Our stories: Sera Hathaway

Written by Amelia Murray.

Sera scarfFrom a young age, fashion was always high on Sera’s agenda, even when milking the cows was involved! Growing up on a large dairy farm in Reporoa, a small rural community in Rotorua Lakes, Sera made many of her own clothes, describing her style as ‘a little different’. She explains, “I loved the farm, I loved growing up on the farm, but I would spend hours watching fashion TV and sketching designs.”

Attending St Peters in Cambridge, where Sera was lead soprano, she excelled in music and art. However, without having a set career dream, Sera took a year out after school as an au pair in Switzerland before returning home to work in a designer boutique. It was this role which then led her to pursue her childhood passion, completing a certificate in Creative Arts and Design in Wellington, followed by a Diploma of Fashion Design through the Tauranga Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Our stories: Celeste Wong

Written by Alice Peacock.

190111 newton 0045It was during a mundane afternoon trip to a London bank back in 2014, that the idea for Celeste Wong’s 'The Girl in The Cafe' web series came about. Celeste, a Dunedin-born Londoner, was reflecting on what it was that she loved, and what she could do with her passions moving forward. The actress, marketer, writer and coffee expert decided to launch a project involving the three constants in her life: coffee, people and conversations.

The result was The Girl in The Cafe, a web series about London’s coffee scene, featuring Celeste as its host, interviewing both coffee connoisseurs and a few of her loyal customers. The series, which Celeste says is still the work she is most proud of, is online and was shown on Air New Zealand flights for about a two-year period following its launch.

Business Book Club Review: Make Time

Written by Michelle Telling.

Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day, by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky 8127OzsAQVL

I should start this review with a disclaimer. I did not particularly enjoy the book and, since reading it a couple of months ago, I'd kind of forgotten all about it (along with volunteering to write the review). But here we are, and thankfully I have my handy notes exported from my Kindle and a page of handwritten notes from the discussion.

Until the pandemic derailed our lives, I enjoyed venturing down to London to have a breakfast and coffee at Ozone along with the animated discussion from a group of women with a kiwi-twang reverberating around the room. Book-club-via-Zoom is a different beast but still worth crawling out of bed for and much easier to get to from Grafham Water where I live.

This book did appeal to me as rarely feel I have ‘enough’ time, and the things I really want to do so often end up pushed to one side by other things I ‘have’ to do. Some years ago, the group read 168 Hours - you have more time than you think, by Laura Vanderkam but despite this, I don’t seem to.

Our stories: Emma Rigby

Written by Jen Hacker.

ERIGBYJUNE19 6503 resizeIn a megacity like London, it can be hard to find a sense of local community but Emma Rigby has brought her quintessentially kiwi approach to community building to the UK. She has spent the last 10 years building a multi-faceted, award-winning social enterprise for her borough in North London.

“I’ve always been invested in my community, right from a young age in NZ,” she says. “It very much is about my kiwi upbringing. Communities working together - passing a cup of sugar over the garden fence. So I think I brought a little bit of NZ to the community that I live in now in London.”

Emma is the creator of the unique social enterprise, Love Your Doorstep. The organisation began after a frightening experience close to home reminded Emma of the importance of finding community, wherever you are. 

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