Why do people hate Waiheke Island?

Popular weekend destination Waiheke Island has been slammed by satirists - and it's unleashed a torrent of hatred for the 'jewel of the Waitemata Harbour'.

Shit Towns of New Zealand (SToNZ for short), a Facebook page with more than 50,000 fans, is famous for its scathing reviews of various locations around the country. From Auckland to Ashburton, Tauranga to Thames, few places have escaped being ridiculed by the page's acid-tongued creators.

Now it's Waiheke's turn.

A lengthy diatribe posted on February 5 blasted what the writer called New Zealand's 'Capital of Conceit'. The veritable essay of contempt called Waiheke a "bizarre dichotomy of stuck-up yuppies and drug-f**ked hippies".

The main target of derision was the island's middle-class inhabitants, for their perceived "casual racism and extreme nimbyism".

"Waihekeans never fail to find something to moan about, whether marina proposals, double decker buses, or the supermarket employing Indians," the post read.

The resentment towards Waihekeans seems to be mostly class-based, with a hint of inter-generational warfare. The gentrification of Waiheke is a sore spot for some Aucklanders who remember the island as a peaceful place before it was, in their eyes, overrun, largely by wealthy property investors and drunken day-trippers. 

Why do people hate Waiheke Island?

It is now viewed by some as an isolated hub of privilege, both financial and racial. Waiheke is a particularly white part of Auckland with 90 percent of residents identifying as European in the last census.

Tensions flared a year ago, when meat enthusiast Sir Peter Leitch allegedly told a young Maori woman that Waiheke was a "white man's island now".

The post provided much-needed catharsis for many people, who unleashed the full force of their scorn in the wildly entertaining comments section.

Common complaints included overpriced wine and bad public transport.

Why do people hate Waiheke Island?

One user penned a lengthy tirade detailing his hatred of Headland Sculpture on the Gulf, a "bi-annual wank fest" in which "ludicrous tat" is viewed by "every gormless piss weasel wishing to contract sunstroke".

Journalist and filmmaker David Farrier is a self-professed Waiheke hater. He despises the place, and he loathes the many yearly travel lists naming it as New Zealand's top destination, preferring the brutal judgment cast down by SToNZ.

"The more I learnt about that hellscape, the more I hated it."

He says his disgust for the island intensified as people began documenting their drunken endeavours via Instagram. 

"I began to notice the sorts of people who went there on the weekend: Piling onto the ferry, getting shitfaced, taking lots of wine-drinking selfies, then later spewing up and hitting the ferry back to the mainland.

"I wish the ferry there was one way. At least then you'd just strand people there and we wouldn't have to ever interact with them."

The island itself is quite nice, he says - it's the people who are the problem. He despises Waihekeans for three primary reasons: "the snobbery, the arrogance, the property disputes".

Some believe residents of so-called 'jewel of the harbour' are renowned for lavish architectural plans or, to quote SToNZ, "blatantly breaching planning regulations so they can build a glass monstrosity perched over a cliff to provide better views of the city they claim to hate."

Waiheke's only redeeming quality is its birdlife, Farrier says, and even that comes with a caveat.

"The way I see it, the birds of Waiheke have wings, so they are not really a part of the place - they are merely stopping by," he theorises.

"Probably to take a shit."

The argument hasn't been one-sided. Some Waiheke residents came to the defence of their neighbourhood in the comments section of the original SToNZ post - although not many, prompting commenters to speculate whether the dial up was working.

Why do people hate Waiheke Island?

Some graciously accepted the criticism without much protest.

Why do people hate Waiheke Island?

Unfortunately, the Waiheke Local Board is unwilling to stand up for its island.

"I regret Waiheke Local Board chair Paul Walden does not want to comment," a spokesperson told Newshub.

"He does not see the need, it's just satire after all."

However Waiheke fan Sir Peter Leitch disputes the allegations against the island.

"Waiheke is a beautiful place, mate," he told Newshub.

"It's peaceful, it's peaceful lovely people, they've got a lovely rugby league team down there, rugby league club."

Mr Leitch couldn't think of any bad things about Waiheke, and hadn't met anyone who disliked it.

"Who's David Farrier?" he asked.

So how do you solve a problem like Waiheke? David Farrier believes he has the answer.

"Maroon them all there, and then sink it. That's your solution for Waiheke Island."