Auckland was once home to a thriving maori population, they grew kumara (sweet potato), harvested birds from the forest and kai moana (seafood) from the estuaries and harbours. Due to it's secluded harbour and plentiful fresh water, it provided the ideal location to forge the building blocks of a new nation. In a city where orca still visit the harbour from time to time, the only way to get a true feel for it is to take a harbour cruise, after all , it is the city of sails!
There are around 50 volcanoes throughout the city of sails, a reminder of it's fiery origins. The last major activity was around 800 years ago when Rangitoto Island emerged from the ocean floor. Other prominent domes such as One Tree Hill, Mt Eden, Mt Wellington, North head and Mt Victoria provide outstanding 360� panoramas of the city. Many of these domes were once home to a thriving Maori population, the scarring of the terraces are a reminder of the people that once inhabited these well guarded Pa's (fortified village).
Today Auckland is New Zealand's largest city with over � of the country's population, it is unquestionably our cosmopolitan capital. Auckland personifies New Zealand's status as a true Pacific Island. It is home to an array of Polynesian cultures including Samoan, Tongan, Niuen, Cook Island Maori and Tokelau to name a few. Add to the pot a mix of Korean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Sudanese and South African, Auckland is a melting pot where the South Pacific shakes hands with Asia and the rest of the world.
Auckland's culture is perhaps represented in it's food, there are dozens of great affordable asian food halls, take aways and restaurants. On the weekends there are numerous markets around the city where you can check out the food's of the islands such as taro and sweet potato, pineapples and mangos, or maybe some pork bone and puha from a more traditional kiwi boil up. If you want to check out Aucklands Polynesian culture, check out the Otara markets on Saturday mornings. Like all good markets they start early, Otara is on the southern motorway (SH1) about 20km south of the city centre.
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My Favourite Spot in NZ: One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park with heaps of walking tracks, great Frisbee & golf course, dodging walkers, cows and archery range!
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