The first sailors to settle in Auckland here were the Maori, and in later years migrants from the Pacific Islands have contributed to the Polynesian population. The Maori name is "Tamaki Makau Rau" or "a maiden with 100 lovers". It was a place desired by many and fought over for its riches, including its forested hills, productive volcanic soils and harbours full of seafood.
The vibrant, red blossums of the Pohutukawa Tree (shown right) can be seen in the North Island, through the summer months.
Auckland sprawls over a narrow isthmus between the sparkling waters of the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. A cloak of rainforest covers the surrounding hills, dozens of dormant volcanic cones dot the landscape and enchanting holiday islands are scattered throughout the vast Hauraki Gulf.
Three of the best island getaways are Waiheke Island, Great Barrier Island and Tiritiri-Matangi Island.
In the city centre, Auckland’s recent popularity has an international education destination has seen an explosion of ethnic shops, especially Asian-style eateries. It’s waterside location has fostered the locals' love affair with the sea, earning this place the nickname "City of Sails".
Auckland's heart beats to a Polynesian rhythm, its people a melting pot of South Pacific and Asian cultures and a strong indigenous Maori heritage. This diversity brings with it an abundance of unique dining and shopping experiences.
You can take a walk through the city with a guide from the local Iwi (tribe), visit the Auckland Museum, or wander through the weekend markets at Otara and Avondale for the flavours, sounds and sights of the South Pacific.
Enjoying a temperate climate, with easy access to the coast and variety of activities earns the city consistent top five rankings in international lifestyle surveys.