My Auckland: Mt Roskill

By Melanie Cooper

Zenebe Tsegi and Hirut Neash began their married life in Mt Roskill nine years ago, now it's home to their family of three and a place they have strong community ties. They tell Melanie Cooper about their corner of Auckland.

Four-year-old Ruhamah plays ball with her father, Zenebe Tsegi (left) and a family friend at Mt Roskill War Memorial Park. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Four-year-old Ruhamah plays ball with her father, Zenebe Tsegi (left) and a family friend at Mt Roskill War Memorial Park. Photo / Sarah Ivey

When I first came to New Zealand I lived in Henderson for a couple of months and then I boarded in Mt Albert. I met my wife Hirut in New Zealand, although we are both originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital.

Hirut was already living in Mt Roskill when we got married in 2002 and we have lived there ever since. We like living there. It is handy to everything.

It's close to the city centre, and shopping centres but we also have our own local shops in Mt Roskill. It is a good centre, not too big and it has a halal meat shop. There's a nice Indian shop there too with good ingredients.

For fresh fruit and vegetables we have the fresh fruit supermarket near the Dominion Rd shops and there are also markets twice a week at the Wesley Community Centre. The fruit is cheaper there and it's fresh and they sell fish as well. Our daughter knows when it's on - she says to my wife "it's Friday, can we go to the market".

There's a great children's playground at the community centre which is probably why she likes it. Hirut sometimes goes to the Zumba classes there on a Friday too, so there is a lot for us there.

We've got lots of parks near us. I play tennis once a week at the Akarana Ave courts. Our club moved because the motorway off-ramp was put in where the courts used to be. When I was younger I played soccer but I'm too old to play now.

For playing or a run around we go to Fearon Park. It is a very basic park, just fields and an old rugby club but it's very close to us. There's another good playground near us at the Mt Roskill War Memorial Park and we've had friends get married there because it's a very pretty park.

After the Christchurch earthquake the Ethiopian community came together at the War Memorial Hall and put on a play with the children. They acted out the earthquake and the damage and sadness and people said it made them cry.

We had about 1000 people from the community and we raised a lot of money to send down to Christchurch.

My wife and daughter often go swimming at the Cameron Pools. Ruhamah is just about to start school at the Balmoral Seventh Day Adventist Primary after these school holidays. It's a good place for her. That's another reason we like Mt Roskill, there are lots of options for schools around this area and nearby.

* From 11am to 2pm today, the Ethiopian Youth Network will share dance, music and stories of the Nile, as part of Auckland Museum's weekly series River Lives: Stories from the World's Greatest Rivers.

- NZ Herald

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