Saturday, September 08, 2012

When it comes to awards it’s easier to list what Sylvie Chan hasn’t won rather that what she has. Earlier this year the year 13 Rosehill College student came runner-up in the Lions Young Ambassadors award for zone 8 which runs from Manurewa to Waiuku and Maramarua to Kawakawa Bay. A few months later she won two Stevenson Papakura youth awards for excellence in maths and science. And it wasn’t long before she was crossing the stage again – this time winning Zonta’s annual Young Women in Public Affairs award. But the real windfall came at Rosehill College’s end-of-year prizegiving where Sylvie won a Jerkovich Trust award, a Papakura Rotary Club scholarship and a Auckland University scholarship. She was also named top scholar in all her subjects – economics, biology, chemistry, history and maths with calculus – and crowned school dux. "I’m really pleased, I’ve put in a lot of hard work this year and I’m glad that it’s paid off," she says. "All the support from friends, teachers and parents – I can make them proud by doing something like this." The university scholarship means Sylvie can breathe a little easier too – she has her heart set on becoming a humanitarian doctor and any money she’s been awarded has gone into a savings account to help pay her way through university. Sylvie says providing she maintains a B plus average the university scholarship will cover her tuition and compulsory fees and give her $2500 to spend every year for three years. "They sent out a letter saying how many people applied for the scholarship," she says. "There were 960 applicants and they gave out 110 nationally." So far the bright 18-year-old hasn’t had time to celebrate her successes – she’s been studying for and sitting NCEA and scholarship exams. This year she’s sat five NCEA and four scholarship subjects. Add to that the two-year 13 NCEA and scholarship exams she sat in physics and statistics last year and Sylvie should leave school with certificates in seven NCEA and six scholarship subjects. Despite all that and the fact she’s part of the school’s culture and environmental committees, a head student, a student advisor and is a member of junior Rotary club Interact, Sylvie would argue she’s just like ever other teenager. She watches television until 10pm or 11pm and enjoys shows like ER and the Big Bang Theory "because it’s full of nerdy jokes". She’s also on social networking site Facebook "probably a bit more than I should be", likes going to the movies and enjoys shopping. So how does she do it all? She’s just "learned how to fit things in – routine helps". Her Malaysian parents "are pretty happy" with her achievements and just want her to have a good profession, she says. "My family are really encouraging – they say just try and do your best." Sylvie was born in New Zealand, first went to Conifer Grove Primary School then Rosehill Intermediate before moving to Rosehill College. Ad Feedback Before she starts her studies at medical school she’s taking a well-earned break. She’s off to Malaysia with her mum for six weeks to spend Christmas with her extended family. Hopefully she’ll leave all the texts books behind. - © Fairfax NZ News Award after award BY IMOGEN NEALE Last updated 05:00 09/12/2009

Natalie Chan store opening

Guests arrived to a beautifully presented and very girly afternoon tea to celebrate the launch of milliner and designer Natalie Chan's new Parnell Rd store on Wednesday afternoon. Among the guests were members of the Parnell and Newmarket business associations, including the ever elegant Di Goldsworthy, as well as The Langham's recently married Lucy Clark and Auckland Racing Club's Rachel Holland, recently returned from a United Kingdomsabbatical. Chan's move to a new premises provides a chance for more space to showcase her wedding dresses, special occasion wear and headpieces for race days. As always, Chan was a charming hostess, putting on a gorgeous spread of pink and white treats including lolly bowls, cupcakes and macaroons accompanied by herbal tea and champagne. It's been a busy time for Chan, with the new premises not the only thing she's been working on. ''I'm four months pregnant too,'' she said. Natalie Chan store opening AMANDA MIDGLEY Last updated 05:00 19/08/2012

Beer is the secret to running 100 marathons

For Norman Chan, the secret to completing 100 marathons in six years is not about a strict diet or a rigid training plan - it is all about having a beer. The 53-year-old Christchurch wine salesman will become the fastest New Zealander to run 100 marathons on September 9 in Dunedin - six years, five months and eight days after his first one in April 2006. He will break the current record of nine years and two days held by Ingrid Frost, of Auckland, and will become the 37th member of the New Zealand 100 Marathon Club. Asked if he followed a training plan or ate special foods to keep him in top running shape, Chan said: "Hell no." His weekly intake features pies and hamburgers, up to a bottle of wine and at least five or six beers, and he runs casually between races. "Part of the way I look at it is have a beer, relax, enjoy the moment, and that's what I'm doing now. I'm not a typical marathon runner," he said. Chan began running marathons after completing the Coast to Coast and decided to set his sights on a new challenge. His first marathon took place on April Fool's Day. "I loved it. "I had a fabulous time," he said. His feats have included completing five marathons on five consecutive weekends and two marathons in one weekend. He has taken part in six ultra-marathons, including a 24-hour, 164-kilometre race. His fastest marathon was the Christchurch Marathon, which he ran in three hours 39 minutes, and the slowest was a trail marathon in Queenstown that he completed in nine hours 24 minutes. "That one was really, really hard." Chan no longer runs to beat times; he now uses his marathons to help other people. "I started off going for personal bests and then I started to realise that you're going to break down, you're not going to survive," he said. "Now I'm helping people. "I've decided to make myself a larger goal - pacing people, helping people with their goals." Although initially wanting to do more, he said the financial side of being a serial marathon runner was an obstacle. Chan reckoned he had spent well over $10,000 on travel and entry fees. Despite this, there is no slowing down for Chan, who has resolved to join the exclusive 200 club as well. "I just think it's really good fun and there are some fabulous people you meet. We do get called nutters, but that's what we are." ASHLEIGH STEWART Last updated 05:00 31/08/2012 KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ ALWAYS ON THE MOVE: Christchurch marathon man Norman Chan trains before attempting his 100th marathon next month.

Chinese visitors keep resort busy

Queenstown businesses reported an increase in the number of Chinese visitors last week and early this week, as the resort experienced a "record Chinese New Year".

The week-long celebration, equivalent to Western Christmas and New Year festivities and the most significant travel week for the Chinese and Asian market, started last Monday.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Tony Everitt was impressed to see so many Chinese visitors in town and said a broad base of DQ member businesses had reported "significantly increased Chinese business".

"It's pretty pleasing to see places like the holiday parks and adventure activities also benefited," Mr Everitt said.

"It shows that not only are we getting the package tourists, but independent Chinese travellers, who are prepared to try something a bit more adventurous."

Visitor centre manager Matt Wong, who, like many businesses, decorated his office windows with DQ's "Happy Chinese New Year" signs, said the response was overwhelming.

"Even having those signs up was enough to attract visitors into the store and sitting on the desk with all these people asking me if I speak Chinese was quite funny."

He and another staff member have since signed up for lessons.

He said walking the streets of Queenstown last week was reminiscent of the days of the Japanese tourist boom, albeit with visitors from China and other Asian countries.

"One thing I noticed was a lot of people coming from Auckland and Australia, and in particular, young people living abroad, who bought their families over here from China on holiday."

Skyline also reported a large number of Chinese visitors during the week, and general manager Lindon Thomas said almost all of last week's dinner services were packed.

"Last week was just really busy with Chinese and Japanese guests, and I think each night was sold out for dinner," Mr Thomas said.

"With two sittings and 250 people in each sitting, these are some decent numbers."

Bonz Gallery and Bonz Group New Zealand managing director Bonnie Rodwell said the numbers experienced were similar to last year, but remained high after Chinese New Year.

Ms Rodwell thought the key to growing the new year market was to focus on keeping the visitors here for longer, and said the store was definitely better prepared for their arrival this year.

"It was much easier this year .. they thought it was very funny us trying to speak Mandarin, but we were trying ..."

When asked if there was any possibility of festivities next year, Mr Everitt said Queenstown would be better to focus on attracting visitors over the holiday with the resort's beauty and amenities.

" I think we did up the ante this year .. and we need to continue that and make people feel welcome, but at the same time people come here to see Queenstown, not the extravagant dragon dancers they can see at home." By Joe Dodgshun on Fri, 3 Feb 2012
Asian family live in fear as vandals target home By Lincoln Tan 5:30 AM Wednesday May 9, 2012 One of the rocks that smashed a window and glass panel. Photo / Brett Phibbs An Asian family who moved to New Zealand for its peaceful lifestyle are living in fear because of sustained vandalism attacks in which eggs and rocks are being thrown at their house in an upmarket street in Te Atatu Peninsula. Their ordeal started in February when their front door was vandalised. Since then, eggs have been frequently smashed on the windows of their $800,000 waterfront property. But on Friday the attacks became more violent when hurled rocks smashed a balcony glass panel and bedroom window at the Longbush Rd house. Waitakere police are investigating. Retiree Tet Hin Wong, 64, who built the house when he moved from Malaysia with his family nine years ago, said he was worried for the safety of his wife and their three children. "We have asked ourselves why is this happening to us and why in New Zealand," Mr Wong said. "We have not done anything to hurt or provoke anybody and, sadly, we have come to conclude that this could be because we are Asians." Mr Wong said he suspected the attacks were racially motivated because the only other house that had been vandalised in the street was one in which a Middle Eastern family lived. The second family, who did not want to be named, said that on at least two occasions, eggs had been thrown at their house windows and car. Mr Wong's wife, Monica, a solicitor, said the family decided to move to New Zealand because of "the peaceful lifestyle" and cannot believe that "such things could happen here". "It's been terrible, we can't sleep properly at night. "The attacks have become gradually more serious and we're just so fearful at what the next one will be," Mrs Wong said. "Now even when we're watching TV, we have to leave our curtain slightly open so we can see if someone's approaching ... what kind of a life is that?" The family, who are Catholics, turned to prayer to ease their fears after last Friday's attack, which happened just before 10pm. Te Atatu Neighbourhood Support is circulating an email to residents in the area seeking witnesses and details of the incidents. By Lincoln Tan | Email Lincoln
Marti Wong's Fieldays No8 Wire National Art Award entry is titled Bull Headed. The works are being exhibited at the ArtsPost gallery. Photo / Christine Cornege

Hamilton sculptor bullish on art

By Natalie Akoorie 5:30 AM Wednesday Jun 6, 2012 Marti Wong's Fieldays No8 Wire National Art Award entry is titled Bull Headed. The works are being exhibited at the ArtsPost gallery. Photo / Christine Cornege Expand Marti Wong's Fieldays No8 Wire National Art Award entry is titled Bull Headed. The works are being exhibited at the ArtsPost gallery. Photo / Christine Cornege Hamilton sculptor Marti Wong has taken the phrase "bull-headed" to a new level with his Fieldays No8 Wire National Art Award entry. The bull's head, made almost completely of the ubiquitous fencing wire, symbolises the "condition of humanity", Wong says. "Humans are stubborn. And the No8 wire is about fenced-in thoughts and ideals which make people stubborn. It's about fencing in the brain, keeping in old ideas and keeping out new ideas." Entitled Bull Headed, the sculpture is one of 17 finalists in the Fieldays award which will be judged tomorrow night at the ArtsPost gallery in Hamilton where the works are also being exhibited. It is the first time Wong, 40, has entered the awards, which coincide each year with the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek, near Hamilton. The awards, which started in 1997, attract inventive and unique pieces of art that must be 75 per cent No8 wire. Corrugated iron sculptor Jeff Thomson will judge the awards. The winner will receive $4000. ArtsPost co-ordinator Marion Manson said there were 24 entries this year - down from 29 last year. An exhibition of the works will run at ArtsPost in Victoria St from June 8 to July 16. Fieldays starts next week. By Natalie Akoorie | Email Natalie
New Flavour: Award-winning chef Dean Wong (front) is bringing new dining experiences to Anne and Dion Ngatai's Anndion Lodge. Tracey Grant 200111Wctgresturant03

TV chef makes mark in River City

Kathryn King | Saturday, January 22, 2011 17:00 New Flavour: Award-winning chef Dean Wong (front) is bringing new dining experiences to Anne and Dion Ngatai's Anndion Lodge. Wanganui foodies rejoice, there's a new culinary dream-team in town. Anndion Lodge owners Anne and Dion Ngatai have joined up with chef Dean Wong to bring a new kind of dining experience to Wanganui. Mr Wong, an multi-award winning chef who appeared for a year on Good Morning and came fifth in Hell's Kitchen New Zealand, moved here more than a year ago. When the work he was doing here finished, he decided to stay, working as a private chef until a fortuitous visit to the chamber of commerce put him on to Anne and Dion's restaurant plans. Together they started running a buffet at the lodge every Sunday, converting the conference room into a dining room, and serving bar meals from the Harley Bar. Now about three months in, the venture has so far been a winner and the trio have big plans. "These guys have won their own business awards, and I have my own culinary awards, so I think we have a similar work ethic about trying to give the best," Mr Wong said. He said he wanted to change the way people viewed buffets. Rather than loading an enormous plateful of food, and losing the distinct flavour of each dish, Mr Wong said he would be introducing small portions. The idea was that people return to the buffet numerous times to try different items and get the full flavour of each dish. The concept also alleviated much of the food wastage seen at traditional buffets, he said. The buffet meals included steak cooked to order, hot dishes, salads and desserts. Mr Wong said he wanted to re-introduce handmade food with flavour that machine-made food couldn't compete with. While the dishes would change seasonally, a few favourites, like his award-winning mousses, could become menu staples. Since the new branch of the lodge opened, Mr Wong has catered birthdays, held poolside barbecues, and has two weddings on the horizon. Classically trained in French and English cooking, Mr Wong said he had experience in a variety of cuisines, including German, Italian, Chinese and Japanese. He had worked with New Zealand seafood and Pacific rim/fusion cuisine were among his specialties. Mr Wong said he had a fresh food philosophy, which meant he would buy the basics, but liked to make everything from scratch, including his sauces, condiments and chutneys. He even grows his own herbs. When the restaurant expanded and got busier, he would make his own sausages and prosciutto ham. The couple said in future they wanted to incorporate live music into the restaurant and do hangi food. They also wanted to do more degustation meals. These meals focus on careful tasting and savouring small portions of food. "It's going to be an exciting year for us, it's a complete package," Anne Ngatai said. People are surprised, they don't realise that this is here, and that it's a beautiful room."