good Cocktail Co. Chili and Sweet Orange Salt Rim Garnish!

Cosmo Fizz


  • 45ml of Absolut Vodka
  • 75ml Good Cocktail Co. Cosmo Mixer
  • Good Cocktail Co. Berry and Lime Rim Garnish

Build all elements into a highball.

Garnish with Good Cocktail Co. Berry and Lime Rim Garnish and dried boysenberries or grapefruit.

Classic Mojito


  • Havana Rum
  • Mojito Mixer
  • Mint
  • Good Cocktail Co. Passionfruit and Ginger Rim Garnish

Add 45ml Havana Rum and 75 ml Mojito Mixer into a highball glass.

Add mint and ice into the highball glass.

Garnish with Good Cocktail Co. Passionfruit and Ginger Rim Garnish and a sprig of mint.

Related Article: A Passion To Do Good: Daily Good’s Impact On Rural Fijian Women

If I Could Change the World

Life can be tough at the best of times – and we can all agree that these are not the best of times. But three Kiwi women are doing their bit to help save the world – or at least their corner of it – in very different ways. SHARON STEPHENSON sat down with them to find out how they’re making a difference.  


Not all heroes wear capes, this we know. Some wear leggings, singlets and jandals.

It’s the most comfortable clothing when you’re rescuing dogs in 40 degree heat on the streets of Bali, admits Alanah Dalton who founded the charity Sari the Bali Dog in 2016.

When we speak, Alanah has just come back from saving a dog that was about to be eaten.

“The dog meat trade is Bali is illegal but it does go on,” says Alanah. “Someone told us the dog meat people were coming for this dog so Gusti, a lovely Balinese man I work with, rescued her. She’s the sweetest dog and we’re about to get her sterilised so hopefully she can be re-homed.”

The Indonesian island is now home for Alanah, 45, who first visited in 2005.

“I went on a day trip to Ubud and saw a mural which turned out to be for a dog rescue. Back then there weren’t many people doing this kind of work and there were so many dogs needing help. What I saw at that centre moved me to tears.”

Having graduated from Canterbury University with a law degree, Alanah was busy climbing the career ladder in Christchurch’s IT sector. But after that holiday, her thoughts kept returning to the plight of the Bali dogs.

She returned several times over the next few years, her suitcase bulging with blankets, towels and toys for the dogs, along with money she’d fund-raised. Each visit would be spent volunteering at the charity.

“My house in Christchurch was badly affected by the quakes so in 2015 I sold it, put all my stuff in storage and decided to travel for a year, firstly to Bali for four months then to Cuba, Mexico and Europe.”

However, Alanah was offered a full-time role at the charity and stayed. “I was happier volunteering than I had ever been in a paid job. I would go home at night sweaty and covered in dirt and blood from things like pulling maggots out of a dog’s wound. It was totally unglamorous but I loved it.”  

It wasn’t long before Alanah began fostering street dogs, including a tiny bundle of brown and white fur she named Sari. Her charity, named after that dog who’s now eight, is focused on rescuing and rehabilitating the street dogs she finds in her travels or that come via Gusti who’s been feeding stray dogs for years. 

It includes getting animals the vet care they need, fostering them, helping them find homes and fundraising mainly via social media.

As if she didn’t have enough on her plate, in August this year Alanah and two friends – a fellow Kiwi and an Australian/Balinese woman – started another charity, The Undateable Bali Dogs, to provide a refuge for the kind of older, disabled dogs who often aren’t winners in the adoption lottery.

Online work for Kiwi companies helps to pay the rent  and Alanah is about to launch a business offering products for both children and dogs that she’s hoping to launch in New Zealand. 

“Everything I do is about teaching people how beautiful these animals are and how to care for them.”

Despite some of the horrific things she’s seen, Alanah admits that the “hundreds and hundreds” of dogs she’s helped over the years are what keep her going.

“I’ve seen dogs deliberately slashed by machetes, ropes embedded in their necks and faces eaten by maggots. But they’ve done nothing wrong and I can’t close my eyes to it. If I don’t help them, who will?”

Although a return to Aotearoa is on the cards one day, for now Bali is home. 

“People always say, the dogs are so lucky to have you but I’m the lucky one! I’ve gotten so much more from the dogs than I’ve given them because they’ve taught me patience and generosity. No  matter what happens they still trust humans. But most of all, they’ve taught me never to give up. Many of these dogs have been through horrible things but they keep fighting every day to survive.” 



Five years ago, while writing about Hawke’s Bay eateries, I met Gretta Carney (Te Ati Haunui-a-Pāpārangi), naturopath and founder of Hapi Organic Cafe. 

When I told Gretta how much I liked her cold-pressed turmeric tonic, she gifted me several bottles, along with so many loaves of seedy bread and pottles of cashew cheese I was in danger of overshooting the luggage allowance on my flight home. 

That’s just the kind of person Gretta is. Anyone who knows the 48-year-old knows of her generous spirit, of the way she shares her passion for food as medicine with whoever is fortunate enough to fall into her orbit.

From a central Napier cafe that marries healthy with cool, Gretta’s team of 15 turn out chipolte tofu tacos, vegan mac ‘n cheese, organic miso and paelo bread, washed down with cold pressed elixirs and nut mylks.

Much of the produce comes from the 4ha organic farm on the outskirts of Napier Gretta shares with her children Orlando, 22, Esadora, 13, and Vida, 11. 

“We’re about providing fresh, flavourful, nourishing food that supports well-being and promotes a sustainable approach to food and business that benefits people and the land,” says Gretta.

It’s not just a line, polished to a high sheen for media: Gretta has lived experience of how nutrition can have a huge impact, having used it to solve her own health issues of epilepsy and depression.

Her story begins in rural Hawke’s Bay, on a beef and cattle farm not too far from where she now lives. The eldest of three children, Gretta had her sights set on becoming a lawyer and started a law degree at Victoria University.

But while managing her epilepsy, which appeared at puberty, and subsequent depression, she became interested in the impact that food and the environment had on her health.

“I was told I’d be on epilepsy drugs for the rest of my life. But I knew I didn’t have to accept that diagnosis, that I could fight for my own health.”

She spent her 20s gathering as much information as she could to heal herself (she’s been free of both epilepsy and depression since 1997). 

Around the same time, Gretta realised that she didn’t actually want to be a lawyer so switched her focus to a theatre and film degree where her classmate was Taika Waititi. 

“When I finished my degree I took off around the South Island for a year and then headed to the Arizona desert where I had my epiphany.”

That would be her A-ha moment among towering cactus in the Sedona desert, the wellness capital of the world.

“I had a profoundly spiritual experience where I understood that healthy food was where my future lay.”

She returned to Wellington and started The Organic Catering Company with a neighbour, feeding and watering high-profile clients such as the Green Party.

When Orlando was born with significant health issues, Gretta once again switched tack, this time  researching how food and the environment – particularly eliminating toxins such as industrial cleaning products and pollution – can impact ailments such as autism, asthma and eczema.

“I did biomedical analysis, started studying bio-dynamic agriculture, which takes a more holistic approach to growing our food, and qualified as a naturopath.”

By now back in the Bay, Gretta juggled raising children with policy work at Te Waka Kai Ora, the national Māori organics association. “That allowed me to combine my passion for food and work as a naturopath with connecting with who I am as Māori.”

Despite having a CV free of hospitality roles, Gretta decided to channel her love of food into feeding others and opened Hapi in late 2015.

While it proved hard yakka – “I didn’t pay myself for years” – Gretta is proud of the wellness hub she’s created.

“I could tell you 50 stories of how whole, organic food has helped people’s allergies or physical or mental health issues. Creating the space for clean eating that supports our health, the kind of food  our ancestors have eaten for centuries, can be a cure for many ills.”

Next up for the dynamic wellness crusader is expanding her online offerings and supplying consumers directly with produce from growers.

“That allows us to support local artisanal food producers and bypass supermarkets.” 

And when she’s not doing that, Gretta is focused on her side hustle, growing Kai Co-op, a project involving cooking classes for rangitahi (youth) that sends them home with a box of ingredients and recipes so they can recreate the dishes. 

”Our food system is not something that needs to be reinvented or re-imagined, it just needs to be remembered. If I have learned one thing in my journey it’s that the answers are always simple. He kai he rongoā, he rongoā he kai.”



Ever since humans learned how to pack a suitcase, mankind has been on the move. Some people relocate in search of work or economic opportunity, to join family or to study while others move to escape conflict, persecution or natural disasters. 

According to the United Nations, more people than ever live in a country other than the one in which they were born: in 2020, for example, the global number of international migrants was estimated to be 281 million, or around 3.5 per cent of the global population.

If you’re one of them you’ll know that every move necessitates a laundry list of items to sort out, from getting the kids into schools to finding a place to live and opening a bank account. 

Aucklander Bridget Romanes has been on the frontline of global moves many times, having ping-ponged between Auckland, India and Singapore. 

So helping new migrants settle into Aotearoa seemed like a natural fit for the 57-year-old former diplomat. 

In the time-honoured tradition of seeing a gap in the market and and going for it, in 2016 Bridget became what she calls an ‘accidental entrepreneur’ when she started Mobile Relocations, a business funded largely by employers that helps newcomers settle successfully in Aotearoa.

“It’s in the interests of a healthy society that new migrants can settle quickly, make friends and become part of the community,” says the mother of three adult children. 

“It also works for the employer who has seen the value of bringing talent and their familes from offshore to New Zealand and has invested a lot of money doing so. Not only do they have a duty of care to those employees they also need them to be happy so that they can deliver, because if people can’t settle they may leave and that’s a huge amount of money wasted from the employer’s perspective.”

Bridget, who landed a coverted role at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade after finishing a politics and economics degree at Otago University, was posted to India in 1991. She loved the diplomatic and trade aspects of the role, and enjoyed travelling around the sub-continent, but found one aspect of her three years at the NZ Embassy in New Delhi particularly hard.

“It was probably the biggest challenge of my life learning to be a minority in a country. I had to learn to fit into their world rather than impose my world on theirs.”

So too when she was based in Singapore working on the 1999 APEC summit and had 21 nationalities in her office.

“It taught me how to work in a different cultural environment and how to be effective and respectful in that enviroment.”

If I could change the world

It helped that Bridget had grown up with a travel-loving father, Wally Romanes, who climbed the Himalayas with Sir Edmund Hillary and started NZ’s first adventure travel company. 

“We always had lots of interesting people from India, Nepal and Germany at our house.” 

Bridget brought all those strands together for Mobile Relocations which today employs 20 staff around the country who do everything from pick up new arrivals at the airport to help them find a  gym.

Success came early, fuelled by contracts with companies such as Deloitte, KPMG and DB Breweries. 

When we speak Bridget is excited about a new initiative, Kiwi Launch Pad, a digital platform for new migrants, which is funded by employers and contains all the information newcomers need to settle successfully in NZ. 

“The government’s visa programme makes it mandatory for employers recruiting offshore to provide resettlement support for people they bring into NZ and the Kiwi Launch Pad provides that information in one place. ” 

Already 2,000 or so migrants are using the portal and Bridget sees the potential to roll it out to  other countries who employ talent from offshore. 

“I loved being an expat but I knew others had a very different experience. Better resettlement help  could have been a real solution for a lot of the unhappy expats I saw. A good resettlement service is like having a well informed friend who can make sure you’re happy and fitting well into your new country.”

*Gretta and Bridget were among seven 2023’s recipients of five-year interest-free loans, mentoring, resourcing and support from Coralus (formerly SheEO). Launched in NZ in 2017, Coralus is global organisation that’s raised $1.6 million to support women and non-binary-led businesses. 

Related Article: How Miriama Smith Learned How to Love Acting

The Importance of a Will for Blended Families

Blended families – which are families that consist of a couple, the children they have had together, and their children from previous relationships – face unique challenges when it comes to estate planning. 

Currently if you die without a will, your spouse will get chattels to the value of the first $155K, then 1/3rd of the remainder, and then your children will get 2/3rds of the remainder.

Where there are blended families, the situation is more complex. Whether your stepchildren are entitled to benefit from your estate will largely depend on whether those step children were being financially maintained (either wholly or partly), or were legally entitled to be financially maintained (either wholly or partly), by you, immediately before your death. We recommend you seek independent legal advice on your particular circumstances.

Glenys Talivai, CEO of Public Trust New Zealand, is passionate about encouraging blended families to consider where they want their assets to go after they are gone. 

“We see the devastating impact on all types of families when people don’t have plans in place, but with blended families in particular, there is an added layer of complexity. You may have a partner or spouse, shared children, or step-children, who all have different interests and needs that need to be considered. This ensures that everyone who relies on you is adequately provided for,” Glenys says. 

“With 65% of parents with children under the age of five without a will, we really encourage anyone with children to get their will sorted, not only to help ensure your children are provided for, but also so that you get to choose who you wish to appoint as testamentary guardian of you children – in other words, the person who gets to make important decisions about your children.” 

Glenys Talivai comes from a blended family herself, so she understands the complexities around this issue. “My husband has children from previous relationships and when we had our own kids, we had an honest discussion about how we would ensure all our children are taken care of through our wills. We took into consideration the assets we both brought to the relationship, the different needs of each child and that our wishes were clearly laid out.”

Related Article: Shelley Katae’s Vision For Home Ownership In Aotearoa

How Miriama Smith Learned How to Love Acting

The passion for acting didn’t come immediately for Miriama Smith. But as time went on, the actress learned how to appreciate her craft.

Miriama Smith has become one of New Zealand’s most sought-after actors, scoring major roles in film and TV including roles on Shortland Street, Mt Zion, and Xena: Warrior Princess.

But the 47-year-old admits she initially did not have a passion for acting and describes the early success of her career as being able to “fake it until I make it.”

“I never dreamed of becoming an actor. At first, I was dabbling in it and tried lots of other things before I settled into acting and decided to take it seriously.”

Miriama (Te Arawa) is one of eight other Māori actors who will be talking about the highs and lows of their acting careers in an event called M9. The event held in Auckland this month is like a Māori TEDx Talk where Māori in various industries talk about their careers and share their stories to inspire others.

Past M9 subjects have included kapa haka, and te reo Māori. The latest instalment will include Māori actors like Miriama McDowell, Ben Mitchell, and Kura Forrester, who will shed light on the profound impact of whānau, marae, hapū, iwi, and other influences on their acting careers while candidly discussing carving a path in the world of film and TV.

Miriama says she can’t wait to share the stage with her friends and acting colleagues.

“This industry is like a village; we are like a whānau. I’m looking forward to hearing other stories and being inspired.”

Born in Rotorua and raised in Porirua, Miriama was a dancer as a teenager and was encouraged to become a catwalk model. However, one of the agents noticed that she felt awkward and uncomfortable on the catwalk and swayed her into acting.

“The catwalk wasn’t really my thing. I wasn’t into standing on a catwalk and having an audience glaring at me. But the agent saw that I was really comfortable in front of the camera.”

Miriama nabbed her first acting job at 14, a commercial for Roses chocolate. Other ads and TV appearances followed, including a speaking role in the cop drama Shark in the Park. Despite her early success, Miriama never caught the acting bug. There were other experiences that were more important to her, like going to university and traveling.

“I was restless. I had an itch to see the world and was determined to not be put in a box. I was like a pull in a China shop.”

While attending Waikato University to complete a sports degree, Miriama scored her first major role on Shortland Street in 1997, playing Nurse Awhina Broughton.

“Whenever you do Shortland Street, that’s all you become in people’s eyes. No matter what other roles that I end up doing, I’ll always be known as Nurse Awhi.”

Miriama says that in the 90s, roles for Māori and Pacific women were scarce and she auditioned for and played many stereotypical characters.

“The way that Māori characters were written didn’t feel real. it felt contrived and tokenistic. We weren’t universal and we were put into boxes,” she says.

“I had long hair so I had a niche of playing Pacific Island princess with pidgin English saved by the White man saving us from our savage selves. At least once a year I was always cast as a Polynesian princess and that became tedious.”

With social change and movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, Miriama says the industry is slowly changing and showing more diversity in casting.

“The marginalised have found a voice and it’s happened very rapidly. We have to be real about the fact that we have to share diverse stories.”

After a year on Shortland Street, Miriama travelled the world and embarked on her OE. She returned to New Zealand in 2000 because of the Y2K scare.

“I thought the world was going to blow up. If there was going to be Armageddon, I thought I might as well be at home with my loved ones,” she says, laughing.

On her return, she scored a role on another major New Zealand TV series, Mercy Peak. She reunited with actors that she had worked with on Shark in the Park years before. These actors had found steady work and it was only then when she realised that she could make a career of acting.

“I looked at them and saw how acting could be a sustainable career. I just stuck my toes in the sand and focused on getting more acting work.”

Other major roles followed throughout the years, including main roles on the Australian series Last Man Standing, Power Rangers, and heading the cast of the mystery series, Filthy Rich.

“I was very sure that when someone said to me that I was an actor, I would say I’m Miriama doing acting. I did not want to be defined by profession.”

Today, Miriama continues to be cast in film and TV and she is able to juggle her acting with other work as a yoga teacher and marriage celebrant. She loves the variety in her life.

“I have different networks that push me away from the industry and allow me to have a break. It’s great for the soul.”

Her main focus in life nowadays is her ten-year-old son, Rauaroha. Miriama is a solo mother living in Waihi Beach and she is committed to being a parent.

“He’s my everything. He’s so wise and worldly, and yet in the moment, he’s still my baby.”

M9 is on Thursday 16th November at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre in Auckland at 7:300pm

Related Article: A Chat With Noora Niasari On Her Debut Film ‘SHAYDA’

This is public interest journalism funded by NZ on Air.

WIN tickets to a Summer Indulgence High Tea from Luna Bakehouse and Brown Brothers

We love a great High Tea experience, and two of our favourite tastemakers, Brown Brothers and Luna Bakehouse, have collaborated to create a delightfully delicious High Tea experience to mark the launch of Brown Brothers Limited Edition Moscato Strawberries & Cream. Scroll to the end of the article for your chance to win!

We are giving 2x lucky winners and a guest the opportunity to enjoy the Summer Indulgence High Tea at Luna Bakehouse’s Elliott Stables location in Auckland. The High Tea will be held on the 25th and 26th of November and the 2nd and 3rd of December, with morning or afternoon time slots to choose from (9:45am, 10:30am, 1:45pm, or 2:30pm).

Introducing Brown Brothers Limited Edition Moscato Strawberries & Cream

The latest addition to the Moscato range, Brown Brothers Limited Edition Moscato Strawberries & Cream is a light and refreshing wine inspired by the taste of summer, combining Brown Brother’s best-selling Moscato with the flavours of sun-ripened strawberries, jam, and vanilla cream.

This luscious and vibrant limited-edition wine is naturally lower in alcohol (8.0%) making it ideal for the summer months. It can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of foods, including desserts!

A fun and flavourful High Tea that evokes the essence of summer

Using Brown Brothers Limited Edition Moscato Strawberries & Cream as its inspiration, the team at Luna Bakehouse has created a fun and flavourful Summer Indulgence High Tea experience that evokes the essence of summer, featuring a bespoke selection of sweet and savoury treats that have been carefully created to pair beautifully with Brown Brothers Limited Edition Moscato Strawberries & Cream.

Menu highlights for Luna Bakehouse’s Summer Indulgence High Tea menu include:

  • Breton Sunshine Shortbread: A buttery Breton shortbread served with luscious fresh cream and the juiciest, sun-kissed strawberries for a taste of summer in every bite.
  • Raspberry White Chocolate Bliss: A delightful Petit Gateaux featuring the perfect blend of raspberry and white chocolate, crowned with a vibrant strawberry mirror glazing that glistens like a summer sunrise.
  • Mixed Berry Custard Danish: A flaky pastry filled with a medley of seasonal mixed berries, and creamy homemade custard creating a burst of sweet and tangy flavours, reminiscent of a sunny summer morning.
  • Blueberry Cream Cheese Dream: A moist blueberry muffin adorned with a luscious cream cheese frosting, a delectable treat that captures the essence of a summer afternoon.
  • Strawberry Macaron: A dainty, delicate macaron filled with strawberry-infused goodness, offering a sweet and refreshing taste of summer in every bite.
  • Sundried Tomato Cheese Wheels: Savory and sun-kissed cheese wheels, which feature a delightful blend of sundried tomatoes and creamy cheese for a mouthwatering summer savoury experience.
  • Spring Onion Cheese Scone: A warm and fluffy scone infused with the fresh zest of spring onions and rich, gooey cheese – a delicious savoury option for summer high tea.
  • Mean Green Bao: Crispy battered eggplant, hoisin sauce, slaw, pickled cucumber, and black bean aioli in a soft bao bun – a symphony of bold flavours and textures. 


To be in with a chance of winning tickets to the Summer Indulgence High Tea, simply sign up to the WOMAN’s newsletter HERE.

Terms and Conditions

  • Competition running date is 1 – 6 November.
  • The High Tea will be held at Luna Bakehouse’s Elliott Stables location: 39 Elliott Street, Auckland CBD.
  • The prize is not exchangeable, non-transferable, and not redeemable for cash or other prizes.
  • This competition is available to NZ residents age 21 or over.
  • WOMAN takes no responsibility for any entries that are lost, misdirected, or can not be delivered. 
  • No purchase necessary to enter. 
  • Brown Brothers, Luna Bakehouse, and WOMAN accept no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury, or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the competition or accepting the prize. Nothing shall exclude the liability of Brown Brothers, Luna Bakehouse or WOMAN for death or personal injury as a result of either party’s negligence.
  • Brown Brothers, Luna Bakehouse, and WOMAN reserve the right to modify or discontinue temporarily or permanently this competition without prior notice due to reasons outside of their control.
  • Luna Bakehouse does not provide a takeaway option or single dining experience.
  • The High Tea session is designed for one’s privacy and enjoyment. Supporting staff will be available at the counter once all High Tea items are served, as the staff will not be providing further service. This allows guests to relish their private time with friends and family in a casual dining setting.
  • This promotion will be governed by NZ law.

Brown Brothers Limited Edition Moscato Strawberries & Cream (750ml) is available for purchase for a limited time from independent liquor retailers while stocks last. Priced from $16.99.

Related Article: Blueberry Cheesecake and Oatmeal Streusel Slice

How To Accept Your Body (Just As It Is)

What’s your relationship like with your body? It’s not something you might have thought about before. But think about it now. Many of us talk to ourselves, and others, about our bodies negatively. We might talk about our own bodies in ways that are harsh, judgmental, dismissive – ways we’d never dream of speaking about or to anyone else. 

This is common for women. We’re subjected to many toxic inputs, especially now in the age of social media. We are bombarded with doctored and distorted images of the female body and face multiple times every single day. Those bodies might be more diverse in terms of size and shape and ethnicity than what we have seen in the past – when thin and white reigned supreme – which is great. But today’s bodies are just as unrealistic. 

Layer on the ageing piece of the puzzle, and the picture shifts again. While we can now see fabulous young women in larger bodies being great role models, and we can see fabulous older women looking amazing in smaller bodies, it’s rare to see aspirational content anywhere that’s at that intersection of age and size. As one friend brutally put it to me: “you can be fat or you can be old but you can’t be old AND fat.” 

Rachael Wilson is a dietitian who specialises in disordered eating, body acceptance and intuitive eating. She reckons pressure on women to look a certain way can be overwhelming, and it can lead to real issues with body image, in turn leading to other health challenges. Body acceptance is a cornerstone of true wellness, and many of us struggle with it. 

“Women aren’t allowed to grow old”, she says, “let alone in a larger body.” 

The potent influences of our youth still linger, she thinks. 

“When I grew up there was the heroin chic of the nineties, and ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ and Kate Moss… and then you had Weight Watchers and Atkins.” 

In a story familiar to many, Wilson went on her first diet at 13. “I didn’t need to go on a diet, but my mum hated her body, and she wanted a bit of company doing Weight Watchers.” 

These pivotal times in life are moments of vulnerability for a fragile body image. 

“It’s those changes in life that leave us open to disordered eating creeping in”, Wilson  explains. “We gain weight in puberty. It’s a natural part of development; we talk about the teenage puppy fat kind of thing, but it happens naturally.  

“And it’s the same with menopause. It’s a natural part of development to gain weight during menopause. But we have all this programming saying we shouldn’t.” 

Wilson reckons young women now have it even worse, with social media and altered images the norm. 

“They’ve got even more layers of stuff. They’re not seeing normal images, and everything’s filtered and edited. The amount of people using fillers and Botox is shocking. And social media is that tool of comparison that we didn’t have.” 

As we move into midlife and beyond, and our bodies naturally change, it can be confronting. And it can lead to women treating their bodies harshly, ranging from negative self-talk all the way through punishing diets and into disordered eating. There’s a second spike in diagnosed eating disorders among women in their 50s and 60s, and experts think there’s a lot of what they call ‘sub-threshold’ disordered eating going on, too. 

Punishing ourselves is the exact opposite of what we should be doing, Wilson and other body acceptance experts say. Now’s the time to start caring for and loving our bodies; or if not wholeheartedly loving them, accepting them as they are right now. 

“It’s really hard to care for our bodies if we hate them”, Wilson notes. 

“When we’re coming from a place of restriction and restraint, it negatively affects our mental health and it disconnects us from our body.” 

So: what are some ways we can practice body acceptance? Wilson has a few tips to get us started. 

Recognise The Negative Inputs And Detox Your Feeds 

Social media is a good place to start. 

“In order to start liking ourselves and feeling comfortable in our bodies, we need to know where the negative programming is coming from, so that we can start changing it”, advises Wilson.

That means looking at your feed. “What and who are you following? Are you following all this stuff that’s telling you to lose weight or telling you to look a certain way or be a certain size?”.

If we see that we are, she says, we can start to look at the content with a more critical eye. And we can start to detox our feed. 

We mustn’t forget about the influence of capitalism here, either. 

“There are billion-dollar industries designed to make us feel like crap so we’ll buy more stuff”, Wilson points out. 

The take-out: If a person or account is making you feel bad about yourself (especially while also trying to sell you something): unfollow. 

Appreciate The ‘Now’ Body

Just as it’s unlikely we’ll ever have the body we had at 30, it’s equally pointless waiting for a future body we might never achieve before we start to like and look after ourselves. 

Wilson explains: “We’re not talking about your yesterday body. It’s not your tomorrow body. It’s the body that’s showing up today. It’s your now body. And one of the things I like to say to people is: what do you need right now? Tune into that: what are the ways that you can be kind to yourself in this moment?”

The take out: your body deserves acceptance and kindness now. Today – not at some future point when you’ve achieved a goal of changing it. 

Practice Self-Compassion

Treating ourselves with kindness can be hugely powerful. 

“You’re the only person who’s going to be with you your whole life”, Wilson points out. “So you can choose what you want that eternal internal voice to be. You can choose a voice of hatred. Or you can choose to be your friend to yourself.” 

She reiterates that stopping and asking ourselves in moments of self-criticism: how would I talk to a friend? – is a great habit to practice. 

“I think an element of mindfulness comes into it as well, because when we are aware of how we are thinking, we can start to pick up on when we’re being negative towards ourselves.” 

Alongside this is recognizing our bodies as only one part of us, and appreciating the body for what it can do, rather than just how it looks. True self-compassion means a shift from punishing the body – dieting or exercising to change the shape and size of it, for example – to caring for the body by doing things that make it feel and function better.

“Our body is the vessel that gets us from A to B”, Wilson say. “and it’s really important that we take care of it. Do movement that helps our joints, and helps our mental health and keeps our backs well.  And do it to take care of our body, not to make it look different.”

The take out: Tune in to your body; what it needs and how you might best care for it. Think of any wellness practice (and of food) this way, rather than as a punishment or a reward. 

Accepting our bodies takes time and practice; as Wilson points out, it’s a journey. A lifetime of negative thinking doesn’t disappear with a few affirmations. But we can change over time. Wilson sums it up: 

“By tuning into our bodies and feeling how our body feels, we can feel what feels right for us: what movement feels good? What food feels good? What feels nourishing? Because when you can connect with that, then I think you’re being both physically and mentally healthy.” 

Related Article:
Everi-Body: The change the Fashion Industry Needed

The Multifaceted and Clever Candace Kinser

Candace Kinser

For Candace Kinser, studying is thought of as a much-loved hobby, rather than a chore. She has her Bachelors in Anthropology & Political Science from the University of Hawaii, a Masters in Business from Massey University, a short-form MBA in Bio-Pharma from Rutger’s University, and grad studies in Asian Business Risk & Governance from the University of Melbourne – just to name a few. “Most people do gardening… I like to study!” says Candace. 

As well as being a total scholar, Candace is an accomplished business woman. She has held several executive and board director roles across technology, health, bio-tech, banking, and infrastructure industries, and she is currently on the board of Livestock Improvement, the Chairperson of Helius Therapeutics, and the President of Cancer Society for Auckland & Northland. 

Watch Candace’s interview with Rachel Smalley below as they discuss the healing properties of medicinal cannabis, why kiwis are the ones to watch in the technology space, women’s behaviour in leadership roles, and so much more. This is the sixth of a seven-part interview series for WOMAN, where Rachel will be uncovering extraordinary stories from a handful of exceptional kiwi women. Each has their own unique story to tell. Watch Candace’s full interview below. 

Watch the full interview here:

Candace’s roots are in the United States, but she came to live in New Zealand in her early 20s because she met a young kiwi who convinced her to visit. 

 “He said, ‘Hey, you want to come to New Zealand?’ And I thought, yeah, why not? I had a horse and ended up moving her down here, which was the greatest thing I could have ever done, because then I was introduced immediately to a community of women and people instantly through equestrian pursuits, and never looked back.” 

A few years down the track, Candace was diagnosed with cancer around her uterus – which would eventually motivate her to join the Cancer Society team. “I was literally driving down Highway 16 at the time the call came through. I answered on speakerphone, and the lovely nurse said ‘I’ve got the results, and you need to come in and we need to make arrangements quickly.’” 

Candace Kinser and Rachel Smalley

“Here I was on my own, I wasn’t married, my family were all in the United States, and I just burst into tears and went home. I was thinking, ‘I have no idea what to do, who to turn to.’” 

For people without support systems, an already life-changing diagnosis becomes even more daunting. Cancer Society NZ is a fantastic not-for-profit organisation that can provide the much needed care and advice to people struggling with their diagnosis. 

“It was extremely important to me that the Cancer Society fills that role. And when I became part of the board, I started realising, actually, they do fill that role, but we need to make sure that people know they can contact the Cancer Society for help. This is one of the things that I am extremely passionate about, and really proud that we’re continuing to grow and evolve.” 

Listen to the full audio version here:

Related Article: “I Still Want To Pursue Life” – Sophia Malthus On Living With Paralysis 

A Chat With Noora Niasari On Her Debut Film ‘SHAYDA’

WOMAN asks Noora Niasari all about her debut feature film SHAYDA — a Cate Blanchett co-produced Australian film that follows the story of a young Iranian mother who takes refuge in a women’s shelter with her 6-year-old daughter. This compelling family drama, which is inspired by Noora’s own childhood, highlights the strength of womanly spirit.


Congratulations on your debut feature film. What did you find to be the most rewarding and challenging experiences involved in directing and co-producing?

The most challenging parts of the experience were the psychological and emotional weight of taking on this story as a survivor of DV, but most of all, protecting 6-year old Selina (who plays Mona) from the themes and dark content of the film. Much of the production philosophy was framed around her as the co-lead, and ensuring she could feel safe and nurtured to perform her role without being traumatised in the process.

Sharing the film with audiences around the world has been the most rewarding aspect of making this film. There was also lots of Persian food and dancing on set! It was truly gratifying to be able to celebrate our culture through this film.

How does SHAYDA mirror your own childhood, and did you find it healing to tell your story?

SHAYDA is inspired by my mother and I’s experience of living in an Australian women’s shelter, but the nature of memory itself is blurry – memories get fractured and re-imagined over time, especially when dealing with trauma. There was a challenging three year journey of writing the screenplay, where I was constantly navigating that line between reality and fiction. So rather than it being a mirror, I would say the film is emotionally autobiographical, which is ultimately more important to me as a filmmaker.

And I think audiences feel that, when they feel it’s coming from your heart, from an authentic place, that allows them to connect with it on a personal level. The healing and catharsis happens there. When you travel to film festivals and realise it is also a Korean woman’s story, or a Canadian woman’s story. When you hear parallel experiences of complete strangers at each cinema. It has been a profound experience seeing first hand how universal the film really is, how so many women and survivors of DV have lived in silence and shame and the healing that comes from feeling seen.

Nowrooz, the Iranian New Year, celebrates renewal and rebirth. How is Nowrooz significant as a wider theme for Shayda and her daughter?

Nowrooz signifies rebirth and new beginnings in Iranian culture, especially because it takes place during Spring (in Iran & the Northern hemisphere). In many ways, that’s paralleled in Shayda & Mona’s journey through the film in starting their life anew. But for myself and other Iranian-Australians, we also experience Nowrooz in Autumn, which means falling leaves, bare trees and displacement from homeland. For me, that is also Nowrooz, notions of shedding, of letting go. That juxtaposition has always been a fascination for me, and I wanted to explore that within SHAYDA.

SHAYDA demonstrates feminine strength and perseverance – do you have a favourite film or character that also embodies this?

“Thelma and Louise” is my first thought, as well as “All About my Mother” by Almodovar.

Cate Blanchett is an executive producer, what was it like working alongside her? Does she have a special connection to the story?

Really special. I remember when she read the screenplay, she said she related to the story as a woman first and foremost and that was amazing to hear. Cate and her production company Dirty Films have been incredible advocates for the film, I am grateful to them.

What do you hope audiences take away from watching SHAYDA?

A sense of hope, a deeper understanding of women and children who escape domestic violence. I’ve heard many times after screenings “I want to go home and call my Mum” – that’s a beautiful thing. After all, it’s a love letter to mother’s and daughters.

Related Article: Cate Blanchett: ‘Early In My Career One Director Used To Treat Me Brutally’

Seedy Spiced Ginger and Pumpkin Loaf (Gluten Free)

Cut thick slices of this gorgeous loaf and serve slathered in good butter. Best made at least one day ahead for all the flavours to mingle.


1½ cups cooked mashed pumpkin (see Cook’s note)

4 large eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

Finely grated zest 1 orange

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ cups ground almonds (almond meal)

1 cup brown rice flour 

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon each baking soda and sea salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground mixed spice

½ cup golden sultanas

1/3 cup chopped crystallised ginger

1 tablespoon each pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons each caster sugar and water

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, extra


Grease a 22cm x 12cm loaf tin (6-cup capacity) and line fully with baking paper, bringing it 2cm above the rim.

Preheat the oven to 180°C regular bake.


Whisk the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, oil, zest, golden syrup and vanilla together until smooth.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the sultanas and ginger and toss to coat.

Pour in the pumpkin mixture and stir everything together, making sure there are no pockets of flour in the batter. Scrape the batter into the tin and scatter over the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Loosely cover the loaf with foil after 30 minutes to prevent over-browning.

Heat the sugar, water and extra cinnamon in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then cook until reduced by half and syrupy. Gently brush the hot syrup over the top of the loaf and leave to cool completely. Store wrapped in baking paper in an airtight container for 5-6 days.

Cook’s note: Peel and seed 1½ kilograms of Crown pumpkin and roughly chop. Place in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Mash until smooth and measure out 1½ cups.

Spiced Ginger
Recipe from Dish Sweet Cookbook, on sale now.

Related Article: Blueberry Cheesecake and Oatmeal Streusel Slice

Blueberry Cheesecake and Oatmeal Streusel Slice

Treat yourself with this oh-so-delicious blueberry cheesecake slice. The streusel is used to make both the crunchy base and the topping – simple and delicious.


1 1/3 cups plain flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon each baking powder and ground mixed spice

½ teaspoon sea salt

150 grams butter, melted


500 grams cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

1 cup caster sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons custard powder

Finely grated zest 1 large lemon


¼ cup dark seedless berry jam

1½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (not thawed)


Grease a 28cm x 18cm slice tin and line with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.


Streusel: Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix to form damp crumbs (you can use your fingertips). Take out 2¾ cups of the mix and press firmly and evenly into the base of the slice tin. Set the remaining mixture aside. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and firm. Set aside.

Change the oven from fan bake to 160°C regular bake.

Cheesecake: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Tip over the base and smooth the top.

Topping: Stir the jam and blueberries together then spoon over the top of the cheesecake. Scatter over the remaining streusel.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and the cheesecake is set. Cool then refrigerate for several hours to firm up. Cut into desired size for serving.

Blueberry Cheesecake
Recipe extract is from Dish Sweet, on sale now.

Related Article: Maple & Lime Glazed Salmon

November Energy Forecast From Gaia Chinniah

Gaia Chinniah is an internationally known healer, medium and spiritual coach. She founded Soul 33 a healing company and the modality of Soul Progression Therapy. Using the energetic cycles and seasons to set your goals, heal and manifest what you want in life is such a powerful tool to help us to navigate life daily without resistance. To use this November Energy Forecast, review once in its entirety and then at the beginning and end of each week remind yourself what the energy of the week is asking of you.

Week One: October 30 – November 5

We have a few things to deal with this week and we may be feeling vulnerable and wanting to withdraw, but this is because once we have cleared things up something better is coming! The clearing process might feel like delays but clearing is creative because you are making space for things you are truly passionate about.  It’s helpful to view it as a process of what you want to keep and what you don’t. 

When we want something, it can come from a place of being attached to having an outcome, but we are being asked to move through life with confidence and give things your best shot once you have cleared things out. Your self-belief this week is what will allow light to shine onto how your vision for yourself is showing up. Keep your heart open to receive these experiences.

Card of the week: Break the Cycle

This is a reminder what whatever needs to be moved aside will be for the greatest good of your visions becoming a reality. You are reminded that as old cycles break, new ones begin that serve you better.

Week Two: November 6 – 12

A magical, light filled week with love as our focus. How you love is how more love will enter into your life. Even love that deserves a second chance. You may feel conflicted about loving again or allowing someone back in. This may show up as a relationship rekindled, friendship or a family member. You might be holding onto old pain but there is reunion energy this week so try not to isolate yourself and see whether this is a reunion you want to bring back into your life or let go. 

Allow yourself to be loved. There is a gateway opening up for more possibility to live your life feeling and being loved, therefore it’s important to check in with yourself to see if you are preventing love from being given to you or if it’s a love you don’t need in your life. Be open to how love and light comes into areas of your life that have previously scared you.

Card of the Week: Be Patient

Sometimes love is not instant. In most relationships it is conditional therefore when we have conditions in place, we must be patient with how love unfolds. This card comes up for you to remind you that you are allowed to be patient with how you reintroduce love in your life.

New Moon – November 13 in Scorpio

We have a new moon and the intensity of Scorpio allows for intense and magnificent intentions to be set. Use this energy to bring in depth in your connections and mystery in how things will show up. A perfect time to set intentions around love!

Week Three: November 13 – 19

Sudden change brings great growth and opportunities! Your hard work and productivity start to pay off. You are being asked to use your masculine energy much like how you would imagine what a ‘good father’ would be like to a child; you are using this masculine fathering energy as a source of strength and guidance for yourself and to steer your opportunities in a direction that feels right and to trust the road ahead. 

Mystical experiences may come in more so than usual this week where spiritually you will be presented with people and signs that guide you towards more people and situations that have your back because like attracts like!

November Energy
Card of the Week: Grounded

Be grounded and solid in who you are and what you are. Your self-assurance will be your strength this week to keep you grounded on your path.

Week Four: November 20 – 26

There is a renewed sense of purpose this week, hold space to receive it and retreat into it. If any self-doubt comes in, it will only be an opportunity to take new action through creativity. Finances are looking healthier as you see long term success pay off. What are you most devoted to at the moment? Contribute with love and maintain your instincts to be aware of how to navigate yourself towards the success that is presenting itself to you.

November Energy
Card of the Week: Wisdom

Full Moon – November 27 in Gemini

This full moon is a chance to release old fear around what it means to change and harness this energy to use your abilities to get you where you need to go. A full moon with forward movement and conclusions eventuating, use your skills in ways that will serve yourself and the greater good of everyone in your life.

Week Five: November 27 – December 3

As we transition from November to the final month of the year, we will really be looking at and towards future plans. Is what you have now really what you want, or do you need to let go of something? The full moon would have helped to release but more stagnation leaves this week so you can take an active role in creating your life. This week you are asked to use your wise feminine energy to take charge and be unafraid of your path, even if you are having to walk alone for some parts of it. A week to ignite true passion but be unafraid of loving yourself more deeply to do what is right for you.

November Energy
Card of the Week: Faith

The faith card comes up to remind you that you need to have faith in your decisions and through that faith your progress is made.

November is a time of depth and love. With the need for more depth and connection we are being asked to make decisions that give us more security. November requires a lot of self-confidence and an open heart to receive wisdom to live your life with true purpose and meaning. A month filled with so much light to show you where to go and what to do.

Related Article: October Forecast from Gaia Chinniah

Inspirational Art By Women For Women

The county’s biggest outdoor art event – NZ Sculpture OnShore – opens to visitors on 4 November. Situated in the glorious environment of Operetu Fort Takapuna with its 180-degree views of the Hauraki Gulf, it’s a great opportunity for a girls’ day out. But there’s a sobering message behind the beauty of the exhibition’s setting and the 130 uplifting sculptures on show. 

NZ Sculpture OnShore is Women’s Refuge NZs major biennial fundraiser. Last year, 52,000 women and children were referred to the Refuge; a number that sadly steadily increases year-on-year. New Zealand has the highest rate of family violence in the OECD. Many of the artworks on offer at the exhibition reference the strength and resilience of women, and of the courage they have shown in leaving situations of violence. Here is a sneak-peak at the extraordinary work created by six women artists who have taken these messages to heart. 

For Cary Spencer, creating her artwork Germinating Hope was personal. As well as being a sculptor, Cary is a front-line social worker, supporting those suffering from family harm. 

Cary Spencer, Germinating Hope

“I know how challenging it can be for women and children seeking to build a new life after escaping violence. My work Germinating Hope depicts human courage and growth in its most basic form. Giving hope through Women’s Refuge NZ helps women and their children emerge from a dark place and helps them find a better life.”

“Made from Oamaru stone, copper and concrete, I want visitors to see the many levels of enduring strength and resilience reflected in the work.”

Full-time practising artist Oriah Rapley’s exhibiting work Waka of Solace speaks to the concepts of courage and resilience.  Standing 1.8-metre-high, the sculpture’s perfectly smooth lines will sooth those viewing it at the exhibition. “It’s a response to the calling of help or support,” says Rapley. “The bird navigates with her innate skills, guiding the waka to those who need solace,” she adds. 

Oriah Rapley, Waka of Solace

A second piece by Rapley, We’ve Got This, is a seat made of Taranaki andesite in the form of a bird with a wrapped wing, offering support; its head leaning in to listen. “This is a piece I have thought about for a while and being able to create it for NZ Sculpture OnShore was perfect. I want the work to be a comforting place to retreat to,” she says. 

Contemporary sculptor Karen Walters drew from her Māori ancestry to create Vessels of Wellness carved in ancient heart rimu that was rescued from buildings destroyed in the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. The seven works are recreations of plants used in Rongoa (Māori traditional medicine) and speak to healing and replenishment.  “These vessels are intended to be uplifting. They reference the beauty of strength, appreciation and resilience which is often gained through challenging and painful experiences,” says Walters.

Karen Walters, Vessels of Wellness

Anna Dalzell is a printmaker, jeweller and sculptor whose work often references historical narratives. “I like to shed light on stories from the past in the hope of a better future, particularly those concerning women,” she says. 

For the exhibition, Dalzell presents Freedom Seeker – a soaring 1.2-metre-high part woman, part angel resplendent in bronze. “I was influenced by The Winged Victory of Samothrace made in 190 BC – a figurehead on show at the Louvre representing the goddess of victory,” says Dalzell. “Freedom Seeker rises from strife and hardship through her winged form to shout out for freedom, proclaiming her rights for all to hear.”

Anna Dalzell, Freedom Seeker

Artist and teacher Philippa Wilson’s Crown made of aluminium and steel incorporates wild flowers that act as a protective hedge. “These flowers are often overlooked and grow in arid and windswept conditions. They are resilient and strong and have endured often harsh conditions to survive. The title, Crown, reflects the nobility of the human spirit as it rises,” she says. 

Wilson’s second artwork is a beautiful butterfly; a Red Admiral: Kahukura (red cloak). “The butterfly represents the transformative journey and is a salute to all women who have endured and survived forms of mistreatment. The cloak symbolises dignity and strength,” she says. 

Philippa Wilson, Crown

NZ Sculpture OnShore has donated more than $2 million to Women’s Refuge NZ since its inception 27 years ago. “With the proceeds from this year’s exhibition, we will be purchasing practical items for our 40 affiliated safe houses and the women who use our services like bedding, linen, towels and pjs.” 

“It is easy to underestimate the feel of a new towel and fresh pajamas after a traumatic experience, but it shows our clients they are valuable and deserve comfort. Alongside this, the funds will be used to fund counselling and legal assistance for our clients,” says Women’s Refuge NZ spokesperson Susan Barker. 

Northland exhibiting artist Jin Ling offers the last word. “All of my sculptural works reference peace. A woman reading in a garden; a child holding a dove. Now more than ever, there is the need for understanding throughout humanity.” 

Jin Ling, Cat & Dove

NZ Sculpture OnShore, Operetu Fort Takapuna, 4 – 19 November. Tickets from 

Related Article: What’s On This November

Diwali celebrates Regeneration

The energy for this Diwali is about regeneration from endings that have happened for us. Some endings have been difficult to accept and as you reflect over the year that has been, some of the endings have led to more love, relationships, creativity and new opportunities, while others have left us needing to find the connection back to ourselves. Diwali 2023 is also a time to break old cycles and purify ourselves for the new connections we will make through the process of regeneration on all levels.

  • Diwali Day 1: November 10th
  • Diwali Day 2: November 11th
  • Diwali Day 3: November 12th – DIWALI DAY
  • Diwali Day 4: November 13th
  • Diwali Day 5: November 14th

The true Sanskrit name for the Festival of Lights is Deepavali, shortened and known as Diwali in Northern parts of India and internationally. More than 1 billion people celebrate Diwali over the world and the energy at that time of the year can bring change and blessings for all those who wish to participate in any way.

Gaia as a child wearing traditional Hindu celebration dress.

Diwali is a festival that has been celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists around the world for more than 2500 years. The name itself means ‘row of lights’. The day itself has many versions of Hindu mythology as to why this day is celebrated but the fundamental meaning is the light over dark always wins, good over evil prevails and knowledge and wisdom over any ignorance. 

Diwali is celebrated annually but unlike many festivals it falls on a different day each year. It is however always in October or November depending on the position of the moon. Families and friends will gather over food and offerings and the celebration extends out to five days of festivities which will start on November 10th this year. Gaia Chinniah of Soul33 has celebrated the festival with her family for as long as she can remember. She explains “The sanskrit word Deepavali means a ‘row of lights’. This is why many are familiar with Diwali being the Festival of Lights. What it really represents is an ancient mythological story where there was a return of power and the light led the way back into our lives. In essence it’s a celebration that there is always a light even on our darkest days and even when we feel there is no hope, the ultimate trust will shine the light down the path that leads us back to our own power, abundance and faith”.

Diwali always falls on a New Moon and this is why the date of the festival changes, but always falls between October and November. “The New Moon means the sky is dark, and we are to create our own light to see” explains Gaia. “This is why traditional clay lamps are lit, there are fireworks displays and homes are filled with constant light over the celebration” she adds. 

When Gaia was growing up in Malaysia, “Diwali was our Christmas” she explains. “While gifts weren’t exchanged it was traditional to receive money from family members, as part of the festival is to call in abundance into our lives. There would be an array of food, new clothing and what we would call an ‘open home’. Our home would be open to all friends, family and neighbours to join together and eat with us. It was a bringing together of everyone. People would come all day long to eat and celebrate.  As a family we would light lamps together showing unity and that the light brings us back together. What I also loved is that the house would have oil lamps going all night creating this beautiful ambience.”

Gaia and her family light lamps to celebrate Diwali.

The symbolism of Diwali has never been more significant in modern times, “I love the rich history of the festival and what it represents. The spiritual nature of it, that even though we all go through dark times that we can find our way” says Gaia. 

Although traditionally celebrated by those of the Hindu faith, the celebration of the Festival of Lights has been gaining momentum for some time around the world. “I think like any festival of any faith there is something we can all learn from why these festivals or celebrations began. At the end of the day, Diwali is about hope, faith, light and togetherness”. 

If we wish to celebrate the Festival of Lights in our own homes this year, Gaia has given us a guide for the five days of festivities that we can all embrace: 

  • Day One: Nov 10th – This is the day prior to the festival day and preparations begin by cleaning and clearing the homes, new clothing may be laid out, and a new beginning in large or small ways depending on the resources within the family who are celebrating. Usually, preparations can start months before much like Christmas. How we can use this time to prepare is to see this time as the preparations for the New Year based on the Gregorian calendar. It’s nice to start ushering in the positive energy before the current year ends. You may want to use this time to clean and clear also.
  1. Day Two: Nov 11th – This is a perfect time to light a candle or diya, which is a traditional clay lamp. This would be lit ensuring there is light all night ushering in the day of Diwali for the following day. This day is symbolic of always finding the light in the dark.
  1. Day Three: Nov 12th – is the day of celebration! Open houses and reunions of friends, neighbors and families eating and drinking together, monetary gifts in colourful envelopes given to children, a day where to wear your new clothing and be grateful for what you have and where you are going in life. It is a time to give and enjoy! 
  1. Day Four: Nov 13th – is the New Moon and a day of gratitude and reunion with family. 
  1. Day Five: Nov 14th – a day of siblings bonding, coming together and celebrating one another. 

New Zealand has embraced the Diwali festival with a public event for many years now and will once again be held in Auckland’s Aotea Square on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of November. 

Related Article: World-renowned medium and spiritual coach Gaia Chinniah on her spiritual awakening

What’s On This November

Music, art, comedies, and festivals galore coming our way!

Martinborough Vineyard Vertical Tasting
4 November

With the special chance to join Martinborough Vineyard head winemaker, Paul Mason, this guided tasting will take you through six different vintages of iconic New Zealand Chardonnay. The Somm Cellar Door on the waterfront makes a gorgeous setting for this fine wine experience. $30 for six wine tastings.

New Zealand Sculpture OnShore
4 –19 November

The country’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition is back at Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve on Auckland’s North Shore after a five-year hiatus. Stroll among the cliffside display of monumental stand-alone sculptures, light and sound art works and ephemeral projects, which are all for sale, with the proceeds going to a great cause –  Women’s Refuge New Zealand.

The Sweet Caroline Tour: A Tribute To Neil Diamond
6 November – 16 December

This tribute show puts all those well-loved Neil Diamond tunes back on stage and into the spotlight, with the backing of a world-class band. Enjoy fan-favourites “Sweet Caroline”, “Forever In Blue Jeans”, “Red Red Wine”, “Cherry Cherry”  and more.

Performance Art Week Aotearoa (PAWA) 
1 – 5 November


Expect the unexpected with PAWA – this festival presents a programme of interactive, intense, and confrontational performance art, plus expert discussions, panels, workshops, and free breakfasts hosted in multiple locations across the windy city.

Bill Bailey: Thoughtifier
4 November – 4 December


The hilarious Bill Bailey is touring for a month around 14 New Zealand locations. Fondly known for his deadpan and observational humour, and for hosting the first season of TVNZ comedy panel show Patriot Brains, Bill Bailey will take audiences on a jaunt through the human mind, amplified with the aid of music.

Toast Martinborough
19 November


For 30 years, Toast Martinborough has brought thousands of visitors to Wairarapa to sample some of New Zealand’s most delicious wine and enjoy a day of food and entertainment. Twelve local vineyards are taking part in the 2023 event, across eight picturesque festival sites. To kick celebrations off early again this year, the famous Lighthouse Gin Garden Party is back in full swing at The Runholder on Saturday 18th of November — don’t miss out!

Related Article: Signature Serve: The Laphroaig Paloma Recipe