Michelle McConaghty is an Aucklander born and bred - but we won’t hold that against her. Moving from Wellington to Christchurch just over a year ago, Michelle got the opportunity to open the Hoyts complex within ENTX, on the corner of Colombo and Lichfield Streets. As location manager, Michelle oversees two commercial kitchens, two fully licensed bars, seven cinemas (two of those being Extreme Screens with Dolby 8 channel surround sound), and around 990 seats.
Michelle McConaghty is an Aucklander born and bred - but we won’t hold that against her. Moving from Wellington to Christchurch just over a year ago, Michelle got the opportunity to open the Hoyts complex within ENTX, on the corner of Colombo and Lichfield Streets. As location manager, Michelle oversees two commercial kitchens, two fully licensed bars, seven cinemas (two of those being Extreme Screens with Dolby 8 channel surround sound), and around 990 seats. There are also two Lux in-theatre dining cinemas - the only of these in the South Island. They use a menu designed by Manu Feildel - would you like another drink during your film? Push a button! Camembert bites? Duck bao? Pulled pork pizza? Banana and caramel crepes? Push a button, and the crew come in to look after you. Hoyts is focussing on customer interaction and engagement, and that’s what Michelle is committed to building.
For Michelle, her husband and their two kids (who relocated for Michelle’s job), Christchurch feels like home - they are loving it. They don’t have any pre-earthquake memories of the city that they can compare things to, but believe that there has been massive growth in the CBD even in the past year. We asked for her “outsider” recommendations for the silly season:
My favourite restaurant at the moment is Amaterrace, because I love Japanese. I also get to go to Japan for work in February, to see how we can bring more cutting edge technology into our neck of the woods, so I’m preparing my tastebuds for that! My go-to is always teriyaki chicken but I’m trying to branch out. Oxford Terrace is just amazing. My husband and son love Indian and Mexican, so we have so many places in the city still to try, and I really want to try Empire Chicken at the Riverside Market.
Where Michelle will be buying Christmas presents:
Ballantynes for Granny, and my daughter is really into North Beach - the Colombo St shop is so handy.
And her Christmas outfit:
I really like Seed, and now that Platypus shoes are open (on Cashel St) I’m a bit excited to spend money there.
To spend time with friends and family:
Coming into Hagley Park for a picnic is lovely, we’ve never been spoilt with a park in the middle of the city before. I try not to come to work on my days off because my kids don’t like it - I’ve been known to jump behind a till and start helping if it’s busy! We’ll definitely be watching Star Wars here though, there’s no doubt about that. Any of the bars on Oxford Terrace because it’s a really good space to hangout.
Top Christmas Film:
Daddy’s Home with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. It’s a classic.
Favourite part of the Christmas meal:
Dessert! Pavlova, trifle, meringues, fruit. Hubby wants a profiterole croquembouche this year so that’s a challenge. I’ve accepted the challenge so we’ll see how we go. (Don’t worry, we’ve requested photos)
Summer events she’s looking forward to:
The South Island Wine & Food Festival this weekend definitely and my daughter is in the Santa Parade so we’ll check that out. Hubby will be at the Kiwi Beer Festival - that’ll be on our list. Hagley Park for New Years Eve.
How she gets around:
Drive in, walk and Lime scooter around.
Michelle’s Christmas wish for the Central City:
For everyone to come in and explore. There is so much on offer here. It’s changed, so come and experience it, take a walk around and enjoy it for what it is. I love it! One of the things that struck me when I first arrived was how they’ve really thought about things, when you land at the airport there’s the outdoor piano that there’s always someone playing. They’ve made it so easy for people to bike and walk around the city - it’s like, “Oh! Someone actually thought of that!,” sort of thing. I don’t think we would have that unless Christchurch had the opportunity to rebuild. I just love the city, love exploring it and finding new things - it’s really exciting.