Poke­mon mob Mis­sion Bay

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - ALAS­TAIR LYNN

In case you’ve been liv­ing un­der a rock for the past fort­night, Poke­mon Go is tak­ing over the world.

The aug­mented re­al­ity smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tion is send­ing thou­sands of users chas­ing the crea­tures all across Auck­land.

And Mis­sion Bay is bear­ing the brunt of the storm.

The care­fully man­i­cured grass of Sel­wyn Re­serve is be­ing trod­den to a muddy bog un­der the weight of hun­dreds of Poke­mon train­ers’ boots.

But a lit­tle mud is un­likely to stop them com­ing in their droves.

Mitchel Ter-Wei­j­den and Caleb Forsyth trav­elled from Paku­ranga mid-week in hopes of mak­ing some good catches.

‘‘We’ve only been here for 10 min­utes and we’ve al­ready caught heaps,’’ Ter-Wei­j­den says.

‘‘It’s a great ex­cuse to get out­side to so­cialise and get of your com­fort zone, it’s bet­ter than be­ing in­side all day. ea­ger

‘‘Grass is made to be walked on but hope­fully it won’t get too bad,’’ Forsyth says.

Orakei Lo­cal Board chair Des­ley Simp­son says tourist buses have even started show­ing up full to the brim with avid train­ers.

‘‘It’s turn­ing into a ma­jor phe­nom­e­non,’’ she says.

‘‘[Sel­wyn Re­serve] gets a huge va­ri­ety of use . . . we have quite a com­plex man­age­ment sys­tem for our open spa­ces but we may have to look at pro­vid­ing some sup­port if things get busier.

‘‘But I think for the busi­nesses, this is an ad­van­tage.’’

Catch­ing Poke­mon is prov­ing to be hun­gry work and lo­cal eater­ies are see­ing an in­flux of new cus­tomers.

Mis­sion Bay Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Mark Gold­s­tine says it’s of­ten the Poke­mon them­selves that are get­ting peo­ple through the doors.

‘‘They’re com­ing into the busi­nesses and look­ing for [Poke­mon] in there as well as spend­ing some time drink­ing and eat­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘One of the take­aways has done quite well with hordes of peo­ple go­ing in to get hot chips to keep them go­ing.

‘‘It just hap­pened over a day or two and now there’s been hun­dreds of peo­ple if not more down here all hours of the day and night.

Simp­son says the real con­cern is peo­ple stay­ing aware of their sur­round­ings while play­ing, es­pe­cially when it comes to cross­ing Ta­maki Drive.

PHOTO: ALAS­TAIR LYNN AND REUTERS

Mitchel Ter-Wei­j­den and Caleb Forsyth were in­spired by the orig­i­nal Poke­mon se­ries (right).

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