Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

High-profile jafas define the 'new Auckland'

Pippa Wetzell, Rob Fyfe and Bic Runga are among 50 high profile Aucklanders to deliver their verdict about the city's future. Photo / NZ Herald
Pippa Wetzell, Rob Fyfe and Bic Runga are among 50 high profile Aucklanders to deliver their verdict about the city's future. Photo / NZ Herald

Some of Auckland's most high-profile locals have spoken candidly about the city and where they think it is heading.

A total of 50 people - including politicians, professionals, chefs, musicians and artists - were asked a series of questions about the city.

Participants included artist Dick Frizzell, popular chef Al Brown, lawyer Mai Chen, comedian Jaquie Brown, media personality Pippa Wetzell, musician Bic Runga and businessman Rob Fyfe.

Among the questions posed was whether they noticed a theme that Aucklanders had embraced over the past few years. They were also asked how the city was changing and to define the "new Auckland".

Architect Nat Cheshire said: "What the f***? This isn't Auckland. How did this happen to my town so fast? Think about what this city was four years ago - no Wynyard Quarter, no Britomart, no Imperial Lane, no City Works Depot, no Auckland Art Gallery, no Q Theatre ... So many things that define the city now just didn't exist.

So what did exist?"

The group was interviewed as part of a report - dubbed AK2: The Coming of Age of a new Auckland - by businessman James Hurman, the founder of innovation consultancy company Previously Unavailable.

At an event last night, Mr Hurman said he had spent six months interviewing participants.

"One of the intentions of AK2 is that it will be used by organisations operating in Auckland to better position and innovate for [a] new Auckland."

During the event - which was attended by mayor Len Brown and former Waitakere City mayor Sir Bob Harvey - he said the interviews had got him excited about a new-look city.

"The new Auckland very much faces out to the world. We have global aspirations."

Mr Brown acknowledged that in the past, the city had refused to carry out many developments, but it had gone through many positive changes in the last few years.

"This is about what we will do next ... and I really get a sense of people coming in behind and supporting."

Another question posed was what caricature came to mind when thinking of a typical Aucklander.

Businessman Rob Fenwick said: "I think it's still evolving, but I suspect what it will look like in a few years is somebody with brownish skin and an open-necked shirt who's young and very connected to their physical landscape and the fact they have three glorious harbours that they can play in ... They're savvy and clever and easygoing."

- NZ Herald

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