City life is fine with me
It seems another ‘I left Auckland’ post has popped up in the Herald. Last week journalist Kirsty Johnston moved to Dunedin after Auckland’s appalling housing and apartment prices proved to be pretty much the final straw. This week we have Ian Avery having a whinge about Auckland since he moved to Christchurch a year ago.
Kirsty I could feel for when housing is that out of reach and the traffic totally sucks. I wish Kirsty well on her new endeavours in Dunedin and hope the City might ‘beckon’ her home as we finally get things moving in the housing and transport department.
Ian Avery’s comment in yesterday’s Herald I wonder if it was more of not realising what an actual larger City is. This is because his comments reflect more of a smaller provincial town than our largest City.
So I am going to “reply” to Avery’s misconceptions of a large City before writing a short piece on why I remain and love Auckland.
A crazy year of selling a house, moving a family, renting a house, starting a new job, buying a house and moving a family.
But how does my new life look one year out of Auckland?
Well, plenty has been written about a slower pace of life and cheaper houses and I can confirm all of this to be true. Getting anything done in Christchurch is considerably easier than Auckland.
We sure about this? I get updated from family on Christchurch regularly and the roads are still in a mess, the motorways back up twice a day every day, infrastructure is a mess and the rebuild was not going anywhere particularly fast thanks to the last Administration. While people are returning home to Christchurch the last Administration has still left the city in a mess
It is truly surreal how many places I visit and get a park right outside the front door. Would never happen on Dominion Rd.
Right if you expect to find a park outside the door of a shop anywhere inside urban Auckland (unless it is mobility, pram or Senior Citizens priority parking) then either you might want to rethink expectations of living in a city or join Avery in leaving the City. Ironically off street surfacing parking lots inside a Local, Town or Metropolitan Centre give you close proximity to the shop you are wanting to shop at. Transit lines bring you in and out of a commercial area so you wouldn’t need to worry about a park anyway. And in any case for Mr Avery what is so hard walking 800 metres from a car park or a transit stop to your shop.
The 800 metre catchment rule is used when measuring the maximum walking distance from a transit stop to their home or a shop. 800 metres is a 10 minute walk and that radius doubles when using a bike. So one has to ask yourself is the transit stop or the off street car park 800 metres from the shop – if it is then walk. Do NOT expect one outside the front door.
And yes, we have purchased a modern, four-bedroom house with a large garage and an ensuite for a fraction of our Mt Eden mortgage.
Did you try South Auckland which has plenty of 3-5 bedroom stand alone houses being built. Did Avery also consider stand-alone housing does not work when you get closer to central Auckland or a Metropolitan Centre. To cater for residential growth terraced housing and apartments are built. Remember Auckland is a City not a provincial town.
So life is peachy south of the 09.
Do I miss things about Auckland, you bet’ya.
I miss that lovely humidity. That mild (if wet) winter.
I miss the Indian community of Mt Roskill and the dumplings on Dominion Rd.
I miss Wild Wheat bread, The Westmere Butcher and the fish market.
Most of all I miss Narrow Neck, Takapuna and Langs Beach. Oh how I miss you Langs Beach.
Usually that means you stay and make a go of it here in Auckland
I do not miss rain, traffic and cockroaches.
Part of me misses the hustle and bustle of corporate life, the ruthless, fast-paced action of snake pit.
But most of me does not miss this at all.
Zero politics in my Christchurch place of work, no one whose ambitions far outweigh their abilities and will throw you under a bus to get ahead.
And in my year in The Mainland quite a few of my friends and colleagues have cashed in their Auckland abodes and moved back to the near-new shaky city also.
Don’t think I started something.
Most of all, who knew family support was such a game changer?
Like a bizarre case of Stockholm Syndrome, you get used to the isolation of surviving Auckland with a family, but life is definitely better closer to Nana and Pop (says Captain Five Year Old).
So one year on, thanks Auckland.
Thanks for 10 years of long hot humid summers, broadening our horizons and most of all thanks so very much for capital gains.
It will be nice to be home for a Christchurch Christmas.
– Ian Avery is The Hits Content Director for the South Island
Some large misconceptions there about Auckland!
Why I love and remain in Auckland
Auckland is my home where I was born and I have grown up for most of my life. I live in Papakura in the southern sub-region of the big City with my wife Rebekka and our two pre-school daughters. Rebekka has made Auckland her home (having immigrated from The Netherlands as a child ) and has no desire to move out of the Auckland region. I have no real desire to move from Auckland either so we make Auckland work for us.
Living in Papakura we have our own 3-bedroom house with a moderate plot of land surrounding it. It section is big enough for a vegetable garden, fruit trees, a play area out the front and an entertainment area out the back. We are five minutes from Papakura Metropolitan Centre and its rail station and about 15 minutes from Manukau City Centre when the Southern Motorway does not pack up as it does on a regular basis. The eastern Rural Urban Boundary is only five minutes to the east of us so if we wanted to go rural later in life we would not have far to get there.
Transport wise we both have a car but also have AT HOP cards as well. Most of our trips are within fortress South Auckland so transit is a viable option in most cases. The Waterview Tunnel has made visiting family in Te Atatu easier while trips to the main City Centre are always done by train.
For work I am researcher (Urban Geography) with home as my base but able to be out in the field as well.
You would think from this I have it all easy in the big City!
But also no
Auckland traffic is appalling and our transit system still in the early stages after decades of neglect and a previous administration that was focused on more of do-nothing than fast tracking transit investment forward as the current administration does.
Even local trips to Manukau City Centre can be bad whether by car or bus due to lack of bus lanes making busses a more viable for those taking short trips. Yes the heavy rail network is available and is great to get to town but the lack of a Manukau South Link (allowing Pukekohe and Papakura to Manukau services) and infrastructure for feeder busses still mean that traffic is bad. That said the South is in for major investment with the Government committing to the Third Main untangling freight from passenger services on the Southern Line as well as the Southern Airport Line linking Botany and Manukau to the Airport via Puhinui Station. More local investments such as bus lanes and ramping up feeder frequencies are on the way as well.
As for parking outside the front door of the shop? I challenge Avery to this: next time you go to the mall measure how much walking you do. I bet it will be more than 800 metres so a walk to your shop won’t exactly kill you.
Housing supply is ramping up in South Auckland allowing an actual choice of a range of home types whether it be standalone or apartments. Prices admittedly are still high but have stabilised as Government intervention gathers steam (Kiwi-Build and Rent-to-buy). As housing supply ramps up so is jobs especially in the South with both industry and commercial rapidly expanding. Technically if you live in the South you should be able to work in the South as business and industry expand down here. Possibly CBD businesses could establish satellites in the South and North West to both relieve congestion on the transport system and help the business itself through increased productivity as workers are closer to their (in this case remote) workplace (who can then use transit in the off-peak if they need to be at main HQ for a meeting or conference).
Rather negative sounding right?
But that is why I love Auckland and remain in Auckland. Yes some days you bang your head against the wall with Auckland Transport other days you get victory points in getting an Airport Line onto the RADAR. But that is why I love Auckland. Big City life and all the problems (and joys) that go with it. I am an advocate and an Urban Geographer who is very politically active at Local and Central Government levels. It is what I do and enjoy doing knowing that for every day you bang your head against the wall another day is a well hard earned victory (and beer) small or large.
I love living in the fortress South even if it is a rough gem.
For me I wouldn’t trade Auckland in as Auckland is my home.