Author Archives: David Thornton

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

 


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.


Anzac First World War Heritage Trail in Auckland


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Auckland Remembers Those Who Stayed at Home

Each year, on 25 April, New Zealand and Australia commemorate Anzac Day to honour those who fell in battle during the many wars and conflicts over the years. The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian troop (Anzacs) on the Turkish Peninsular at Gallipoli.

The story of Gallipoli is part of the Australasian heritage - two young nations going to war together to serve King and Country in foreign lands.

While much has been written of the horrendous battles and campaigns of the First World War, there are no battlegrounds here in New Zealand but there are many sites which are significant to New Zealand’s involvement in the war.

Auckland Council has established a trail of 56 sites between Wellsford and Waiuku that were used during that long-ago war by those who stayed behind and played their part on the home front. The heritage trail includes halls where funds were raised to support the soldiers overseas, schools where kids followed the war on maps, the home of a sailor who won a Victoria Cross…. all adding up to a thought-provoking journey back in history.

It is not a walking trail or intended to be followed sequentially, but is designed so people can visit these sites at their own pace and learn the stories of monuments, rolls of honour, war memorial halls, significant gathering places and more. There will be signs that provide you with information at each site until 2019.

Throughout the the Auckland Region there will be many local commemorations on Anzac Day, the largest of which will be the Dawn Service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

The New Zealand Government has initiated a programme of events,local and national, to commemorate the 100 Anniversary of the First World War [1914-1918 and wherever you travel throughout  the country you will see reminders of the war that established the Anzac tradition.


Property Investment Management


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After months of steeply climbing property prices in Auckland the rate of increase has slowed down and the market is becoming attractive again to the more traditional residential investor. Quality housing is still outstripping supply and investment opportunities are opening up again.

There seems to be demand coming from investors new to the residential market and they need to establish some clear investment priorities when considering entering this market. Generally the choice will be between long term growth or rental return. Houses typically offer greater long term capital gain if chosen well, while apartments generally provide a higher yield for a lower purchase price – in other words, more rental return for the dollar.

New investments in residential property need to be held for at least two years to avoid being classified as trading with consequent tax implications.

Apartments are generally easier to manage and improve because exterior maintenance is handled through the body corporate for the whole building. Every apartment owner in a block is a member of the body corporate and it is important for intending purchasers to acquaint themselves fully with the Long Term Maintenance Plan for building, and check out the AGM notes for the previous three years.

Apartments will be either freehold or leasehold – the latter meaning rent will be payable on the land. While investors will have their own legal advisers it is wise to consult a reputable property management organisation for expert advice on the potential risks and gains of the investment.

Property managers have the necessary expertise to advise investors on rental returns, body corporate and leasehold arrangements, and can put you in touch with appropriate professionals such as valuers, brokers and real estate agents. The managers naturally take care of day-to-day  matters, lettings, inspections and body corporate relationships.

With any property investment, location is the key. As Auckland’s population and visitor numbers grow, congestion also grows and proximity to public transport will be an important factor in both capital gain and strong rental potential.

The growth of Auckland into a truly international city is already witnessing high demand from overseas companies and individuals for quality rentals – and quality rentals demand quality property management.

 

 


Shakespeare Pops Up in Auckland


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London Globe Theatre

A ‘pop-up’ theatre is under construction in central Auckland as the venue for a season of William Shakespeare’s plays. This ‘temporary’ structure marks the 400th anniversary of the famous English playwright.

The Pop-Up Globe Theatre is an exact replica of the 17th century circular theatre built on the south bank of the River Thames in London, England. The circular structure was the venue for which many of Shakespeare’s plays were specifically written.

 

Auckland Pop-Up Globe Theatre 

The Auckland ‘Pop-up’ Globe is a temporary working replica of the second Globe Theatre, which was built on the ruins of the first Globe in 1614. In 1997 a modern replica of the Globe Theatre was built in London a short distance from the site of the original. To accommodate the dimensions of the contemporary theatre, this is a slightly bigger structure, but the spirit of it, and the way it functions, is the essentially the same.

The steel-framed and plywood-skinned theatre will literally pop up behind Auckland central’s Aotea Square, and will stage a rich menu of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and romances, then disappear again in April.

 

 

The Auckland Pop-Up Globe Theatre Programme opens on 19 February with the tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Along with Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, the shows will be presented by the Pop-up Globe Theatre Company.

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Auckland is expecting many out of town visitors for this special event and accommodation is likely to be at a premium.

 


 

 


Tourism is New Zealand's No. 1 Export Earner


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The total number of visitors to New Zealand has surpassed 3 million in the last financial year and that is likely to increase to 4 million within the next 10 years. Most of those visitors arrive through Auckland International Airport with several airlines starting up new services and destinations.

While new hotels are going up, there will still be pressure on visitor accommodation with some experts calling for government and council assistance to encourage more development.

Queenstown, the top tourist destination, can barely cope with accommodation demand and is experiencing ‘one-day fly-in-fly-out’ from tourists based in Auckland!

Most tourists spend a few days in Auckland before moving on to the many beautiful areas of this unique country.

Having secured their accommodation visitors will find plenty to do in the ‘City of Sails’ as Auckland is affectionately known. To freshen up after a 26 hour flight, and to get a birds-eye view of the city, there can be no better choice than a walk to the top of Rangitoto our tame volcano in the harbour – catch a ferry rather than attempting to swim!

You can also enjoy other delights of the Harbour and central city bars and restaurants from your central Auckland accommodation

 


Auckland is Building for the Future at Wynyard Quarter


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Tall cranes abound in New Zealand's international city, Auckland, still referred to by many as The City of Sails which sits on the edges of the sparkling Waitemata Harbour. Those tall cranes are busy constructing offices, shopping malls, hotels and apartment blocks - even a new theatre - mostly within the central part of the city.

Major development activity has been under way since 2011 at the Wynyard Quarter, a reclaimed area bordered on three sides by the inner harbour and the Viaduct Basin, a popular social entertainment venue. Wynyard Quarter is developing as a unique waterside community with its mix of business and commerce, residential and hotel accommodation, open spaces, bars, cafes and restaurants.

                             

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Summer is the time to visit Silo Park, venue for many of Auckland's outdoor events, with concerts, festivals, movies - or just the sheer fun of being there amongst the crowds enjoying the markets or strolling along beside the vessels tied up at the wharf.

If you're staying in an apartment around the Viaduct area  Wynyard Quarter is just a few minutes walk to the west.

 

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