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Auckland is the point of arrival for many visitors. The city is built on a dormant volcano, around a beautiful, green harbour. The sprawling city is melting pot of cultures, architecture, lifestyles and things to do. In what can only be described as an absurd twist of fate, Auckland is now home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The earliest immigrants from the Pacific were the first inhabitants of the land arriving here sometime between Ad 750 and 1200.

Today Auckland is the hub of commercial activity and the largest growing city in the country with a population of approximately 1 million. A long and profitable history which began over 1000 years ago, Auckland has plenty to offer the visitor. International fame for this 'City of Sails' first came to the media with the infamous explosions of the Rainbow Warrior. A decade later, the late Sir Peter Blake captained New Zealand's yachting victory in San Diego in the prestigious and most prized yachting competition, the America's Cup in 1995. By 2000, the city looked at its best having restructured its waterfront with the Viaduct Harbour to host the cup.

Auckland offers all the attractions of a major city. It is the place to be for cultural and sporting events, shopping and history with a café culture and thriving nightlife scene. Aucklanders love the place and with good reason. The sea is not only reserved for the plentiful yachties as there are heaps of easily accessible sandy beaches and islands to visit. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of rush hours and city life in general an hours drive will take you to the Waitakere Ranges. Alternatively, you can take a ferry to Devonport or Rangitoto Island.

The Maori appreciated Auckland long before the pioneers arrived. When they landed here over 1000 years ago, they found a thriving population of the moa <?>. They proceeded to hunt this large and tasty bird to extinction. Complete with a fertile soil, the region with such an abundant source of food, its unsurprising that various tribes all wanted to cash in on the bounty. They built pas or fortified cities along the volcanic hillsides from which they could both protect themselves and wage war on other tribes. The Ngati Whatua Iwi, Nga Puhi Iwi and Waikato Iwi all held claim to being the rightful proprietors of the land. Tribal wars ensued and endured and Auckland was dubbed by the Maori as the "Battle Place of 100 Lovers" or "Tamaki Makau Rau".

After all the bloodshed over this beloved land it was sold to the pioneers for the grand total of 50 British Pounds and a few 'luxury' items like tobacco, sugar, flour, axes and blankets. Auckland became the second capital of New Zealand after the signing of the Waitangi Treaty in 1840. It became the seat of Governor William Hobson's government. Auckland's days as political capital were numbered, by 1865 the government had already decided that Wellington had a preferable location.

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