A Minute History Of Auckland

Auckland was the capital of New Zealand from 1841 to 1865. Some people (mostly people from Auckland) think it still should be, while other kiwis (New Zealanders) jokingly refer to people from this city as JAFAs: Just Another Fecking Aucklander. JAFA or not, people from Auckland have an immense amount of pride for the city, and for good reason.

Was Founded ‘Cause:

Auckland Moana

When the land of Auckland was originally settled in about 1350, it was called Tamaki Makau Rau, meaning ‘isthmus of one thousand lovers’ by the first settlers, the Maori. The Maori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, meaning the “land of the long white cloud”. The Maori settlers built “pa,” or villages, amongst the volcanos and between the two harbors on each side of the isthmus, providing protection, seafood, and fertile soil.

Early History:

Between 1600 and 1750, various tribes developed their settlements, including two-thousand hectares of kumara (New Zealand’s sweet potato), making the land the most wealthy and productive area. In 1750, the peak of Maori prosperity in this region, there were tens of thousands of people from the various tribes. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, there was a lot of fighting amongst tribes. At the time, the two main tribes, the Ngati Whatua and Tainui, had disputes over the land territories.

With the arrival of Europeans and the introduction of guns, the chief of the Ngati Whatua, Te Kawau, defeated the Tainui. Through fear of aggression from other tribes, the negotiations with the Europeans began.

In 1840, British colonizers claimed the land of Auckland through the Treaty of Waitangi signed by Lieutenant Governor William Hobson and some chiefs, including Te Kawau. The city of Auckland was named the capital of New Zealand in 1841.

Recent History:

In 1865, Auckland was replaced by Wellington as the capital of New Zealand, however, Auckland continued to grow and prosper and kept its place as a gateway into New Zealand. By 1900, Auckland was the largest New Zealand city.

It has been a leader for the world in terms of fighting for LGBT rights, even before it became the first Asian-Pacfic country to allow same-sex marriage. The Gay Liberation Front was formed in Auckland in 1972 by Ngahuia Te Awkotuku. In 1991, the Hero Parade was also founded in Auckland which became New Zealand’s most prominent event celebrating gay pride. Same-sex marriage became legal in 2013.

Auckland Queen B

Modern Times:

Today, Auckland boasts a population of just under 1,500,000 people which is about one third of New Zealand’s total population. It is New Zealand’s largest and most populated city. The “City of Sails” is an economic and financial hub and is considered a Beta World City due to its commercial success. It has been ranked one of the world’s most livable cities on many different lists.

With its diverse population and the largest Polynesian population in the world, it is a popular destination for international travelers and young backpackers. It continues to be a progressive, tolerant, and open-minded community. Some of its main attractions are the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the Harbour Bridge, and, of course, the city’s signature landmark: the Sky Tower.

Whether it’s the capital of New Zealand or not, Auckland certainly has a fascinating history which has framed it into the wonderful city it is today, the popular study abroad destination and also my current home.

Profile photo of Morgan



Morgan is studying at the University of Auckland during the spring of 2017. Follow her adventures as she crosses oceans to spend five months in New Zealand!

Leave a Reply