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Why I Love The Shore

Gavin Leonard is Senior Constable at Takapuna Police Station. He lives with his wife and two children in Northcote Point. Having lived on the Shore for nearly 20 years and worked here for seven, he’s well known in the community and constantly has people beeping their horns at him as he wanders the North Shore streets. This month, Rachel Ramsay quizzed him about why he loves his life on the Shore.

Why I Love the Shore with Gavin Leonard

How long have you lived on the Shore?
I moved to the Shore when I first met my wife in ’93 or ’94, so that would make it almost 20 years. She was living here, so we moved in together and then we bought a house. Now that I’ve lived here I don’t know if I could see myself moving over to town again!

What’s your favourite North Shore restaurant and why?
There’s quite a few. A really good place that I love and go to a lot, not necessarily to eat but for coffees and that sort of thing, is Al Forno in Takapuna. The people that run it are really nice and it just so happens that they also have really lovely food. The atmosphere is great. It’s like going to someone’s house, they’re really friendly, the service is always good, the food is always good and they’re always genuinely happy to see you. They do great coffee. And really great special coffees.

Saturday morning North Shore style?
I like to go and get takeaway coffees and then come home and cook breakfast for the family. Poached eggs on Vogels toast is pretty much the best breakfast in the world. Then I just sit down and read the paper outside. We’re involved in quite a lot of sport on Saturday afternoons, so we just relax and get ready for that.

What’s your favourite North Shore beach and why?
I’d have to say Takapuna because this is where I work and I’ve always loved Takapuna beach. Growing up I always used to come over here. The angle of Rangitoto from Takapuna is just superb. And on a good day, I go down there and have a look and think I’m very lucky to be working so close to this beautiful beach. It’s just so damn nice. I’m quite into fishing too, so I’ve often launched boats from there. I have a lot of good memories on Takapuna Beach.

Where do you go to relax on the Shore?
Often on Sunday mornings I’ll come down to Takapuna and wander the markets, do a bit of fresh fruit shopping, grab a coffee and walk around, search through the record bins and see if I can pick up some good albums. We’re quite social, so we like to get out as often as we can and go and get a beer somewhere with friends, or go down to the rugby club, or something like that.

What’s the Shore’s best-kept secret?
The Stafford Road Wine Bar. I shouldn’t be telling you this, because now everyone’s going to go there. It’s just casual music, good wine, a nice relaxed atmosphere in a beautifully done up old building. They make you feel very welcome.

Have you ever found anywhere else that reminds you of the Shore, and if so how?
Yes, I think Manly in Sydney reminds me a lot of Takapuna. It’s got the beautiful beach, the promenade of shops, and you’ve got that alfresco dining – those indoor/outdoor restaurants. Sort of a similar vibe in that it’s a bit removed from the Sydney CBD, much like Takapuna is removed from Auckland CBD.

What do you love most about the North Shore?
It’s got everything that I enjoy doing. If I want to go out to a restaurant, I’ve got top quality restaurants and I love the markets and that kind of thing. I live and work on the Shore, so traffic is never a huge problem for me. Also I’ve got friends that live on the Shore, my kids go to school here, and it’s so handy because if I want to go to town, it’s five minutes away.

by Channel Editorial