Three ways to experience different cultures in Auckland

Publish Date : 16 Mar 2023

As the gateway to Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau is our most culturally diverse city. Around 40 per cent of Auckland’s 1.6 million residents were born overseas, and there are opportunities across the region to immerse yourself in and celebrate our different cultures, kai, languages and customs.

Load up on local kai at the market

Aotearoa doesn’t traditionally have a culture of street markets, but Wesley Market is a Mt Roskill stalwart that’s been running for almost 30 years. Auckland’s biggest weekday market runs every Tuesday and Friday between 7.30am and 1pm and is a great place to buy groceries.

The number of stallholders changes weekly, but you can always find a variety of locally grown produce and baked goods, including traditional Asian and Pasifika foods that you won’t find at the supermarket, along with seafood and occasionally bric-a-brac stalls and food trucks. Buskers add to the atmosphere amongst the trees, increasing the feeling that you could be in any cosmopolitan city in the world.

Tai chi time

This gentle martial art was developed in China in the 12th century as a practice for fighting or self-defence without weapons. In fact, it’s still considered to be one of the most effective exercises for the overall health of your mind and body and is widely practiced in open public areas throughout China by groups numbering in the hundreds. Tai chi improves fitness, flexibility, muscle strength, mental health and also lowers blood pressure. It involves safe, mindful, meditative flowing movements that, along with deep breathing, boost your health, balance and circulation.

There are plenty of free sessions that run in the wider Auckland region, including at Auckland Botanic Gardens, so pull on some comfy clothes, slop on some sunscreen and head out to join in this ancient Chinese activity.

Get your art on

Fresh Gallery Ōtara is a unique free art gallery that celebrates the diversity of our south Auckland communities and Tāmaki Makaurau’s place as the largest Polynesian city in the world. With support from Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board, it holds exhibitions to showcase Pasifika arts, hosts talks, and encourages the development of creatives by holding regular gatherings of Friends of Fresh, an artists’ forum that invites locals to share their work and discuss upcoming projects.

It’s a truly nurturing and collaborative space that also exhibits work from school students as a springboard for emerging talent, and is well worth a visit to immerse yourself in art with an authentic Pasifika flavour.

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