Undeterred by a pandemic, AUT student and young entrepreneur Ryan Chow has become a passionate Aucklander in just three years.
Ryan moved here from Canada in 2019 to study for a double degree, Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Communication Studies, and he hasn’t looked back.
A keen e-scooter rider, he can’t wait for the City Rail Link to open in 2025 as he sees it will mean less cars and more people walking and riding around midtown, his chosen neighbourhood and community.
What attracted you to Auckland? What is your favourite part of midtown?
I moved to New Zealand in late 2019 as my sister was already studying here. I find Auckland to be somewhat similar to Toronto in some ways I think primarily because of the Sky Tower's similarity to the CN Tower. I like Auckland's midtown area because it feels like a tight-knit community that is not as disconnected as other major cities' CBDs. I also like how it's on hills which makes it more interesting in my opinion rather than a boring grid layout on flat land.
My favourite part of midtown has to be the huge trees lining the streets and parks near the universities. It's a very beautiful part of town.
What is your daily travel routine, while studying at AUT?
I live in the city centre, a few blocks from AUT City Campus, and frequently use an e-scooter or walk. Otherwise, I would use buses or trains. I do not own a car.
What are your career plans?
I plan on building a career here in Auckland. I am currently running a startup I have launched just within the past few months called New Zealand Youth Film Festival - a free-to-enter film festival for all students aged 15-24 years in Aotearoa. Learn more at nzyff.com
What are the highlights of studying and living in midtown? Tell us about the things you love to do?
I got to say that I love e-scooting or biking around midtown. I think Auckland is perfect for e-scooters to get around. I love riding around the waterfront and the parks around midtown.
I haven't had much experience around Auckland's wilderness tracks but I think its beaches are certainly world-class as they're clean and quite marvellous, especially Piha Beach.
What do you see as the biggest benefits the city will experience when the City Rail Link, and specifically Te Wai Horotiu Station (Aotea), are completed?
I think the CRL will certainly play a critical role in helping upgrade Auckland and make it a true major city. I have lived in cities in Asia as well and remember the importance of mass transit in cities like Singapore and Hong Kong and the improvements good infrastructure plays on city centres. They produce knock-on effects for business and quality of life which will be well worth any costs.
If you were asked to complete this sentence ‘I can’t wait for … in midtown’, what would you say?
Fewer cars! I think fewer cars is very important both for the climate and for improving the liveability of a city. It's one thing I think I dislike about Auckland at the moment - how reliant it is on cars and how it creates traffic jams, parking everywhere, and asphalt rather than trees. It will also bring more activity to the city and will mean students can travel to university much easier.
Once people step off the train at Te Wai Horotiu Station (Aotea) in 2025 what do you think they will appreciate? And what will you appreciate most?
I will appreciate the Wellesley Street bus improvements, an upgraded environment for bus users and pedestrians and the Queen Street upgrade, with New Zealand’s first multi-use path.
Ryan Chow is president of AUT’s Student Volunteer Army. He is overseeing the activity of more than 54 student volunteers in his role and has also founded three clubs at AUT with the purpose of enhancing the student experience. In addition, his new Youth Film Festival is designed to energise and inspire upcoming generations.