Vi­brant, grow­ing Mt Roskill

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Mt Roskill is one of New Zealand’s most di­verse, evolv­ing and ap­peal­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

Even the sub­urb’s name has an in­ter­est­ing ori­gin. Per­haps the most in­trigu­ing lo­cal le­gend about the ori­gin of the name ‘ Mt Roskill’ dates back to the late 1800s.

Ac­cord­ing to this the­ory, a noted sheep and cat­tle stealer used the moun­tain to graze stolen beasts which may have given rise to the name ‘Ras­cal’.

That early in­famy didn’t hurt though. A news­pa­per report in 1879 de­scribed it as ‘‘cleared, beau­ti­ful, un­du­lat­ing coun­try dot­ted with pic­turesque home­steads and sheen­ing in emer­ald green with all the ver­dure of lux­u­ri­ant crops’’.

Iron­i­cally, it was the Great De­pres­sion that caused a lo­cal pop­u­la­tion boom. The chronic hous­ing short­age of those days led to a con­certed ef­fort by the government in 1935 to house the na­tion. But be­cause there wasn’t land avail­able in the in­ner-city area, ex­pan­sion fol­lowed into Mt Roskill.

Mt Roskill has come a long way since those straw­berry fields days. To­day, it is a mod­ern res­i­den­tial sub­urb that of­fers its res­i­dents and vis­i­tors alike a vi­brant life­style – great neigh­bour­hoods, myr­iad forms of en­ter­tain­ment, ex­cel­lent trans­port, re­serves, parks, as well as sport­ing and fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties.

It is also an eth­ni­cally di­verse com­mu­nity with at least 54 dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties rep­re­sented there, mak­ing it one of the most di­verse sub­urbs in New Zealand.

Over the years, a mix of Euro­peans, In­di­ans, East Asians, Pa­cific Is­lan­ders, and var­i­ous South Asian groups have contributed to this di­ver­sity.

In the past, it was re­ferred to as the Bi­ble Belt of Auck­land, as Mt Roskill re­port­edly con­tains the high­est num­ber of churches per capita in the coun­try.

To­day, at­ten­dance is likely to be higher at Hindu tem­ples and Bud­dhist shrines.

This di­ver­sity has had a huge im­pact on the culi­nary scene, with the es­tab­lish­ment of a num- ber of din­ing and food es­tab­lish­ments that of­fer a global cui­sine.

Many In­dian, Asian and Mid­dle East­ern restau­rants can be ex­plored in the Do­min­ion Rd din­ing strip, but you will find them in other parts of Mt Roskill as well. In fact, the ar­rival of Asian su­per­mar­kets not only of­fers a more ad­ven­tur­ous shop­ping jour­ney but also gives you more op­tions at the kitchen ta­ble.

Per­haps the best thing to hap­pen to res­i­dents in the re­cent past is that the con­nec­tiv­ity has im­proved con­sid­er­ably. With the open­ing of the Air­port Mo­tor­way and the on­go­ing ex­ten­sion to SH-

20, ac­cess has been ramped up.

Along with this con­nec­tiv­ity has come a re­tail boom, with en­tire streets such as Carr Rd and Stod­dard Rd get­ting a makeover. The Stod­dard Rd re­tail cen­tre – which cov­ers a land area of around 10,000 square me­tres – will trans­form the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence for lo­cal res­i­dents. Con­ve­niently lo­cated at the in­ter­sec­tion of key ar­te­rial routes and the new mo­tor­way, the cen­tre is al­ready draw­ing traf­fic.

From ‘ras­cal’ to boom­town, Mt Roskill has come a long way.

Asian at­trac­tion: Mt Roskill is home to a large num­ber of eth­nic groups from Asia.

Re­tail boom: The Stod­dard Rd re­tail cen­tre prom­ises to trans­form the shop­ping scene in Mt Roskill.

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