My Auckland: Henderson

By Alexia Santamaria

Shayne Cox is a winemaker who lives with his partner Kate Frances in Henderson Valley. Kate works at the historic Lopdell House Art Gallery in Titirangi and also helps with the business. They are both born and bred West Aucklanders who, despite travels overseas over the years, always come back. They love Henderson and all its colourful characters. The pair talk to Alexia Santamaria about what they love about the area.

Shayne Cox and Kate Frances. Photo / Richard Robinson
Shayne Cox and Kate Frances. Photo / Richard Robinson

Aside from producing Corazon Wines [our own label] we are contract winemakers for many vineyards out west. This makes us part of an amazing collective spirit between businesses in Henderson. Everyone is always trying to help each other out and it's great to be part of that. The people are so genuine here; Henderson borders on rural land so there's a real mix. Many people live in the centre itself or out in the valley but work in the CBD so they have a foot in two worlds.

The ethnic diversity is great and ever-growing. Thirty years ago it was only Maori, Pacific Islanders and New Zealand Europeans but now you'll see Iranians, Indians and people from every corner of the world. We love the friendliness too. It's so nice when dairy owners remember everyone's names.

Corban Estate Arts Centre and even just a walk around the grounds is an interesting way to spend the afternoon. They have old stories and photos laminated and stuck to all the buildings and it's a good way to find out more about Auckland's history. They have lots of courses and exhibitions too.

In fact, in terms of history there's a heritage trail that runs right through Henderson.

One of our favourite places to eat is Yaruki, the Japanese restaurant in the main street. Great food and friendly service. We often go there on a Friday night, share a bottle of wine and catch up on the week that's been. There are a couple of other real foodie gems too. Henderson Seafood in Pioneer Plaza has the best, fresh and well-priced fish and is always busy. And there's our favourite cake shop, Alpine Patisserie on Keeling Rd. The owner is a Swiss pastry chef and he does a delicious lemon tart and an amazing chocolate cake, not to mention all his other sweet treats.

One of the more recent additions to the area is the Project Twin Streams walkways. The Lower and Upper Opanuku tracks are great for walking and biking. They even have solar lights for night time. It's nice to see so many people out jogging or strolling with dogs or kids on bikes.

We just can't say enough about this part of Auckland and we love the fact that we've chosen the place we grew up in, to live in as adults.

It's the gateway to the wine country and the beautiful west coast beaches. There are so many fascinating people with interesting stories and creative ideas. And everything is so convenient. There is a mall and every tradesperson you could ever want located out here so you don't have to drive for miles to get things done.

Easy living and good, down-to-earth people in a suburb that holds an annual Elvis-in-the-park event. What more could you want?

Shayne's picks

Corban Estate Arts Centre, 426 Great North Rd, Henderson, (09) 838 4455. Check out their website for upcoming classes and exhibitions

Yaruki Japanese Restaurant, 385 Great North Rd, Henderson, (09) 838 4463. Kate and Shayne advise choosing lots of little plates to share. Sushi is made fresh to order and the beef tataki and dumplings are great.

Henderson Seafoods, Pioneer Plaza Shopping Centre (behind the Westfield Mall) Henderson, (09) 836 3648. You won't find fish that's been hanging around here. Everything is super fresh.

Alpine Patisserie, Unit D5/50 Keeling Rd, Henderson, (09) 836 4446. You have been warned. The Swiss are known for their cakes for a reason.

Project Twin Streams walkways. Look under "Discover" and drop down to Cycleways at the website for maps.

- NZ Herald

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