Auckland Travel Guide, New Zealand
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. The city is divided into two areas, the main city and greater Auckland. About one third of the population of the entire country lives in this city. About 401,500 persons live in the main city and nearly 1.25 million reside in greater Auckland. The city sprawls in an area of 637 sq. km. that includes the main city, its suburbs, and the gulf islands. Large number of yachts is a common sight in the two harbors of the city and the neighboring Hauraki Gulf. Hence, the city is also called ‘City of Sails’. The city possesses a panoramic view, surrounded by scenic islands and 11 extinct volcanoes.
Languages & Climate
Apart from English, the main language, ethnic community languages like Maori, Polynesian, and Asian are also spoken. The climate is mild and temperate. The summer temperatures average above 24 degrees, while the winters average 16 degrees. Situated in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer months for Auckland are between December and March.
History of Auckland
The history of Auckland starts in 1840, when it was possessed as a capital site. A local government was formed in 1842 and the British immigrants arrived in major shiploads. The constitution of New Zealand was formulated from this city in 1852. Auckland was proclaimed a borough in 1871 and the first city elections were conducted. The railway trains arrived in the next year. The electric tramways started running in 1902. However, the Auckland International Airport commenced its operations only in 1966. In 1996, the population of the city exceeded one million.
Auckland city boasts of a highly reputed biodiversity in New Zealand. The various islands surrounding the main city, the reserves on the isthmus and the Hauraki Gulf marine park are well maintained by the city council with the express purpose of managing and enhancing the biodiversity of the city. The Little Barrier Island, known as Hauturu, is the habitat of several endangered birds and also possesses more than 400 native plant species.
The economy of Auckland reached its peak in 2003, fueled by large immigration and external migration. After that, the economic growth had slowed down and had been trending in a downward spiral. In the year to March 2008, the economy of the city grew only by 1.1%, according to estimates, compared to the overall economic growth of New Zealand at about 3.0%. The gradual decrease in public sector commercial projects had impacted the construction industry and has been the largest cause of the economic slowdown of the city. The unemployment in the city climbed to an annual average of 4.2% in the quarter ending March 2008. The city is expected to grow at a rate of 1.6% in the year to March 2009. The high interest rates prevailing in New Zealand and the declining housing prices had been acting as strong deterrents to the city’s growth. The high value of the New Zealand dollar had been impacting exports and tourism development negatively. The hospitality and the retail industries are likely to suffer for some more time from these adverse factors. However, the forecast for the year to March 2010 is much more optimistic at 2.4%, boosted by tax cuts and possible decline in interest rates. Lower rates, a weaker New Zealand dollar and government incentives is likely to help a revival in the fortunes of exports and tourism industry in the next several months in a gradual manner. In the global cities with populations over one million, Auckland is ranked at 80 out of a total of 116 cities on a per capita GDP basis.
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