Jo is the Fish Market and Auckland Seafood School Manager at Sanford in Wynyard Quarter. We spoke to her about how the area has changed and what to look for when buying the freshest fish in Auckland.

What do you like about your job? 
Easy….all the fresh New Zealand seafood.

Does the fish at the market come straight from the boats I can see out there? 
Absolutely. Despite all of the new construction around it, Wynyard Wharf remains a working wharf.  The fish is off loaded during the middle of the night then loaded into the auction chiller ready for the buyers to arrive - you can’t get fresher than that! 

What’s your top tip for visiting the Auckland Fish market?
I would highly recommend getting up early and coming down to the Fish Market at 6am - grab a coffee from the café and watch the morning fish auction. You get to see hundreds of fish being sold to restaurateurs, fish shops and agents buying on behalf of supermarkets. The auction is Dutch style whereby the auctioneer begins with a high asking price, which is lowered until a buyer accepts the price – it’s very fast pace and fascinating to watch. It’s open for public viewing - you have to be registered to take part in the auctions themselves, but everyone can buy fish from the market afterwards.

What should I be looking for when buying fresh fish? 
A fresh fish smells of the sea but should not have a strong odour, It is firm to the touch rather than soft and mushy.  The eyes should be bright, clear and shiny and the gills bright red.  The scales (if any) should be intact and plentiful.

Got any favourite events in the city you like to do with friends/family?
I really enjoy the Silo cinema season, relaxing on a beanbag watching the movie under the stars.  I try to taste something new each time from all of the food stalls available. There are new events happening in Wynyard Quarter every week but my favourites are the free yoga, and art displays. Upper Queen Street also continues to be a wonderful eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, bars, theatres, comedy club and shops plus the events around Aotea Centre brings the area to life.   

What’s it like working down in Wynyard Quarter? 
The area has grown up around us, which has been awesome to watch and be a part of.  We are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to dining, cafes, parks and playgrounds, enjoying the sun by the water, markets, and of course walking across the bridge to the Viaduct – so many choices. There’s also nothing like seeing Orcas swimming up the harbour - doesn’t happen often but spectacular when it does. The best concept on the other side of the walking bridge is the container library! A great way to relax is to sit in the afternoon sun in their outdoor area and read a good book. 


What is your favourite restaurant?
I cannot seem to go past Baduzzi at the moment – delicious food, great service, lovely wines… and 5 paces down the road.Their meatball options are a must - crayfish, wild deer, hot smoked beef or lamb and wild thyme…hard to pick so try them all. 

How has the area changed over the time you’ve been here? 
When I first started at the Seafood School 8 years ago, there was not much around us at all.  The area directly opposite the Seafood School (now a carpark, basketball court, playground and Wind Tree sculpture) held tanks.  They were progressively removed which opened up an amazing view through to the Harbour Bridge and out west. The area is continuing to grow with all the current developments happening and the new plans for the area that includes a hotel, apartments, art centre, and playgrounds.


Last updated: 21 August 2020