New Brighton Good Life Guide: Samantha Fay
Meet Samantha Fay, a textile and fibre artist who calls New Brighton, Christchurch Ōtautahi home. Here is her guide to this beachside suburb.
I have lived in the New Brighton coastal community for over 20 years. I grew up in a small seaside village just north of Dunedin, so New Brighton feels like the home I grew up in. I love living here and consider it my forever home. I can hear the waves from my house and have learned the rhythms of the wind, so I know to plan my beach adventures before lunchtime.
The people are amazing; the sense of community I feel here is almost like a family. I have managed to build a life that means I rarely need to cross the river, and I like it that way. New Brighton is filled with artists and creatives, so I'm with my people.
68 Hawke Street, Surfside Mall, New Brighton
New Brighton Stitch-O-Mat is my home away from home. I'm a textile and fibre artist by trade, and this community project is my shared baby with Bridget Allen. It's a fantastic accessible, and welcoming community space where people can learn sewing skills at a minimal cost and access methods to live more sustainably.
Best of Brighton Eats & Drinks
New Brighton is blessed with an array of excellent cafes and bars. The newly opened Dune at The Bridge Hub has a great relaxed atmosphere. My go-to spot for Sunday date nights with Bridget is The Burger Joint - great beer from Southpaw Brewing Company, burgers and a shared plate of cheesy gravy fries.
Cnr Bridge Street & Estuary Road, South Brighton
I like to head to Friday Food Trucks at Common Ground. There's excellent food, a fantastic community vibe, a book fridge, community gardens, seed exchange and crop swap.
The New Brighton Pedestrian Mall
The Saturday Seaside Markets run by The New Brighton Project are definitely at the top of my picks. It's great to bump into friends, grab some lunch (usually the seafood noodles from Adams Noodles, in my case) and stock up on snacks. The pretzels from Angie's German Baking are divine with cheese, and a bee-sting from Jerry & George, a must. Be it plants or pounamu, there is something there for everyone.
Bridge for Community
51 Bridge Street, South New Brighton
The Bridge Hub is an outstanding collaboration by the community for the community. The community lobbied to purchase the earthquake-damaged building and has worked for years voluntarily to create a first-class facility with a café, hall, bookable meeting or practitioner spaces and an art gallery where locals can display and sell their work. The team works to provide the community with a range of activities for everyone.
Explore the Local Art
Shop 4/78 Brighton Mall, New Brighton, Christchurch
You can find some incredibly affordable and stunning pieces at The New Brighton Art Gallery. It's well worth a visit. Recreate was an initiative that grew out of The Old School Project, a space for local creatives at the old Central New Brighton School site. It has a great range of stunning pieces and is open alongside the Seaside Market every Saturday.
121 Brighton Mall, New Brighton
Whenever I'm hunting for an obscure fastener or metal link, Happy Feet always has it. Alongside the shoe repairs side, they also sharpen scissors, which I need done all the time and which is a bit of a rarity these days.
We have a wealth of top-class playgrounds in our community, be it the Whale Pool between the Hot Pools and Library or the Beatty Street Playground. We are really blessed on this front.
Heritage and Community Minded
The newly refurbished St Faiths Church on Hawke Street is one heritage building that survived the earthquakes. There is a freshly established visitors’ desk where residents and locals alike can learn about what's available to them in our community.
Shop Sensational Second Hand
Brighton has a number of great second-hand stores. Stitch-O-Mat occasionally runs op-shop tours and recently filmed a documentary about upcycling using the shops as our hunting ground. The Collective at 105 Brighton Mall is my absolute go-to. Vintage decor and clothing, beautiful handcrafts and my favourite dragon's blood incense (give it a whirl) from Seaside Vintage, Down By The Sea and When Your Sisters a Witch, respectively. $3 and more Clothing in Surfside mall has a great clothing range. Purple Door and Dog Watch have more of a mix of clothing and other treasures. Redo Renew, also in Surfside Mall, is my go-to for cutlery, vases and toys.
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