The province of Auckland was probably the region most populated by Maori before the arrival of the Europeans (about twenty thousand). Nicknamed "Tamaki-Makau-Rau" ("the virgin with a hundred lovers"), she was desired and conquered by many of them. Its many hills formed by volcanoes were suitable for the construction of steps (fortified villages) and for terrace cultivation (kumara - sweet potato). The most elaborate example of a pa is the Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill).
This narrow strip of land was often the scene of clashes between the chief of Nga Marama, named Kiwi Tamaki, and the Ngati Whatua tribe from the north.
It was the latter that finally took control of the region in the second half of the 18th century.
As for the Europeans, with their famous navigator James Cook, they passed Waitemata Harbour without seeing him, while they were charting the country's coasts. Nevertheless, it is according to the explorer that several known places were named, such as Great Barrier and Little Barrier Islands.
In 1820, Samuel Marsden was the first European to explore the Hauraki Gulf. Twenty years later, February 6, 1840 became the pivotal date for British colonization. It was at the Bay of Islands that representatives of the British Crown and the chiefs of the Confederacy of United Tribes of New Zealand met to discuss the treaty that marked the history of the country with a branding iron.
By signing the Treaty of Waitangi, the Maori chiefs formally recognized the sovereignty of the Queen of England over New Zealand. Later, Governor William Hobson took the opportunity to buy land from the Maori and founded Auckland with the aim of making it the capital of the country. However, it is not to him that the city owes its name, but to the captain of his ship, George Eden Lord Auckland. The creation of Auckland was a real success and the city, by attracting many immigrants, experienced a remarkable boom. So much so that in 1900, Auckland became the country's largest city.
However, twenty-five years later, Auckland lost its capital status to Wellington.
Much later, in 1989, more than twenty cities and boroughs around Auckland were grouped into four main cities: Auckland City, Manukau, Waitakere and North Shore. These are still governed by the Auckland Regional Council, which manages the entire development of Great Auckland.
Today, although Wellington still houses the seat of government, Auckland enjoys the status of an economic and tourist capital. It welcomes more than 1.3 million visitors each year, representing almost 70% of the international tourists arriving at Auckland Airport. For most of them, Auckland will be the starting point of their visit to the country.