AUCKLAND
NEW ZEALAND

Homepage for
the City of Auckland, New Zealand.
Weather reports, breaking news, horoscopes, games, crosswrods, sudoku, attractions, golf, surf report.
HOME CROSSWORD GOLF SUDOKU SURF WEATHER WEBCAMS
AUCKLAND AREA GUIDE
The Auckland metropolitan area or Greater Auckland, in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with over 1.3 million residents, 31 percent of the country's population. Demographic trends indicate that it will continue to grow faster than the rest of the country. Increasingly cosmopolitan, Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. and has seen many people of Asian ethnicity move there in the last two decades. Positive aspects of Auckland life are its mild climate, plentiful employment and educational opportunities, as well as numerous leisure facilities. Meanwhile, traffic problems (compared to other New Zealand cities), the lack of good public transport, and increasing housing costs have been cited by many Aucklanders as among the strongest negative factors of living there, together with crime. Nonetheless, Auckland currently ranks 5th in a survey of the quality of life of 218 major cities of the world (2008 data, rank unchanged since 2006). In 2006, Auckland placed 23rd on the UBS list of the world's richest cities.

AUCKLAND WEB CAMS
The Auckland metropolitan area or Greater Auckland, in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with over 1.3 million residents, 31 percent of the country's population. Demographic trends indicate that it will continue to grow faster than the rest of the country. Increasingly cosmopolitan, Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. and has seen many people of Asian ethnicity move there in the last two decades.
It is a conurbation, made up of Auckland City (excluding the Hauraki Gulf islands), North Shore City, and the urban parts of Waitakere and Manukau cities, along with Papakura District and some nearby urban parts of Rodney and Franklin Districts. In Maori its name is Tamaki-makau-rau, or the transliterated version of Auckland, Akarana.
Auckland lies between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the south-east, the Manukau Harbour to the south-west, and the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and north-west. The central part of the urban area occupies a narrow isthmus between the Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the few cities in the world to have harbours on two separate major bodies of water.


Auckland - Early Maori and Europeans
The isthmus was first settled around 1350 and was valued for its rich and fertile land. Many pa (fortified villages) were created, mainly on the volcanic peaks. Maori population in the area is estimated at about 20,000 people before the arrival of Europeans. The subsequent introduction of firearms, which began in Northland, upset the balance of power and led to devastating inter-tribal warfare, causing iwi who lacked the new weapons to seek refuge in areas less exposed to coastal raids. As a result, the region had relatively low numbers of Maori when European settlement of New Zealand began. There is, however, nothing to suggest that this was the result of a deliberate European policy. On 27 January 1832, Joseph Brooks Weller, eldest of the Weller brothers of Otago and Sydney bought land including the sites of the modern cities of Auckland and North Shore and part of Rodney District, for "one large cask of powder" from "Cohi Rangatira".

After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840, the new Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson, chose the area as his new capital, and named it after the George Eden, Earl of Auckland, then Viceroy of India However, even in 1840 Port Nicholson (later Wellington) was seen as a better choice for an administrative capital because of its proximity to the South Island, which was being settled much more rapidly. At the same time, Auckland was the capital and principal city of the Auckland Province, remaining so until the provincial system was abolished in 1876. Immigration to the new city remained strong, however, even after it lost its status as national capital in 1865.

The isthmus was first settled around 1350 and was valued for its rich and fertile land. Many pa (fortified villages) were created, mainly on the volcanic peaks. Maori population in the area is estimated at about 20,000 people before the arrival of Europeans. The subsequent introduction of firearms, which began in Northland, upset the balance of power and led to devastating inter-tribal warfare, causing iwi who lacked the new weapons to seek refuge in areas less exposed to coastal raids. As a result, the region had relatively low numbers of Maori when European settlement of New Zealand began. There is, however, nothing to suggest that this was the result of a deliberate European policy. On 27 January 1832, Joseph Brooks Weller, eldest of the Weller brothers of Otago and Sydney bought land including the sites of the modern cities of Auckland and North Shore and part of Rodney District, for "one large cask of powder" from "Cohi Rangatira".

After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840, the new Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson, chose the area as his new capital, and named it after the George Eden, Earl of Auckland, then Viceroy of India. However, even in 1840 Port Nicholson (later Wellington) was seen as a better choice for an administrative capital because of its proximity to the South Island, which was being settled much more rapidly. At the same time, Auckland was the capital and principal city of the Auckland Province, remaining so until the provincial system was abolished in 1876. Immigration to the new city remained strong, however, even after it lost its status as national capital in 1865.


Growth up to today
In the early 1860s, Auckland became a base against the Maori King Movement. This, and continued road building towards the south into the Waikato, enabled Pakeha (European New Zealanders) influence to spread from Auckland. Its population also grew fairly rapidly, from 1,500 in 1841 to 12,423 by 1864. The growth occurred similarly to other mercantile-dominated cities, mainly around the port and with problems of overcrowding and pollution.

Trams and railway lines shaped Auckland's rapid expansion in the early first half of the 20th century, but soon afterward the dominance of the motor vehicle emerged and has not abated since; arterial roads and motorways have become both defining and geographically dividing features of the urban landscape. They also allowed further massive expansion that resulted in the growth of associated urban areas like the North Shore (especially after the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge), and Manukau City in the south.

A large percentage of Auckland is still dominated by a very suburban style of building, giving the city a very low population density. Although it has no more than a sixth of the population of London, it sprawls over an area almost as large (over 1,000 km2), making some services like public transport costlier than in other, high-density, cities, but also allowing most Aucklanders to live in similar residential houses as the rest of New Zealand, though the section sizes are much smaller than in most of the rest of the country.

Future growth

Auckland is expecting substantial population growth via immigration and natural population increases (which contribute to growth at about one-third and two-thirds, respectively), and is set to grow to an estimated 2 million inhabitants by 2050. This substantial increase in population will have a major impact on transport, housing and other infrastructure that is in many cases already considered under pressure. It is also feared by some organisations, such as the Auckland Regional Council, that urban sprawl will result from the growth and, as a result, that it is necessary to address this proactively in planning policy.

A 'Regional Growth Strategy' has been adopted that sees limits on further subdivision and intensification of existing use as its main sustainability measures. This policy is contentious, as it naturally limits the uses of private land, especially the subdivision of urban fringe properties, by setting 'Metropolitan Urban Limits' in planning documents like the District Plan.
A related issue is the current discussion about local government, with widely differing views. Some Aucklanders blame limited progress on Auckland's issues on poor governance and the fragmentation of the city into various councils (currently seven "City/District" authorities, plus one "Regional" authority). Others point to the fact that a previous integration of the many much smaller Borough Councils did not bring the promised advantages either, and reduced local participation in politics. In 2007, the government set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry which will report back on what restructuring should be done.

Volcanoes

Auckland straddles the volcanoes of the Auckland Volcanic Field. The approximately 50 volcanic vents in the field take the form of cones, lakes, lagoons, islands and depressions, and several have produced extensive lava flows. Most of the cones have been partly or completely quarried away. The individual volcanoes are all considered extinct, although the volcanic field itself is merely dormant.

The most recent and by far the largest volcano, Rangitoto Island, was formed within the last 1000 years, and its eruptions destroyed the Maori settlements on neighbouring Motutapu Island some 700 years ago. Rangitoto's size, its symmetry, its position guarding the entrance to Waitemata Harbour and its visibility from many parts of the Auckland region make it Auckland's most iconic natural feature. Few birds and insects inhabit the island because of the rich acidic soil and the type of flora growing out of the rocky soil.

Harbours and Gulf

Auckland lies on and around an isthmus, less than 2 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, between Mangere Inlet and the Tamaki River. There are two harbours in the Auckland urban area surrounding this isthmus: Waitemata Harbour to the north, which opens east to the Hauraki Gulf, and Manukau Harbour to the south, which opens west to the Tasman Sea.
Bridges span parts of both harbours, notably the Auckland Harbour Bridge crossing the Waitemata Harbour west of the Auckland Central Business District (CBD). The Mangere Bridge and the Upper Harbour Bridge span the upper reaches of the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours, respectively. In earlier times, portage paths crossed the narrowest sections of the isthmus.

Several islands of the Hauraki Gulf are administered as part of Auckland City, though they are not officially part of the Auckland metropolitan area. Parts of Waiheke Island effectively function as Auckland suburbs, while various smaller islands near Auckland are mostly zoned 'recreational open space' or are nature sanctuaries.

Demographics

The proportion of Asians and other Non-European immigrants has increased during the last decades due to immigration, and the removal of restrictions directly or indirectly based on race. Immigration to New Zealand is heavily concentrated towards Auckland (partly for job market reasons). This strong focus on Auckland has led the immigration services to award extra points towards immigration visa requirements for people intending to move to other parts of New Zealand.

The following table shows the ethnic profile of Auckland's population, as recorded in the 2001 and 2006 New Zealand Census. The percentages add up to more than 100%, as some people counted themselves as belonging to more than one ethnic group. Figures for 2006 refer to the whole Auckland Region, not just the urban area. The substantial percentage drop of 'Europeans' was mainly caused by the increasing numbers of people from this group choosing to define themselves as 'New Zealanders' - even though this was not one of the groups listed on the census form.

Religion
Similar to the rest of the country, over half of Aucklanders profess Christianity, but fewer than 10% regularly attend church and almost 40% profess no religious affiliation (2001 census figures). The main denominations are Roman Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian. Pentecostal and charismatic churches are the fastest growing. A small community of Coptic Orthodox Christians is also present.

Recent immigration from Asia has added to the religious diversity of the city, so now about 10% of the population follow such beliefs as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism, although there are no figures on religious attendance. There is also a small, long-established Jewish community.

Parks and nature
Auckland Domain is one of the largest parks within the city, situated close to the CBD and having a good view of the Gulf and of Rangitoto island. Smaller parks also close to the city centre are Albert Park, Myers Park, Western Park and Victoria Park.

While most volcanic cones in the Auckland Volcanic Field have been affected by quarrying, many of the remaining cones are now ensconced within parks, and retain a somewhat more natural character than the surrounding city. Prehistoric earthworks and historic fortifications feature in several of these parks, including Mount Eden, North Head and One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie).
Other parks around the city are in Western Springs, which has a large park bordering on the MOTAT museum and the Auckland Zoo. The Auckland Botanic Gardens are located further south in Manurewa.

Ferries provide transport to parks and nature reserves at Devonport, Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island and Tiritiri Matangi. The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park to the west of Auckland offers beautiful and relatively unspoiled bush territory, as do the Hunua Ranges to the south.

Sport
The most popular sports in Auckland and New Zealand in general are cricket and rugby. Auckland has a considerable number of rugby and cricket grounds, and venues for motorsports, tennis, badminton, netball, swimming, soccer, rugby league, and many other sports. Waitemata Harbour has popular swimming beaches at Mission Bay, Devonport, Takapuna, Long Bay and Maraetai, and the west coast has popular surf spots such as Piha and Muriwai. Many Auckland beaches are patrolled by surf lifesaving clubs, which are part of Surf Life Saving Northern Region.

Economy

Most major international corporations have an Auckland office, as the city is seen as the economic capital of the nation. The most expensive office space is around lower Queen Street and the Viaduct Basin in the Auckland CBD, where many financial and business services are located, which make up a large percentage of the CBD economy. A large proportion of the technical and trades workforce is based in the industrial zones of South Auckland.
The largest commercial and industrial areas of Greater Auckland are in the southeast of Auckland City as well as in the western parts of Manukau City, mostly in the areas bordering the Manukau Harbour and the Tamaki River estuary.

Auckland's status as the largest commercial centre of the country reflects in the high median personal income (per working person, per year) which was NZ$44,304 (approx. US$33,000) for the region in 2005, with jobs in the Auckland CBD often earning more. The median personal income (for all persons older than 15 years of age, per year) was NZ$22,300 (2001), behind only North Shore City (also part of the Greater Auckland area) and Wellington. While office workers still account for a large part of Auckland's commuters, large office developments in other parts of the city, for example in Takapuna or Albany, both North Shore City, are slowly becoming more common, reducing concentration on the Auckland CBD somewhat.

Education

Auckland has a number of important educational institutions, including some of the largest universities in the country. Auckland is also known to be a major centre of overseas language education, with large numbers of foreign students (particularly East Asians) coming to the city for several months or years to learn English or study at universities - although numbers New Zealand-wide have dropped substantially since peaking in 2003. As of 2007, there are around 50 NZQA certified schools and institutes teaching English in the Auckland area.

Auckland has a multitude of primary and secondary schools, with the Auckland Grammar School (for boys), Mount Roskill Grammar School, Mount Albert Grammar School, Auckland Girls' Grammar School and the Epsom Girls' Grammar School being amongst the most famous. The city also has several private schools such as King's College, Auckland International College, and Diocesan School for Girls. Auckland contains New Zealand's three largest (by full-time student numbers) high schools: Rangitoto College, Avondale College and Massey High School respectively. It also contains New Zealand's largest Catholic school, St Peter's College.

Amongst the most important tertiary educational institutes are the University of Auckland (city and Tamaki Campus), Auckland University of Technology (city campus), Massey University (Albany campus) and the Manukau Institute of Technology (Otara campus), with Unitec New Zealand (Mt Albert campus) being the largest technical institute in Auckland.


Housing
Housing varies considerably between some suburbs having state owned housing in the lower income neighbourhoods, to palatial waterfront estates, especially on the Waitemata. Traditionally, the most common residence of Aucklanders was a bungalow on a 'quarter acre' (1,000 m²), however subdividing such properties with 'infill housing', has long been the norm. Aucklanders' housing preferences have resulted in a large urban sprawl and reliance on motor vehicles. This will likely continue, as the vast majority of Aucklanders live in low-density housing, which is expected to remain at up to 70% of the total share even in 2050. In some areas, the Victorian villas are being increasingly torn down to make way for large plaster mansions with tennis courts and swimming pools. The rampant demolition of the older properties is being combated by the Auckland City Council passing laws that cover heritage suburbs or streets. Auckland has been described as having 'the most extensive range of timbered housing with its classical details and mouldings in the world', many of them Victorian-Edwardian style houses.


HOMEPAGE FOR AUCKLAND NEW ZEALAND