Biologique Recherche fans rejoice, the cult skincare range is now available in New Zealand

Fans of French skincare brand Biologique Recherche — of which there are many — will know what a labour of love it has been until now to source the brand’s cult products on our shores, let alone any beauty services utilising its effective powers. Now, wily shipping methods or overseas travel are no longer a necessity for those wanting to benefit from the Biologique Recherche methodology, as the highly-anticipated Sofitel Spa has opened at Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, and is the exclusive New Zealand stockist of the brand.

While the Biologique Recherche offering consists of over 100 facial products, 30 body and 10 hair products, the best-known skincare solution is the iconic Lotion P50. A purifying, cleansing, reconditioning and exfoliating toner, P50 is name-checked by countless skincare experts and celebrities as their secret weapon when it comes to glowing skin. Promising a smoother, brighter and less congested visage, it is the pungent potion that will continue to boost the results of any beauty treatments at home.

Sofitel Spa has everything one could need to truly indulge in a wellbeing and beauty journey. With its harbourside location and tranquil waterfall, the spa offers the option to begin one’s session with time in the sauna or steam room, kicking off the relaxation even before one lies on the treatment bed. 

“As a whole, we’re all about wellness — it’s not clinical,” explains Sofitel Spa’s manager Rebecca Dawson. “We want people to feel relaxed, but also like they’re getting results.”

Among Sofitel Spa’s varied and substantial treatment menu are signature treatments centred on Biologique Recherche’s highly efficacious products, harnessing the brand’s highly customised approach to offer bespoke results for each and every client. 

“Biologique Recherche has been formulated by a microbiologist and medical doctors, however the in-spa treatments were designed by a physiotherapist, so they are guided by the muscle fibres — it’s all about lifting and toning,” explains Dawson. “The products are raw-formulated, so there’s no heat involved, and no fragrances either, as the creators didn’t want to jeopardise the efficacy of the active ingredients.”

The Instant Skin Lab is the cornerstone of the brand’s methodology, a unique and exclusive system of analysis, diagnosis and prescription. This is used as part of the consultation to ensure the creation of a treatment schedule that works towards a skin objective or intent, and is able to monitor which proposed ministrations will be suitable. Using five different probes, it measures the state of different skin functions including hydration, barrier function, elasticity and pigmentation in order to design a custom facial treatment. 

The Micro Puncture Facial might sound intense, but the results are sure to speak for themselves. Designed to remodel the deeper dermal layer of the skin, the treatment is intended to promote increased regeneration, and a smoother, firmer visage. Utilising a similar approach to microneedling, which stimulates collagen production and increased product penetration, this facial sees the application of Cocktail d’Actifs Regenerants serum boosting vitality and nourishment with its 56 active ingredients.

Having a facial or beauty treatment purely for the relaxation aspect is lovely, but when the outcome manifests as visible results, the combination is unbeatable. We’re certainly a fan of both in tandem, and the famed reputation of Biologique Recherche experienced within the holistic indulgence of Sofitel Spa is a match made in beauty heaven.

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Still on the hunt for an America’s Cup charter boat? This luxury Riviera still has a few dates left available

Offering adventure-filled expeditions and tailored day trips, Ata Rangi (one of the most high-spec Viking 82 boats ever built) is the answer to your next getaway. This luxuriously-appointed game fishing boat operates predominantly out of Auckland and the Bay of Islands and is fully equipped to catch marlin, snapper, swordfish and more.

Ata Rangi also offers opportunities for diving and access to other watersports like paddleboarding, surfing, wakeboarding and snorkelling.

Able to accommodate 18 guests for day cruises, eight for day fishing and six for overnighters and with an expert crew on hand to plan itineraries, guide activities and organise on-board dining, guests can kick back and enjoy the surrounding seascape from Ata Rangi’s sumptuous interior, or engage in the kind of fishing they’re unlikely to find anywhere else.

Escape


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With eight dogs in residence at Cuadra San Cristobal, the iconic home designed by Luis Barragán in 1968, here, there is plenty of space to go around. Frida, Boris, Chich, Kuma, Carlota, Solovino, Chuleta and Yrrol are a harmonious bunch, who love to embark on long walks around the home’s grounds

The photographer behind everyone’s favourite coffee table book has released an equally adorable sequel

In a bid to put a more personal spin on some of the most impressive interiors and architecture around the world, Melbourne-based photographer Nicole England sought a fresh perspective. From her experience as an architecture and interior photographer, England had noticed how a home really came alive when its fluffy resident wandered into shot, and so, she decided to make it her focus.

In her first Resident Dog book, England photographed 25 homes across Australia, while for this, her second, the photographer looked further afield, documenting homes and their furry residents in places as far as the United States, Britain and Mexico as well. While her unique focus gave her unprecedented access to some incredible, private spaces, it also proves the photographer’s point: that our four-legged friends transform a house into a home. 

FoxyLady is the rescue dog of a glamorous New York couple who have filled their maximalist Greenwich townhouse with a wonderfully eclectic mix of tones, textures and sculptural touches. Although her breed is unknown, FoxyLady brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the home, from her charismatic presence to her love of luxuriating on the sumptuous furnishings.
Rosie the seven-year-old cavapoo loves nothing more than trotting around the gardens (designed by none other than Lady Mary Keen) of her family’s RIBA-winning, sprawling country home in the Cotswolds. Finally, she has the space she needs to run around unimpeded by the boundaries of her city house in London
A dog sure to have sophisticated tastes in contemporary art (so curated is her owner’s collection) Miracle lives in Braelin, the historic Sydney home designed by Donald Esplin in 1918. The heritage nature of this home means that Miracle is often only allowed to snooze on one of her two cosy dog beds (instead of the furniture) but she still loves a cuddle with her owner, co-founder of Voiceless, a global institution for animal protection. 
The fitting abode for four rescue dogs, Silvertop is a home with an interesting history, originally designed by architect John Lautner for Kenneth Reiner before the latter became bankrupt and the house was left to languish. It was then rescued by a family who made it liveable for them and their motley crew of pups, Daisy, Iggy, Clover and Ambrose Bear, adopted from different California shelters. And in this monolithic, concrete-covered house, it’s these resident dogs that make it feel like a home. 
In this contemporary Malibu beach house festooned in tactile details and sculptural furnishings, mixed-breed pup Willie fits perfectly into the palette. Whether he’s swanning around the Kelly Wearstler-finished interiors or sunning himself in his favourite spot on the deck, this laid-back pooch is living the life.

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Embrace eco-luxury at its finest with a stay at this exquisite high-country homestead

Promising an escape into nature, Mahu Whenua offers luxury accommodation in the middle of a sprawling eco-sanctuary, 20 minutes drive from Wanaka.

With a name that literally translates to ‘healing the land,’ it’s hardly surprising that Mahu Whenua is a place of conservation. In fact, it is the largest conservation undertaking on private land in New Zealand’s history, with sustainable farming practices and a successful native bird breeding programme.

Owned by music producer Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange, who combined four high country stations into around 55,000 hectares of exquisite uninterrupted nature, this retreat includes five individual Ridgeline Suites, each able to accommodate a couple, although the entire property can also be booked exclusively for 12 people. 

Onsite, you’ll find stables, a large open living room, dining room, library and a number of outdoor areas from which to take in the lush green valleys, alpine lakes and grand, mountainous landscapes of the property’s surrounds.

So, whether you want to horse ride, mountain bike and hike, or would rather just dabble in some yoga and a few spa treatments, Mahu Whenua encourages everyone to experience its unique location in their own way.

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Thinking of trying skincare’s trendiest supplement? Here’s what you need to know about collagen

You’d be hard-pressed to find a substance that has garnered more hype in the wellness industry this year than collagen. While previously we’ve been familiar with collagen being used externally either in beauty products or in the cosmetic surgery industry, or in pill form as a supplement, recently the trend has shifted to consumption in food and beverage products as a means for absorption to assist our health and appearance.

As a result, collagen products have been cropping up with increasing frequency, and while the current most common form for edible collagen seems to be powders like protein powder and coffee creamer, we’ve seen it incorporated into snack bars, bliss balls, milk and even bottled water.

Claiming to strengthen bones and nails, assist with hair growth, make the skin look plump and smooth, and even ease joint pain, one question hangs over the glut of collagen products: do they work?

The first thing to ascertain is exactly what collagen is. One of the most abundant structural proteins in the body, collagen is known as the ‘glue’ that holds together our physical systems. It forms our skin and bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. An abundance of collagen in the body is evident externally through plump, smooth skin, however we begin to lose about one percent of our collagen per year in our mid-twenties, and as much as 30 percent during the first five years of menopause. When this happens, our skin dries out and wrinkles form, so no wonder we don’t want to let go of the stuff.

Collagen powders are popular for their versatility; able to absorb into hot and cold drinks, and things like baking, they are usually derived from the skin, hide, tendons, bones, cartilage, or other connective tissues of cows, pigs, chicken, or fish.

While there seems to be a slight lag between comprehensive scientific studies (that haven’t been paid for by individual brands) and anecdotal evidence, the latter is overwhelmingly positive, with glowing testimonials speaking to collagen’s prodigious results. It is generally agreed that collagen holds promise and so far no adverse effects of consuming collagen supplements have been documented.

Thinking of trying it?
Here are a few things to consider when you’re choosing a brand.

Look for as few ingredients as possible
While there are many sweetened and blended collagen powders out there, if you’re worried about upsetting your digestive tract it’s easiest to go for a product that just has one ingredient: collagen peptides.

Choose your collagen type wisely
“Watch out for products marketed as ‘plant-based collagen’, says the New York Times. “They don’t actually contain collagen, and though they say they support collagen production, the science is not there to back it up.”

Absorption matters
Collagen is naturally a very large molecule, so most reputable brands will say they have put their collagen peptides through a hydrolyzing process to make them more bioavailable and absorbable in the body. Look for this information on the packaging or website. Vitamin C has also been shown to aid collagen absorption, so keep that in mind with what you pair your collagen with.

In it for the long haul
No matter which kind of collagen you choose, the commonly accepted stance is that it doesn’t work overnight — regular, sustained usage over a period of months is said to yield the greatest results. However, it must be said some of us in the Denizen office have noticed positive differences in shorter time frames, so we think it’s well worth a try.

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Remuera house designed by Danielle Bates Design featuring RH furniture, lighting and accessories

It’s official: A new partnership is set to give you unprecedented access to this globally coveted home furnishing brand

Interior designer Danielle Bates has built a reputation for her high-end residential and hospitality fit outs. Effortlessly employing sumptuous details and clever layering, Bates keeps her contemporary spaces feeling warm and inviting, and it’s largely down to her ability to source and curate unique furnishings, both from here and abroad. 

One of the places that Bates has long turned to when sourcing furniture for her clients is Restoration Hardware — a company that has gone from a relatively small presence to boasting over 100 sprawling stores around the United States. Showcasing the brand’s vast and varied lines of furniture and accessories, lighting, hardware, soft furnishings and art, the stores are multi-faceted and notoriously impressive, often with immersive displays and even their own restaurants.

The recently-opened RH in New York’s Meatpacking District, for example, is a testament to this. Nine thousand square-feet of poured concrete, bronze, stone and glass, with a vast, rooftop restaurant, festooned in chandeliers and foliage, this store speaks to the vast growth this company has enjoyed in the last few years, including adding a number of subsidiary brands like RH Modern, RH Teen and RH Baby and Child to its offering. 

From left: Interior designer Danielle Bates; RH Teen Colbin bunk bed

But Bates discovered RH long before it ascended to its now-lofty heights. Back when she was living in New York, having studied at New York’s prestigious Parsons School of Design she secured a job at renowned design firm Meyer Davis, and stumbled upon it when it only had five stores to its name. After returning to New Zealand and setting up her own interior design firm in 2005, Bates started regularly importing pieces from RH, for clients that wanted something a little different. Now, she’s taking her relationship with the brand to a whole new level. 

Left: RH Large Machinto side table in grey oak and pewter detail. Right: RH Bezier 36” nightstand in grey oak with pewter hardware.

“RH is very protective of its brand,” Bates explains, “but because of the strong relationship I’ve enjoyed with them over the last five years, I’ve recently been named an official RH licensed partner in New Zealand.” This is a big deal. It means that Bates now has an extensive library of RH fabrics and finishes on hand, allowing her to make quick decisions with clients, and often get in-stock furniture to arrive in New Zealand within four to five weeks.

In fact, Bates tells me that she has furnished entire houses with the brand, such is the level of her clients’ appreciation for its sleek aesthetic and high quality. “Although New Zealand does have more choice now,” Bates says, “there are not many brands that offer a price point in between the lower options and the high-end luxury Italian marques. I still like to work with the European brands but RH offers high-quality at a mid-range price point, and that’s what makes it so appealing and easy to work with.”  

Next year, RH is set to open its first international gallery in England at Anyhoe Park, which will house the largest architectural library in the world. In 2023, stores in Paris and London Mayfair will also open, as RH goes truly global. And while there won’t be a retail location in New Zealand for RH collections, we can rely on Bates and her extensive knowledge of the brand to deliver the affordable pieces our interiors need. 

Design


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Watch: The Lodge Bar’s Matt Lambert shows us how to grill the perfect steak

Internationally venerated, New Zealand-born chef Matt Lambert has recently returned to our shores to helm Rodd & Gunn’s The Lodge Bar & Dining in Auckland and Queenstown’s The Lodge Bar. Having overseen operations from New York since 2017, Lambert is now able to do so directly, and is excited to evolve the offering even further now he’s back on home soil.

To celebrate his homecoming just in time for summer, Lambert shares three easy recipes to cook on the grill — beachside or at home. Deep, smoky grilled flavours are a huge part of The Lodge Bar’s offering, and Lambert is as expert as they come at utilising the delicious caramelisation of cooking over charcoal.

Lambert’s tip for grilling steak is the simplest one you’ll ever hear: salt your meat 24 hours before cooking it. This means whatever steak you cook is deliciously flavourful right the way through, and develops a mouthwatering crust when it’s cooked.

Ingredients:
Steak
Salt

Method:
1. Salt your steak 24-hours ahead with flake salt, sprinkling on both sides and patting down.
2. When it comes time to cook, start grilling fat-side down. You’re just aiming to melt the fat. The more frequently you flip the steak, it helps get an even cook right the way through the meat.
3. When it’s cooked to your preferred level, take the steak off the grill and rest for 5-10 minutes. Lambert says to rest for the same length of time you cooked your meat for, if not longer.
4. Slice the steak, and although it’s seasoned to perfection thanks to the 24-hour method, it doesn’t hurt to sprinkle a tiny bit more flaky salt on top.
5. To serve, you could quickly grill some hard herbs like rosemary and place it on top to give a slightly herby aroma, delicious with the charcoal flavour of the steak.

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These are the latest and greatest non-fiction books to add to your reading list

Escapism and learning combine with these engrossing recently-released non-fiction books, spanning a variety of topics from psychology to philosophy; pop culture to climate change.

Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman
With a fresh perspective on history, this book makes a case for the virtues of humanity. Arguing that evolution has instilled in us a propensity to be kind and honest (a departure from what we typically see in the news), Bregman says that when we accept our inherent altruism, we will be able to get on with making the world a better place.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
Breathing seems like the most natural thing to do, but are we doing it right? In this illuminating book (a number one New York Times Bestseller), journalist James Nestor researches why we all stopped breathing properly, the chronic illnesses that have emerged as a result and the potential we could unlock if we did it right.

Bowie’s Bookshelf: The 100 Books That Changed Bowie’s Life by John O’Connell
Three years before he died, David Bowie shared the 100 books that changed his life. Here, John O’Connell explores each with a dedicated mini-essay that discusses their significance against the background of Bowie’s life, offering an original lens through which to view the legacy of a legend.

The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump by Mary Jordan
Penned by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Mary Jordan, this enlightening biography paints a picture of the FLOTUS that goes against her public image. More than 100 people from all over the world were interviewed by Jordan, who argues that Melania Trump held a far more pivotal role in the White House than anyone thought.

The Squiggly Career by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis
If you feel in need of change, perhaps this book will inspire you to switch things up. An acknowledgement that careers are no longer linear or long-term affairs, Tupper and Ellis have created a helpful guide, brimming with insight on how to grow into and get the best out of your career.

Making a Psychopath by Dr Mark Freestone
From the leading psychologist who helped to create Killing Eve’s Villanelle character, comes a riveting read about what truly makes a psychopath. And considering Dr. Freestone has worked on some of the most infamous and disturbing cases in the world, he is uniquely positioned to deliver some incredible and informative insight.

A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
Recently turned into a documentary for Netflix, David Attenborough shares his thoughts on the future of our planet, from a lifetime spent exploring it. The award-winning natural historian and journalist makes clear the finite opportunity we have right now to reclaim our earth and to move forward in a more conscious, considered way. There is hope, he says, if we act now.

Ask a Philosopher: Answers to Your Most Important and Most Unexpected Questions by Ian Olasov
From life’s most poignant questions like ‘is there life after death?’ to some less important ones like ‘if humans colonize Mars, who will own the land?’, this book offers answers to a range of mind-bending, funny and moving questions in a bid to get you thinking like a philosopher.

Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel
Suffering from decision fatigue and negative thought-patterns? This book could help you break the cycle. Aiming to outline actionable strategies to make an immediate and lasting impact on how we deal with questions, both big and small, Don’t Overthink It offers a framework for proactively bringing more peace, joy, and love into their lives through making decisions we feel comfortable with.

Tree of Strangers by Barbara Sumner
This moving and beautifully-written book by New Zealand writer Barbara Sumner deals with identity, family, loss and love. Chronicling her experience as an adopted person in this country, Tree of Strangers describes Sumner’s upbringing and personal evolution as she decides to search for her mother at the age of 23. Through the process, she comes up against New Zealand’s harsh 1955 Adoption Act legislation — the reform of which she is one of our foremost advocates of today.

Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish
A little niche, but we can get behind that. Scotsmen Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, stars of the Outlander TV series, are out to discover the complexity, rich history and culture of their native country. Travelling from the heart of Scotland to Inverness and Culloden battlefield, experiencing some colourful characters along the way (and drinking a lot of whisky), the audiobook is apparently an even better way to enjoy this romping road trip adventure.

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui
Swimming is one of the most popular activities in the world, but humans are not actually born to swim — we are taught, and then we swim for pleasure, for exercise, for healing. With her often deeply personal exploration of our relationship with water, The New York Times contributor Bonnie Tsui offers a new way of looking at swimming and, through this, human behaviour itself. Spanning tales of Olympic champions, a Baghdad swim club that meets in Saddam Hussein’s palace pool, modern-day Japanese samurai swimmers, and even an Icelandic fisherman who survives a wintry six-hour swim after a shipwreck, Why We Swim looks into what about water, despite its dangers, keeps us returning time after time. 

Culture


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Chef Monique Fiso of Hiakai on the art of food, Gordon Ramsay and not being afraid to fail

Monique Fiso is putting New Zealand’s indigenous cuisine and techniques on the world map. One of the most formidable talents in our culinary industry, she has worked all over the globe and trained at top Michelin-star kitchens in New York including The Musket Room, Public Restaurant and Avoce.

After returning to our shores and organising a series of sell-out pop-ups in 2015, Fiso opened her acclaimed Wellington restaurant Hiakai in 2018, specialising in Māori fine-dining cuisine. Fiso, who is of Māori and Samoan descent, is now considered one of the country’s most important chefs, bringing a new genre of cuisine to the fore that both honours and expands on Aotearoa’s food story.

In 2019, Hiakai restaurant was named in Time magazine’s 100 most important places on Earth, and in 2020 Fiso released her highly anticipated book Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine, a celebratory account of the rich history and methods of Māori food, complete with recipes, ingredient indexes and foraging notes. She also starred in the 2018 Netflix show The Final Table, and appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s adventurous 2019 series Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted.

With all this taking place before Fiso’s 33rd birthday, safe to say she is a force to be reckoned with. Here she shares some insight into her journey thus far.

My dad always said “what’s the worst that could happen?” I’ve always carried that, like yeah what is the worst that could happen — somebody says no, and then what? I think that’s served me quite well.

Food is a disappearing art form. You make it, you prep it, you plate it, it looks beautiful, and then it’s gone ten minutes later. 

I know that you can fail at something, and I understand the risks, but I have been a lot more open than other people at just going “oh well, I’d rather try than not.” 

As a chef you’re going to need to know how Excel works, how to actually format documents. You’re going to need to understand costings, you’re going to need to understand a balance sheet, or just have a basic understanding of accounting in general, and ideally commercial law too. So, my biggest advice to young people wanting to get into the industry is, don’t go: “I don’t need those skills, I just need to know how to cook”, because it’s just not true. You need more than that if you’re going to survive, because this industry’s super competitive, and it’s saturated. Cooking alone is not going to be enough. 

There were definitely moments during the writing of my book where I’d woken up with all the positivity in the world, made myself a coffee, opened the laptop and thought “today’s going to be a good writing day” and then just burst into tears.

I gained so much respect for the writing process, and writers, and the discipline you need to have. People talk about discipline in cooking and ballet, but actually the discipline to sit and write is such a skill.

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is “reputation sticks.” That’s also from my dad. When I was younger, I didn’t really understand it, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised what he was saying was “think long and hard about what you want to be known for, and that will lead you to the right decision.” And I always think about that when we’re making decisions. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and it takes a moment to destroy it. 

The worst advice I’ve ever received is “don’t go to cooking school.”

I’d like to be known for my contribution to the New Zealand food scene. That would be a nice legacy.

I see it a lot with people, when they make mistakes they throw in the towel. It seems silly to me — if you think you’re going to nail something on the first attempt, you’re crazy.

The biggest thing I’ve had to overcome was finding the self-confidence to actually step into my own shoes instead of going and working for somebody else. There was a time period of a couple of years where I felt ready to do my own thing, but at the same time a little bit insecure. I had a glowing resumé, and I’d done really well, but I had to overcome my inner voice trying to talk me out of doing the pop-ups and then opening the restaurant. 

My amazing partner Katie, who’s also the general manager of Hiakai, tends to keep me on track and organised. A lot of keeping healthy and staying balanced comes down to her, and because we have a million things happening in the week we have a rule to make sure there’s always stuff at home for breakfast. It might be the one meal we get to sit down for.

There isn’t really anywhere you can look to for a blueprint for Hiakai. And that’s really cool — it’s awesome to be creating a new genre of cuisine and playing around with ingredients for the first time, but at the same time it’s kind of scary because you don’t have the playbook. You can’t look at models like French Laundry and say “well, we’re going to do it like how Thomas Keller has done it” because it’s not going to be the same. 

One of the most surreal moments of my professional life was meeting Gordon Ramsay for the first time. On the episode of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, when he jumps out of the helicopter, and we’re on the beach, that was literally the first time I’d met him. 

My 30th birthday was actually spent filming the first episode of The Final Table, so that was a pretty strange day. I turned 33 last week — it’s hard to believe it’s been three years. But my 30th was spent there, and I was like “Wow, this is an interesting way to walk into this decade.”

Anyone who knows me would say fried chicken is my ultimate comfort food meal. With some serious heat, I like a bit of spicy fried chicken.

I like to keep my professional goals close to my chest, but on a personal level I’ve spent most of my adult life working extremely long hours, and I think as I’m getting older there are definitely personal goals. It would be nice to start a family soon, and have a bit more balance, but at the same time I really really love what I do, and there are still things that are unfinished business for me. I wouldn’t feel like I was done in this industry until I ticked off some of those private goals I’ve got for myself professionally.

I’ve got a massive sweet tooth. It’ll probably be the end of me eventually, because I can be super full, and then be like “Ooh, brownies, donuts.”

Sometimes you’ve just gotta put away the lemon meringue pie and eat the salad.

I was really lucky that I grew up in a family where my parents owned their own business. From a young age I was around them and their conversations, and I’d ask them a lot of questions. Dad taught me how to use Quickbooks and was explaining to me things like chartered accounts, payable receivables, and how tax works from a really young age. So, I almost feel like that side of the Hiakai business is easy. 

A younger version of me probably would have said success is a fancy car and fancy house, but I’ve realised, for me, success is actually waking up and being really happy with my work. Just being happy with what I’m doing with my day — which sounds simple, but I’ve realised I am quite lucky that I get to wake up and be creative and do what I want to do.

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My favourite things: Sculptor Vicky Savage shares her most adored objects

Auckland-based artist Vicky Savage is renowned for her captivating sculptures, generally rendered in bronze, that employ a harmonious fusion of symbolism, scale and design. Here, she shares the stories behind a few of the objects, art pieces and gifts that she holds dear.

“On the wall is a Lisa Reihana artwork. We bought this piece after going to see her when she showed at the Venice Biennale, where we fell in love with her work. The silver candelabra is a family heirloom that came over from England when my grandparents passed away. I can remember seeing these on our first trip to England when I was five at my grandmother’s home.

The Eames blackbird reminds me of our friendly black bird, Blackie who sits in the trees outside our windows and sings at the top of his voice everyday. I love him because he makes me stop and listen for a moment during a busy day. In the foreground are photos of my wonderful, brave parents in their uniforms; Mum was a decoder for the Wrens and Dad was a Captain in the British Army. The old cow spinal bone at the back always sits on the mantelpiece. I picked it up years ago on a beach at my favourite place on Earth, Great Mercury Island.

In the foreground is a whalebone that was given to my husband Tim’s great grandfather as a gift from the local Māori in the Wairarapa. In the back is an Ann Robinson bowl, I just love the way the light reflects through this piece. Next to this is one of the first sculptural works I ever created, Propellor Man (2007), it’s all about time and keeping in the moment. So he’s just about to fly off with his propeller, but he’s stopped and paused to contemplate the moment. I like my work to represent the space between the past and the future. That moment of just being still. I actually gave this piece to my son, William. I’m assuming one day he’ll come and collect it.

Vicky Savage work ‘A Moment of Reflection’, bronze with marble base, 260 × 160 mm

I always have a bowl full of lemons on my bench top. I love the colour, and they are a delicious reminder of our Waiheke property. This gold ball sculpture is one of a new collection of pieces which I have been working on to represent what the world is experiencing at the present time. The figure is gazing into the ball, trying to see the future, but when the viewer gets closer they can also see their own reflection. The remotes carved from basalt are the work of Joe Sheehan. These stone sculptures are halfway between an adze and a TV remote, which I think is so clever.

The pile of books are some of my favourites, they include one by Fiona Pardington, I was lucky enough to have Fiona as one of my lecturers at Elam, she was so very inspirational for me. I have also been learning about marble, basalt and other stone which I use for the bases of my sculptures. Two books are my current favourites, Stoned and NZ Granite and Marble. I am enthralled with Against All Odds, by Jillian Rothwell and Ten Thoughts About Time, is a book I have been referring to for over 10 years.”

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