Metro on a South Story

Another positive look at the South Side


I caught this over at Metro Magazine a couple of hours ago via Twitter.

From Metro:

Southside Story

Discovering your tribe in South Auckland.

First published in Metro September 2014. Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele.


I remember as a child, fresh off the boat in Napier, watching a clip that my older siblings must have dubbed off Mai Time — the boys of Lost Tribe swaggering through the streets of South Auckland, island shirts over hoodies, Johnny Sagala and those chatter rings around his neck.

In between chanting the chorus of “Summer in the Winter”, they rap about migration and the struggle of navigating a new, urban environment, low-paid factory jobs and trying to adapt to a different culture without losing their own.

I was about nine, and I probably didn’t pick up on the meaning of the song, but their name, Lost Tribe, resonated. Napier was not as urban as Auckland, but it was still alien.

A few years later, South Auckland would become my stomping ground too. It was a place where I would feel instantly comfortable. From being the only Samoan in my year, in a predominantly white school, to being surrounded by Samoans and other ethnicities, I felt finally I had found my people.

I hadn’t really known what it was to call a place home until I settled in the southside of Auckland. Mangere 275, first, where I would catch the 305 or 304 over the bridge to school, where the back of the bus was dominated by loud talking girls, even louder laughter, and where the Jandal, sock and lava lava combo will never go out of style.

And then Mangere Bridge, where anyone who lives there will tell you if you want to eat the best cheese bread in all the world, Hong Kong Bakery is where it’s at — just make sure you get there before the after-church rush on Sunday.

And now Papatoetoe 278….


Source. video, and full article here:


Having been born in West Auckland (well Isthmus Auckland – the old St Helens Hospital which is now AIS) but having lived in South Auckland (Papatoetoe and currently Papakura) 22-years out of my 29 year life (thus far) (the rest being a mix of West Auckland, and Australia) I do call South Auckland home. I have been brought up in South Auckland attending schools (Papatoetoe Central, Kedgley Intermediate, and Papatoetoe High), after which I had a stint in West Auckland in my University years as well as a two-year gap year in Australia before returning to Papatoetoe and now Papakura when I live with Rebekka and Jerusha in our first home. Also been there done that with McDonalds through my high school and university years where I earned my manager stripes as well, with me now seeking out new challenging roles after a time with Transdev and my own consulting firm.

So yes I know South Auckland quite well and have no qualms walking through Otara Town Centre, and Manurewa’s South Mall despite being a white boy as they say (Race does not play a huge intricacy here in the South compared to the Isthmus, parts of the Eastern Suburbs and North Shore). I fully know well the strengths and shortcoming of South Auckland and you can see that through both the blog and my very strong passionate advocacy to Auckland Council in uplifting the place.

And of course we have this from last year point out the rising fortunes of the South: South Auckland – The Rising Jewel in Auckland’s Crown


South Auckland: Home and a true melting pot of communities and cultures here in Auckland


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