East Tamaki Healthcare director Ranjna Patel has lived in Pakuranga for the past 32 years. She tells Farida Master why Pakuranga is perfect for her family.

Quiet, peaceful and safe, Pakuranga is not age-defined as people of all generations reside here. There's such a sense of belonging that my son Rakesh, who had moved out with his family, has come back to settle. It's amazing how most of the friends he grew up with are gravitating to the same locality.

Pakuranga is a perfect place to bring up a family. Culturally rich and surrounded by great schools, playgrounds, tennis courts and beaches, it has given us lots of treasured moments. Like the glorious family picnics at the Eastern or Bucklands beach, playing cricket and badminton at Lloyd Elsmore Park and storytelling sessions at the Pakuranga Library.

The recently refurbished Te Tuhi Centre for Arts on Reeves Rd is an oasis of creativity where our kids loved dabbling with art, craft and jazz ballet. Now my grand-daughters are regulars at the cultural hub.

We initially moved to Pakuranga because it was considered one of the best school zones. We wanted our children - Rakesh, Depak and Meena - to study at Sunnyhills school and then at St Kentigern College. We lived for 30 years at Fisher Parade, then moved to Manor Park, Sunnyhills, just two years ago. In those days the suburb was more farmland. When Manor Park was first launched as a gated community, they had flown in Peter Bowles of 'To the Manor Born' fame. It created quite a flutter. But we couldn't afford it at that time.


Back then we often met our neighbours at the Pakuranga Town Centre more than we met them on the streets. It was one of the first modern malls boasting everything under one roof. Westfield Pakuranga continues to be a hotspot for indulgent retail therapy.

Of late, we love frequenting the cluster of shops at the Farm Cove village that has added an urban energy to the retail landscape. Our favourite is Mon Bichon, a delightful deli and cafe run by Sandra Farrell and Michelle Harding.

Casa Tua, the beautifully done-up Italian restaurant also has a wonderful feel to it with food to match, and we are quite partial to Spices Thai restaurant at Highland Park. My son and I often make a special date to have dinner there.

The best thing that has happened to Pakuranga is the Rotary Walkway. My husband and I really enjoy going for long walks along the beautiful walkway that meanders at the water's edge of the Tamaki Estuary and Whakaaranga Creek. The landscape is breathtaking and it is so safe. A lot of times our grandchildren accompany us on their scooters and cycles. It's an ideal way to begin and end the day with stunning views. A perfect balm for the soul.
Ranjna's picks:
* Pakuranga Rotary Walkway: Has lots of entry points and apart from lots of points of interest, it is known for its 1.2 million year-old volcanic pumice. Ph: 09 262 5104

* Lloyd Elsmore Park Leisure Centre: Sir Lloyd Drive, ph: 09 535 5502

* Sunnyhills School: 17, The Crest, Sunnyhills, ph: 09 576 8031

* Mon Bichon Cafe and Deli: 190 Fisher Parade, Farm Cove Village, ph: 09 576 8840

* Te Tuhi Centre for Arts: 13 Reeves Rd, ph: 09 577 0138