The Auckland region is remarkable for the diversity of its peoples and landscapes. The region lies between two coastlines, east and west. Along the eastern side, sandy bays edge the shore from Miranda on the Firth of Thames northwards to Pākiri. The western coast stretches from the rolling hills south of the Waikato River up to the shallow mudflats of the Kaipara Harbour.
Among the region’s Māori names is Tāmaki-makau-rau (Tāmaki of a hundred lovers), referring to the lure of the waterways and fertile soil of the Auckland isthmus.
Today one in three New Zealanders (1.5 million) live in the Auckland region. It embraces four cities (Auckland, Waitākere, North Shore and Manukau) and three districts (Rodney, Franklin and Papakura). The Auckland Regional Council covers the same area except for the southern part of Franklin district.
Auckland is the engine room of the national economy, and the site of the country’s busiest port and airport. The region’s size, its job opportunities and casual lifestyle attract people from other parts of New Zealand.
Auckland is the gateway for immigrants, and one-third of its population were born overseas. Waves of immigrants have settled in particular areas, and helped shape local cultures. Europeans dominate rural areas, but in the central city one-third of the population is Asian. West and South Auckland have large Pacific and Māori communities. Auckland’s openness to outside influences creates a buoyant culture.