New Zealanders love to hassle each other – there’s no shortage of jokes about people who live in Auckland, Hamilton, Huntly, Gore and Eketahuna just to name a handful. In such a small country it’s kind of fun to tease other regions and towns, especially when many NZers move around so much. It feels like a big family and when one region or city mocks another it’s a bit like siblings teasing each other.
It’s fair to say a lot of Aucklanders weren’t born in Auckland and that alone lends the city to being able to laugh at itself fairly well.
However in the weather and natural world Auckland lies in an important area, it’s a measuring mark of sorts and sometimes the mocking isn’t suitable – as it takes away from the facts.
So here’s our basic guide to mocking Auckland:
- Traffic problems – definitely yes, worthy of mocking
- Coffee and any discussion around it – yes
- Property prices and something to do with avocados – yes
- Frosty weather – Not worthy of mocking. When Auckland drops to -2 that’s actually quite a big news story in the weather world. Many plants can die or be badly damaged overnight and roads and walkways are never prepared for ice/black ice. If an overnight weather event killed 30% of South Island gardens people would want to know about it!
- News stories about Frosty weather in Auckland – Depends on how they are written but yes can be mocked for sure. No if factual but Yes if a major headline when the overnight low is only 6 degrees, especially painful if you live in places that frequently drop below zero. However sometimes the fact that Auckland only had a high of 9 degrees is newsworthy, as it’s so incredibly rare to have single digit highs in Auckland so the story of why then becomes newsworthy, even for out-of-towners.
- Fog – yes and no. If it makes gridlocked traffic even more gridlocked then yes – but no to mocking if it stops flights and holds up thousands of people. (mind you, the number of times the airport is affected is probably open to mocking and questioning).
- Cost of Parking – Yes
- Cyclone near misses – Probably the biggest no of all. You can mock the newspaper tabloids for hyping the headlines but each time the city misses a direct hit from a cyclone it’s a miracle not a joke.
- Small earthquakes – Yes and no. It’s rare for an earthquake to be felt in Auckland, so understandable that when one happens it makes the news. It’s also understandable why it’s mockable in light of the disasters we’ve seen in this country over the past 100 years. In saying that, one of the last small earthquakes to be felt in Auckland was just 2.9 but felt by many thousands and was terrifying for some in light of what had just happened in Christchurch (esp for those who had moved from the Garden City to Auckland to escape earthquakes).
- Heat & Humidity – Yes and a No to mocking. Yes in international circles Auckland isn’t a hot city to live in (even in Summer) so when people are “sweltering” and it’s only 27 degrees that is mockable. But what many residents in eastern and southern inland New Zealand may not realise is that a 30 degree day in Auckland with high humidity can feel hotter than a dry mid 30s day for them. The “feels like” temperature, based on New Zealand norms, can be quite high and uncomfortable in Auckland in summer even if the air temperature might seem ‘mockable’ compared to other places that win the “today’s highest temperature” on the TV news at night.
- Auckland Weather News coverage – Again yes and no. A lot of people do wonder “Why is this weather story about Auckland even a news story?”, but when you consider nearly 1.5 million people live in one area even a fairly benign story about showers could be interesting. But this is probably in the ‘definitely mockable’ category and it 100% depends on how each news outlet handles it – and, most importantly, if the facts warrant the headlines or placement of the news story.
- This story – Well it’s so Auckland-centric it’s ripe for being mocked too. But we still hope you get our points – there are some weather and natural disaster measurements that can be significant and important when they occur in the Auckland region…even if not all Kiwi’s want to hear about it each and every time!
– By head forecaster Philip Duncan who grew up rural but has spent 17 years and counting living in Auckland, WeatherWatch.co.nz