Back to People
02.12.19
CHCH Central Unwrapped: Tessa Peach

Frances Nation sits pride of place on the first floor of the Boys’ High Building at The Christchurch Arts Centre. With views over Worcester Boulevard and into the centre’s Market Square, it’s a particularly beautiful space, but even more so due to the multi-sensory environment that owner Tessa Peach has curated. The boutique reflects Tessa’s unique background in spatial design (for interiors, film and events), as well as retail, for cheesemongers and grocers. The space smells like a combination of beeswax and handmade soap, and is filled with timber, pottery and all sorts of tools.

CHCH Central Unwrapped

Tessa Peach / Frances Nation - A time for celebration


Frances Nation sits pride of place on the first floor of the Boys’ High Building at The Christchurch Arts Centre. With views over Worcester Boulevard and into the centre’s Market Square, it’s a particularly beautiful space, but even more so due to the multi-sensory environment that owner Tessa Peach has curated. The boutique reflects Tessa’s unique background in spatial design (for interiors, film and events), as well as retail, for cheesemongers and grocers. The space smells like a combination of beeswax and handmade soap, and is filled with timber, pottery and all sorts of tools.


While living in London, Tessa saw a lot of shops that were doing well, focussed on practical goods, often locally made - something that she had not seen much of for New Zealand made goods. A successful proposal to the Arts Centre led to a return to New Zealand and a year travelling the country meeting makers, and trying to find things that weren’t very visible - she looked everywhere, and still does. Tessa made sure that she was getting the very best of the products available.


Tessa in situ


Frances Nation offers an eclectic array of functional wares by top New Zealand makers, selling pieces by some of the countries best blacksmiths, skincare makers, knife makers, woodworkers, weavers, hatters, glove makers, shoe makers, potters and more. The collection focuses on items of use, good design, and quality craftsmanship which is sustainable, practical and affordable.


OGB


Where will you be eating and drinking this summer, Tessa?

When I’m not drinking lime and soda, I’ll head to OGB in Cathedral Square for a negroni, or the Lumiere (Arts Centre Cinema) cocktail bar for a gin and tonic.

The ramen at Sakimoto Japanese bistro in Cathedral Junction is so good, and I live in the city, so grab the odd takeaway from Indian Sumner on Manchester St. 

Pilgrim cafe in Lichfield St does the best coffee and friands.


Where will you be shopping for Christmas presents?

Obviously I tend to shoplift from my own store... but I went to Ballantyne's for my girlfriend's gift, as there are no New Zealand made radios! Yet! (We hope we haven’t spoiled the surprise!) 


Tessa at Frances Nation


And for clothes?

Across the way at Indigo & Provisions (on the same floor at the Arts Centre as Frances Nation), or at Infinite Definite in High Street


Indigo Provisions


Where do you go to chill out?

The green frame along the river and through the Botanic Gardens is one of my favourite places, and if I have my niece and nephew with me I’ll take them to the Margaret Mahy playground - an amazing spot for kids! I bike everywhere, for all sorts of errands, with the added blessing of the city’s great bike parking.


We asked Tessa about the worst Christmas present she received:

When I was little and I still believed in Santa I asked for a robot, and I actually thought it’d be a real robot. It was just a wooden robot where you pulled the string and it made its legs and arms move, and I went into my parents room and really complained! I didn’t realise it was from them, I thought it was from Santa and I was just ripping in to Santa. The next year I found out that Santa wasn’t real and I felt so guilty - that was a fairly traumatic Christmas.


Tessa’s Christmas wish for the Central City is for celebration:

We are moving into that time of celebrating so I think that people should finally be able to have a good time - to see their friends, and to bump into people in the city. That’s how the city is going to be now, a lot more social: the way they’re designing it.