Author Archives: David Thornton

Winter School Holidays


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"Mum, I'm Bored"...

Unless you’re a skiing family, school holidays in winter can be a bit of a challenge. So why not be really different and bring the family to Auckland which offers hundreds of events and activities, plus museums, art galleries, funparks, adventures and a huge variety of shopping and dining opportunities.

Viaduct Auckland New Zealand

While the waterfront, especially the Wynyard Quarter, is probably the favourite with visitors, this school holiday season sees the return of the Aotea Centre Ice-skating - a hugely popular event for all ages. A must-do activity in the Auckland events calendar, this year’s Aotea Square Ice Rink is set to be the biggest yet! For the first time, Aotea Square Ice Rink will be complimented by a free Winter Lounge, courtesy of Auckland Live, which will be lit up in celebration of Matariki, the Maori New Year, as well as the beautiful installation Mountain of Light by Angus Muir Design.

Aotea Square Ice Rink

The Auckland Art Gallery is renowned for its international exhibitions - and this year is really special. The body - in all its complexity - will be explored in The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate, Auckland Art Gallery's major exhibition for 2017.

Beautiful, sensual and at times provocative, more than 100 artworks from the Tate, London, will tell the story of the nude and trace artists' captivation with the human body over the last two centuries. 

At the heart of the show is Auguste Rodin's 'The Kiss' which is traveling outside of Europe for the first time. Other key works include Picasso's Nude woman in a Red Chair (1932) and Bonnard's The Bath (1925).

Picasso's Nude woman in a Red Chair

After the ice-skating and the Art Gallery, it's probably time to eat - and Auckland's restaurants and cafes offer a huge range of choice, far too numerous to list here - But "Heart of the City" has this fun web page that will give you some great ideas to suit your taste and mood.

With the Lions Tour ending on 8 July, the pressure on accommodation will have slightly eased on city centre and waterfront serviced apartments, so the time to book is now!


The Pride of the Lions


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The British and Irish LionsWho are the British & Irish Lions?

Every rugby player dreams of one day representing their country at the highest level – it's that sort of game.

Rugby Union's greatest event is held every four years when the Rugby World Cup takes place and there is a great competition between countries wanting to the host that event.

But there is one other jersey which rugby players strive hard to earn – it’s the red jersey of the British & Irish Lions which is worn with immense pride with all who earn one.

The Lions is a combined team selected from the four "Home" unions - England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

The first rugby team from the British Isles visited New Zealand in 1888, but this was apparently a team of cricketers and rugby players who also played Australian rules during that part of their tour of Australasia!

British Isles visit New Zealand in 1888

The first official tour from the British Isles was in 1904 but it was not until the 1930 tour that a proper organisation was set up by the British and Irish unions to provide protocols for future tours. Over the years the combined British & Irish team set up a regular pattern of separate tours to Australia and South Africa as well as New Zealand. This eventually settled into a regular pattern of a tour every four years to one of the countries, so that each country received a visit from the Lions every 12 years. This 12-year gap serves to add excitement and anticipation to New Zealand every time the Lions roll in.

Eden Park Auckland

Eden Park in Auckland is the venue for three games, including two test matches. The third test will be played in Wellington and the other games of Lions are against New Zealand's Super Rugby teams, the Provincial Barbarians and the Maori All Blacks.

With over 20,000 visitors expected accommodation will be pretty tight, but there will be time for visitors to travel around this beautiful country as they watch our own beautiful game!


No Room at the Inn?


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Auckland visitor numbers are increasing hugely this month as entrants, officials, and supporters of the World Master Games 2017 descend on the city. The organisers of the games say that there will be over 25,000 participants, from more than 100 countries competing in 28 different sports.

Many participants and teams are already here and using our wonderful beaches and parks to get their fitness up-to-date so they are ready to perform to their best in this great community event. Overseas visitors especially will be interested in aspects of Maori culture all around them - and especially at formal welcome ceremonies.

World Master Games 2017

An analysis of the hotel sector last year found unprecedented demand for rooms in Auckland and warns that chances of finding one will get even tougher this year when major events, such as World Masters Games and the Lions Tour, come to the city.

These visitors can't help but notice all the tall cranes throughout the central area - and will correctly assume that we are in the middle of a building boom - with offices, residential apartments and hotels in construction.

lighter quay

This hotel shortage will take time to catch up to demand - but many media are reporting that there is NO accommodation left in Auckland for the World Master Games! Well, it's tight - but there are many different types of accommodation available, many of it as private home stays, and some sports clubs are creating temporary space in their club rooms. But there are also vacancies in serviced apartments in the city centre. Just keep looking!   Auckland is looking forward to welcoming you.

Despite the negative and inaccurate press - THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM somewhere in Auckland for our visitors.  

The mammoth task of preparing for the Games involves countless hours of voluntary work, not just the organisation of all the events, but also the hugely important job of packing the competitors individual back-packs - all 25,000 of them!

Preparing for the World Master Games

 


Critical Shortage of Visitor Accommodation in Auckland


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The popularity of New Zealand as an international destination, and in particular its major city, Auckland, has built up tremendous pressure on the city’s accommodation stock.

To meet current and future demand a record number of new hotels are either planned or under construction to provide for this much needed accommodation.

Critical shortage of visitor accommodation in Auckland

A recent market analysis stated, "Despite Auckland’s large hotel inventory, strong growth across all of Auckland key tourism segments has resulted in a critical shortage of hotel rooms during peak periods and consistently high levels of demand outside these periods".

Visitors have a wide range of options in hotels, B&Bs, rental apartments, serviced apartments, right down to camping grounds, backpacker lodges, and, of course, family accommodation.

In addition to visitor accommodation Auckland city is also expanding its residential stock with several new apartment blocks under construction to meet a growing population and a shift to renting as opposed to owning.

New accommodation in construction at Auckland

As in most major cities, house prices have been climbing which has led to an increase in investment in the apartment market to cater for a growing demand for rental properties. Rents are also rising as rental properties are snapped up by both owner-occupiers and investors.

Auckland is a vibrant, multicultural city and is attracting record numbers of visitors and new residents, and, with strong economic growth, is proving very attractive to property investors.


World Masters Games 2017


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April in  Auckland this year is the place to be if you enjoy your sport - as either a competitor, supporter or spectator. the World Masters Games 2017 offers a festival of competition and excitement in one of the world's favourite destinations.

The Games is the largest multi-sport event in the world and features 25,000 participants from 100 countries.

The event includes 28 sports and 45 disciplines from dragon boat racing to archery, and orienteering to athletics.

World master games 2017

The World Master Games is recognised by the International Olympic Committee:

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport in accordance with his of her needs.”

(Olympic Charter, Fundamental Principles)

The Games, while still highly competitive, are above all, a festival of human endeavour of all ages and abilities.

world master games 2017

 

But you don't have to be old to compete - well, unless you think 30+ is old.

 

world masters games 2017

 

So if you're thinking about being part of the Games Community be quick, registration closes on Friday 3 March - but if you wish to find some accommodation why not stay in a private apartment right in the middle of Auckland itself.


Auckland Anniversary Day


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Auckland Anniversary Day is  celebrated annually and always includes a variety of events in and around the city and especially on the Monday on the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour.

The holiday usually falls on the Monday closest to 29 January, the anniversary of the arrival of William Hobson, later the first Governor of New Zealand, in the Bay of Islands in 1840. In a tradition dating back to 1842 the day is celebrated by a major regatta on the Waitamata Harbour which features literally hundreds of boats.

AH Reed records in his The Story of New Zealand that there was a whaleboat race between the harbour-masters men and visiting sailors for "a purse of five ponds". Reed also mentions a "native war canoe race", a feature we still have today in the waka race.

.As a yachting event it pre-dates the more prestigious America's Cup by 11 years.

Auckland Anniversary Day

Hobson's barque, the Anna Watson, arrived in Auckland Harbour on 15 September 1840 and proclaimed that Auckland would be the capital of the new colony of New Zealand.

A foundation ceremony took place at 1:00 pm on 18 September 1840, on the higher ground at the top end of present-day Queen Street. Hobson named the new settlement in honour of George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, a patron and his friend. The New Zealand Government Gazette announced royal approval of the name on 26 November 1842

The first immigrant ships sailing directly from Britain started to arrive early in 1842. From early times the eastern side of the settlement remained reserved for government officials while the settlers, mostly mechanics and artisans,set themselves up on the western side, in areas like Freemans Bay. 

Auckland Anniversary Day

As the city grew, so too did the regatta until it gained the reputation for being one of the biggest one-day regattas in the world.

Nowadays the Regatta attracts a huge fleet of vessels including, tall ships, gaff riggers, sloops, racing keelers, multi-hulls, sailing dinghies, radio controlled boats, waka ama, elegant sea scout craft, perfectly restored classic yachts, an armada of over 20 vintage tugboats and America’s Cup prototypes.

Auckland Anniversary Day

Apart from the on-the-water action a host events ane activities are taking place around the city.

If you plan to visit the city you consider booking serviced accommodation which may be available close to all the action.


Warships on the Harbour, Sailors in the City


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Royal New Zealand Navy Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

Parades of Ships in the Harbour & Sailors in the City

17- 20 November

In 1941, His Majesty King George VI approved the designation “Royal New Zealand Navy” for the regular element of the New Zealand Naval Forces (with Reserve and Volunteer Reserve elements appropriately titled.)

2016 marks the 75th Anniversary of the foundation of our Navy. This occasion will be celebrated with a programme of commemorative events collectively named Operation NEPTUNE.

Celebrations this week include a Naval Review  of the New Zealand Fleet and visiting warships More than 22 nations will be represented at the celebrations including the destroyer USS Sampson,the first American warship to visit New Zealand in 33 years.

Some ships will be open for visitors at the weekend and onshore in the city will be a parade of 1,000 sailors of the Senior Service.

Rear-Admiral Martin says "The Navy is a high performing organisation that the people of New Zealand have contributed to, served in, and been assisted by and this year is our chance to celebrate our national commitment". Many activities are planned for the week, including exhibitions, plays.as well as ships open to the public.

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“While often we are thanked for our service, this year is also a good time to thank New Zealander for their support."

“Whether it’s disaster relief, peace support operations, ensuring that the sea trade on which we depend for our survival can get through, or protecting New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and marine resources, the Royal New Zealand Navy as part of the New Zealand Defence Force protects and serves the causes important to us and our way of life."

“Our ships and our people are called on by partners and agencies around the world to help them resolve complex issues and deliver humanitarian support,”  Rear Admiral Martin said.

 


Sporting Auckland


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Summer in Auckland is all about the Great Outdoors!

Tackle the Harbour Bridge

The Auckland Marathon at the end of October has kicked off a season of sporting extravaganza in New Zealand’s biggest city. The Marathon, now a venue on the world marathon map, includes the special attraction of running up and over the landmark Auckland Harbour Bridge.  Alternatively you can try biking over the bridge as part of Bike the Bridge Event on 13 November.

auckland harbour bridge

 

Take in the Tennis

ASB Classic Tennis Tournament returns again to Auckland in the new year with really big names for both women's and men's fields.

Together, the Williams sisters have been the most dominant players since before the turn of the millennium. They have jointly captured a staggering 120 WTA Tour Titles, 29 Grand Slam titles and 18 Grand Slam doubles titles. As a pair, they have never lost a final at a Grand Slam and they are coming to Auckland!

The confirmation of the number one American men’s player to join the already announced Agut, Ferrer and Isner, adds to what is shaping up as a quality men's tournament.

williams sisters

 

Play Up at the Rugby League Nines

Eden Park is once again the place to be over Waitangi Weekend, with the fourth edition of the spectacular Downer NRL Auckland Nines confirmed for Saturday 4 February and Sunday5  February 2017.

A host of NRL stars  – 49 Kangaroos; 46 Kiwis; 46 State of Origin; 16 Fijians; 6 English; 28 Samoans; and 23 Tongan reps – have graced the NRL Nines over its first three years, and that parade is set to continue in 2017.

“The Downer NRL Auckland Nines has hosted the game’s most notable players – Shaun Johnson, Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen, Semi Radradra, Benji Marshall, Darius Boyd, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Greg Bird, and Robbie Farah – to name but a few,” Duco Events chief executive Martin Snedden said.

“The NRL Nines really is the place where the game’s great players come together as one – and the 2017 tournament promises to be even more star-studded than ever,” Snedden said

Rugby League Nines

 

Marvel at the Masters

The World Masters Games 2017 takes place in Auckland New Zealand from 21-30 April 2017. It's an international sporting competition for athletes of masters age, comprising up to 30 sports played over 10 days. The multi-sport festival is for anyone who loves to combine sport with pleasure. Join us for the World Masters Games 2017 here in Auckland.

The World Masters Games 2017

 

Rugby Rugby Rugby

The biggest sporting event of 2017 will undoubtedly be the British & Irish Lions Tour in June/July. The Lions tour New Zealand every 12 years and the 2017 tour promises to be the best ever with games against each Super Rugby team, the Maori All Blacks, NZ Barbarians, and three tests against Rugby World Champions the NZ All Blacks.

The British & Irish Lions can trace their roots back all the way to 1888 when two English cricketers, Alfred Shaw and Arthur Shrewsbury, arranged a tour that would set the wheels in motion.

Auckland's Eden Park, the All Blacks spiritual home, will stage the first and third tests.

British & Irish Lions Tour

 


Ready to Make your Property a Rental?


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The Auckland Apartment Market is Hot!

With the current trend towards ever-increasing apartment building many owners/investors will be entering the market and looking for a return by way of rental income for all or part of the year.

Rentals may be short or long term, furnished or unfurnished.

There is plenty of demand for long term unfurnished apartments, especially in Auckland.

Short term fully-furnished serviced apartments are set to be in increasing demand to meet a chronic shortage of hotel rooms in Auckland.

Whatever form of rental is envisaged it is critical that presentation of the property to prospective tenants is of the highest standard.

Here are eight tips to guide new landlords on the rental journey.

1. First impressions are everything - clean the property and present it well.  Remove as much of your personal items as possible.

Auckland Apartment

2. Touch up the painted walls, professionally clean the carpet and replace old or damaged furniture - fresh paint, new carpet and smart furniture makes your potential tenant feel at home immediately.  Create the standard so that your tenant knows how you expect them to return the property back to you.

3. Mirrors bring in light and reflect views into an apartment. If you are lacking views from the property use art works to create a view/style within the rooms.

Auckland Apartment

4. Make sure the property has the style in paint/furniture/soft furnishings that is consistent.  Don’t mix styles and try to choose what suits the development, location and size of the property rather than your own personal tastes.  

 5. Make the beds with fresh linen & towels, clean curtains, and set out the home with items that make the benches, kitchen, bathrooms look practical and spacious.

Auckland Apartment

6. If you want to stand out in the crowded market of rental properties you have only seconds to catch the eye of the renter. Make sure your listing photos are emotive and the captions support the image you are wanting to create.  

Auckland Apartment

7. Remember to include the date the property is available from and all your contact details! 

8. If the property is occupied while you are advertising it, rather than reducing the rent to compensate offer an added benefit to your existing tenant such as a complimentary clean prior to open homes together with some added touches as fresh flowers and/or a bottle of their favourite wine.


Auckland Fashion and Food


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August is Restaurant Month in Auckland and we host New Zealand Fashion Week

New Zealand Fashion Week will be staged in Auckland between 22 - 28 August.

Since the initial event in 2001, Fashion Week has become the leading fashion event in New Zealand providing international exposure to many young and aspiring designers, as well as many of the country’s established and well recognised design houses.

The week brings together all facets of the industry to meet, exchange ideas, and discuss upcoming trends for the year ahead.

 

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In recent years young New Zealand designers have been given every encouragement and opportunity to develop their own unique styles and transition them into new labels, all contributing to a growing New Zealand fashion industry which is receiving worldwide recognition and acclaim.

The location for Fashion Week is the Viaduct Events Centre at the entrance to the Wynyard Quarter on Auckland’s city centre waterfront – within a few steps of the water on one side, and an array of bars and eateries on the other side.

 

 

Members of the fashion industry will share with other visitors to Auckland the opportunity to enjoy the huge variety of restaurants around the city during Restaurant Month which has over 100 restaurants offering their own specialty, with a wide and exciting range of themes such as degustation dining, progressive dinners, high teas, social kitchen master classes and the chef dining series featuring amongst others, renowned NZ chefs Sean Connolly and Al Brown.

  

     

 

Auckland's accommodation is usually at a premium during major events, so book your private apartment now.