New Brighton Good Life Guide: Hamish Evans from Switch

Hamish Evans at the beach smiling to camera whilst wearing a wet suit.

Meet Hamish Evans, a coffee impresario, family man and local legend who calls New Brighton home.

Interview by: Johnny Gibson

Photos by: Nancy Zhou

I guess you could call me a local after living in New Brighton for 20-odd years. We bought our first house here because it was cheap and by the beach. I live next to the Rawhiti Golf Course with my wonderful wife Jen, two kids, Poppy and Duke, and a couple of dogs. We started a cool little coffee company called Switch Espresso in New Brighton 18 years ago.  I love my Fridays in Brighton. Here’s what a busy one looks like ...

The New Brighton pier at sunset.

6:00am // Mixed Martial Arts

I’m up at 6 am to start the day with an hour of Mixed Martial Arts training down at the waterfront. I’ve been doing this three times a week for over seven years now, and the ironic thing is I’ve never been in a fight in my life. I just love the exercise, comradeship and the art of fighting.

A group of kids standing along the shore with surfboards on a cloudy day.

9:00am // Rawhiti School Surf

Once a week, the kids get to go on a surfing mission with the school at North Beach, with Duke’s class. And I go too as a parent helper and sneak a surf in myself. I'm not a very good surfer, but I just love being in the water with crazy kids, rain or shine.

A view of a tiny blue coffee shed on a cloudy day.

10.30am // North Beach Coffee Shed

76b Marine Parade, North New Brighton

The Rawhiti teachers always grab me a long black from Anna at The Coffee Shed as a post-surf warm-up, which is so nice. The Coffee Shed is a little gem tucked into the sand dunes with heaps of places to park up, catch up with friends and enjoy amazing coffee at the beach. 

The blue and graffiti painted exterior of Switch New Brighton.

11:00am // Switch New Brighton

Head to Switch New Brighton for a bit of a walk down memory lane and a ‘Hamish Salad’. Switch New Brighton is where Switch Espresso Coffee Company all started over 18 years ago. Donna now owns the cafe and runs it better than I ever did! Donna is amazing and gives great hugs.

A view of a group of shops on a sunny day.

1:00pm // SurfSide Mall

You might not know it, but this little treasure is the oldest mall in the South Island and has some great little shops, including New Brighton Wholefoods, Second-hand clothing shop and a very handy bike shop. Also, the BEST Indian restaurant, ‘Chanakya’ in the east.

A photography of a large playground area at Thompson Park in New Brighton.

3:00pm // Thompson Park

When the kids have finished school, it's the ideal time to take them for a skate at Thompson Park, play on the mini ramp and drop the bowl. This is where we’ve held most of the birthday parties for our sprogs. New toilets and parking have been a sweet upgrade, but hopefully the skate facilities will get some attention next. Hint, hint council. 

Two male chefs working in the kitchen at The Burger Joint.

4:00pm // The Burger Joint

Time for a quick pint and a yarn with Sam and Caroline at The Burger Joint. It's always fun popping in because the food is amazing and ‘SouthPaw Beer’ is on tap. Best combination around.

Golfers playing on the Rawhiti Golf Course on a sunny day.

4:30pm // Rawhiti Golf Course

One of my favourite spots to play a few holes with friends, especially in the late afternoon and early evening. It's the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs and check in with your mates. It's been a crazy few years, and the Rawhiti Golf Course is a great place to talk.

A man smiling with a glass of beer.

6.30pm // Common Ground

One thing I love to do is bike down the waterfront through all the fun tracks, to Common Ground in South Brighton. My daughter works Friday nights in the Burger Joint Caravan, so it's the perfect opportunity to hoon down there, grab some epic food and catch up with the South Brighton Crew. And wouldn’t you know it …… my friend Cam, the brewer/owner of SouthPaw , has a beer stand down at Common Ground too.   It would be rude not to have a cold pint of delicious ‘Shake Down Pale Ale’ while I wait for Poppy to finish her shift.

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

The Laboratory

Seating area with exposed brick wall.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars key icon.

Offering an excellent range of craft beer, wood fired pizzas and tapas-style plates that are designed to be shared, this pub is a Lincoln local’s favourite.


Footpath signboard pointing to CoCA, Centre of Contemporary Art in Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Galleries and museum key icon.

CoCA is a slick and ultra-modern art gallery space in the centre of Christchurch.

Telling Tales

Books on shelves and seating area at Telling Tales, Christchurch.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury

Igniting the love of reading in children is a magical gift and one that Telling Tales know plenty about.

Okuti Garden

A yurt surrounded by tables and chairs at Okuti Garden in Little River.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Accommodation key icon.

A garden for creating, learning, playing and celebrating. And a garden you can stay in.