The fertile isthmus, upon which Auckland is located, was initially inhabited and farmed by the Ngati Whuata tribe some 800 years ago. The white, sandy beaches of the Waitemata and the Manukau offered a plentiful source of fish and other seafood, and the flat forests were an abundant source of flightless birds. In the 17th century wars between tribes were commonplace as all local Maori tribes wanted control of the flat and lushly forested region.
The first European settlers arrived in the 1830s to find the region seemed deserted, probably in an attempt to prevent the constant warring over whom should inhabit the area. In September 1840 Captain William Hobson proclaimed Auckland the capital of New Zealand, and named the city after his commanding officer, Lord Auckland.
Although 25 years later the capital status was lost to Wellington, and despite the majority of political activity taking place in Wellington, Auckland is New Zealand’s fastest growing city and chief industrial centre. It has a population of around 1.3 million people living in the city centre and suburbs.