'Auckland is awesome': Local shares interesting experiences around city

7:29 am on 7 December 2023
Kiran Patel from Auckland is Awesome.

Kiran Patel from Auckland is Awesome. Photo: Supplied / Oli Allen

A proud Aucklander who was sick of hearing people complain about the lack of things to do in the city has put his ideas into a passion project.

Kiran Patel has been publishing the weekly e-newsletter Auckland is Awesome for the past year. The project contains a list of things to see that week in Auckland, ranging from poetry readings to vintage markets, and underground music gigs to international theatre.

Patel co-founded Move Space on Dominion Road five years ago, a creative hub that acts as a venue, has music, photography and podcasting studios as well as is a shared working space.

"Auckland is awesome is a newsletter where every Monday I recommend three events, experiences, or things that people can go do or try that I'd like to think makes Auckland an awesome place," he told First Up.

"I've spent most of my adult life running events, doing things in the community in Auckland, and getting involved in a lot of different creative spheres. I've come to love the city so much because of the community that I'm surrounded [by], the vast talent of creators, and also the vast array of food and the vast array of landscapes.

"I probably share all the same gripes that people have with Auckland as well, so I'm not fully kidding myself with that, but I think there's so much to love about this city."

He said he had often heard complaints about the lack of events in the city.

"On the flip side, I found myself being inundated with things to go to and found myself having to choose between a world-class play, and a world-class musician performing down at the Wine Cellar, and an exhibition just up the road that I thought would also be great. I was like, 'hang on, if only people knew what I knew about this city, if I could give them access into this world that exists within Auckland that I've been lucky to be exposed to, then maybe that narrative can change'."

Patel said the positive feedback he received from the newsletter made it all worthwhile.

"It must have struck a chord, because pretty much every time I would post the newsletter I'd get a response back being like 'hey, I'm going to go to that event' or I'd go to the events that I recommend and people would come up to me and say 'hey! I'm here because of you and because of your newsletter' and that would just totally keep me going."

It was a "wonderful feeling" having people engage with the newsletter.

"It's kind of my dorky love letter to the city and I'm just stoked that people enjoy it and find value in it."

Earlier this year, Patel visited New York City, and said the experience only further enhanced his love for Auckland.

"Going to New York and telling people here that you're going to New York, you definitely get this air that it's really on this pedestal of the greatest city in the world, or one of the greatest cities in the world. I've loved it ... however, I just found that I missed my life here, and I missed the cafes and the bars that I go to, and the culture and the community, and the level of humility in people's performances and the diversity of different performances here.

"But ultimately, New York's a great city. There is so much on all the time, and I enjoyed my fair share of $1 pizza slices and world-class comedy. But it was wonderful to come back and miss having been in Auckland, and if anything it kind of fuelled my desire to bring back the newsletter and say, actually, maybe we've been kind of selling ourselves short with the city. New York's a great city, but hell, Auckland is too."