Tell us about where you’re from.
‘Auckland remains my home from home. It has definitely changed over time, but each year I visit I find the new additions brilliant and exciting. Everyone is so humble and down to earth. The city is surrounded by water; it’s calm and incredibly relaxed. I love the smell of clean air, walking barefoot on the sand, fish and chips, the beach and my grandmother’s house, where I spent most of my time growing up.’
Where do you like to eat and drink?
‘Odettes Eatery is always buzzing. The food, inspired by the Mediterranean and spices of the Levant, is delicious and the decor is very cool. For breakfast, check out Amano. It has lovely interiors and is part of Britomart complex, an excellent destination to shop and eat. Built in and around Auckland’s oldest buildings, it feels modern and full of young start-ups.’
‘Parnell is the suburb where I have the fondest childhood memories. My mother had her fashion business in an apartment set-up here, and we lived above it. It felt like a genuine community: we knew people living in the area so I could call on friends all the time, I walked dogs and babysat for neighbours.’
Where do you go to keep in shape?
‘The top yoga instructors in town are at Studio Red. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley really put this on the map after her visits. I had a very sporty, outdoorsy lifestyle growing up in Auckland. When I first moved to London I used to run a lot. Then three years ago, I started to want a better fitness routine. Running just wasn’t getting me there so I started doing all these different types of training, and it was James Duigan’s Bodyism which finally helped me achieve the results I was after.’
Best place to shop?
‘Iko Iko is the ultimate concept store: it’s filled with so many wonderful New Zealand collectables. Babushka Antiques, in the suburb of Westmere, is also very cute. It’s more like a mini museum. My favourite food shop in New Zealand has to be the delicious Lewis Road Creamery. Its branding is fantastic. I go for Hokey Pokey ice cream with honeycomb toffee, plus the freshly baked bread, butter and chocolate milk are heavenly.’
Any sightseeing tips?
‘A visit to a marae is a must. They are dotted around the city and are the focal point of Maori communities throughout New Zealand. A marae is a fenced-in complex of carved buildings and grounds that belong to a particular tribe or family. Maori people see them as their sacred meeting place. Do try and catch a traditional Maori war dance when you visit; to me, it’s so nostalgic and is one of the best experiences. Maori groups also perform at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.’
Short break out of town?
‘If we leave the city we rent a house on Waiheke Island or in the Coromandel. The idea is to be on the beach whenever you can. Everything is tucked away and isolated. The Oyster Inn on Waiheke Island is simple and wonderful.’
Where is your top place to end the day?
‘There is a small stretch of sand at the end of a residential street in Herne Bay, hidden down a pathway and stairs. It’s teeny-tiny but overlooks endless water and Auckland Harbour Bridge.’
Emilia Wickstead x Bodyism is now available at bodyism.com and Emilia Wickstead’s boutique: 162a Sloane Street, London
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