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There's no place like home

Life in Auckland's central city

Published: 23 July 2019

Auckland’s city centre is the beating heart of the region's economy and is rapidly increasing with the number of residents growing to more than 55,000. Our Auckland talks to residents about what it’s like to live in the central city.

If David Roos couldn’t live in Auckland’s central city, he wouldn’t live in New Zealand.

“I wouldn’t have come back to New Zealand if we weren’t living in the city,” the 34-year-old says.

The information security consultant and his Canadian wife Emily Reeves returned to Auckland a few years ago - after travelling.

Both passionate city dwellers, the couple moved into David’s one-bedroom apartment in lower Queen Street's heritage Dilworth Building.

“I love the convenience of city living,” Emily, 32, says.

“We can walk and cycle everywhere.”

While they both loved the character of the Queen Street apartment, it outgrew their needs.

“We wanted more space, a second bedroom and a patio,” David says.

Going against the advice of many, including their property lawyer, they bought “off-plan” a two-bedroom modern apartment in the Grace Victoria Quarter.

“Someone has to buy them off the plan... otherwise they wouldn’t be built,” David says.

Located on Sale Street, the development is due to be finished with a move-in date of August. They have been renting for the past two years in Hereford Street.

The timing is perfect for the pair, who are due to have their first baby in October.

“Being on the city fringe, it will be quieter than Queen Street,” Emily said.

Another upside to the Grace complex was its private lawn and courtyard area.

Having an outdoor area is important for David and Emily, who are very active. 

They both own electric bikes and cycle to work each day.

David works in Wynyard Quarter and Emily works in Albert Street, in learning and development.

“Living in the city is so much better than commuting. I hate being in a car,” David says.

Living in the city allows the couple to take advantage of the extensive range of restaurants and cafes.

David says his favourite place to dine is the Ichiban Japanese Restaurant in Albert Street but admits they “rarely go to the same place twice”.

Members of the Central City Residents Group (CCRG), David and Emily are strong advocates for safer pedestrian facilities.

Last year, they started a petition calling on Auckland Council groups to deliver safer walking facilities for the city’s thousands of residents.

“What’s the point of living in the city if you can’t cross the road?” David asks.

The couple do own a car, but never use it. In fact, they are considering selling it.

“Everyone tells us when you have a kid you’ll need to drive places… but we are so close to everything – even the hospital,” Emily says.

“People’s view of having a car is so old school,” she laughs.

As well as more footpaths and pedestrian crossings, David says he would like to see more greenspaces and parks.

“There needs to be more peaceful places and more trees.”

A school or two wouldn’t go amiss either, they say.

“Even basic improvements will go a long way to keeping residents in the city,” says David.

Both say they will remain in the city for the foreseeable future and hope to see the improvements they, and other residents, want.

“We really hope we can stay… the saddest thing for us will be if we have to leave the city.”

Read more: Future Auckland

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