Maori first settled this region around 1350AD and many fortified villages (Pa) were built due to the fertile soil and low hills. Due to intertribal warfare, the land was not as inhabited by Maori when the Europeans finally settled the area. In 1840 with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the governor of New Zealand chose the area as the capital, and named it Auckland after the Viceroy of India. Auckland remained the capital until 1865.
Population increased rapidly after 1840 and was dominated by the Irish from Ulster in conrast to the rest of the country, which was mainly Scottish and English. Having been a major centre for a long time now, Auckland has a number of historic sights to experience including the Auckland War Memorial, The Domain, Auckland Museum and One Tree Hill. You can also visit historically interesting areas of the city, like Parnell and Devonport.
Art & Culture
Explore world-class exhibitions at one of the many art galleries, wander through a contemporary collection of New Zealand sculptures amid stunning landscapes as part of the Brick Bay Sculpture, or explore the Maori history and traditions at Auckland Museum.
The suburbs of Devonport, Parnell and Posonby are great to experience modern New Zealand culture, which in Auckland is often a fusion of European and Polynesian influences. Auckland is the largest city in Polynesia and has attracted a lot of migration from other Polynesia countries, and the migrants have bought their culture with them. The Asian population has also increased dramatically in recent years and has made its own contribution to the ambience of the city.
Auckland city has a plethora of exciting restaurants, bars and night clubs to experience, and in the wider Auckland region you'll find three distinct and delectable wine districts. Viaduct Basin, Chancery and the inner city suburbs of Ponsonby and Parnell are all rich sources of restaurants, but there’s more to experiencing Auckland’s food and wine than simply sitting down to eat.
Shop for some delicious souvenirs at BeesOnline in Kumeu, where you’ll find speciality honey products and a cafe that demonstrates the culinary uses for honey. Another option is to embark on a tailor-made food and wine tour, where you’ll be whisked from one delicious destination to the next in style. For a divine wine time, Waiheke Island, Matakana and Kumeu are all within easy reach of the central city. Auckland’s wine growing areas produce rich, ripe merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, as well as smooth, fruity chardonnay and pinot gris.
A vibrant city with strong Polynesian influences, Auckland offers a diverse, world-class shopping experience. From luxe to bargain finds, and the best souvenir shops in town, Queen Street tops the list for shopoholics. Souvenir shops are concentrated towards the harbour end of the street, or tucked away in arcades.
There’s a strong sense of community in K’ Road, a favourite gathering place for artists, students, musicians and writers. High fashion sits comfortably next to retro, vintage and streetwear stores. Unique design shops offer everything from imported handmade jewellery to locally-made home furnishings, and music stores sell enviable vinyl collections and instruments.
As Auckland’s retail heaven, Ponsonby’s popularity has skyrocketed in the recent years with top New Zealand designers and upmarket lifestyle stores now joining its long list of retailers. There are plenty of stores offering exclusive New Zealand-made gifts, jewellery and crafts – always a great buy. Devonport will charm you with its Victorian setting, vintage finds, some of the best book stores in the city and a relaxed cafe culture.
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Content & assistance provided by Tourism New Zealand.