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Week 1: First impressions from our Mannkal student intern

For the next seven weeks we’re lucky enough to have Amy Thomasson, a student intern from the Mannkal Foundation in Perth working with us at the Initiative. In her first blog, Amy shares her first impressions of the Initiative and of Wellington.

Wellington’s got me feeling some type of way

One week in and Wellington has already got me under its spell. Complete with its world-renowned café culture, independent theatres, cable car, street art and tucked away bars, Wellington already feels like a home away from home.

I’m living in a house just outside the CBD, which has given me the perfect opportunity to try a new café each morning (for the record, Milk Crate is winning thus far). Everything is incredibly accessible – much like Perth, the CBD spans only a few kilometres. My list of cafes, bars, restaurants and theatres is ever-growing.

What’s struck me the most since I arrived is just how many different nationalities call New Zealand home, which is unsurprising given how welcoming and inclusive Kiwis are. After my first two days, I’d already met a German, American, Canadian, Bulgarian, and several Brits. It seems to me that Wellington is where the best of all cultures converge, and it’s a pretty beautiful thing to witness.

At the Cable Car museum

In a similar fashion, everyone at The New Zealand Initiative has been incredibly welcoming, and most importantly have introduced me to some brilliant lunch spots. My main task this week has been pulling out key findings and facts from reports that are due to be launched during my time here, turning them into infographics and potential responses to commentary.

It’s been interesting to learn about some of the more unique challenges facing New Zealand, particularly the struggle between wanting to make Auckland a world-class city but also provide affordable housing – the average property value is currently around $1 million NZD. This can be largely attributed to issues on the supply side of the equation, namely government restrictions and a failure to incentivise local councils to increase housing supply. I’m looking forward to learning more about this and many other issues for the remainder of my internship.

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