The City of Many Lovers (and Sails)

Friday, January 23, 2015
Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta and Queen Street Wharf from Smales Point 1864. Auckland Harbour Board photograph album no. 67.

The 175th Anniversary of the founding of Auckland city is being celebrated this weekend with a range of events on Auckland's waterfront, including the annual Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta.

The Māori name for Auckland is Tāmaki Makaurau, which is often translated as "City of a thousand (or many) lovers". The harbours and the fertile volcanic soils have made the region an attractive destination for centuries.

The region was first settled by Māori around 1350. With its two harbours, Waitemata and Manukau, and multiple routes to other parts of the North Island, it was an obvious centre for trade and commerce. Iwi from across New Zealand were drawn there to trade with the local people.

Because of the location and resources, William Hobson chose Auckland as the capital for the new British colony of New Zealand in 1841, until Wellington took its place in 1865.

Arrivals from overseas and from other parts of the country streamed to the city, with the first immigrant ships that sailed directly from Britain to Auckland arriving in 1842.

European settlement of New Zealand was mostly in the South Island in the mid 19th century, but Auckland soon became the commercial capital, and because of its ports and associated businesses, was New Zealand’s largest city by 1900.

Since then people from all over the world have continued to settle in Auckland, and people from other parts of New Zealand have moved to what has remained this country’s largest city.

The harbours are still a vital part of Auckland’s commerce and leisure, and a huge part of what makes the city loved. The popularity of sailing in the region has earned the city the nickname ‘City of Sails’, and visitors still flock to the city to enjoy its resources and beauty.

The love of the sea, sailing, and Auckland, will be on show on Monday in the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta.

1978 Anniversary Day Regatta, Sea Spray photograph collection, NZ Maritime Museum (20053-15)