The Spinoff Reviews New Zealand #58: Driving east down Peach Parade

We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today, Toby Morris casts a critical eye over Remuera street Peach Parade.

In the great cosmic list of pleasurable ways to spend time, ‘driving to the eastern suburbs of Auckland’ isn’t that highly ranked. But, it has to be said, it isn’t as low as you might think either. The main reason: Peach Parade. Just saying that name makes me smile. Peach Parade. Peach Parade.

Peach Parade (there it goes) is a short residential street in Remuera connecting busy Green Lane East with the also endearingly named, but quite not as endearingly named Ladies Mile. It runs along the back of the Ellerslie race course; on one side are houses of some description that I admit I’ve never looked closely at, and on the other is a patched up green corrugated iron fence. But it’s not all bad news in the looks department: it may have only have 50% of the houses of a regular street, but Remeura is famously a leafy suburb, and Peach Parade doesn’t disappoint there. The street is lined with a smattering of assorted trees and in the right season you may even catch some kind of pleasant pink cherry blossom type of action. I’m not a botanist, ok?

In terms of function, Peach Parade is a pleasant retreat. Green Lane can be a grind – and on days when it’s heaving with traffic it can be downright stressful. I’m not anti-Remuera, but I’d rather keep moving through, you know? So turning right away from the fracas and down the gentle slope of the first segment feels like a welcome relief. The road then straightens and the pace quickens and the wonderful name and the sense of problems melting away combine with the trees and the charmingly ramshackle fence to create a sensation that I think is called joy. If you’ve ever played Mario Kart, you may picture Peach Parade as a kind of feelgood bonus level, bright and cheerful, abounding in power-ups and easy corners. You might even picture the music that would play – cruisy yet jaunty and vaguely reminiscent of an imaginary sunny southern European holiday. Mario and that mushroom headed guy give you a thumbs up as you gently sail pass them. Even Waluigi is chilling.

It’s true that there are other good street names. Last week I tweeted about my love for Peach Parade and people mentioned Ace Place, Westward Ho Road, and Moonlight Drive. I like Sombrero View too. Those are all certainly top shelf quality names, but they don’t make me feel like this.

Before you know it, you’re back up a gentle slope again and turning into Ladies Mile. Things are going to be okay. The length of Peach Parade is perfect. It’s long enough to be effective, but not too long that the pleasure wears thin or outstays its welcome. It’s more than a tease, but still tastefully short. Satisfying, but somehow still a rare delight. Kind of like a peach. Or a parade. Bravo.

Verdict: A juicy celebration in a concrete fruitbowl

Good or Bad: Peachy


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