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Best of Auckland — Retail

Where to Shop in the City of Sails

Best of Auckland — Retail

Aug 1, 2022 City Life

Read on below for Metro’s Retail standouts or jump across to:

Food and Drink



39 Tidal Rd, Māngere

Chaotic in the best, botanical way, Roger Hunter’s is the go-to for a garden refresh or filling out empty gaps in your indoor plant collection (especially if you’re on a budget). The eponymous Roger is exactly who’d you imagine: he knows his shit and will send you on your merry way with exactly what you wanted, plus three more. Carve out some time to shop (hunt) around.


We asked Reilly Hodson, writer of weekly culture newsletter Clipboard

84 Pitt St, Newton

“Checks Downtown’s vision of how clothing should look and feel has been shaking up the lo- cal scene for five years, with eye-catching pieces rendered in bright purple or green leopard print, and collaborations with neighbours like Daily Daily Coffee, Flying Out Records and Pici . The centre of the Checks world is its retail space on Pitt St, which has played host to DJ sets, a vot- ing drive for Chlöe Swarbrick and its fair share of burger pop-ups. With its exterior painted in neon orange, you won’t have difficulty spotting it. Head in for a friendly chat with the team, and walk out with a piece that is guaranteed to turn heads.”


For advice here we asked Plenty, an online second-hand and vintage shop that hunts around for its goods at op shops around Aotearoa. @plenty_nz


“In our personal opinion, the best charity/op- shops are the Hospice Shops — most of them are always full of beautiful treasures. There are ones in Birkenhead, Glenfield and Hibiscus Coast which have some amazing retro pieces, and the team do a wonderful job setting up the stores beautifully. Always full of cool furniture, homewares, art glasses and books, and just plain interesting stuff — whether you’re a curious mind or a nifty shopper, they’re stores you want to go in. The staff are lovely too.

Antique & Collectors Market at the Avondale market/race course is pretty cool too — you get a bit of the hustle and bustle of a market and a sense you are really hunting out a gem! You never know when they’re open though, maybe every Saturday at the start of the month. Very cool record collection and just a whole trove of antiques. Cash only, too, so don’t get caught out.”



Ground Level/73 The Strand, Parnell

With a great range (but also a careful curation) of contemporary international designers and brands like HAY, go to the Cult Design show- room in Parnell if you feel like a) dropping major money, or b) experiencing major envy.



312 Karangahape Rd, Karangahape Rd Precinct

An interestingly curated vintage store on Karangahape that also serves up coffee on the side — a perfect excuse to loiter around a little as you window browse around the little nooks and crannies.



Various locations

Still the mid-market go-to.



286 Mount Wellington Highway, Mt Wellington

It may not be the newest or fanciest, but think of it this way: if you had one afternoon to shop for Christmas presents for everyone you’ve ever known, where would you go? The obvious answer is Sylvia Park, which has a little bit of everything, including the big guns, like a brand- new Culture Kings, Kmart, Zara and Mecca. Plus, there’s heaps of food options throughout the complex — think food court and proper-sitdown meals and random food trucks (mid-mall churros!) in between.



6A Kirk St, Grey Lynn

Dreamy colours and flattering cuts. We all want to be a Penny Sage girl (i.e. that girl).



482 Karangahape Rd, Karangahape Precinct

Designer Sarah-Jane Duff started up the label in 2014 after struggling to find stuff that fit with with her aesthetic and catered to sizes 14–24. Beautiful designs and clothing made in Aotearoa.



432 Mount Eden Rd, Mt Eden

Every book-lover needs a local like Time Out, with its narrow wooden shelves of brightly coloured spines, a well-selected collection of covetable books including a strong showing of New Zealand literature, and genuinely warm staff that make stellar recommendations. But beware, we cannot enter Time Out without leaving with books! New bookstore Lamplight, in Parnell, also deserves a mention for its perfectly-formed selection of books on art and architecture and it’s all-killer-no-filler fiction section — it’s probably the bookstore with the highest percentage of books we want to buy.



2 Saint Benedicts St, Eden Terrace

The Hard to Find Bookshop is the Jim Jarmusch version of what a secondhand bookshop should be. It has a labyrinthine quality and sprawls over several rooms in a stately brick two-storeyed house, including some weird little pokey spaces — there are 90,000 books so you can always find treasures, many of which you never knew existed. The Green Dolphin Bookshop also warrants a shout-out for being a well-curated small space, with kind and helpful staff.



Level 1 / 3–9 Railway St, Newmarket

All the comics, figurines and models your heart could desire.



90 Anzac Ave, Central city

Simple, natural, creative bouquets arranged just so, with great lines and a sense of dynamism. Plus, not too many options — just leave it in their hands.



Various locations

You can’t leave here empty-handed. Lots of things to look at, swatch on the back of your hand, and sample, plus the people here are always helpful (and the make-up services are on point).

A special mention: to local brand and online store Aleph, which the winner of our Best Nail Artist category, Tanya Barlow, calls “Fantastic for pros, as well as regular customers. Lovely consistency, awesome eco packaging!”



Various locations

The range!


We asked Zoe Walker Ahwa, co-founder of Ensemble


“I think the success of Juliette Hogan is wildly underrated, because her approach has always been about perfecting simplicity rather than agenda-pushing. JHo pieces are beautiful, well-made, and — importantly — women want to wear them everyday. The Mt Albert-based designer, whose gorgeous workroom is in Morningside, launched her namesake brand way back in 2004, and has quietly but confidently built

a loyal and lucrative following. Juliette knows her audience and has smartly focused on the local market for years, with her own boutiques and stockists around Aotearoa. Her signature painterly prints quickly sell out each season, her tailoring pops up in most Auckland offices (both corporate and creative), and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wears her stuff — a lot. Juliette is not concerned with being ‘cool’ and that in itself is cool: she’s just quietly got on with it, and built something that will last.”

We asked Murray Bevan, director of Showroom 22 


“My pick for best iconic Auckland designer is Karen Walker. Karen has broken new ground for fashion businesses in NZ over the past 30 years, so regardless of if you like her newest collection or not, Karen’s the best because she has created a pathway for designers that didn’t previously exist. Her ability to traverse the worlds of art, fashion and commerce is unparalleled, and the work she has done to inspire a new generation of artists and designers is also unrivalled. She’s the best because she’s so much more than a fashion designer.”


Also Zoe Walker Ahwa, co-founder of Ensemble

@ emmajing_

“Every few years, a new wave of young creatives brings a buzzy new energy to Auckland’s fashion scene and I’ve been lucky enough to witness a few of these now. They’re the small brands that start out in cramped studios, group shows in car parks or art collectives, pushing a new look and representing what New York magazine dubbed

a ‘vibe shift’. The latest group bringing that to Tāmaki is proudly independent with sustainabil- ity a key and almost unspoken part of what they do. Emma Jing is one designer from that wave that I’m particularly excited by. Offering one-off, handmade pieces, her work speaks to the wider (and global) ‘Avant Apocalypse’ micro trend

— layering, draping, neutrals, strappy details, fluidity. Sort of a contemporary version of 90s deconstruction that all the art school kids are into right now. The most successful designers also know to create a signature and accessible accessory, and Emma’s already done that with her ‘hair halos’ or oversized scrunchies. I’m excited to watch her develop.”

Also Murray Bevan, director of Showroom 22 


“My pick for best emerging designer is Wynn Crawshaw of Wynn Hamlyn. Wynn studied land surveying at university, but a project drew him into the arts faculty and from there he fell in love with fashion. Wynn’s laid-back demean- our means his ego never gets in the way of his designing or his brand, leaving the garments to take on a life of their own with the wearer.

In a world where young customers are looking for products that they feel connected to, that are special and not mass-produced, Wynn is a breath of fresh air and has really captured the zeitgeist.”

This feature was published in Metro 434
Available here in print and pdf.


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In the Autumn 2024 issue of Metro we celebrate the best of Tāmaki Makaurau — 100 great things about life in Auckland, including our favourite florist, furniture store, cocktail, basketball court, tree, make-out spot, influencer, and psychic. The issue also includes the Metro Wine Awards, the battle over music technology company Serato, the end of The Pantograph Punch, the Billy Apple archives, a visit to Armenia, viral indie musician Lontalius, the state of fine dining, and the time we bombed West Auckland to kill a moth. Plus restaurants, movies, politics, astrology, and more.

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