India tourist hub coming to Papatoetoe
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.