Kingsland: The world’s 43rd coolest suburb (Image: Archi Banal)
Kingsland: The world’s 43rd coolest suburb (Image: Archi Banal)

SocietyOctober 12, 2022

Comparing the glowing international review of Kingsland with reality

Kingsland: The world’s 43rd coolest suburb (Image: Archi Banal)
Kingsland: The world’s 43rd coolest suburb (Image: Archi Banal)

Time Out has named the central Auckland suburb of Kingsland as one of the world’s ‘coolest neighbourhoods’. So why did they use a photo of Britomart?

New Zealanders love having our country represented on the world stage, at least until we remember our tall poppy syndrome. So it was with much joy that various news outlets today proudly shared the news that London-based magazine Time Out had listed the Auckland suburb of Kingsland as one of the world’s coolest. 

Coming in at a respectable 43rd, the inner-city suburb is wedged in between Ubud in Bali and Haut-Marais in Paris (not geographically, I mean in the article). It’s a success worth celebrating, and I have little doubt that Kingsland deserves its prestigious slot. However, it seems that Time Out’s writers are a little bit out of date, and the accompanying blurb makes a few, let’s say hyperbolic claims, and technical errors, about the suburb.

As a former Kingsland local, I’m outraged. In celebration of the real Kingsland, the Kingsland of 2022, let’s compare Time Out’s out of time review with reality.

That’s… not Kingsland

Ah yes, Kingsland, famed for its ferry terminal and high rise office blocks. This is very much a photo of Auckland’s downtown Britomart ferry terminal.

Why not include a photo of the iconic Portland Buildings? Or if you’re after a snap of public transport, the Kingsland train station (as close to a ferry terminal as you’ll get).

No ‘flashy franchises’?

I admit it’s a stretch to call Cartridge World “flashy”, but I felt a pang of pain reading the sentence: “Inner-city Kingsland is centred around all things local – you won’t see flashy franchises here”. Justice for Cartridge World! Justice for Domino’s! Justice for The Bottle-O! What more flashy franchises could you need?

Geography matters

Time Out suggests people try the craft beer “brewed onsite at the Urbanaut Brewing Co” – which is very much in Morningside (though it does itself claim Kingsland status). Similarly, Eden Park – which allegedly “offsets the general bohemian vibe” of Kingsland – is technically in Mount Eden. But who even needs to pay to go to Eden Park when you can easily glimpse a sliver of the action at the stadium from one of the many bars alongside New North Road.

Kingsland’s main stretch (Photo: Toby Morris)

‘Kingsland’s eclectic food scene is second to none’

It’s true that Kingsland caters to a wide range of foodies, and I will be a lifelong advocate for the likes of Canton, Umu and Petra Shawarma – but nearby Balmoral and Sandringham, just for starters, might have something to say about the claim that Kingsland’s “eclectic food scene is second to none”.

‘The rakish Portland Public House’

“At the rakish Portland Public House, you can groove to Auckland’s best local bands,” proclaims Time Out. Rakish, meaning “slightly disreputable”, is an insult to this fine establishment and its lengthy drinks list – even if it is being used as a compliment here. However, arguably the bigger stretch is Time Out claiming it’s where you can “groove to Auckland’s best local bands”. Have they never heard of Karangahape Road?

‘Best things to do in Auckland’

At the bottom of the Kingsland piece you can click through to another Time Out listicle titled: “The 11 best things to do in Auckland”. Number six? Visit Takapuna. Number seven? Visit Ponsonby and Karangahape Road. Number eight? Visit Devonport. Sadly, the world’s 43rd best suburb, Kingsland, doesn’t even crack this list of Auckland’s best. 

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