If anyone wants to know what Mike Hosking is really like to work with, then grabbing a coffee at Red Art Gallery and Cafe would be a good start.
New owners Suzi and Antony Stevens took over the business from Caroline Marshall and Sarah Sharp on Monday, after moving south from Auckland.
In buying the gallery and cafe, Antony has traded a career as executive producer of TVNZ’s Seven Sharp for business ownership in Nelson.
While the Stevens have only been in Nelson for a week, the move from their home in Titirangi has been six months in the making.
During a trip to visit Antony’s parents in Motueka with their two daughters last summer, they visited the gallery.
“We came in and loved it,” says Antony.
“Suzi has a background in art and design and the building just sang out to her.
“We also had friends who knew Caroline and Sarah, and we rang them in early January, which started the process.”
Originally from Christchurch, Antony worked at TVNZ for ten years, in which time he helped run Breakfast, Fair Go and Seven Sharp.
But he says the Auckland lifestyle wasn’t working for them.
“We were there for 12 years, and for me, it was taking me away from my girls – getting home at 8pm every night, something had to change.
“I went to my boss, head of news and current affairs at TVNZ for advice, and he said ‘you’ve got to do it.’”
And, he hasn’t missed it.
Their daughters, aged eight and 12, have now started at local schools, and they are hoping to fully embrace the Nelson way of life.
“It’s massive – we haven’t just bought a business, we’ve bought a lifestyle,” he says.
Antony says he was always a “big advocate” for Nelson in his time at Seven Sharp.
“In the last year and a half we did a lot of stories out of Nelson and Tasman – the history of the Nelson Market, Pic’s Peanut Butter and Hamish the heron from Mapua.”
He also wants Nelsonians to know that everything will be running ‘as per usual’ at the gallery, with the same staff and the same great coffee.
“Caroline and Sarah have worked so hard to create this, and although we’ll put our mark on it, any changes will be gradual.”