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North Shore History, New Zealand

The first settlers to New Zealand were the Maori, as they made a journey from Hawaiki to the country's north around 1,000 years ago.  Kupe, the great explorer, is said by legend to have been the first who discovered the country, naming the land Aotearoa, which means Land of the Long White Cloud.

The ancient volcano in North Shore, called Mt. Victoria, was the location of the fortified village, or Maori pa, of the local tribe, Kawerau, before the era of the Europeans. 

The first European that is documented for discovering the country was Abel Tasman, a Dutch navigator that arrived there in 1642 searching for the great southern continent.  After the next 125 years, Captain James Cook made claim on New Zealand in 1769 for Britain and developed a map.

By the early years of the 1800s, small settlements were seen in Devonport, Northcote, and Takapuna.  Devonport was the North Shore's first settlement and was known originally as Flagstaff, named after the signal station that was on Mount Victoria's summit.

A treaty was signed in 1840 by the leading Maori representatives and chiefs for the British Crown, The Treaty of Waitangi, which is the founding document of New Zealand that established the land as a nation.  The official land hand-over took place in North Shore City during 1841, where the local hapu of Ngati Paoa and the British Crown met.  All of the main arterial routes throughout North Shore, as well as the basic early development outline, were laid out by 1843.

Starting in the 1850s, the Devonport and Takapuna areas began to slowly develop.  There was an increase of investors in a variety of land enterprises.  The first ferry service for the harbor began in 1854 with whaleboats.  During the second half of the century, operations of the Devonport Steam Ferry started, and ferries traveled back and forth across the harbor.

Throughout the 19th century, North Shore City continued developing with the help of ship building, timber, and brickwork industries.  It also came to be known as the playground for Aucklanders.  In the late 1870s, numerous new hotels went up.  There was further development with the inner city building boom's help from the late 1870s and the early 1880s.

The North Shore steadily grew until the opening of Auckland's Harbour Bridge in 1959.  The North Shore's direct Auckland City road link made it more accessible to reach and caused a massive growth for both housing and industry.  North Shore is the 4th biggest city in New Zealand today and continues growing.

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