Call us JAFAs
Oh, that’s so witty. Well done — did you think of that one all by yourself, or did a grown-up help you? Yes, we’re JAFAs — Just Another Fuckin’ Aucklander. But don’t forget that we outnumber you, no matter where you’re from — Wellington, Christchurch, or any of those other little towns whose names escape me right now.
We’re the living, beating heart of New Zealand, and you can’t survive without us. We’re the fastest-growing regional economy in the country (We’ll not count Canterbury; it’s not growing so much as catching up. Yes, the earthquakes hit you bloody hard, but you’re rebuilding not building from scratch, so feel free to thank us for our reconstruction assistance any time you like.). We contribute more to the country per head that anywhere else in New Zealand; we keep this country running. So we’re Aucklanders, but we’re a damned sight more than Just Another Fuckin’ Aucklander.
Pretend that Wellington’s the capital
Yes, I know they moved the parliament down to the arse-end of the North Island 150 years ago, but — let’s face it — Auckland’s still the most important city in the country. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself where the final of the rugby World Cup was held in 2011. When the All Blacks — the bloody All Blacks, now, the very epitome of everything it is to be a Kiwi, the greatest rugby team that shall ever be, the bloody All Blacks, I tell you — when they wanted to celebrate their inevitable defeat of the French, they chose Auckland for the occasion. That would be Mount Eden, then, that’s the home of the ABs, not the Cake Tin.
One in three Kiwis live up here. It’s the largest city in the country — by a very, very long chalk. You could put another million folk in Wellington (not sure where, mind — in the harbour, probably), and you’d still not have as big a city as we have up here.
Still don’t believe me? Remind me where the Rolling Stones are playing next month. Hint — Mount Smart Stadium is in Auckland, not Wellington. If you’re coming to New Zealand and you want to have the maximum impact, you don’t bother with the provinces. You go straight to the real capital. And that would be Auckland.
The media are based in Auckland — the telly, Radio New Zealand, the Herald — all Auckland. Sports, too, if we’re allowing League as a sport — the Vodafone Warriors are based up here, not down there. If you want to make an impact, you go to Auckland. Auckland is — we all know it’s true, so can we please stop pretending otherwise — the country’s focus, its economic and cultural epicentre. Oh, sure, Wellington’s got the politicians, but tell me — who did better out of that deal?
Still don’t believe me? Go to Heathrow, or LAX, or Narita, and ask when the next flight to Wellington is.
Insist that the real New Zealand starts south of the Bombay Hills
What’s south of the Bombays? Oh, that’s right — Huntley. Huntley, the most unlovely town in the southern hemisphere (since, let’s face it, that’s the frame of reference you most often hear used in New Zealand). But wait, that’s not fair — there’s more to the rest of New Zealand than a town whose main scenic draw is a view across the Waikato River to a bloody power station. There’s Hamilton. And there’s Palmerston North. We all know, don’t we, what John Cleese had to say about Palmerston North, or should I remind everyone? Or we could head even further south, to Christchurch, the city that just can’t quite manage to stay upright. Or Dunedin, once a gold-rush boomtown, now hidden forever under a raincloud and a plague of university students.
Think that we’re just the same as the rest of New Zealand
There’s nearly 1.5 million of us up here. I realise that we’d be a medium-sized city by American standards, a large town by Japanese, or barely worth mentioning on a Chinese map, but in New Zealand we’re a big city — the Big City. And there’s more diversity in Auckland than anywhere else in New Zealand. Only half the people here are pakehā; one in ten of us is Maori (in fact, a quarter of the country’s Maori population live in Tāmaki Makaurau), and we are the largest Pasifika city in the world. Our people are Chinese, and Korean, and Indian, and…just about anything but the white, European-descended Kiwis you’ll find in the rest of the country. We’re New Zealand — bicultural by law, multicultural by character, with more character, more culture, and more cultures, than anywhere else in the bloody country.
Yes, Wellington’s the capital, and yes, Christchurch is terribly modern and funky and cutting-edge, but that’s simply because we JAFAs have just paid to have it rebuilt. But you can keep your Taurangas and your Napiers and your Queenstowns. Auckland is a world-class city, New Zealand’s only one. We have the best coffee — trust me, I’ve researched this one extensively. We have the best weather — I’ll just sit back and wait to see if anyone from Dunedin or Wellington or Invercargill really wants to make a serious challenge on this one. We are the economic and cultural capital of this wonderful, tiny country — we keep the lights on. Show us some bloody respect.