Tiffany Harkess is the education and public programmes manager for the Auckland Arts Festival which opens on March 2. She has lived in Kingsland for more than six years, and shares with Catherine Smith why this corner of Auckland is such a great find.
I've gradually moved my way down the hill in Kingsland - which people think is going to the "dark side" closer to the motorway, but I don't think so. I started on Second Ave when I came back from overseas, and then Third and am now on Fourth Ave.
This area is so well-related to my life and my work - I take the train to work, it's a one-minute walk to the office from the station. There are always a lot of creative people in the neighbourhood - during the 2009 Arts Festival there was a person from every avenue taking part in areas from across the board: designing, recording, museum people, film scouts.
New North Rd is our little village, and you can find really good coffee. My favourite cafe is The Fridge - I like to read the paper out the back there. I love cooking but with my hours I often get takeaways: Gyros is a lovely Turkish gentleman from whom I always order kofta with rice. He makes it with such care, plus the beautiful sweets are a Turkish delight. The staff at the Thai/Laotian Mekong Nua know me well - my dish is always the hot Tom Khai Gai. I love its coconut milk base. Then for a big group when you want lots of atmosphere, there's Canton with its black chilli prawns.
I'm actually quite a foodie so all we're missing is a little greengrocer for fresh produce (I go over to a Chinese grocer on Dominion Rd).
The flatmates are talking about growing our own vegetables, but there is a lovely vege patch with a "help yourself" sign behind Fourth Ave. We've got banana vines in the backyard, they're a great point of conversation.
We can join the cycle trail from the bottom of the street - my flatmate rides to Grafton. I walk a lot through Nixon Park from Bond St and there's always lovely big groups playing touch rugby, baseball and kids from the Samoan church. I walk up Mt Eden and can now go through the new pathways by Walters Rd - that Wakipo Swamp walk is a lovely walk and it helps with traffic flow when there's a game on. Or a friend and I will walk along the cycleway to Western Springs and sometimes you can hear the lions roar.
There are a lot of young people in the neighbourhood, it's a twentysomething crowd and the bars are always packed. But then my neighbours have been here for three generations - people tell me it's like Ponsonby was a few years ago. I've seen photos of Kingsland in the early 1900s with trams and you can still recognise the facades.
Then there are the shops - the Green Stone Factory and Royal Jewellers have beautiful artwork, the St Vincent de Paul shop always looks closed, but it is still surviving. There's a lovely new masseuse in the neighbourhood and I love the monthly Crafternoon Teas at the Methodist Church - they have clever, creative Kiwiana things there like knitted muffins. There are always lots of notices on the wall at Roasted Addiqtion for artists' studio spaces, music and spoken word events, it's a bit of a hub. Native Agent has gone online now, but I used to do a lot of window shopping.
Kingsland changes when there's a game on at Eden Park. I'm not into sport but it brings a lot of people into the neighbourhood, so that's good for us.
* Gyros Mediterranean Takeaway, 436 New North Rd, Kingsland, ph (09) 849 4645
* Mekong Neua Thai Restaurant, 483 New North Rd, Kingsland, ph (09) 846 0323
* The Fridge Cafe, 507 New North Rd, Kingsland, ph (09) 845 5321
* Roasted Addiqtion Cafe, 487 New North Rd, Kingsland, ph (09) 815 0913
* Canton Cafe, 477 New North Rd, Kingsland, ph (09) 846 7888
* Nixon Park
* Crafternoon Tea, Trinity Methodist Church, 400 New North Rd, Kingsland. Next market is on Sunday, March 20, 10am-3pm.
* Clothes, cushions and jewellery from nativeagent.co.nz and web store nativeagent.net