Interview and photograph by Florence Noble
Proving that having a corporate job doesn’t mean having to dress like a, um, bank manager, executive assistant Christopher brings a sense of flair to Westpac’s head office.
Are you from Auckland?
No, I grew up in Christchurch, but have lived in Auckland for 23 years now.
How do you get to Britomart?
I drive to the train station in Onehunga and then I catch the train.
What do you do here?
I’m an Executive Assistant for the General Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs for Westpac New Zealand.
How did you get into it?
I used to work in The Face Place in Custom Street East and I was approached, which was quite flattering, and I was asked if I wanted to find out more about the role. I wasn’t looking, the opportunity just presented itself.
What were you doing at The Face Place?
I was the skin concierge. So my main role was to welcome clients to the clinic and do most of the post-treatment make-up and touch-ups. I’m a qualified beauty therapist by trade. I did that for a number of years. It’s always been an interest of mine.
How did you get your incredible sense of style?
I remember my Nana saying to me, “If it goes with nothing, it goes with everything.” So I tend to wear things that – perhaps as a rule of thumb with regards to fashion – you probably shouldn’t put together, but it goes with my personality. And it’s not what you wear it’s how you wear it. I think fashion is an intensely personal thing. I’m always of the belief that if you look good, you feel good. You tend to stand taller, your head’s a little bit higher and you generally feel better about yourself. Well, I do anyway.
What’s the best thing about working around here?
There’s always something going on. Food Truck Friday. There’s all manner of festival-type things happening in the Square. You’re never short of food options, shopping options, after work options. Options for everything.
Do you have a regular spot you go to?
Me and the girls at work have a Gelato Friday so we pop down to Miann as our little treat for making it through another week! That would be our regular. I like hiding up at Xuxu for a good glass of wine, nice cocktails, and some dumplings. It’s a nice little intimate bar.
Where’s the best place to eat around here?
It depends what you want, because there’s so many options. Like, if I’m on a bit of a self-deluding health kick I’ll go up to Yeah Bowl in the Britomart station, but if I’m doing a full fat thing, it’ll be Food Truck Fridays, and do a Double Dutch fries with satay sauce. They are really good.
If you could change one thing about Auckland what would it be?
The traffic. For a world class city, it’s just unbelievable that we have to deal with the amount of traffic that we do. We’re extending the underground, but that should have been done 10-15 years ago. We’re just putting Bandaids over the initial problem. And the reason New Zealanders love their cars is because the transport isn’t great. Sometimes it’s unreliable, it doesn’t go where you need it to go to. To me it’s unbelievable that we don’t have a rail system to the airport. Like, seriously, sort it out.
What’s your favourite thing to spend money on?
I tend to buy a lot of clothes. Shoes, sunglasses, I’m kind of the ultimate consumer. I’m great for the economy. One of my favourite designers from around here is World.
Have you got your eye on anything at the moment?
I’m an impulse buyer so I have to avoid having my eye on anything. If I go in, I’ll have to get it. I can’t help myself.
What’s your idea of fun?
I like to cook comfort food. I do a mean lasagna, using three or four different cheeses. And I garden. I used to keep tropical fish. I started off with a goldfish bowl and then you think, “I’ll just get a couple more.” And then a couple more and before you know it you’ve got 800 litres of tropical water sitting in your lounge.
What’s your favourite type of fish?
I like a community tank, things that are bright and colourful. There’s a bit of movement, activity. So I would say discus fish… they’re quite large, round, flat Amazonian fish. And, of course, one of the most expensive fish that you can buy. They’re a beautiful-looking fish.
How much would one of those set you back?
Anywhere between $180 to $300 plus, depending on the colour and type!