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'Say Yes' Book Launch at Discover Travel

African adventures were recalled when Sue Verrall launched her book “Say Yes” at Discover Travel. Appetites were whetted for tales of some of the world’s most exotic and exciting places as well as the dangerous situations which Sue had experienced. The soft drizzle of the summer evening on leafy Oxford terrace provided a contrasting backdrop to the flavour of the hot, dusty countries being described. Generous laden trays of exquisite food and drink made for a party worth attending whilst “Say Yes” stimulated the urge to see the wide, wide world.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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1st Anniversary of China Southern AIrlines in Christchurch



For twelve months China Southern Airlines has been winging travellers back and forth between Canterbury and enchanting, mysterious Asia, thence on to many parts of the world. Three times every week, the air bridge is open between Guangzhou and Christchurch Airport, the gateway to the south. The fairy tale grandeur of the Chateau on the Park welcomed invited guests to celebrate this milestone in contemporary globetrotting. Following the formalities, it was time to enjoy a kiwi style barbeque laden with everything for which the taste buds could yearn.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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A Day at the Polo

A lovely day out of town could not be spent better than by sitting back to watch sprightly ponies and their courageous riders gallantly pursuing a little white ball around the lawn. It was a humid, overcast day which welcomed guests to a Day at the Polo, to benefit Ronald McDonald House South Island (RHMSI), later turning to blistering sun. Within the marquee, tables were dressed with roses in readiness for luncheon, the hubbub of conversation and laughter making ears ring as outside, hooves beat upon the turf. After fabulous food, luxury auction prizes and exciting action on field, it was good to sit back and listen to the breeze blowing through the poplars.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Antarctic Mid Winter Celebration

There are times when Christchurch feels like the coldest place on earth, especially on a chilly night but it is nothing compared to Antarctica, the continent celebrated on this year’s mid winter. As the wind sliced like a razor’s shivery edge, guests boarded the Hagerlund for a thrilling, angular and hair raising ride around the obstacle course at the International Antarctic Centre.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Ballantyne's New Accessory Department Opening

Even though the night was chilly, the welcome was warm at Ballantynes when the new accessory department was officially opened. The enjoyment continued as the offered delicacies meandered like a trail of fine taste, leading the assembly to the evening’s conclusion, then the path home and to dreams of fashionable possibilities.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Ballantyne's Style Lab

As the city bathed in the winter rain which washed along streets, to set soggy snares for passing feet, the dry path to follow was the one leading to Contemporary Lounge. Awaiting those attending Ballantyne’s Style Lab was a sideshow alley of experts demonstrating magical ways of enabling life to be more stylish.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Benefit Browzam

Benefit threw a party for clients and friends who gathered at the Benefit brow salon in Ballantynes. Elegantly attired in outfits enhanced by cheeky little tophats, the operators showed ladies how to make the best of the frames of their eyes.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Candy & Cuba Fashion Show

Sugarplums and divinely delicious garments were on the menu at Quinns of Merivale when Fiona Jackson brought her exotic collection to town. Glamorous yes but classy to the maximum, the fashion feast both teased and appeased the appetites of eyes and sweet teeth alike

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Carmen with L' Arlesienne

Treachery, deceit and jealousy were abroad one recent night, thankfully not in the city but on the Isaac Theatre Royal stage when the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) presented Carmen with L’Arlesienne. The music of Georges Bizet partnered with the choreography of Roland Petit brought the stories to the minds and hearts of Christchurch. With feline grace and power, the dancers enacted the spectrum of emotions which drive the two tales, one set in sunny France, the other in fiery Spain. The VIP pre show party for guests of the company, was the perfect overture to the spectacle of dance and dramatic excellence.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Cavit & Co Store Opening

A wonderland of elegance beckoned, drawing the attention and seducing the eyes of guests stepping in from the windswept street. Within the sanctum of style, conversation flourished and luscious fluids in glasses caught snippets of light, transforming into stars. The party paused only for the official opening, before Cavit &Co’s new boutique was offered to Christchurch, as a destination for those in search of refined living.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Cavit & Co.

The late afternoon sun shone along Victoria Street, lighting the way to Cavit & Co where home enhancing goodies for the new season were about to be presented. Luscious platters and  cooling glasses were circulated amid the social chat, the opulent surroundings making for an easy going atmosphere. At the party’s height, the latest offerings from the wide world were shown after which, it was time to make small talk once more. Soaking up the comfort of the elegant store, guests enjoyed the hospitality until the descent of evening heralded the hour to journey home.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Christchurch Casino's Charitable Trust Presentation

Christchurch Casinos Charitable Trust Presentation

Community support groups working throughout Canterbury received a monetary boost in a ceremony held at Sixty6 on Peterborough. The Christchurch Casinos Charitable Trust staged the evening during which grants were presented and invited guests enjoyed  wonderful casino catering.  Representatives of the various recipients mingled with invitees, everyone celebrating  the  good fortune and generosity which will facilitate the vital work throughout the coming year.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Christchurch Wellness Centre Opening Party

At the time of year when one’s health can take a thumping, it is good to know where to seek comforting attention. The Christchurch Wellness Centre which provides a haven of therapy, opened recently, to the jubilation of all who were present. The merry sounds of the party in full swing gave a warming glow to the chilly evening.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Eco Villa Opening

In a city so bereft of heritage buildings, it is heart gladdening to see a gracious old house blossoming anew and smack in the heart of town as well. In a masterstroke of  making best use of existing resources, Nisha and Evan Chadwick have opened Ecovilla, the newest and most charming place to rest a weary head.  Lit by a blazing sunset, guests mingled on the deck, the generous catering causing this reporter to fear for his waistline! Party goers marvelled at the location, a prayer’s breath from the Transitional Cathedral and the heart of the reborn city, which beats stronger with every passing day.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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First New Zealand Capital Christchurch Office Opening

Wearing a mantle of prosperity, Victoria Street now looks every inch a highway of business and it was from one of the newly erected towers of commerce that First New Zealand Capital, announced their presence.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Friends of Starship Christchurch- Diamonds & Stars Tea Party

Elegant ladies and a few dapper gents met at the Hagley Pavillion last Sunday for the inaugural fundraiser high tea to support  Starship. The light and airy atmosphere of the pavilion was the perfect setting for the party as gourmet tea time treats and fabulous beverages were served. Two auctions took place, the live one attracting some lively and excited bidding. So ended a genteel summer afternoon tea for a very worthy cause.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Hagley School of Fashion Showcase & Exhibition


Talent abounded in the city recently when students at Hagley School of Fashion staged a parade of their creations. Couture spanning a wide treasure trove of styles from formal, casual and sophisticated to the fantastic strode past in a visual buffet, stunning the senses. The enraptured audience of families, friends and guests responded with deafening applause after which, it was time to give congratulations to and heap praise  upon the budding designers during the after party. A rich future in fashion lies looks assured  for Christchurch.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Jaguar F-Pace Launch

On an evening transported from an English summer to a New Zealand winter, in other words wet, all things British were being celebrated at the Christchurch Art Gallery. Within the Union Jack strewn haven of class, the latest model from that epitome of motoring excellence, Jaguar, was being launched.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Jamie and Jasmine's wedding

A picture-perfect thirty-degree Christchurch day was the scene for Jamie Gough and Jasmine Lange to say “I do” at the Christ’s College Chapel before around 100 of their closest friends and family on Saturday 5 March.

An exquisite Monique Lhuillier-gowned Jasmine arrived by vintage Rolls-Royce to an awaiting Jamie Gough, dressed in tailor-made Working Style tails. Rev. Peter Beck, the chapel choir, organist and church bells set the tone for the traditional ceremony.

The bridal party had wedding photographs at Mona Vale, the historic family homestead and former private residence of Jamie’s great-grandfather, while guests were transported by city trams to the Canterbury Club where they enjoyed Champagne and canapés on the terrace accompanied by a jazz quartet.

Photos: Johannes Van Kan

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Lynn Woods Fashion Show

As the dreamy tones of autumn began to manifest in nature, the dream world of fashion also unfolded and nowhere more so than at Corcovado, where Lynn Woods has woven her magic. Among the objects of stylish living, guests circulated and socialized awaiting the show’s commencement. The first confident steps on the catwalk heralded a steady procession of models, parading garments clad in which, one may greet the cooler seasons with elegance and swish. Complimentary applause rang out loudly, congratulating Lynn on a marvellous, as usual, show.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Mona Vale Homestead and Pantry Opening Garden Party

The afternoon sun kissed the treetops and glinted off the waters of the river meandering through the grounds of Mona Vale. On the lawn, glasses were being clinked in toasting and platter after platter of fine comestibles consumed as the re-opening of the homestead was celebrated. The jewel in the crown of Fendalton, for so long  forlorn and empty as the refurbishment agonized on, now shone in glory, made as new for the benefit of Christchurch. The opulent and elegant grandeur drew guests in to stand in wonder and give thanks that this precious treasure of heritage, against great odds, was saved and stands sturdy for the future.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Partirdge Jewellers New Store Opening

Like stars twinkling in the heavens, the precious objects  on show  lit up the gathering in the new Partridge Jewellery store opening party. Guests surveyed the beautiful creations of adornment, the sparks from the jewels flitting like fireflies about the mirrored boutique. The allure of such finery acts as a beacon drawing those seeking the best, to look for it right in the new heart of the city.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Priscilla Queen of the Desert Opening Night


A huge dollop of camped up insanity gushed all the way from the Australian Outback to stiletto strut across the stage at the Isaac Theatre Royal, to be met with an uproar of approval. The first night of Priscilla Queen of the Desert was a sparkling success, seducing the audience to a state of helpless laughter. Appropriately  attired fans whistled, hooted, waved and stomped as they sang along with the myriad disco and ‘70’s pop hits. Costumes as colourful as a bag of manic liquorice allsorts, minced and danced up a storm as overhead, the levitating Greek chorus combined to create a vision reminiscent of a comedic nightmare. The evening was truly fun and truly exhausting!


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Riccarton Races 2016

The gentle rain fell from the leaden sky and hung like a necklace of liquid jewels from the leafy boughs beneath which, picnics were laid out. The soggy lawn of Riccarton Park was no deterrent to the company of dedicated race goers who, despite the inclement conditions, were determined to enjoy the day. Fashions of every style and degree of coverage, wafted by in a casual parade of elegance and frequent shivery gooseflesh. The background tumult of voices which included whoops of victory and slurred commiseration resulting from the fickleness of betting, blended with the drumming of hooves on turf to play out the symphony of race day.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Robin Hood Exclusive Preview Anthony Harper Summer Theatre

The wind blew through the green woods at Riccarton House, magically transporting the gathering crowd to the fantasy world of old Sherwood Forest and the antics of Robin Hood. With the wizardry of Anthony Harper and The Forge at The Court, the world’s best loved outlaw robbed the rich to help himself, sorry, I mean the poor and chat up pretty maidens. Topical humour abounded as the invited audience of sponsors and guests laughed and cheered the jolly  romp along, as Robin and his band of merry misfits set off to annoy the rotten old Sheriff of Nottingham. It was an evening of arrow splitting fun and side splitting laughter.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Silver Moon Barrington Store Opening

Baubles, bangles and bright shiny beads, jewels to tempt a magpie’s eye were lighting up Barrington on a recent winter evening. Silver Moon opened their latest cavern of treasures which, shining like angel’s eyes, enticed passers-by to enter and linger.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Southern Excellence Awards 2016

Surrounded by the wonder machines of yesteryear, the latest achievements in the property industry were recognized and celebrated. Companies and individuals who have displayed exceptional performance and dedication, were in the limelight when the Property Council New Zealand held the Southern Excellence Awards 2016 at the Air Force Museum. Tables sparkled in the candlelight as dinner progressed and in between courses, guests were able to relax at the various pampering stations arranged about the hall. Following the handing out of awards and the possibility of drowning in the provided luxuries, it was time to dance the night away. Such fun!

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Sparks 2017

Rockets lit the heavens as local windows and probably some dentures, were rattled by the explosions overhead. This was not a re-enactment of the  Battle of Waterloo but Sparks 2017, where music and gunpowder form the perfect partnership.  Crowds gathered early to picnic and be entertained by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Seated on rugs on the ground and in  corporate marquees ,including Star Media’s,  the audience waited in mounting  anticipation for  the first notes to play and the flaming bouquet to blossom in the sky.  Following the aerial excitement, joyous folk  young and old, journeyed home and the last wisps of smoke dissolved into the night.

PHOTOS: Gilbert Wealleans

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St George's Hospital Christmas Garden Party

The duvet of cloud hanging in the sky above the city kept the temperature at a pleasant level, just right for socialising among the flowers. St George’s Hospital garden was dressed up for the annual Christmas party enabling guests, staff and friends to mix and mingle. Exquisite festive fare was in abundance, the tastes complimented by the scent of roses carried on the gentle and soft late afternoon air. The conversations and catching up continued until the curtain of evening descended to call time on the joyous proceedings and friends departed having exchanged seasonal blessings.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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St Patrick's Day Charity Auction

The flavour of Ireland was being savoured at The Bog on the day before St Patrick’s day when a charity auction was turned on to aid the Bone Marrow Cancer Trust. The overwhelming colour was of course, green and within the dimly lamplit bar the fun was about to begin. Browsing the items up for grabs in the silent auction, guests made secret bids, conserving some resources for the noisy live one to follow. The tune tootling rustic band, provided the soundtrack for the evening which saw much needed money raised, enabling the trust to continue their efforts in combating this horrible disease.

PHOTOS: Gilbert Wealleans

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Studio 125 Gala Grand Opening

Art lovers had  a treat, just perfect for a warm autumn evening as Merivale basked in lingering twilight. Studio 125 was made ready for the flood of guests, invited to attend the grand opening. Crisply aproned waiters proffered good things which ministered to the needs of the palate, as the art did to the appetite of eyes and mind. Cruising through the rooms and outside in the garden, with footsteps crunching on the pastel shingle, attendees consumed the visual buffet of talent. Around every corner a fresh morsel awaited to tempt the attention. Studio 125 is up and running, ready to entice visitors who, may not want to leave.

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Style Fusion Fashion Show


The gloom of winter was dispelled and the promise of a stylish summer brought closer by the wonders of fine dressing, when clothes to be seen in were on parade at Style Fusion, held at Rydges Latimer. Guests enjoyed pre show drinks with friends as the anticipation for the evening built up, along with the excitement.  The doors to the hall flew open and at the herald’s call to take their places, the company entered grandly, as if in an operatic procession. The howl of bagpipes signalled the start whereupon, long limbed models took to the stage in a seemingly never ending buffet of couture. The recipient charity, Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust, would have been very happy with the result, on an evening which no one would forget.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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Trotting Cup Day Addington 2016

The human tidal wave flowed through the gates at Addington and the air of excitement climbed skyward. Hands secured hats on heads and held hemlines in place against the strengthening breeze as out on the track horses and drivers made ready. Eyes were challenged as itinerant fashion plates vied with the gallant chargers for attention. Sulkies hurtled past drawn by the magnificent snorting power generators strapped on. By the day’s end, some would be celebrating whilst others would tear up unproductive betting tickets, victims of fickle fortune. Sunburnt, windblown, poorer in pocket but richer in enjoyment, the tide turned and ebbed homeward.

Photos: Gilbert Wealleans

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