Matt Heath: From Dunedinite to Aucklander

Publish Date
Monday, 15 April 2019, 10:12AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Is it time to admit you're an Aucklander? Not in the way the rest of the country sees Aucklanders.

Anyone one who takes a chopper to Mudbrick on Waiheke for lunch is an Aucklander in the eyes of a South Islander. That's not we are talking about. This is about being an Aucklander in the belonging sense. You were born somewhere else in the country but you are now an Aucklander at heart.

You might not even know you're an Aucklander. I thought I was a proud Dunedinite until I accidentally outed myself at Eden Park watching the Blues. It could happen to you too.

Fifteen people work in the offices of Radio Hauraki Auckland. They're all New Zealanders but only one was raised in Auckland. There are people from Christchurch, Stirling, Bangalore, Waimate, Wellington, Rangiora, Hamilton and Washington in there.

They live in Auckland but staunchly support their hometown teams. Even the ones who have lived here for decades, who own houses here and have multiple kids here don't call themselves Aucklanders.

How long do have to be here before you turn into an Aucklander? Not in a drop-your-kids-off-at-school-in-a-Porsche-Cayenne kind of way. I mean your soul is centred here and not in a booking-a-table-at-Soul-Bar way.

A few weeks back the Blues beat the Highlanders at Eden Park. The whole stadium including me jumped for joy.

Up until that whistle blow I had been a dude from Otago who just happened to live in Auckland.

A slow talking, hardworking, Southern man. My favourite foods were cheese rolls, mutton Pies and chop suey patties from Fairway Takeaways South Dunedin. Now I like beetroot tarts, slow roasted quail and crayfish carbonara.

Celebrating your hometown losing to your new town calls into question where your home actually is. When those celebrations happen in a corporate box at Eden Park there is no doubt you are now an Aucklander.

Two weeks after coming out I'm feeling proud. I haven't told my Dad yet. But hopefully, he accepts me for who I am. I mean his grandkids are Aucklanders and he likes them.

The other day an Uber driver shared a heartwarming story on the subject. He supports New Zealand against every team in the world except his birth country of India.

In a recent 20 Twenty at Eden Park he was celebrating India having beaten the Black Caps. Wearing an Kohli shirt and waving an Indian Flag. Then he noticed his 6-year-old son crying. He asked what was wrong? His son said "we lost".

Confused, he said "no we won". Then he realised his son meant New Zealand had lost. His son's allegiance was with NZ to the point of tears.

There are huge bonuses in suddenly becoming an Aucklander. There are lots of things to be proud of. You can claim the Waterview Tunnel, the Harbour Bridge and the warm weather well into April as your own. Also the resurgent Blues, the Sky Tower and higher than national average wages.

When you become an Aucklander you can take credit for the beautiful Northern Beaches, Rangitoto and Piha. You can laugh at the pathetic population size of your ex-hometown. You can rub it in that you work at the head office instead of a regional one.

You can refer to members of your family as backward hicks. Even if they live in Wellington central. When visiting your former tiny South Island home town you can say things to your parents like "in Auckland, we actually have cars and humans on our streets and things to do".

Don't get me wrong, I'll always love the place I grew up. I might pour a crapload of truffle oil on my mutton pie next time I'm down there but Dunedin will always be where it all started for me.

Having said that being an Aucklander is the greatest. You should try it.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission