West Auckland epitomises rugged: wild black-sand beaches, bush-shrouded ranges and mullet-haired, black-T-shirt-wearing ‘Westies’. This is just one of several stereotypes of the area’s denizens. Others include the back-to-nature hippie, the eccentric bohemian artist and the dope-smoking surfer dude, all attracted to a simple life at the edge of the bush.
Add to the mix Croatian immigrants, earning the fertile fields at the base of the Waitakere Ranges the nickname ‘Dallie Valley’ after the Dalmatian coast where most hailed from. These pioneering families planted grapes and made wine, founding one of New Zealand’s major industries.