The Diary: Teenage Rihanna fan receives VIP treatment

Rihanna during her concert in Auckland. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Rihanna during her concert in Auckland. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Teenager Shannon Roberts, who interns at a not-for-profit youth organisation in West Auckland, got up close and personal with her idol Rihanna on Monday night - sharing hugs, hats, icecream and even a ride home with her personal chauffeur.

When Rihanna met 15-year-old Shannon backstage, two hours after the concert ended on Monday night, she asked the young Green Bay High School student if she enjoyed the gig and the after-party.

Shannon and her teenage friend were special VIP guests of the singer. Her bodyguard hand-delivered premium concert tickets and after-party passes, and escorted them backstage for a private audience with Rihanna.

"I've talked to her on Twitter before and she knows I'm a big fan. She made her bodyguard track me down and give us the tickets to the concert and the after-party, and backstage passes to meet her.

"When I saw her backstage she ran into the room and gave us big hugs. Security was really tight, it was like lockdown.

But she was so humble and kind and posed for selfies with us. She even made sure we got home okay. She made her driver take us all the way home - 30km away in Green Bay!"

Shannon, a dedicated Rihanna fan, gave the star a beanie which she wore proudly when posing for photos.

One Direction slip under radar

Squeaky clean One Direction, who were recently named the most powerful pop stars under 21 by Billboard, play in Christchurch tomorrow night ahead of their Auckland gigs on Saturday and Sunday.

Their Oz tour barely raised a blip on the controversy scale. The group's motorcade ran a red light in Perth, and the stars went surfing and kicked the ball around. A fan broke into Liam Payne's Sydney apartment and stole his undies. But it was hardly a hullabaloo of Rihanna proportions.

One Direction.
One Direction.

1D will jet in on a private plane, but Christchurch Airport issued a message on social media warning fans to stay away. "They have asked us to tell you they won't be visible to the public. They won't be available for photos or autographs. Sorry to disappoint you, but you won't see them here".

Click go the shears

It was a Tory jamboree at the cocktail reception celebrating the opening of the new Oravida corporate office in downtown Auckland on Monday night. Dame Jenny Shipley was there, so too were Sir Don McKinnon, Peter Goodfellow, Melissa Lee, Paul Goldsmith, John Banks, Anne Tolley and Judith Collins, who opened the new offices by cutting the red ribbon with glee, wielding the shears like she was castrating the Labour Party.

Crusher's husband David Wong-Tung is on the board of Oravida, alongside Cornell-educated managing director Julia Xu and chairman Stone Shi, who is in the process of buying the Hotchin mansion in Paritai Drive.

Oravida specialises in branding and promoting premium New Zealand food products to the Chinese market through direct sales distribution platforms. So, it was no surprise to see Ambassador Xu Jianguo there. He rubbed shoulders with corporate undertaker Michael Stiassney, architect Lawrence Sumich and realtor Graham Wall, who is selling the Hotchin mansion.

Businesswoman Diane Foreman was there too, as was former Act leader Don Brash. The pair were introduced by a guest mischievously - "I believe you two know each other". Awkward!

Brash has penned a tell-all book, he told The Diary. It is part auto-biographical and part his views on policy, and he says John Key's government does not come off lightly.

He is shopping for a publisher and is talking to three, but any hopes to have it launched in time for Christmas were quashed when he learned he should have submitted it in March to meet the deadline.

Brash says the book will touch on his personal life, but admits he doesn't delve too deeply, "because some things should remain private to protect the people I love".

Stone Shi, who is the founder and principal of the Oravida Group of Companies, is somewhat of an enigma.

He speaks limited English but is a proud Kiwi citizen.

He moved his family here from China 12 years ago and proudly calls New Zealand home. His youngest son was born here.

An avid golfer, Shi takes to the course every day, friends say. He played a round with Prime Minister John Key, whose portrait hangs in Shi's boardroom.

The Shi family will be a welcome addition to Auckland's millionaire mile when negotiations are finalised.

Legends in own lunchtime

Iron ladies Paula Bennett and Maggie Barry were guests of honour at the Eden Park Hall of Legends fundraising lunch on Friday and joined a collection of high-profile faces, including Denise L'Estrange-Corbet, Precious McKenzie, Mark Ellis, Emily Drumm, Eroni Clarke, Sean Plunkett, Joeli Vidiri, Mark Sainsbury and Kyle Mills.

Maggie Barry. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Maggie Barry. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Duncan Garner joined Bennett as MC, and the pair lobbed one-liners back and forth.

Bennett, who has shed 7kg thanks to a protein shake diet, told Garner: "I thought you'd be a w***** coming up to Auckland, but I forgot you always were one!"

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

He teased her about being happily loved up. The feisty cabinet minister has departed with her leopard-print Smart car and is now driving a family people mover, but says she's keen to "pimp it out Westie-style".

West Auckland screen print artists, step up.

- NZ Herald

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