My Auckland: Greenlane

Born in Kiev, Ukraine, photographer and actor Sacha Stejko is now happy to call Greenlane home.

Sacha Stejko at Dreamers Cafe. Photo / Richard Robinson
Sacha Stejko at Dreamers Cafe. Photo / Richard Robinson

I love living in Greenlane, I feel settled here. I was born in Kiev, in Ukraine, then when I was small we went to Brazil. Dad was doing something with Nasa, creating some kind of biodegradable plastic, but it was a little bit dangerous in Brazil at that time, and Mum and Dad wanted somewhere safe to live. They also wanted somewhere nuclear-free: in Kiev we were close to Chernobyl. We moved to the North Shore so we could have a different kind of lifestyle.

I've only been in Greenlane for about six months but I just love it. I do a lot of my work from home, I edit at home, so Greenlane influences my work hugely. I think I'll be here for quite a long time yet. There's one cafe I really love, it's called Dreamers and it's just down the road. For me, it's their eggs benedict every time, I'm the number one fan of their version, but they do everything. If you want anything at all, they'll give it to you. You know how some places only have 10 options? Not at Dreamers.

I also really like flowers, I need them in the house, so I go to Bizziblooms, where I get chrysanthemums and lilies, those are my inspiration flowers.

There's a Contours Gym nearby that I go to and I really love the Lido Cinema too, it's just around the corner from me.

I work a lot though, and all my jobs take up a lot of time, so when I'm not working I like to spend time relaxing. It's really quiet where we are, yet we're only 30 seconds from the motorway. We're in a little nook of Auckland, huddled up in a little forest. We have great birds too, lots of tui. There's a park at the end of my road called Konini Road Reserve; it has a tennis court. There's a little bench there surrounded by trees. It reminds me of Notting Hill; sometimes I'll take a book, it's just so cute.

There's also a frame shop down the road, K.S. Thomas. Being a photographer, I need to know my local framer, he's called Bill. It's nice to have a connection, because art work is so personal. I'm really enjoying getting to know that part of my area. There aren't too many shopping places, although there's a cute little second-hand shop called Ritzy Bits, it sells vintage and new furniture pieces and knick-knacks. Kiwiana is the best place for fish and chips.

For me, it's fantastic to have an electronics place close by too, PB Technologies, it's right up my alley. I need external hard drives and CDs to back up all my work. Everything needs to be backed up, I dropped a hard drive once; most of it was double backed-up, but not all of it. That was a lesson.

There's a really cute bar called The Abbey just round the corner from me, and a great Japanese restaurant called Odeo, it's amazing, and the food is so good. There's a cafe that's on my way to Cornwall Park called Momo, I love Cornwall Park, I could happily get lost there.

Most of the time I don't like leaving Greenlane, I'm attached to the area. I've been here only six months but you know, coming to a new place, you're so foreign, you look for those treasures to make it your home, to make it your own. And now I am Greenlane's biggest advocate, I've embraced it, and I don't want to go anywhere else.

Sacha's picks

* Dreamers Cafe: 148 Great South Rd, Remuera. (Ph) 09 524 5058. dreamerscafe.co.nz. Simply delicious.

* Bizziblooms: 98 Great South Rd, Greenlane. Ph (09) 520 4583. Simply gorgeous.

* Ritzy Bits: 91 Great South Rd, Remuera Ph (09) 520 2060. Simply groovy.

* Konini Reserve: 18 A Waiohua Rd, Greenlane. Simply precious.

Sacha took the photographs for Beautiful Losers, on at Tapac until September 8.

- NZ Herald

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