Auckland History

Auckland Harbour Bridge - Photo by Sids1, Flickr Creative CommonsAuckland Harbour Bridge - Photo by Sids1, Flickr Creative Commons

Auckland’s early Maori name, Tamaki Makaurau, poetically translates as “the battle of a hundred lovers” however this does not allude to a love story, but rather to the land conflicts which were said to be as fierce as a suitor’s rivalry.

Traditional lore tells of persistent inter-tribal warfare over Auckland’s S-shaped isthmus which at its narrowest point is barely 1.3 kilometres wide. It was a highly prized piece of land for it was here that canoes were beached and hauled overland from the east coast to the west and vice versa. Europeans couldn’t help but notice its value; exchange between local Maori and Europeans had occurred haphazardly for more than half a century with traders and whalers seeking shelter along Auckland’s coast.

But it wasn’t until 1820 that official settlement of Auckland began after a visit by Reverend Samuel Marsden, heralding a process of land purchase which remains contentious to this day. Three thousand acres of land was purchased and the city quickly grew and became the capital of New Zealand. That was until 1865 when pressure from the then gold-rich South Island, and settlements in the lower North, resulted in the movement of parliament to Wellington.

In 1959 the Auckland Harbour Bridge opened, resulting in a flurry of building activity on Auckland’s North Shore, and in 1990 Auckland’s further growth was fuelled by an immigration boom with an influx of people from Pacific and Asian countries, resulting in the vibrant European-Pacific-Asian cosmopolitan mix that makes up Auckland today. Check out the NZ Campervan Hire options available.

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