It’s no secret that everyone fucking hates Aucklanders. Hell, we give all of our suburbs silly pet names like ‘Newy’, ‘Manix’, ‘Taka’, and a personal fave, ‘Titters’ (coined by the lovely people of Titirangi, of course). Even Aucklanders can’t stand Aucklanders. The next time I’m fortunate enough to flee this sad dump of a place—you best bet I’m telling everyone that I hail from cool artsy Wellington.
But, in our (measly) defence, we’ve been through a lot. From the skyrocketing housing market, long lockdowns, the shit show that is AT Transport, to the existence of Grammar boys—Auckland has endured many crises. Luckily, our dashing and generous mayor Phil Goff decided us Jaffas needed a special treat after being brave little girls for so long. On December 15, 2021, the “Explore Tāmaki Makaurau” Voucher programme officially launched, allowing Aucklanders to register for the chance to receive one of 100,000 vouchers that could cover or contribute towards the cost of an experience at an Auckland attraction. The vouchers would be randomly allocated through four monthly draws from January to March.
Winners can choose from an eclectic range of experiences. You’ve got your classic options like mini-golf and Rainbow’s End, but also a few more indie picks too. Ever fancied spending an hour with a car bro skrrt skrrting around Auckland in a Lamborghini for $799? With an individual voucher, Phil will cover a whopping 15% of your modest bill! If riding with Chad as he zooms around at break-neck speeds while mansplaining his Bitcoin stocks isn’t quite your cup of tea—there’s also the option to be ushered to the Clevedon Village Farmers Sunday Market in a luxury vehicle. I know what I’m doing on the Lord’s Day!
But enough of me taking the piss. The fact that the campaign subsidises or even fully covers the cost of individuals and families taking part in a fun activity is pretty noteworthy. Especially after last year’s lengthy lockdowns and the current rise in the cost of living—we’re all deprived of disposable income and outdoor leisure.
Doris, for example, was able to use her individual voucher to score a standup paddleboarding session at Mission Bay with a friend. She found that the booking website not only had many experiences she wanted to try, it was also really easy to use. The only downside was that many of the options, like the wine tours, are quite pricey and out of the student budget, even when the voucher was factored in.
Jenna won a family voucher and went to see the Kaipara sculpture garden in a group of six. She thought the experience was fun but would not have attended if she had to pay with her own money. Jenna also believed that the voucher “wasn’t really worth it” for bigger families as most activities were priced $60 and up and required a minimum booking of three individuals. Although the website offered off-peak tickets, the discount only applied to one ticket and the booking times were during school hours, hardly “appropriate for family time”.
Hayley won an individual voucher but decided not to cash it in. She found that the restriction of two weeks to book was too short of a timeframe. The options were also too similar—many of the more “attractive” options were quickly booked out, leaving choices she wasn’t too keen on. She states that she will likely book something anyway with her parent’s voucher.
For students, it seems like while the Exploring Tāmaki Makaurau vouchers is a mixed bag, it’s still worth checking out. So, with the campaign’s final draw of winners this month—be sure to keep an eye out in your inbox for Phil’s goodies!