Mount and Tauranga, not one and the same

An aerial view of Mount Maunganui.

A Mount Maunganui local wants to set the record straight about Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.

Max Christoffersen believes the two places are completely different, and would be like comparing Hastings and Napier.

Read what he has to say below.

“You’ll never be a Mountie Max…” 

The stinging comment was made to make a point. 

“You can live here as long as you like, but you weren’t born here, so you will always be an outsider...” 

That was 1985. It was a discussion made partly in jest, partly in truth. The local making the claim of ownership of his patch was right. I’ll never be a Mountie, but I am a local. I live here. 

And while I can’t lay claim to having my birth roots in the soil of Mount Maunganui, I can claim to have strong loyalties to this patch of sand and surf. 

Those fighting words that came from the past have stayed with me for life. 

And they came to mind as national media rolled out the news Tauranga was now New Zealand’s least affordable city for housing, beating Auckland, Queenstown, Hamilton and Napier and even getting close to Sydney. 

The wannabe Mountie in me, the local in me, had one question to ask; Are you talking about Tauranga or are you talking about the Mount? 

Because they are not the same place. 

I’ve had enough of national media and others rolling Mount Maunganui and Tauranga into one amorphous geographic locale. 

Anyone with any long-term experience of Mount Maunganui culture knows that Tauranga is ‘somewhere else’. It’s over there. Tauranga is a mere blip on the inland horizon that tourists pass through to get to the Mount. 

The only thing Mounties have in common with Tauranga is a bridge and that frankly, is too close for comfort. We are a beach town and you, Tauranga, are inland.

Never forget it. You can be Tauranga as long as you like, but you will never be Mount Maunganui. 

So when the news broke that Tauranga is the least affordable city in the country, are we talking Greerton or Arataki or Marine Parade? 

Are national media talking about Tauranga or Mount Maunganui? I imagine the same debate takes place with Napier and Hastings. Close, but not the same. 

So as the news travelled far and wide, with TV reports telling the country that Tauranga was the most expensive place in the country, what footage was put alongside the story on TV and print? Mount Maunganui – Mauao. 

Why wasn’t there a shot of an empty Devonport Road? Or maybe a shot of the closed shop-fronts and business buildings across the city? Or perhaps a photo of Cameron Road traffic stuffed full of Aucklanders escaping the big city rat race and bringing it all here? 

The news it seemed of Tauranga (or is it the Mount’s) rising property prices provided the media platform for journalists across the country to demonstrate their profound ignorance of our patch and the geography and culture differences between the two towns. 

The same thing happened with Rena where evidently the ship ran aground in downtown Tauranga and not out to sea with debris coming ashore on the beaches of Mount Maunganui, Papamoa, Motiti and Waihi Beach. Rena was a Tauranga City disaster evidently.

As the news went further of Tauranga’s inaffordability, media personality Mike Hosking rolled out yet more dubious media sentiments saying rising prices for housing in ‘Tauranga’ is a good thing, as it means things are prosperous. It means things are on the up. It means progress in the regions. 

It means nothing of the sort. 

“Ask Peter Williams...the newsreader.” Hosking said. He commutes.” 

I don’t have to. I know what the nightmare commute in and out of Tauranga is like. I’ve lived it. It adds hours of drive time to people’s lives. It’s time wasted in cars rather than being productive. 

Typically with most national pundits like Hosking they leverage a region’s success off the superficial appearance of increasing revenue/capital values but never include or discuss the costs. 

It is a myth that house prices are indicative of economic good times. There are always hidden costs to progress, often much of it picked up by ratepayers or taxpayers to mask the reality of the tough times in retail or the hidden lower socio-economic suburbs that no one talks about. 

The same dubious logic is also true of the increasing drive for more tourists and our tertiary institutes and universities, where international students bring in big money but have high hidden social and academic costs that are never discussed or acknowledged, until local students can’t find part-time work or accommodation. 

And tourists, please no more tourists who are clogging our roads while Wellington demands taxpayers fork out more for infrastructure upgrades to make our freedom camping sites more pleasant for foreigners to leave their shit behind (literally). 

It may be a good thing for locals to have increasing property values, but it’s a false economy.

Shift from one house to the next and those prices have gone up too. The equity remains the same unless of course you’ve bought a local leaky home built fast to accommodate the growth of the Bay’s population spurt 15 years ago. 

What all this means is that more people are coming to Tauranga/Mount Maunganui/Papamoa. We are part of the problem. 

Local councils have bought the mantra that development is good for us all and the ongoing subdividing of land and new developments brings benefits. The future is bringing more people into the Tauranga Mount Maunganui is good for us all. Yeah right. 

Tell that myth to me again the next time I’m stuck on Hewlett’s Road going nowhere for 30 minutes. 

NOTE for tourist journalists: Hewletts Road is in Mount Maunganui, not Tauranga.

Please note, this is an opinion piece from Max who has lived in area for a number of years.


Yeah Right

Posted on 08-02-2018 16:07 | By triplediamond

Tauranga is made up of many areas including the Mount.So all those thinking otherwise... mate ya dreaming.Lol.


Posted on 30-01-2018 20:28 | By Captain Hottie

Try living in Welcome Bay. The council don’t even consider it part of Tauranga...

@ maildrop

Posted on 28-01-2018 17:32 | By MISS ADVENTURE

You are on to it. All to much of me me me me ... attitude. I think the mount being referred to as a "Subsurb" is an exagerration. It barely qualitfies as a little village as there are hardly any houses tehre and nothing else seems to happen (besides trying to elevate the self created pedestal).

Born at the mount?

Posted on 28-01-2018 16:26 | By Christine1965

How is anyone born in the mount? Apart from home births??


Posted on 27-01-2018 10:54 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Not all right there ol chap, the huge debt not resting fair and square on the whole council area is mostly attributable to the Mount and spending that has gone wild in this area. many huge and costly things: Baywave, Baypark, ASB Arena and related have caused about 50% of the total debt ... they are all at teh Mount - think about it!


Posted on 27-01-2018 08:49 | By comfortablynumb

This article is a load of parochial nonsense.Totally agree with Nick220


Posted on 26-01-2018 18:59 | By Calm down

Hit the nail on the head. How many people could literally claim to be born in the mount..?

Specks of dust

Posted on 26-01-2018 17:49 | By maildrop

Small people in a small suburb of a small town in a small country on a small planet in a small universe and only here for a nano second of time. The need to put a ring round somewhere, claim ownership and say it’s better than over there is very small minded.

Agree with Chris

Posted on 26-01-2018 17:42 | By Angel74

The Mount is a suburb of Tauranga plain and simple, and isnt it far too hot for such a trivial topic.

Same place

Posted on 26-01-2018 14:53 | By maildrop

Small town, small mind mentality. Too much in breeding.


Posted on 26-01-2018 14:15 | By Nick220

Firstly, Not everyone who moves here is from Auckland. and secondly, this "my Town" attitude that seems to plague coastal communities is disgusting and toxic. I’m sorry Max but you are a part of Tauranga. Oh and unless you were born in your living room i doubt many people could claim to actually be born in the suburb of Mt Maunganui


Posted on 26-01-2018 11:02 | By Capt_Kaveman

You know how it feels when someone like me, who is born at the Mount, have our wealth and infrastructure ripped out of your very soul and gifted by the govt to the then indebt Tauranga city,so from 1989 this was the down fall of the Mount, simple things like airport Hewletts loop access road never built, main beach vendors where on the sound shell grass let alone the destruction of it, i will always believe only people who can stand for council are people born there so you dont have the current misfits like now and the past who have their own nice haves and agenda which destroys a regions character

Grrrrrrrr !

Posted on 26-01-2018 10:50 | By MOULTRIE

The Mount was never given the opportunity for a referendum on whether it was to become part of Tauranga.The reason was obvious, the Mount was financially viable whereas Tauranga was up to its ears in debt.We were forced against our will to become part of Tauranga.It hurt then and still hurts for those true Mounties.Wayne Moultrie.


Posted on 26-01-2018 10:03 | By Calm down

It’s not the same as comparing napier and Hastings. They are literally 2 different places separated by k’s of farmland. Tauranga and the mount are separated by a bridge. That’s like saying the north shore is not part of Auckland. I’ve told people I’m from the mount and they think I’m talking about Ohakune. The mount is just a suburb of tauranga (the best one tho).


Posted on 26-01-2018 09:07 | By Chris

Mount Maunganui is quite literally a suburb of Tauranga. Suburbs are a subset of cities, so indeed Mount Maunganui and Tauranga are the same, in the same way that Bellevue and Tauranga are the same.

Well said!

Posted on 26-01-2018 08:35 | By Border Patrol

As a born and bred Tauranga person you have hit the nail on the head with this article.


Posted on 26-01-2018 08:26 | By Calm down

It’s not the same as comparing napier and Hastings. They are literally 2 different places separated by k’s of farmland. Tauranga and the mount are separated by a bridge. That’s like saying the north shore is not part of Auckland. A couple of times I’ve told people I’m from the mount they think I’m talking about Ohakune. The mount is just a suburb of tauranga (the best one tho).


Posted on 26-01-2018 08:11 | By ROCCO

Question why does TCC dump all its rubbish and development on the Mounts doorstep .Most facilities are over here which causes major traffic chaos and overcrowding on what is basically a skinny peninsula slither of land.And we won’t even bother to deal with what the Jaffas do to the place with unwelcome nasty little Auckland habits’. It is no fun any more.

Mount and Tauranga no the same.

Posted on 26-01-2018 07:50 | By ray23rob

I totally agree with your comments, perhaps you should be on the council, the truth hurts.


Posted on 26-01-2018 07:40 | By 82m

Great piece. Best I’ve seen on this site!

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