Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in New Zealand, with a population of over one million.
It is in the northern half of the North Island, on a narrow isthmus of land that joins the Northland peninsula to the rest of the North Island.
Auckland is often known as the "City of Sails" for the large number of yachts that grace the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. It could also be known as the "City of Volcanoes". Much of its natural character comes from the fact that it is built on the Auckland Volcanic Field which consists of about 48 volcanoes. All of the volcanoes are individually extinct but the volcanic field as a whole is not.
Auckland is the largest city in Polynesia. For some Polynesian island nations there are more expatriates living in Auckland than in their homeland. Auckland's rich Pacific cultural mix is celebrated at festivals and sporting matches.
Auckland often rates well in international quality-of-life polls; consistently rating in the top five. Culturally, the city is an interesting mix. As New Zealand itself is only 103 years old, an immigrant culture is prominent - many ex-pats from England and Ireland and their immediate children populate the city. The city has also attracted a sizable population of Asians and Pacific Islanders in recent years.
The indigenous peoples of New Zealand are the Māori, a large portion of whom have emigrated from their tribal villages in the last 60 years to cities such as Auckland. Representing about 11% of the city, most of these Māori are fully integrated into the urban culture and many are estranged from their tribal roots. Intermarriage rates have been substantial, so rather than appearing only as a prominently distinct ethnicity, an entire spectrum from European white to Māori has emerged.
Like many indigenous peoples, the Māori suffered historical injustice at the hands of the colonizing British, though since the 1960s a revival of the Māori culture and language has emerged with New Zealand now celebrating the distinctness of its native inhabitants.
Though most Māori speak far better English, New Zealand has added native Māori as an official language in 1987, which will most prominently manifest in the form of bilingual public signage.