Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Nigella Lawson's NZ tour moves to Invercargill

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is in Invercargill today. We look at similarities and differences between the South Island city and her home in London.
Nigella Lawson signs books at the start of her New Zealand book launch. Photo / Greg Bowker
Nigella Lawson signs books at the start of her New Zealand book launch. Photo / Greg Bowker

Food goddess Nigella Lawson can boast sharing a neighbourhood with some of London's most celebrated people and living in one of the world's most famous capital cities.

But the television chef might also be happy to know that the city she is in today, Invercargill, is also a capital, of sorts.

The enthusiastic foodie, known for her laid-back style of cooking, continues her tour Downunder; meeting fans in Invercargill at a book signing this afternoon before her Simply Nigella show tonight.

The event will be held at the ILT Stadium Southland at 6pm.

Lawson recently moved into a secluded property in West London estimated to be worth about £5 million ($11m).

For many years before that she lived with her children and former husband in a luxury mansion in the affluent district of Chelsea.

The differences between the two cities are vast; with London's population estimated at 8.5 million people, compared to just over 51,000 in Invercargill.

London, as England's capital, has a number of well-known landmarks and sites, including the Tower of London, Big Ben, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace.

Invercargill City Council boasts the city is "the capital of the Southland region" and home to some of the country's most beautiful scenery and destinations.

The similarities don't stop there.

Lawson, who experienced a hot and humid day in Auckland yesterday, is likely to feel more at home in Invercargill's cooler climate today, with a high of 14C and cloudy conditions forecast.

London's weather forecast for Tuesday (local time) predicts showers and a high of 12C.

When it comes to property prices, London rules the roost.

West London is known for its expensive properties. Lawson's previous house where she lived with former husband Charles Saatchi, in Chelsea, was valued at £12m ($26.4 million) and the average house price in the swanky suburb is £807,407 ($1.7 million).

With ticket prices for tonight's event ranging from $344-$574 per person, Lawson could easily put a down payment on a pad in the city - where median house prices were $190,000 last year.

Both destinations are associated with well-known politicians, actors, writers, musicians and sportspeople.

Invercargill had a hand in the upbringing of Opshop lead singer Jason Kerrison, who was born there.

Musician Chris Knox, actor Marton Csokas, All Black Jeff Wilson and Burt "World's Fastest Indian" Munro were also born in the city.

Chelsea is the current home of the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith, whose latest works include roles on television series Downton Abbey and movie The Lady In The Van, and as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter series.

Crime writer Dame Agatha Christie was also a notable resident in the area, as well as Tears In Heaven singer Eric Clapton and the wife and mother to a future king: Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

- NZ Herald

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