Auckland ahoy!

Auckland has been drinking deep from the cup of success while bathing in the warm, fuzzy glow of world attention, having twice in recent years hosted the ultra high-profile yachting extravaganza of the Louis Vuitton Challenge followed by the America’s Cup. The Cup has since gone to Switzerland. But in its wake and in today’s increasingly troubled world New Zealand still finds itself very much in favour as both safe haven and alluring destination.

Throughout those glamorous, lengthy and money-spinning events Auckland well and truly lived up to being “the city of sails”. The face of the city underwent radical change, particularly around the Viaduct precinct, site of the America’s Cup Village. Billionaires living aboard sleek and opulent yachts moored in the Cup Village became semi-permanent residents. Vast amounts of foreign exchange flowed into the city coffers. The waterfront teemed with visitors from around the globe.

Auckland is first and foremost a city of water. It’s surrounded by harbours; the Manakau in the east, the Kaipara to the north, and the Waitemata to the east. The latter flows into the Hauraki Gulf which is peppered with islands. Auckland itself is built on a bunch of extinct volcanoes. There are 48 of them in the region!

It is also, effectively, the capital of the Pacific, home to the world’s largest Polynesian population. Alongside the substantial number of Maori living there are people from Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji and Niue.

New Zealand’s original Polynesian settlers began arriving in the wake of the Maori navigator Kupe’s epic voyage of discovery around 950AD. Oral history says that settlers from Hawaiiki found their way to Auckland guided by the red glow and the smoke of the Rangitoto volcano, which erupted in the Hauraki Gulf some 600 years ago. Contact me for complete article

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