Auckland City, New Zealand's largest, is uniquely situated on the rolling hills and slopes of the lava flows and craters of several score of extinct volcanoes, and along the shores of a narrow isthmus between the fine Waitemata Harbour, an inlet of the Hauraki Gulf on the east coast, and the larger but shallower and more exposed Manukau Harbour on the west.
Some of the hills deserve special notice for their fame in Maori history.
The terraces of Mount Eden still show evidence of a fortified Maori pa, the scene of inter-tribal battles.
So also on “One Tree Hill”. Known to the Maori as Maungakiekie.
Mount Eden today provides one of the finest outlooks over Auckland city and suburbs, the harbour, and the outlying islands in the Hauraki Gulf, while on One Tree Hill is a reserve of 230 acres called Cornwall Park.
On the flanks are several amphitheatre-like "breached craters" that have been used for the staging of outdoor dramatic performances.
On One Tree Hill also are two monuments: one the tomb of Sir John Logan Campbell, pioneer settler and generous benefactor of Auckland, the other a tribute to the Maori people.
On this fascinating terrain, with its generally good soils and favoured sub-tropical climate, has grown up a beautiful city not only of great commercial and educational buildings but of fine houses set in attractive gardens, of open spaces for the exercise and refreshment of body and spirit, of gracious parks, and of lovely views in all directions.
Auckland city is surrounded by the sea and its not surprising that sailing is so popular, so much in fact, that its known as the ‘city of sails’.
Of historic interest also is the fact that Auckland was once-but a long time ago now-the capital city and the seat of government.
It was so selected in 1840 by Captain William Hobson, the first Governor, and here was held the first New Zealand Parliament.
In 1845 soldiers sent from Sydney were stationed in the growing town to put down the rising of the northern Maoris under Hone Heke and were housed in barracks in the vicinity of the present Albert Park, Government House, and the University of Auckland.
Remnants of the old barracks wall, made of solid basalt rock, still stand in the grounds of the University.
In 1865, for various reasons but mainly because of its central position, Wellington city became the capital-to the continuing discontent of many Aucklanders.
However, Auckland with its urban population of over half a million, with its productive hinterland, and its magnificent harbour that receives ships from all over the world, still claims to be the Queen City of New Zealand, a claim that is conceded by most other cities-except, perhaps, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.