Olly: for coffee, doughnuts + discourse

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Someone probably made a joke…. Typical Grace face.


Today was a bit of a roll down memory lane for me, as I spent some time with one of the first journalists I ever worked with: Sarah. I also met her lovely friend Sophie, so I suppose the trip down memory lane was also filled with aspects of ‘newness’

We decided to have our catch up at Olly, a cafe in Mt Eden.

The cafe was created and is owned by impeccable young people, they opened Olly with a little bit of help from the paintbrushes of Toni Gill, Bryson Naik and Jed Richardson who manifested Olly’s mural which by now has probably featured in many-a-Instagram-picture. 

However, it’s not just Olly’s coffee, art + doughnuts that prove compelling (thanks mates for putting my coffee in a takeaway cup, by the way, overly tight muscles, and holding small cups does not work out well) but it’s also the culture of the establishment.

All of Olly’s creators are by their very natures creative, which makes the culture of Olly all the more authentic. Olly is a place of creativity, expression, and discourse. One of Olly’s masterminds is Chlöe Swarbrick who ran for Mayor of Auckland last year and is currently running for a seat as part of the Green Party.

While another of Olly’s formative members is a model, producer and one of the faces behind progressive label Small Fortunes. Creativity and discourse of all kinds are favoured and harnessed at Olly.

There is nothing more important than having an active culture of both discourse and creativity in all areas of our society, sadly Jed Richardson cannot turn all areas of the world into an off the chain mural, the culture of Olly cannot follow us everywhere we go, but we can turn all areas of the world into places for art and discussion, for activism and conversation. It is up to us, as individuals to follow Olly’s lead.


“But, Grace… How do we do that.” 

You do that, by talking about things that matter to you.


I know as young people it can sometimes seem utterly hopeless to even try to be culturally aware and active in aspects of society, but it is fundamental. I know that when you’re young and you find something that you know you’ll love to do for the rest of your life, it can feel hopeless because it can feel like nobody else shares that same drive, but when it comes to culture. It is never hopeless and it is always necessary.


I know, that when you’re young it’s easy to feel like you shouldn’t talk about it [whatever it is] because when you do, it doesn’t feel like anyone who matters is listening, but I promise you that even if by osmosis everyone who you speak with and to does listen to you and does take in what you say, sharing your passions is equally as important to do – with people who don’t think the same as you, because you might have a positive effect on their lives and not even know it.

Every place is a place for discussion or discourse of some kind.

If you haven’t found a topic that you really want to sink your teeth into the discussion of, then I recommend doing one thing: reading. It doesn’t have to be novels it can be as simple as having a read of the Stuff.co.nz homepage or the NY times articles in Paperboy or even something from HypeBeast.


Again.. Typical Gracie face

Reading, anything you can allows you to at least develop cultural understandings and helps you form your views to eventually find your passions. Start with reading about something you like and go from there.

The culture of Olly is our culture too. Read, talk, discuss… Once you’ve done this in the world, go and do it at Mt Eden at Olly too.


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