A new free virtual Food Heritage Walking Tour is the perfect way to get a taste of Sandringham’s culinary history and heritage.
Aucklanders can learn more about how the area came to be called “little India” by exploring an app developed by the Sandringham Project in Community Empowerment (SpiCE) and historian André Taber.
Today, Sandringham has many south-east Asian restaurants. The team at SpiCE wanted to find out how this came about.
The organisation already does valuable work in the Albert-Eden Local Board area; it has been supported through the local board’s grant funding and has received a Regional Historic Heritage grant.
Through its community-led development partnership programme, with funding from the Department of Internal Affairs, this project documented Sandringham’s food heritage.
Historian André Taber led two heritage walks on this topic at the 2020 Auckland Heritage Festival, both of which were wildly popular and over-subscribed.
“We developed this app so we could make a heritage walk created by André Taber available to the community to do in their own time – as a response to COVID-19,” says Community facilitator Joanne Harland.
Lesser-known facts about the area are sure to surprise people. Mr Taber discovered a group of Norwegian families who had lived together at the southern end of Sandringham - the Ranums, Hansens, Petersens, Johannessens and Barthows - and some of them were dairy farmers - instant qualification as culinary heritage.
“The Barthows were the centre of that community. They had no farming experience before they arrived in New Zealand but their dairy farm ended up serving the community for two generations from the 1870s until the 1920s,” says Mr Taber.
The first shopkeeper in Sandringham was also Norwegian, though not closely connected to the other Norwegian families.
This shop has operated continuously since it opened in 1911, but you wouldn’t think it was historic when you look at it today.
"As an immigrant myself, but not a visible minority, it touched me that there are so many layers to consider when you think of Auckland’s multicultural heritage,” adds Mr Taber.
Though affectionately dubbed 'Little India' today, the first 'ethnic' food store and restaurant in Sandringham were Thai. Long gone, but not forgotten now that their stories are recorded.
The walk is available on the free to download SPiCE app and has been developed by SpiCE in collaboration with local historian André Taber.
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