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Auckland, New ZealandAuckland History

Auckland | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

Over 650 years ago, Auckland, New Zealand was a Maori settlement. The Europeans purchased the land from the Maori people through the Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840.

Auckland History Overview

Auckland, known as Tamaki Makau Rau, meaning 'isthmus of one thousand lovers', was originally a Maori settlement. After purchasing the land from the Maori, European settlers began to arrive and colonise the land.

In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed and Auckland was named the capital city of New Zealand. By 1865 the capital was moved to Wellington and by 1900 Auckland was New Zealand's largest city.

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Maori History

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Maori Marae, Auckland, New Zealand
Maori Marae, Auckland
New Zealand
Photographer: Scott Venning
(scottv@ihug.co.nz)

Auckland was first settled by the Maori people in approximately 1350. The Maori constructed terraced pa (fortified villages) on the volcanic peaks of the area then known as Tamaki Makau Rau.

Because the isthmus is narrow—around eight kilometres wide with Mount Eden and One Tree Hill at its narrowest point—the area had great strategic qualities. The isthmus also had highly productive soils providing agricultural opportunities. The two harbours provided diverse seafood.

Ngati Whatua and Tainui, the two main tribes traditionally living in the area, fought over the land.

Eventually, with the aid of the Europeans and guns traded with them, Te Kawau a chief of Ngati Whatua defeated the Tainui.

In 1840 Te Kawau, the then most prominent chief of the Ngati Whatua, offered Governor Hobson land around the present central city of Auckland. He and six other chiefs travelled the Bay of Islands to make the offer and signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 20 March 1840.

Early Auckland

In 1840, after purchasing the 3,000 acre segment from the Ngati Whatua, Auckland came into existence as a British colonial settlement. The first governor, Lieutenant William Hobson, chose the site as the capital of New Zealand.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Auckland City at night, Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland City, New Zealand
Photographer: Julian Apse
(www.julianapse.co.nz)

What principally appealed were the splendid Waitemata and Manukau harbours and proximity to both fertile land and river access both north and south.

Within a year nearly 2,000 people were living in primitive wood and raupo dwellings. By mid-century there were about 3,500. A census conducted in 1841 counted only 125 'upper class' people in the region, vastly outnumbered by the 250 mechanics, 150 agricultural labourers, 100 shopkeepers and 100 domestic servants recorded.

In 1865 Wellington became the capital of New Zealand, replacing Auckland. In 1868 Government House moved there too.

By 1900 Auckland was the largest New Zealand city.

Useful Auckland Links

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Auckland Region Information


Auckland Tourism Operators

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Distinction Hotels

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Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.