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Located at the heart of Auckland’s central business district, Ponsonby is a suburban area well-known for its chic restaurants, upscale fashion boutiques, trendy bars, and vibrant nightlife. The current Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, amongst many other high-profile personalities, are known to frequent Ponsonby’s chic establishments.
Ponsonby first grew as a lower-middle-class residential area. The national economy was in a state of crisis, leading to rent and property value decreasing drastically in the suburbs west of Auckland, including Ponsonby. The low rent and property values attracted many new residents looking for low-cost housing. This new wave of residents included many Pacific Islanders, students, artists, and musicians. Ponsonby also grew as a hub for LGBT culture during the 1970s. This vibrant blend of cultures intermingling gave rise to a culture unique to Ponsonby. It cemented its reputation as one of New Zealand’s most happening areas.
After the extensive gentrification during the late ’90s saw many of the suburbs initial inhabitants move out as a result of increased rent and hike in property prices. The area began to lose its ‘edgy’ nature and adopted a more mainstream-friendly image. Posh, up-market establishments took the places of cheap eateries that lined the streets, and Ponsonby became one of Auckland’s most polished and premium suburbs.
The Three Lamps area of Ponsonby is so called because of a large, gas-lit, three-pronged lamp that used to occupy the intersection of Ponsonby Road and Jarois Road. This was demolished during the 1930s as it was viewed as a traffic hazard. It was rebuilt and inaugurated in 2012, to much fanfare and is now a landmark of Ponsonby.
Ponsonby has become home to New Zealand’s most exciting culinary scenes, with many contemporary and sophisticated establishments lining up and down Ponsonby Road. Ponsonby’s eclectic demographic is reflected in its culinary heritage, with up-scale, fusion restaurants characterising the suburb. A thriving cafe culture has also led to the proliferation of many coffee-shops around the area. Cocoro, an Asian-fusion contemporary Japanese restaurant, is sure to win you over with its elegant decor, minimal-fuss, and sophisticated menu. Burger-Burger Ponsonby is not your average burger joint and features some of New Zealand’s most sought-out burgers.
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