What does your town’s slogan say about you? Tara Ward finds out.
Nothing represents a town’s identity better than a catchy marketing slogan. Take a road trip through Aotearoa and you’ll drive past signs proclaiming things like “Ohakune, where adventures begin”, “Milton, town of opportunities” or the delicious “come and taste Te Puke”. A good slogan is a one-line literary masterpiece that sticks in your memory (like “of course you Canterbury”) while a dodgy one can tarnish a city’s reputation forever (Auckland A? Auckland, no).
To do our bit for local tourism, we’ve narrowed down our weirdest and most wonderful town slogans from the past, present and future. Please note this is not an exhaustive list, and if you’re annoyed about the towns we missed, please take a trip to Naseby: 2000ft above worry level.
Timaru: Touch, taste, feel Timaru
Turn on the taps in Timaru and all that comes out is raunch. Who knew Timaru was such a city of hornbags? First launched in 2006, this saucy slogan captured hearts and tongues until some locals reportedly started adding “lick” to the signs. In response, Timaru replaced it with the far less provoactive “affordable, accessible… just plain awesome”. Put it on your Tinder profile, tattoo it across your heart.
Foxton: The fox town
Somehow this slogan manages to be both a boldfaced lie and an undeniable truth. Despite having zero foxes, Foxton is still the fox of towns. Don’t Fuckton with Foxton.
Dunedin: A pretty good plan D
Big D energy here. This slogan was aimed at New Zealanders who couldn’t travel overseas during the pandemic, because who doesn’t want to be the fourth choice of places to visit? More modest work from the city who also bought us the memorable “it’s all right here” campaign, and I dare you not to belt out the chorus of this iconic Dunedin banger.
Featherston: If you lived here, you’d be home now
Can’t argue with the science. Five stars.
Ashburton: Whatever it takes
This is the desperate commitment we expect from a town slogan. Ashburton made it clear they would go to any length for our approval, until the town got sick of itself and decided they’d rather do nothing than everything. They have since given up on words entirely, instead preferring a single “A”. A-mazing.
Dannevirke: Take a liking to a Viking
Raise your axe and let out a primal scream for the town so determined to make us like a vike that they proposed building a 10 metre high Viking statue at a cost of $180,000 (approximately nine billion dollars in today’s money). Notorious wet blanket Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand says Dannevirke’s welcome sign plays on “warlike Viking stereotypes which have little connection with the 19th century immigrants who came to clear the bush and establish farms”. Oh well, at least it rhymes.
Hutt Valley: Right up my Hutt Valley
Surely one of the world’s top three renowned valley phrases, alongside the curious “how green is your valley?” and the perturbing “valley of the shadow of death.” Get it up ya, New Zealand.
Woodville: It’s all good in the Wood
“It’s all good in the Wood” beat “Funky Junction” and “Woodville: Highway Haven” in the town’s recent vote for a new slogan. Carry on, Woodville. Carry on like the heroes you are.
Auckland: Auckland A
Auckland is a slogan slag, having shopped its way around a variety of rebrands in recent years. There was the classic “City of Sails” in the mid 1980s, “Auckland A” in the 2000s (which encouraged Aucklanders to make their hands into an A shape while still expecting to be taken seriously by the rest of the country), “Big Little City” and “The Show Never Stops”. Frankly, it’s a crime that “Rock the Dock” never took off.
Balclutha: Big river town
The good folk of the south have no time for complicated slogans, and simply say it like it is. There’s a big river. And there’s a town. Big River Town.
Stokes Valley: Better than you imagine
Applaudable optimism and positivity here. Stokes Valley wants us to know they will always exceed our expectations, regardless of whether we think their town is a bit shit or an urban paradise. Absolutely stoked.
Wairoa: The way NZ used to be
No issues here, no further correspondence will be entered into.
Rolleston: Town of the future
This slogan was created in the 1970s when prime minister Norman Kirk dreamed up a plan to increase Rolleston’s population from 1,000 to an extremely chill 80,000. In a strange turn of events, we are now living in the future, which makes Rolleston the psychic slogan equivalent of Sue Nicholson.
Hamilton: More than you expect
Everyone loves to be mean to Hamilton, but what has Hamilton ever done to you? Nothing, and we must protect that flat, grey city like we are Dannevirke Vikings who just discovered Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. This slogan comes straight from the Stokes Valley playbook, warning us to lower our expectations while also preparing to raise them. Like Auckland, Hamilton hooned down the slippery slogan highway, veering from “City of the future” (nobody tell Rolleston) to “Where it’s happening”. Sadly, the city is yet to embrace one former resident’s inspiring suggestion of “Humongous Hamilton”, which seems like the real issue here.
Tuatapere: The sausage capital of the world
The holy trinity of slogans. It’s memorable, succinct, and most importantly, sausagey.