Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

The faces of Auckland

Modern Auckland is a kaleidoscope of people from many walks of life. Herald reporter Alanah Eriksen looked to the four compass points of the Super City region to find eight faces that represent the city.

World War II war veteran Jack Linklater. Photo / Dean Purcell
World War II war veteran Jack Linklater. Photo / Dean Purcell

Jack Linklater, 90

When Jack Linklater retired 25 years ago, moving to Auckland seemed the obvious choice.

Three of he and wife Tui's five children live in the city.

Born in Invercargill, Mr Linklater moved his family all over New Zealand for his work as a bank manager for the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac) before settling in the country's biggest city.

The 90-year-old served in Italy during World War II, celebrating his 21st birthday at Monte Cassino.

He has embraced his new home, appreciating the city's extensive support network for war veterans. Mr Linklater was president of the East Coast Bays RSA for about five years, and still attends at least twice a week to meet old friends.

These days, Jack and Tui rarely venture too far from their home in the Fairview Lifestyle Village in Albany, on Auckland's North Shore, because they can no longer drive.

But their children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren visit regularly.

New citizen Tsitsi Mapepa. Photo / Richard Robinson
New citizen Tsitsi Mapepa. Photo / Richard Robinson

Tsitsi Mapepa, 27

Tsitsi Mapepa can't wait to become a New Zealand citizen so she'll be able to officially call Auckland home.

The 27-year-old emigrated from Harare in Zimbabwe six years ago and gave birth to her three children in Auckland.

She had joined her husband who moved to New Zealand about 10 years ago after being offered a job in construction.

The couple, who live in Ellerslie, met through church in Zimbabwe and married in 2006 before Mrs Mapepa moved.

"He came back to visit me often," she said.

The couple enjoy visiting new places around Auckland but often visit Mount Wellington with the children for a picnic.

Mrs Mapepa has had to become used to colder weather, but she said she loves the Auckland lifestyle.

"It's quiet, the neighbours are really nice. We live in a quiet area. We love the location and I love meeting new people and learning new things from other cultures."

Her husband became a New Zealand citizen last week, and she hopes to become one soon.

Bridget Wallace. Photo / Richard Robinson
Bridget Wallace. Photo / Richard Robinson

Bridget Wallis, 48

Bridget Wallis remembers catching her first wave at Muriwai with her brother on flutter-boards about age 7. From that moment, she was hooked on surfing.

The 48-year-old, who was born in Waitakere, runs the Muriwai Surf School with husband Martin.

Before starting the company 11 years ago, the couple had various jobs and lived in Australia on and off.

"You spend a lot of your life working, so it's got to be something you enjoy," Mrs Wallis said.

The couple have two children - a daughter, 18, and a son, 22, who is also a coach with the school.

"Muriwai's got everything, a lovely community, a beautiful spot, sun, surf," Mrs Wallis said.

"I love Auckland ... it's been a fantastic place to bring up the kids. I'm proud to be a Westie."

2-year-old Kauri Raeina. Photo / Sarah Ivey
2-year-old Kauri Raeina. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Kauri Raeina, 2

Two-year-old Kauri Raeina is a happy little boy who loves school.

"Every day, he wakes up and says, 'Kohanga!' He knows he's getting ready for school and he loves to come and see his friends," mum Kyra Hiku says.

Kauri is a student at Te Kohanga Reo o te Marae o Hoani Waititi in West Auckland.

There's a reason he goes to a full immersion Maori school and it's something Ms Hiku hopes her son will appreciate when he's older.

"I'm Maori and I want him to grow up around the language. I wasn't given that chance and I'd like him to have that. I think it's a part of his history but also his future."

Ms Hiku said seeing her young son enjoy his time at kohanga amplified the need for education to be a top priority for Auckland.

"For myself and my family, that's stability. Making sure my kids get a good education which will help them get good jobs is good for me.

"I want Kauri to be happy - it's the same want I have for all my children. I want them to grow up knowing who they are and feeling safe in this city."

Law Student Adeleina Loto-Meleisea. Photo / Richard Robinson.
Law Student Adeleina Loto-Meleisea. Photo / Richard Robinson.

Adeleina Loto-Meleisea, 21

Adeleina Loto-Meleisea may have Samoan heritage, but she feels at home in Auckland.

"It's not too far from the islands - not only in distance but there are lots of Samoans here. I love that you can walk down Queen St and you could probably hear about 20 different languages. I've always liked learning about different cultures and I like that I don't have to leave Auckland to do that."

The former head girl of Manurewa High School is only 21 but is a worldly soul. She is in her first year of a law degree through Auckland University after a year teaching English to prisoners in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

She lives in Manurewa and works part-time in Papakura for Youth Guarantee, which helps put teenage school-dropouts through NCEA and into jobs.

Dominic Toomey. Photo / Greg Bowker
Dominic Toomey. Photo / Greg Bowker

Dominic Toomey, 30

The 10-minute ferry ride to work for Dominic Toomey not only beats the motorway traffic, but gives a majestic view of the city, he says.

The 30-year-old has been back in Auckland since April, after spending 18 months in London.

He is an associate with law firm Kensington Swan, working on Auckland's Viaduct Harbour and specialising in banking law.

He lives in a flat in Devonport with girlfriend Kate, 27, also a lawyer.

"I love the village charm," Mr Toomey said of his North Shore home.

"I get to catch the ferry to work, which is an incredibly relaxing way to start the day and a relaxing way to finish the day. I don't think you could get a better commute in Auckland.

"One of the things I used to think about when I was in London was not being able to walk down the road and go for a swim, or drive to the beach. I can do that here without too many difficulties.

"I don't want to knock London because it was a lot of fun, but it wasn't a particularly difficult decision to come back here."

Phil and Annie Armstrong. Photo / Richard Robinson
Phil and Annie Armstrong. Photo / Richard Robinson

Phil Armstrong, 44

Phil Armstrong can be milking his buffaloes at lunchtime, and in Auckland city an hour later selling the animals' cheese.

The 44-year-old believes Auckland has the best of both worlds - a relaxed rural setting, and the hustle and bustle of a big city.

Raised on a farm in Te Puke, Mr Armstrong worked on deep-sea fishing boats for 17 years before marrying Annie 10 years ago. They moved to Auckland and in 2009 joined her parents to start the Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Company. They now have two children, aged 7 and 4.

They live on a farm at Dairy Flat, and their buffalo graze on a 20ha lot near Wellsford.

Mr Armstrong travels into the city every Wednesday, about an hour's drive, to sell cheese and likes to sometimes take the children to the Auckland Museum and the Wintergardens.

"The weather is brilliant, then there's the accessibility to everything. There's so much sport and recreation at our back door - from sailing and diving and fishing to all the walking."

Ahra Cho from Korea. Photo / Chris Gorman
Ahra Cho from Korea. Photo / Chris Gorman

Ahra Cho, 22

Ahra Cho remembers her first day of school in Auckland fondly. Her family came from Korea to West Auckland and she started school in Massey on cross-country day.

"It was a very memorable time for me. I ended up coming first," the 22-year-old said. "It was amazing. When I first came here I didn't know any English, my parents didn't know any English ... I'm not sure how I knew what to do at the cross country. I just ran, I guess."

Ahra's family came emigrated to Auckland in 1999 when she was 8.

"It was very exciting. In Massey everyone was predominantly Pacific Island or Maori so my first encounter of Auckland was very much the indigenous people rather than the Pakeha. I was the only Asian kid at school. We soon made friends with the neighbours and in the community."

Ahra attended Auckland University and works for the Department of Internal Affairs.

"The most outstanding thing about Auckland is the diversity ... I've been exposed to China, India, Pakistan, Iran ... I don't think I'll ever go anywhere else to live."

- NZ Herald

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