Linda Cywinski – Globe

Linda Cywinski

One year ago, as our country moved through the Alert levels out of lockdown back to Level 1, we rediscovered the delights of having someone else prepare a meal for us. Had we ever before had such an appreciation for eating out? Of having someone else cook a meal for us and the little touches like a fern poured into the foam of your flat white or flower petals and a smattering of icing sugar across your plate?

Around the same time, on the other side of the world, in Munich to be exact, a young woman by the name of Linda Cywinski had also been prompted by Covid to ponder a few of her favourite things. At the top of her list was a return to Aotearoa, her country of birth, alongside a long-held dream to own a restaurant.

In June 2020 Linda spotted a restaurant listed for sale on the net. A grand white weatherboarded old lady on the banks of the Waimata River in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa, Gisborne. Linda found herself falling in love and not long after, fourteen years after they had left, Linda returned to New Zealand with her parents and two brothers. But rather than returning to Palmerston North where she had grown up, they came to settle in Gisborne, a place none of them had ever so much as visited.

Linda admits it has been a bit of an adjustment from the fast paces of Munich, but she is grateful for the friendliness of people here, the abundance of beaches and the focus on lifestyle amongst Gisborne locals.

As for the object of Linda’s affections, the Marina Restaurant as we know it, is about to get quite the makeover… After six months of settling into her Gisborne groove and getting to know her guests, Linda is ready to make a fresh start.From July 1st the Marina Restaurant will become Globe representing a move toward a more relaxed and communal style of eating and as suggested by the name change, an International flavour. The menu will be designed around sharing plates from five continents, Europe, Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas, which will move with the seasons.

The International flavour will extend beyond the establishment’s interior towards the riverbank, where a large deck is being built to make the most of the location to house a German beer garden – finally, a place to relax with friends on the river! At the heart of the rebrand and change in direction is a desire to create a fun and relaxed environment for Gizzy’s after work crowd, with a focus on encouraging interaction between guests..long tables, tall beer handles and food made for sharing! (Although Linda assures us you can order for yourself if you prefer.)

Talking to Linda it seems this particular dream has been a long-time brewing. Growing up in New Zealand with German parents, she travelled a lot, returning to her parent’s homeland every year or two. Some of Linda’s strongest childhood memories are from these trips; staying at hotels, eating out at restaurants with family and friends, and playing at being the waitress for her fellow diners.

Linda learnt to cook at a young age and her course was truly set when she enrolled in one of the top schools for hospitality management in Europe. She did her internships at establishments with gruelling standards, where performance is measured by a stop watch as well as output. But Linda says she enjoyed the high pressure environment and reckons the crazy fast pace is the fun part of hospitality.

Gisborne patrons to the soon-to-be-opened Globe need not fear a stopwatch approach to service however. Linda is most looking forward to creating a space in which people want to linger longer, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the company of others. Ultimately this is what drives Linda’s passion for hospitality – she relishes hearing people having fun and connecting with one another and is excited about opening an establishment designed around this premise.

Marina Restaurant will close on June 5 for three weeks, reopening as The Globe on July 1 2021 with a three-day launch event, featuring live music and performers, the new menu with a couple of special cocktails and dishes to celebrate, and with a beer garden in tow. We can’t wait!

WHY DID THE PIZZERIA CROSS THE ROAD?

Well, in the case of the Neighborhood Pizzeria – it was to get to the other side.

As of Labour Weekend the Neighborhood Pizzeria crew have gone from cooking pizzas in a shipping container, where they often faced crazy-making temperatures and only narrowly avoiding melting as concerned customers looked on closely, to restoring an old favourite haunt for many locals, formerly known as Cafe Villagio, just over the road in the Ballance Street Village.

In many ways, crossing the road has also been a case of coming full circle for owner Marcel Campbell. Thirty years ago Anna Walker took on the task of transforming an old Stucco home into what has been known since as Cafe Villagio.  Framed photos on the wall of the new fit-out tell the story of the group of village locals that gathered around to help Anna realise her vision for the original reincarnation of the space.

 At the time Marcel’s dad, Nigel Campbell’s pharmacy was next door where the bookshop is now, so Marcel’s family were amongst that crew of helpers. These past couple of weeks, “by the magic of Gizzy” as Marcel puts it, many of those original helpers including Anna Walker were back in there helping Marcel and his team get it all ready for its Labour Weekend Opening. 

Marcel also served an apprenticeship of sorts when he worked in a waiter for sister Amy and brother in-law Dave when they owned Cafe Villagio some thirteen years or so ago, so after being away in the Bay of Plenty for a few years, this is as much a revisitation of the past as it is a new start for Marcel. That interplay between the past and these new beginnings was clearly front of mind when I sat down with Marcel just 48 hours before Opening Night.

Marcel likened the imminent Opening of the new and improved Neighborhood Pizzeria experience to the first few days at school, “The first couple of days don’t actually go that well” he said, remembering his first day at Central School, just a hop skip and jump down the road. He recalls not wanting to go; the anxiety of meeting other people’s expectations, and likened that to how he was feeling about the week ahead:

“Everyone wants it to be amazing, they want it to be good, and I think it’s going to be – we’ve just got to get through this first couple of weeks or so.”  When we spoke, Marcel wasn’t even sure whether they were going to be able to open that week “that’s how Gizzy it is” with the pizza oven – an Italian Stallion – requiring more juice than a residentially-wired building can provide.

Ultimately though, it’s clear to Marcel, his team and all of the salivating locals that had been counting down the minutes until our new Local opened its doors, that the ingredients for a good time are all present and accounted for..

Take a simple base of pizza, a great wine list, Sunshine Brewery on tap and an outdoor area with Gisborne sunshine and plenty of room for the kids to tear about.  Add your toppings of choice: Sunday sessions in the courtyard, art on the walls, sexy lighting, dining beneath the stars, after-work drinks, cocktails, a fire pit, old friends, new friends, local yokels and you have the new and improved Neighborhood Pizzeria experience, which is nothing short of good times.

As one of the locals whose path home passes directly alongside the new and improved Neighborhood Pizzeria, I fear for the waistlines of myself and my family, knowing how favourably the prospect of pizza, beer and impromptu fun are going to stack up against the gruelling daily reality of having to figure out what to cook for dinner on any given night.

However as was discussed on a balmy and buzzing evening at the Pizzeria last week, those ample waistlines are going to be more than compensated for by the kinds of community-building goodness that is set to go down at this new local hang out that we’ve all been hanging out for. Thanks Neighborhood Pizzeria for filling the gap X

Words by Sarah Cleave

Photographs X Tom Teutenberg.

Keep up with the pizza, cocktail & band of the week at @neighborhoodpizzeria on Facebook & the Insta.

If you’d like your business to be given the Gizzy Local treatment, get in touch! hello@gizzylocal.com

LOVE, LIFE & LOAF

So you made it out of lockdown. You learnt a language. Mastered the downward dog and achieved a symbiotic relationship with your garden. Well done. Your only regret – You never could quite nail that sourdough. No rise, no tight crumb, or is it a loose crumb… Whatever. All you managed was to bake a sticky slop into what you referred to as a ‘Middle Eastern flatbread.’ I get it.

Sourdough is proper tricky if you don’t have a pair of hands and eyes which have been through the process of a good bake. The tactile feel for great dough is built upon many dud loaves half-baked.

I’ve spent the last four months digging down the floury rabbit hole, kneading the kinks and tricks out of the internet and piles of flour so you don’t have to – that perfect loaf can still be yours.

Even if you’re not going to revive that old starter, after reading this you’ll know where you went wrong, and pray to God we don’t go back into lockdown – hope to your lucky quarantine stars you find this information useless.

Rule number one: Take your time. Sourdough is like friendship. You needn’t do a lot, but be present when they need you. The fermentation process takes approximately four hours once you add your starter to the flour and water in warm weather. Read that again. In warm weather. Apologies to remind you again, but in this country, we are both free of Covid-19 and insulated houses. Even in a so-called ‘warm’ house, the windows are thin and the floors breathe. 

Chances are your dough will need a couple of extra hours to bring it to life. Ways around this: Leave your mixture under the heat pump or by the fire. I occasionally preheat the oven for a couple of minutes making a simple ‘proving box.’ Make sure no one turns the oven on while it’s in there.

Rule number two: Your starter needs peak life. You’ll see some recipes call for an extra step. Making a ‘levain’ or a ‘sponge.’ Basically, all they’re asking you to do is feed your starter right before you make your bread. This means that by the time you come around to mixing, your sourdough starter is full of life, ready to give your loaf the energy to seize the day and start eating away at all the goodness in your flour. 

Rule number three: Keep at it. Bread is love and bread is life. I never got into football because I was under the impression I was too old (seventeen), never learnt a language because I was beyond youth (twenty-three). Do you know Quincy Jones? Producer of the Beatles, Michael Jackson and every chart-topper you’ve heard. He’s pushing late eighties and he has started to learn Mandarin. Making a loaf is a journey and you never need get off the boat. If you keep your starter in the fridge you only need to feed it once a week… And if you’re super-duper lacking time, you can even freeze it! Laziness rules in the sourdough world.

Love is warm and so is bread. The breaking of bread is a religious experience. There is life inside of food, made with your two hands, it gives a certain kind of pleasure unknown to the capitalist state of mind. By baking, it is possible to consume without being consumerist.

Baking bread helps me rise; the act has become a cathartic exercise. Instead of being an unachieving nobody that’s going nowhere slow. With a little morning effort mixed with a dash of vague and dotty attention to wheat and water, my day fills the house with the crusty and toasted aroma of life. The pleasure of passing a loaf warm bread to a friend is an act of self-love shared. But I don’t do it for them. After I’ve dropped theirs off, I head home and cut myself a thick slice of bread, lather it up and down in butter and sit content.

Story by Jack Marshall

Photograph X Tom Teutenberg

PAKIWAITARA – IF THIS WALL COULD TALK

Amongst the 6500 of children who took part in the Children’s Tile Wall project in 1999 were two nine year old dudes, Thomas Teutenberg at Central School, and Jack Pullen at Mangapapa School.

The adult Thomas, now mostly known as Tom, speculates that he “probably stared at that tile for quite some time.”

He is rather perplexed by his self portrait, in which he appears as a Pokemon character by the name of Charizard, with red wings emerging from his head. “I probably had some Pokemon cards in my pocket at the time, and I do remember that I had acquired a whole set of the Charizard cards, which were pretty rare, and I was quite proud of.  So that’s probably where that all came from”.

An adult Jack, now known as Jack Marshall, recalls that he was probably living in a cow shed with his dad at the time of the Tile Wall project, which he remembers thinking was the best thing in the world, “We had a little potbelly fire we’d heat the jug on. It was very rustic – like camping, but all the time”.  Jack also recalls 1999 as the year in which the internet came on the scene; the year he touched a cell phone for the very first time. 

Jack’s tile is especially memorable for the bars that feature as the background to his self portrait. And while Jack’s face is in front of the bars as opposed to behind it, he ruminates that the bars were probably a reflection of the powerlessness he was experiencing as an individualistic nine year old still being told when to go to bed, and to do the dishes.

Pakiwaitara – If This Wall Could Talk – is the first project that has been announced for the 2020 Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival and it involves the creation of a digital retrospective of the Children’s Tile Wall.  

The intention of the organisers is to try and track down as many of the tiles’ creators as possible and for those creators to then create an updated digital portrait for a new digital wall; a work to express that generation as they are now.  

It’s an interesting proposition for those original artists as they attempt to conjure up memory of that time they painted a self portrait on a tile twenty years ago; as they come face to face with that artwork, which now also exists in the digital realm; and moreover start to consider how they might represent themselves as they are now, here in these interesting times of 2020.

The project organisers suggest some simple starting points to that challenge: “Me pēhea koe? How are you?” “Where are you? What have you been up to? What is your life now?” 

It is tempting to try and draw parallels between past and present selves; Tom admits to still collecting things, with cameras replacing the Pokemon cards “I’m trying to get rid of a few actually..not all in working condition” and Jack muses that he’s a different man to his nine year old self because of his different name, but still essentially still the same “just hairier, wealthier and more independent”.

I am looking forward to seeing what a wall of selfies looks like in 2020. I imagine it might not be the easiest process for a lot of people, but for those who manage to dig it in and produce something, it will provide a poignant window into more hazy memories of another time and self, once we’re another twenty years down the track.

Pakiwaitara will feature when the Festival runs from 2-11 October.

Words by Sarah Cleave, Images X Tom Teutenberg, Sarah Cleave.

A TOWN THAT LOST ITS TEETH

It’s no secret our city centre needs some tender tough-love and care – Buildings hang about like vacant-eyed drop kicks making trouble. Last week I sat down with Mayor Rehette Stoltz to hear from a person with power why this place is feeling like a ghost town. And reassuringly, in a comforting sort of way, she shared her fears of empty shop fronts looking like ‘someone who’s lost some teeth.’ And, as you would expect, she said the council has an answer.

But first, let me set the record straight – There’s a lot I have in common with the past American President George Bush Snr and there is a lot I do not. We both gained a Bachelor of Arts degree and flirted with the newspaper industry. However, I can tell you I am not a Republican, nor was I a member of the Yale Cheerleading Squad. But nine words of his in 1989 put me and Bush in the same proverbial box:

“Buildings should not stand empty while people lack shelter.” 

Yes, our homeless are housed for this moment of pandemic, but will it last? We have empty buildings and a chronic need for housing. We have a city that rattles when the wind blows and our unfortunates once slept on the streets after they were evicted from long-empty buildings. Is that what we consider fair?

And the kick that hurt came from behind, after I fell on an article dated 2015 in The Gisborne Herald ‘Mayor Foon calls for low-cost apartments for Gisborne.’ The title had me tickled, was inner-city development on the way? I picked up the phone and got a hold of ex-mayor Meng Foon, now New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner.

“Five years ago I said the CBD was declining. I suggested that we should make it as easy as possible to have residential buildings in the city and to turn some of the different commercial buildings into apartments to create vibrancy. I thought it was a good idea.”

However, my phone call with the commissioner and Foon’s pitch both had equally patchy reception. “There were snide remarks,” Foon recalled, they said, “‘our city will turn into a slum’ – which is not true, many cities around the world have inner-city residential properties and they’re vibrant places.”

And now, Foon is gone. Is this council any different? Having had a moment in the leading role, I spoke to Mayor Rehette Stoltz to hear what she wanted for the heart of the city. “Empty buildings are not unique to Gisborne, the way we shop and the way we do business has changed significantly over the last 20 years,” Stoltz said over a coffee at the Tairāwhiti  Museum.

“A lot of our CBD buildings are Historic Places that cost an arm and a leg to do it up and earthquake strengthen, I know millions of dollars have been spent in the CBD, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford to do that – fabulous. But unfortunately not everyone is in that position to quickly whip out a few million bucks to earthquake strengthen – and that’s why some of our buildings are standing empty.”

And here a comment about the council from my conversation with Foon comes to mind. “Council is a philosopher, it’s not in the ‘doing’. Its role is creating the environment and the rules that enable people to do things as easy as possible,” Foon said.

And in a similar, yet more practical sort of vein Stoltz seemed to agree. Because Council is not in the business of getting involved in our business – it does that enough. Stoltz repeatedly said, “We do not want to interfere in private business, we want to enable it.” So if the council will not earthquake strengthen our buildings, who will? Trust Tairāwhiti perhaps?

Meekly, I pushed forward asking about my inner-city dreams of development. Is the council  going to develop our empty downtown? “Yes,” Stoltz said, “there is definitely a push for us to start looking at what we can do with those spaces. “Our new spatial plan is an integral part of us growing and changing the whole feel of the CBD, there’s a whole chapter on the development of the CBD.”

But Stoltz argues the council needs to create downtown energy to attract inner-city life before putting up apartments willy-nilly.

“You can’t just say ‘let’s make a few apartments.’ You need to make people want to live there, you need to make spaces that they can hang out in, have their lunch in the sun and cycleways to connect it up. So one of the discussions we have had going forward is that we might have to look at compacting the city.”

But the thing that perked up my ears, nose and eyes was Stoltz suggested a town square may be on the cards. A place for a few benches, a patch of grass for people to congregate and catch up with a coffee. May I suggest paving over Peel Street?

And I think she is right, ‘Build it and they will come.’ The boardwalk along Waikanae beach is constantly peppered with people every hour of the day. You need delicious and desirable ingredients for punters to make the move and live the city centre life.

But as Stoltz said, our habits have changed and the city centre is no longer the shopping destination it once was. The city needs to provide for the twenty-first century shopper. “A lot of our planning is archaic and needs to be addressed, and it’s a fair comment that we need to tidy up our district planning requirements around developments not only in the CBD, because it’s not always fit for purpose.” She says our district plan may not give us the best outcomes. “Our zoning is not prohibitive as such, but it’s not encouraging it either.”

Stoltz gave the example of a laboratory requesting consent just outside of Gisborne which was required to have seven parking spaces under the current district Council plans when the only visitors they had was a courier driver.

She says the council staff do not have the discretion just to say ‘Oh that is silly, let’s just go ahead,’ because they are required to follow the plans. “So then we tie people up with the red tape, because then they need to get a planner involved, ring the mayor’s office, and in the end, they can do it. But if our plans were permissive and our plans were modern – our plans would make sense.”

“I believe the most important thing we as a Council can do is to get our plans modernised and address the needs that have evolved over the past 20 years.”

“But in the past five or six years, so much already in the town has happened that lifted the overall feeling, like the new council building, the new library, the new theatre, new cycleways, so even though it’s not targeted directly at the CBD, we shouldn’t forget about the things that connect at all up.”

And as much as locals love to moan, the revitalization is visible. The beach boardwalk, cycleway to Wainui, Fox Street mountain bike tracks, the port beautification and a new Gladstone Road bridge. There is change and we can follow the right track if we choose it. There’s no reason we cannot be like Porto, Barcelona and the seaside cities along the Mediterranian that tout cosy apartments dressed with balconies perfect for peering down at life below. Cities where you can stumble to a drinking hole one minute and fall in the door of a dinky restaurant outside your apartment the next. 

The same is possible here. We have the port, the cityscape, sunshine and a lively bunch of locals. Combined, Trust Tairāwhiti , Gisborne Holdings Limited and the council have over a billion dollars in assets – It may be time they put some of that to downtown use, and maybe, we can buy this city a new set of teeth.

Story by Jack Marshall

Photographs by Tom Teutenberg

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