Kia ora my precious!

Posted by on Mar 3, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand | 3 Comments
Kia ora my precious!

With every single day that passes, I’m getting more and more excited – almost impatient now – about starting up my new yoga business, Asha Yoga.

Like the sensible person I sometimes am, I have been doing a spot of research in between all the oohing and aahing, including scanning various ‘how to’ guides on blog post writing – for my upcoming new website.

The consensus seems to be that ideal business posts are a pithy, to the point, 250 words long.

250 words? It takes me that long to stumble towards the actual subject of my topic, like a pre-story-telling stretch, a sun salutation for my memory – never mind talk about the actual thing.

So I’d normally start a post on New Zealand by painting out the scene of a room full of 1980s advertising execs*, tripping their heads off on LSD tabs that have been wallpapered around the office – like a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for adults – by the firm’s creative director. Too busy licking the walls and high fiving each other for coming up with the tag line ‘I’ll be your dog!’ for the latest Kia Ora advert, to stop and realise it made no sense. Whatsoever.

Until recently, I thought Kia Ora was just a chemical-laden, ADHD-inducing soft drink you only ever drank at the cinema – because it tasted marginally better than the post-mix tap-squirted Coca Cola. I hadn’t appreciated it was the Maori greeting – covering hello, goodbye and thank you all in one handy term. Efficient, I like it.

And then – before you knew it – I’d have gone over the 250 word mark and you’d still be none the wiser what the hell I actually wanted to share with you.

Which in this case is my brief stop in Auckland, before I head off around the country on a bus full of twenty year olds.

It’s a brief stop because, let’s be honest, Auckland is a bit boring. Even people that live there say so. Rather like London’s Canary Wharf, but bigger, less deserted on the weekend, and with no obvious presence of our favourite cheeky chappie lovely jubbly export Jamie Oliver.

Auckland does have the odd cool bit of town and by luck I happened to book into a hostel right next door to the hotbed of the city’s independent shops and cafe culture scene – Ponsonby.

I had a lovely hour rifling through the designer second hand gear at the legendary Tatty’s – settling on a Diesel leather belt to replace my one existing belt, which is about to snap any moment now (one mouthful of cake too many, one sudden pop, and my jeans will be around my ankles – something I’ll happily pay £10 for a sturdy leather strap – sorry cows – to avoid).

The area’s moment in the fabulous sun has been cemented by becoming home to the annual Gay Pride parade, which was shaking its glittery ass down the street the very day I was there.

Sadly the parade time conflicted with the another mouth-wateringly delicious event in the city – the annual Devonport Food, Drink and Music Festival. And whilst I’m as big a fan of a nicely defined six pack as the next letch, food will always, always, always win my day.

A ferry ride across the bay, and a worrying moment where it looked like they were going to run out of festival tickets three people ahead of me in the queue, and I was in the inner sanctum of New Zealand yumminess. Think garden party rather than rock festival.

I made a beeline for Tohu Wine – the world’s first Maori wine company – and sampled their Chardonnay. I thought it tasted rather good. Mind you my wine tasting ability hasn’t progressed beyond yum vs not yum. I’m hoping in my forties (only months away now) that I’ll be able to discern more than that!

The headlining singer on the main stage was ‘Annabelle Tay’ – a sweet young woman that was clearly only recently famous, something she gave away by being appropriately 40 minutes late for the start of her gig but then proceeding to apologise about her tardiness for the whole set.

Once thing I’ve noticed is that the kiwis round these parts like a drink. Their connection with the British is immediately apparent if you leave one of them near a beer or wine tent.

But, in their defence, they seem pretty friendly drunks. For example – a guy nearly broke my foot with a clumsy backwards fall as he navigated the tangle of legs splayed across the festival floor. It flipping hurt and I couldn’t help but let the pain show – he quickly and profusely apologised. Then came back a couple of minutes later to apologise some more and hug me better.

Not much else happened during my Auckland fly by, except I met a lovely Argentinian girl, in the town’s North Face store, who gave me tips on where to find the best tango venues in Buenos Aires plus details on her home town, which she told me emphatically to visit.

I’m sure the city has much more to offer than I’ve seen so far, so I’ll be back in a month, armed with some guide book tips, for Auckland round two.


* I just thought of a very rude word for the collective noun for a room full of ad execs, most unkind of me, and totally unprintable here, but at least it gave me a laugh on a quiet Sunday afternoon.


  1. Jonathan
    March 4, 2013

    * Share! You can’t say that and not share! Sheesh! ;-)

  2. Dave M
    March 5, 2013

    Nina shame you found Auckland boring as someone who moved here over 2 years ago for the lifestyle it’s certainly not boring.
    Auckland has been voted as one of the world most liveable cities in several recent surveys:'s_most_livable_cities

    At least you managed to get to the Devonport food & wine festival where I hoped you sampled our white wine & seafood (green lipped mussels are my favourite)
    Lots to do when you return shame your not here long as there seems to be a festival every weekend really looking forward to

    If you can’t manage that get to Auckland museum in the domain, climb one the 50 volcanoes, go to one our safe(well almost) beaches on it’s 3,702 km coastline, get out on the water to one of the many stunning island in the Hauraki Gulf or just chill in the many parks or reserves with a coffee.
    Auckland is not about the CBD it’s all about what you can do in it’s amazing surroundings

    Hope to catch up next week to hear your tales from the South Island

    • Nina
      March 5, 2013

      Nice tips and yes I’d heard about the survey results. Often it takes being shown around by locals like yourself (now!) to really see the true heart of a place. The tourist routes can often give a fairly shallow view of things. Hopefully we’ll get that coffee on the 13th x


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