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My favourite places with tech entrepreneur Ezel Kokcu

Ezel Kokcu is a 25-year-old tech entrepreneur who has three start-ups under her belt: STQRY, a consumer-facing discover app that helps visitors find and navigate content in museums and cultural institutions that matches their interest and has since gone on to sell to more than 500 organisations in four countries under the rebranded name, Area360, Non-Stop Tix, and her current business, Passphere, an event and ticketing analytics platform that has recently merged with iTicket. Kokcu splits her time between the capital, Wellington, and the big smoke, Auckland, and shares some of her favourite places.

Auckland is one of my favourite locations in the world and seeing it grow into a multicultural cosmopolitan city is so exciting.

Let me paint you a picture: my week usually starts with Mondays and Tuesdays in Wellington where I technically live. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, I start my commute boarding a flying uber (an Air New Zealand plane) to Auckland where I live until Sunday night.

This has been a constant for me for the last six months and now more than ever as we’ve just merged with iTICKET and have an office in Ponsonby. This is perfect as it’s right on the door step of my first favourite place, Ponsonby.

I lived in Seattle for three years and Ponsonby Rd reminds me so much of the art, culture and hole-in-the-wall-cafe scene – a little piece of America. It wasn’t until recently that I found out that the area was known for girls hanging out in their active wear and serving Auckland’s elite at cafes, but I think that adds to the flavour of the area. Some of my favourite restaurants are GoGo Daddy (boat noodles and duck fried rice), Azabu and the myriad of cafes that serve up the best early morning almond milk lattes while I watch the sun start to rise.

My week then fills up with meetings upon meetings in the city, Britomart and Parnell.

Parnell is at the heart of where some of my most important deals and negotiations have happened over the years and holds a memory of a very important time in my life.

I love the industrial settings such as the old textile building, home to Simon & Lee. It’s the best fried chicken joint, and I can say that because I spent four years in the mid-west US, so I know my fried chicken. There’s other favourite eateries here: NSP, Woodpecker Hill and Pasture.  Eating is often  followed by long walks around the neighbourhood taking in the sunsets. It’s the best medium between the bustling and quiet, small and big city.

My week then ends back in Herne Bay where I’ll escape with friends to bars and clubs, winding down from the craziness of the week.

Saturday mornings call for catching up on emails and communication that’s slipped through my now 65 hour work week. Then its often a quick dash down the hill to catch the 11am ferry to WaihekeIsland, my home away from home.

The small island has provided me healing energy since early 2018 after big shifts in my life, and now at the end of fun, but often volatile, weeks. The days are chilled and relaxed. I cook and drink and give myself space to the digest week that’s been. Catching up with one of my best friends who lives on the island is a favourite pastime, with degustation at wineries and wine tastings giving me a nice sense of balance and a place to level out.

Sunday mornings there are more emails to attend to before I explore one of the many walking trails on the Island. Flat white in hand, I love wandering and admiring  the architecture of the old and new houses cropping up everywhere on the Island. I make a quick pitstop at the local fish shop to pick up a dozen fresh oysters, which I’m slowly learning to shuck – a labour of love!

I leave with the rush of the other Aucklanders on the infamous 4pm ferry back to the shore and then off to the airport, where I plug my headphones in until the turbulent landing into Wellington.

I wouldn’t change a thing from my weekly commutes but I wish there were more hours in the day, so I could enjoy more of Auckland. I can’t wait to see where this city will be in the next 10 years – hopefully it’ll have less traffic.

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