Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is New Zealand's largest city, an urban area of over one million people (which is huge considering that New Zealand's total population is about 3.8 million), and supersedes the capital, Wellington, by a lot.
- Where: Auckland is in the North Island of New Zealand, right to the North. It is on the isthmus (named after the Maori Nga Marama chief Kiwi Tamaki) between the Hauraki Gulf and the Manukau Harbour and has many bays and inlets. This area (for a general location) is about where the mainland of the North Island joins onto the thin projection.
- Maori Settlement: There is no precise date of Maori settlement in the area, but reports suggest that there were at least 20 000 Maori of various tribes in the Auckland area before Europeans came into contact with New Zealand (7 October 1769, Captain James Cook on the Endeavour). Auckland has always been the most densely populated area of New Zealand, and was attractive because of its extinct volcano cones (these made excellent pa, or fortified villages). The main pa of the Auckland area were Mount Eden, Mount Albert, Mount Wellington, One Tree Hill and Mount Hobson. The city area was bought by Governor William Hobson from the Ngati-Whatua (one of the tribes in the Auckland area).
- European Settlement: Hobson established the city of Auckland in 1840 as the second capital (the first was Russel, a now very small town above Auckland, and the present day capital is the city of Wellington, which is conveniently located for access by both main islands) of New Zealand. It was consituted a borough in 1851, a parliament existed there in 1854, and in 1871, Auckland was classed as a city. The Province of Auckland was established in 1853, and is the sixth largest province in the country. The European population, however, was not always concentrated in Auckland. Settlers first arrived in Auckland in great numbers, but then the regions of Otago and Canterbury surpassed Auckland in European population numbers in the 1860s and 1870s. By 1900, though, Auckland had regained its title as the most densely populated area of New Zealand, and has held this ever since.
- Why Auckland? Auckland has such a large population due to the fact that it is New Zealand's largest sea port, airport and commercial and industrial trade centre. It is the main tourist gateway of New Zealand, and has a climate that is nearly sub-tropical (although this is classed as 'warm temperate'). Temperatures average at 18 degrees Celsius in summer and 11 degrees Celsius in winter, and it rains a lot (practically every day sometimes), averaging 90mm in the summer and 140mm in the winter.
- Local Government: Auckland was ruled by multiple local bodies (over 20 boroughs and cities) until in 1989 they were consolidated into four main cities - Auckland, North Shore, Waitakere and Manukau (each of these have a City Council). The Auckland Regional Council is responsible for planning, bulk water supply, sewer drainage, the airport and public transport systems, roads, civil defense and reserves. The members of this council are elected during the elections that are held once every three years.
- Areas of Auckland: (this is not a complete reference, as these were the only ones shown on my map - more outlying areas were not included) Birkenhead, Northcote, Herne Bay, Westmere, Point Chevalier, Waterview, Avondale, Mt Albert, New Lynn, Blockhouse Bay, New Windsor, Western Springs, Ponsonby, the Central Business District, Kingsland, Sandringham, Mt Roskill, Hillsburough, Three Kings, Balmoral, Mt Eden, Parnell, New Market, Greenlane, One Tree Hill, Epsom, Royal Oak, Onehunga, Penrose, Ellerslie, Remuera, St Johns, Mission Bay, Kohimaramara, St Heliers, Tamaki, Panmure, Mt Wellington, Howick, Highland Park, Pakuranga, Otahuhu, East Tamaki, East Tamaki Heights, Totara Heights, Manukau, Otara, Papatoetoe, Middlemore, Favona, Mangere, Mangere Bridge and Puketutu Island.
- What to do in Auckland: There is never a lack of things to do and see in Auckland! There's a great café/restaurant scene, wine trails, bush walks, multiple museums and galleries, the Auckland Zoo, Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World, the AMEX America's Cup Village, the waterfront, Queen Street (main shopping street), heaps of marinas, Coffee cruises to close-by islands, the Sky Tower (currently the Southern Hemisphere's tallest building, until it is superseded by a new tower in Sydney) and Sky City (casino and entertainment centre), historical villages, Rainbow's End (theme park), heaps of shops, ocean rafting, ice skating, mini/normal golf, and cinemas (including an IMAX)... just to mention a few things! To get more up-to-date information on what festivals and shows that are happening in Auckland, you can always pick up one of the many free travel guides in the Auckland International Airport.
- Miscellaneous: Auckland also features the Auckland Harbour Bridge (twin to the Sydeney harbour bridge). The motorways are reasonably well-signposted, although the CBD's roads can be confusing. Don't be confused if you don't see a tree on One Tree Hill (after being damaged by Maori rights activists and general old age and sickness, the tree was removed), however you will see a monument up there. And try not to use the word "JAFA" within hearing range of an Aucklander (it means 'Just Another "Friendly" Aucklander', and is a title given to Aucklanders by anyone who lives south of Auckland).
Source: The Bateman New Zealand Encyclopedia (Third Edition)
NB: I do not live in Auckland, so if there are any corrections/additions, please do not hesitate to msg me! Thanks.
typhoeus adds: there is archaeological evidence of maori inhabitation dating back the thirteenth century discovered on the one of the many volcaninc cones that are part of the Auckland Volcanic field. Maori used the irch soil on the cones to grow crops and there are still terraces, pits and middens all over these sites.