Monday, November 19, 2007


I spent the weekend with my friend pat in devonport which was great. her 2 kids are as adorable as ever and i was in time for harrison's 4th birthday party. it was a rock and roll theme party, so i was drafted to be a member of kiss with joe [my star is on the wrong side for my paul stanley]. the neighborhood kids were all great - aside from pat and Joe's kids (and tim finn’s* daughter elliot) - davenport is a bit like “children of the corn” though. the cultural diversity of auckland hasn’t permeated this hood yet:)
on monday, i caught up with robert and imelda at the hotel duxton to meet with our new distributor for new zealand. his name is kennedy and he took the day off to show us around - which was wonderful. we climbed rocks, hills, volcanoes and visited beautiful surfing beaches like piha. it was exhausting but we didn’t feel bad about being too tired to go out as it was a monday night and not much was going on in auckland.

for nooka, we are only in one shop in auckland, but are in 1 shop in christchurch and 2 shops in wellington. i haven’t been to those 2 cities, but what i hear, they are more urban than auckland though auckland is the largest and most populous city. my impression from my 2 trips here is that auckland is quite hippy and may not be the best market for my products. kennedy is on-it, so i'm sure we'll be in more shops by the end of the year. he's done a lot for just a month.

kennedy set up a meet-and-greet night for us at a cafe/dj cd vinyl/t-shirt shop on ponsaby street for press and buyers. like the event in sydney, very few people showed up which is disappointing after coming so long a ways, but reality check: i am not tom dixon or philip starck.

auckland does seem to be caught in a time-warp...more 1950’s themed things than i remember seeing in other cities. there was one cool shop near the main train station called eon [check] that would be perfect for nooka, but they only feature new zealand based designers.

some things to see if you are in auckland: the museum in the domain has a great collection of maori artifacts and buildings as well as a nice compact natural history collection with great interactive areas for kids [and adults like me]. the national park around the auckland watershed is amazing in the diversity of plant life and the beaches are beautiful [you will need a car]. in the city i had the best indian EVER at a restaurant called tagore in cnr quay [ph: 349 9463]. for great beer/wine/snacks/food, mac’s brewbar on 23-27 nuffield street is a cool environment. order a table platter which includes 3 glasses of wine or 4 beers for around $52nz and you’ll have more than enough to eat for 3 people. also check out the britomart train station, the only central station in the world with no people [everyone drives]!

so now onto the bitching and moaning section for both sydney and new zealand [hopefully someone in those governments AND hotel industry will be searching blogs and read this): modernize your internet infrastructure! australia and new zealand have to be the 2 most difficult [developed] countries to get online reliably and affordably. i had free internet in my hotel in sydney which only worked one day, and the internet at the hotel in auckland was $14.95 for what they called 24 hours but shut down after you reached 25 megabytes of data transfer [up+down]. it was really ridiculous and hardly the service a business traveler has come to expect, especially after japan and hong kong where most hotels offer high-speed at no charge. i think the city governments need to launch free wifi areas in the parks or major pedestrian areas to force the telecoms to bring the prices more in line and moreover, to get the populous connected to the rest of the world.

also, i did realize that if i were to move to auckland, i would need to cover my body in tattoos - robert and i were the only men without any tatts.

mustache update: i’m growing one stellar mustache...i had no idea how big my upper lip is!

* tim finn was a founding member of an early 80s new zealand band called split endz. i was really into them at one point.