My Love Hate Relationship With Auckland

artwork.jpgSince I will very likely move back to Auckland in the next year or so, I wanted to write about this topic in a little more depth. Auckland is the place I grew up and experienced a majority of my life in. After spending two years in Sydney, I truly love it as a city. The weather, people, lifestyle and things to do. I can safely say Sydney is one of my favourite cities to live in. Many people in Auckland (who haven’t been to Sydney before) mentioned that Sydney is the same as Auckland but with a bigger population or they mention that it’s a racist city. Sydney is like a bigger Auckland, but it is vastly different in many ways. In terms of racism, unfortunately it happens anywhere.

Auckland is the kind of place I never felt particularly crazy about. I think it was more the experiences that shaped how I felt growing up there. I loved living in the country side, with the clean air and being surrounded by nature and animals. There is a certain purity and freshness. The moments I loved growing up were living beside the beach in the North Shore suburbs just outside the city and the years living on the farm. The only thing is that it’s not very convenient living in the country side. Especially if you are still young and would like to have more access to different places, events, experiences, people and so on. The saying that there are four seasons in a day is so absolutely true, that you often need to carry an umbrella and a layer of clothing on you, just in case!

New Zealand is a place where it is difficult to navigate if you don’t have a drivers license. However, if you live in central city you can probably travel on public transport. Although, I feel that if you can walk to certain places, you can save more money. The public transport in Auckland is not the most efficient, if compared to bigger cities, but I’m sure it will improve a lot in the next several years. The rent in Auckland can be expensive. This depends on how many people you live with. The more people you live with, the more possibility that the rent will be lower. If you live a little further from central city, it will be cheaper, however you will need to take into account the travel costs.

There are not many things to do in Auckland, especially if you don’t drive a car. There are wonderful beaches in walking and busing distance, but for the adventurous, it’s convenient to have a car. I loved second hand shopping in Auckland and there are several shops spread across the city. The only thing is that Auckland feels more like a big little city. Queen street is extremely short when compared to Sydney’s George street. I like the feeling of emptiness and a lower population of people. It’s a lot more spacious and the air is far more breathable and clean if you compare to cities with very polluted air.

My favourite suburb is Parnell. I lived there for one year. It’s partly because I lived with two people who were very kind to me and I had neighbours who lived beside me who I went to church with every week. Although, it’s considered one of the pricier suburbs, I think if you can find a reasonable price, it’s one of the most comfortable, convenient and safer suburbs to live in. Your living environment can really shape your experience living in Auckland. If you’re a clean freak like me, it’s important to live somewhere you feel calm and sane in. When I lived in the small town Warkworth, I would always see at least 2-3 people I knew. Similarly, in Auckland city, I would always see at least one person on the streets that I knew. It’s something I love hate, because I love seeing people I know, but sometimes I just want to be quiet and reserved, but it may come off rude not to say hi. Can anyone relate to that feeling?

Making friends in Auckland is one of those things I’m still trying to figure out. When I talked to my sister, it sounds like it is much more easier to make friends in Wellington, because Auckland tends to be more cliquey. People tend to stick with who they know in Auckland from my personal experience. However, I found from personal experience, that if you join a community or go to a regular church, it is easier to make friends in those areas. As previously mentioned, there isn’t an excessive amount of things to do in Auckland, which means that there is definitely a drinking culture in New Zealand. Socialising in student life often involves drinking, going out and partying. I think it’s important to find people who are like minded in that sense, if you are not a drinker or party person.

The places I loved going to regularly when living in Auckland was the Art gallery, Museum, Auckland Library, Albert Park and Mission Bay. I find the fashion in Auckland is not as distinctive. There are a lot of people who wear black, which I like (coming from someone who wears a lot of black clothes). However, I find that there are less people with distinct styles, compared to the streets of Sydney. People aren’t as afraid to express their individuality in Sydney or Wellington. There is definitely quirky, stylish and funky fashion. Whereas I find in Auckland, there definitely are very stylish people, but less in the sense that people in Auckland are more judgmental and more people tend to conform (from my observation, but maybe it will be more different when I return).

It can feel very empty in Auckland at times, because it’s so spacious. There are areas that are great for shopping, such as K-road and places near Queen street with thrift stores. I feel that Auckland is slower than the rest of the world in many areas, but I think it has so much space for growth and development. People are far more laid back in Auckland and everyone is generally pretty friendly. I previously talked about how I didn’t experience much racism in Sydney. The truth is that it is definitely an issue in Australia, however I’ve only lived there for two years now. My experience for the past several years in Auckland, is that I definitely have faced racism. I grew up in the country side, where I was one of the only Asian students in primary school and living in the city there might be one or two people you encounter who are not too nice, but unfortunately racism happens everywhere.

I love Auckland’s relaxed nature, as I mentioned before. There’s a certain no worries nature, that is great for a healthy and balanced work/life style. However, sometimes it can make one feel a lack of motivation and urgency for certain things when you live in a city that’s more slow paced. It’s a personal challenge to push yourself. In Auckland, the transport is slower, whereas in Sydney an Uber will often not wait for you if you don’t show up for 2-3 minutes. I love Auckland because it’s the place that I know I want to settle down and have a life in. It’s the place I imagine growing old in. I feel so grateful to have moved to Australia short term, because it gave me an immense amount of new experiences that I just wouldn’t have had in  New Zealand. I think that’s really important, because Auckland is the sort of place that it’s easy to just stay there and never leave or live anywhere else for a few years.

It’s a comfortable city with it’s pros and cons like any city has. The internet in Auckland can sometimes drive you bonkers. But if you have a good plan then it should be fine. I felt that there are less job opportunities in Auckland, especially when compared to Sydney. Australia is a good place to work for several years and gain experience, then return to Auckland. Perhaps in the next several years, job opportunities will grow. The thing I love about New Zealand, is that we’re proud to be Kiwis. We come from a country that is situated at the corner of the world, yet there is so much potential and many amazing people who have done incredible things. Auckland has a high percentage of Asians and so it was very convenient to go to the Chinese supermarkets nearby. I feel as if I could list several other things about Auckland that I felt were pros and cons, but I think I’ll leave it here. If you ever have a chance to visit, it’s a great place to travel as there’s lots of sights to see. It’s somewhere where you can call home.

Art Work via

3 thoughts on “My Love Hate Relationship With Auckland

  1. If you want parochial, and closed minds, and the true meaning of shallow … come to Invercargill.

    Here you will see the physical embodiment of ‘two faced’. It’s not pretty, and if you want to fit in you must learn to turn your head and spit after every mention of the word ‘Auckland’. I can blend into most cultures, I think, but it took a while to twig down here. But there are redeeming features …

    … hang on, I’m still trying to think of one. Better go get a coffee, this may take a while …

  2. Hah! Got one~! There, the impossible in just a few minutes, boom boom!

    The mayor!

    One Tim Shadbolt Esq, the ex-mayor of Waitakere in Auckland (spit). The guy who couldn’t get in anywhere, then came down here and campaigned with the slogan “I don’t care where … so long as I’m mayor!” and they took to him like ducks to a swamp. (I asked a lady in a shop when she was brightly babbling about why she voted for him again—her response was edifying: “Whenever they have a school gala day, he dances with the children!”)

    Maybe there’s hope for me yet …

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