In­dia tourist hub com­ing to Pa­p­a­toe­toe

Manukau Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - EMILY FORD

Sin­ga­pore has Lit­tle In­dia, Eng­land has Curry Mile, now Pa­p­a­toe­toe will soon have its own In­dian precinct. It’s still in its early stages, but the sprawl­ing strip of Hun­ters Cor­ner is be­ing de­vel­oped as Auck­land’s Lit­tle In­dia.

Hun­ters Cor­ner Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Dis­trict (BID) es­tab­lished the project as part of its strate­gic plan to cap­i­talise on the grow­ing In­dian-cen­tric en­vi­ron­ment in the town cen­tre.

‘‘Hun­ters Cor­ner has be­come known as an In­dian hub for its shop­ping,’’ chair­man Raj Chand says.

‘‘It’s some­thing that has al­ready been given to us so we’re tak­ing it a step fur­ther and mak­ing it more of a tourist hub for peo­ple.’’

Chand has been based in Pa­p­a­toe­toe for more than 15 years. He can re­mem­ber when the first In­dian store opened, and he’s seen how that’s grown over the years. Of the more than 60 shops in Hun­ters Cor­ner, about 40 are ex­clu­sively In­dian cloth­ing stores, he says, with some fran­chises mov­ing there from other parts of Auck­land.

‘‘I think for peo­ple liv­ing here it cre­ates an en­vi­ron­ment that’s more like home for them.

‘‘It’s not only In­dian peo­ple, we see a lot of peo­ple who aren’t In­dian come here look­ing for cloth­ing be­cause it’s be­come more fash­ion­able.’’

While the plan is only in its in­fancy, the BID has al­ready made progress on some de­vel­op­ments to help en­hance the town cen­tre.One of those in­cludes printed roller doors out­side shops with colour­ful im­ages on them of camels, pea­cocks, and the Taj Ma­hal, each cost­ing about $3000 each to print.

In July the tara-Pa­p­a­toe­toe Lo­cal Board com­mit­ted $10,000 in fund­ing to­wards the project through its Lo­cal Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment work pro­gramme. Board chair­woman Lotu Fuli says she’s ex­cited about the project and says it will give the area a strong sense of iden­tity, much like tara and Ma¯ngere town cen­tres.

‘‘It’s giv­ing it a point of dif­fer­ence, mak­ing it al­most like a Chi­na­town but with an In­dian and South Asian feel,’’ Fuli says.

‘‘I’m look­ing for­ward to see the com­mu­nity in Pa­p­a­toe­toe re­ally step up to that.’’

More than 68 per¯Ocent of the coun­try’s In­di­anO¯pop­u­la­tion lives in the Auck­land re­gion, and the ma­jor­ity of those, 14.5 per cent, live in the¯Otara-Pa­p­a­toe­toe Lo­cal Board area.

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