If you relied only on media reports, you're likely to think that inhabitants of Auckland are shallow people who obsess about house prices, school zones and the latest food fad. In fact, Aucklanders are well-rounded, open-minded citizens with an eclectic range of interests. To prove it, here are eight other issues we have been known to ponder.
1. Concert venues
If you're over the age of forty, you will adore Vector Arena. It's indoors, it has nice toilets and the wine vendors are ultra-accessible. So civilised! When the concert is over they open all the exit doors so everyone gets down the stairs and outside within four minutes.
Genuis! Vector is so amazing you will vow to never go to a concert at Mt Smart Stadium ever again. You will steadfastly keep this vow for years and years ... until Adele announces she's visiting Auckland and all bets are off. Mt Smart, please be gentle when we visit in March. Vector has made us a bit soft.
2. Creepy Santa
Born-and-bred Aucklanders are fond of that hideous old Queen Street Santa. I once made the mistake of calling him grotesque. I was soon put in my place by readers. "Santa is not grotesque. He is just lonely," wrote one. "He is an Auckland institution," said another. "Nothing wrong with Santa," said one. "LEAVE SANTA ALONE!" shouted one. Okay. I get it. I'm sorry for what I wrote about Santa. Sheesh! Sensitive much?
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
3. Cumbersome restaurant booking systems
The other week my other half telephoned a restaurant to make a booking. He left his name, telephone number, the required date, time and number of guests. The restaurant returned his call and left a message asking him to telephone them back. Seriously?
There's little point in calling back since there's only ever an answerphone on the end of this restaurant's line. But he did call a second time and left a message saying he'd be grateful to not have to call again. The restaurant returned his latest call and left a voice message that amounted to "Okay". Establishments really need a more streamlined system (one that doesn't involve telephone tag) for customers who don't feel like booking online. Woodpecker Hill: I'm looking at you.
4. Deluded owners of beach houses
Some Aucklanders purchase holiday homes on the Coromandel Peninsula so they're able to escape the city occasionally. But once they get these places, many of these people start misrepresenting the drive time. "It's two hours door to door," they'll boast. Except we all know that's a lie. By the time they've factored in toilet stops, windy roads, vomiting children and long weekend queues it's more likely to take the thick end of four hours. So let me get this straight: they buy a holiday home in order to get away from it all but they then try to prove how handily located it is. That's odd.
5. Derogatory nicknames
We know we're known as JAFAs and we know what it stands for. More importantly, we don't care. Really. We don't. We know about Dorklander, too. Urban Dictionary explains: it's a "[p]erjorative term used by the rest of New Zealand to describe people from Auckland". Goodness knows why they need these perjorative terms for us. What have we ever done to the rest of the country? I think people outside of Auckland protest too much. These strange little nicknames smack of jealousy and an inferiority complex.
6. Motorway accidents
There was a time when our response to news about a traffic accident on the motorway would be empathetic; we would hope no one was seriously hurt. But now that there seems to be an accident that causes a serious backlog of vehicles every rush hour our main concern is whether it's going to affect our own journey. If not, then it's a cause for a mini celebration. If you've attained this callous state, congratulations: you are a bona fide Aucklander. They'll never let you back in the provinces with an attitude like this.
7. On-ramp traffic signals
We know how these signals work when cars are lined up waiting to access the motorway: the rule is that one vehicle per lane may proceed with each green light. But what happens when you drive onto the on-ramp and there are no other vehicles in sight? If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound? In a similar vein, if you're the only vehicle on the on-ramp, must you really wait for a green signal? I'm going to say no.
8. Real Housewives of Auckland
My thirteen-year-old didn't watch this local reality television show. (Wise choice.) But many of her classmates must have because each episode was discussed in detail at school. One day my daughter came home asking about sex toys. The next week she wanted to talk about the N-word uproar. To be honest, I'd not envisaged discussing these two issues with my daughter so thanks must go to housewife Julia Sloane for broadening our horizons. Where's the sarcastic face emoji when you need it?