Tāmaki Makaurau (Māori)
|— Main urban area —|
|Nickname(s): City of Sails,
SuperCity (sometimes ironically),
Queen City (archaic)
|Coordinates (): Coordinates:|
|Settled by Māori||c. 1350|
|Settled by Europeans||1840|
|• Mayor||Len Brown|
|• Urban||482.9 km2 (186.4 sq mi)|
|• Metro||559.2 km2 (215.9 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||196 m (643 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Population (June 2012 estimate)|
|• Urban density||2,900/km2 ( 7,500/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||2,700/km2 ( 7,000/sq mi)|
|• Demonym||Aucklander, Jafa (often derogatory)|
|Time zone||NZST (UTC+12)|
|• Summer (DST)||NZDT (UTC+13)|
|Local iwi||Ngāti Whātua, Tainui|
The Auckland metropolitan area (pron.: //, AWK-lənd), in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country. It has 1,397,300 residents, which is 32 percent of the country's population. Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. In Māori, Auckland's name is Tāmaki Makaurau and the transliterated version of Auckland is Ākarana.
The Auckland urban area (as defined by Statistics New Zealand) ranges to Waiwera in the north, Kumeu in the northwest, and Runciman in the south. It is not contiguous – the section from Waiwera to Whangaparaoa Peninsula is separate from its nearest neighbouring suburb of Long Bay. Auckland lies between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the south-east, the Manukau Harbour to the south-west, and the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and north-west. The central part of the urban area occupies a narrow isthmus between the Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the few cities in the world to have harbours on two separate major bodies of water.
The 2011 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland 3rd equal place in the world on its list, while the Economist's World's most livable cities index of 2011 ranked Auckland in 9th place. In 2010, Auckland was classified as a Beta World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory by Loughborough University.
The isthmus was settled by Māori around 1350 and was valued for its rich and fertile land. Many pā (fortified villages) were created, mainly on the volcanic peaks. Māori population in the area is estimated at about 20,000 people before the arrival of Europeans. The subsequent introduction of firearms, which began in Northland, upset the balance of power and led to devastating inter-tribal warfare, causing iwi who lacked the new weapons to seek refuge in areas less exposed to coastal raids. As a result, the region had relatively low numbers of Māori when European settlement of New Zealand began. There is, however, nothing to suggest that this was the result of a deliberate European policy. On 27 January 1832, Joseph Brooks Weller, eldest of the Weller brothers of Otago and Sydney bought land including the sites of the modern cities of Auckland and North Shore and part of Rodney District, for "one large cask of powder" from "Cohi Rangatira".
After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840, the new Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson, chose the area as his new capital, and named it after George Eden, Earl of Auckland, then Viceroy of India. The land that Auckland was established on was given to the Governor by local Maori iwi Ngāti Whātua, as a sign of goodwill and in the hope that the building of a city would attract commercial and political opportunities for the iwi. Auckland was officially declared New Zealand's capital in 1841, and the transfer of the administration from Russell (now Old Russell) in the Bay of Islands was completed in 1842. However, even in 1840 Port Nicholson (later Wellington) was seen as a better choice for an administrative capital because of its proximity to the South Island and Wellington became the capital in 1865. Auckland was the principal city of the Auckland Province until the provincial system was abolished in 1876.
In response to the ongoing rebellion by Hone Heke in the mid-1840s the government encouraged retired but fit British soldiers and their families to migrate to Auckland to form a defense line around the port settlement as garrison soldiers. Amongst the first settlers were some Catholics and in 1841 they established Auckland's first school of any sort which held its first class on 27 September 1841. By the time the first Fencibles arrived in 1848, the rebels in the north had been defeated, so the outlying defensive towns were constructed to the south stretching in a line from the port village of Onehunga in the West, to Howick in the east. Each of the 4 settlements had about 800 settlers, the men being fully armed in case of emergency but spent nearly all their time breaking in the land and establishing roads. In the early 1860s, Auckland became a base against the Māori King Movement. This, and continued road building towards the south into the Waikato, enabled Pākehā (European New Zealanders) influence to spread from Auckland. Its population grew fairly rapidly, from 1,500 in 1841 to 12,423 by 1864. The growth occurred similarly to other mercantile-dominated cities, mainly around the port and with problems of overcrowding and pollution. Auckland had a far greater population of ex soldiers than other settlements, many of whom were Irish. About 50% of the population was Irish which contrasted heavily with the majority English settlers in Wellington, Christchurch or New Plymouth. Most of the Irish, though not all, were from Protestant Ulster. The majority of settlers in the early period were assisted by receiving a cheap passage to NZ.
Trams and railway lines shaped Auckland's rapid expansion in the early first half of the 20th century, but soon afterward the dominance of the motor vehicle emerged and has not abated since; arterial roads and motorways have become both defining and geographically dividing features of the urban landscape. They also allowed further massive expansion that resulted in the growth of associated urban areas like the North Shore (especially after the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge), and Manukau City in the south. According to the 1961 census data, Māori and Pacific Islanders composed 5% of Auckland’s population; Asians less than 1%.
A large percentage of Auckland is dominated by a suburban style of building, giving the city a low population density characteristic of most new world cities. However, due to a history of strong population growth and the city's location on a constrained isthmus, Auckland has among the highest population density of any urban area in Australasia.
Auckland straddles the Auckland volcanic field, which has produced about 50 volcanoes. These take the form of cones, lakes, lagoons, islands and depressions, and several have produced extensive lava flows. Some of the cones have been partly or completely quarried away. The individual volcanoes are all considered extinct, although the volcanic field itself is merely dormant. Auckland has at least 14 large lava tube caves which run from the volcanoes down towards the sea.
Auckland's volcanoes are fuelled entirely by basaltic magma, unlike the explosive subduction-driven volcanism in the central North Island, such as at Mount Ruapehu and Lake Taupo. The most recent and by far the largest volcano, Rangitoto Island, was formed within the last 1000 years, and its eruptions destroyed the Māori settlements on neighbouring Motutapu Island some 700 years ago. Rangitoto's size, its symmetry, its position guarding the entrance to Waitemata Harbour and its visibility from many parts of the Auckland region make it Auckland's most iconic natural feature. Few birds and insects inhabit the island because of the rich acidic soil and the type of flora growing out of the rocky soil.
Auckland lies on and around an isthmus, less than two kilometres wide at its narrowest point, between Mangere Inlet and the Tamaki River. There are two harbours in the Auckland urban area surrounding this isthmus: Waitemata Harbour to the north, which opens east to the Hauraki Gulf, and Manukau Harbour to the south, which opens west to the Tasman Sea. The total coastline of Auckland is 3,702 km in length.
Bridges span parts of both harbours, notably the Auckland Harbour Bridge crossing the Waitemata Harbour west of the Auckland Central Business District (CBD). The Mangere Bridge and the Upper Harbour Bridge span the upper reaches of the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours, respectively. In earlier times, portage paths crossed the narrowest sections of the isthmus.
Several islands of the Hauraki Gulf are administered as part of Auckland, though they are not part of the Auckland metropolitan area. Parts of Waiheke Island effectively function as Auckland suburbs, while various smaller islands near Auckland are mostly zoned 'recreational open space' or are nature sanctuaries.
Auckland also has a total length of approximately 21,000 km of rivers and streams, about 8% of these in urban areas.
Auckland has a warm-temperate climate, with warm, humid summers and mild, damp winters. Under Köppen's climate classification, the city has an oceanic climate (Cfb ). It is the warmest main centre of New Zealand and is also one of the sunniest, with an average of 2060 sunshine hours per annum. The average daily maximum temperature is 23.7 °C (74.7°F) in February and 14.5°C (58.1°F) in July. The absolute maximum recorded temperature is 34.4 °C (93.9 °F), while the absolute minimum is −0.6 °C (30.9 °F). High levels of rainfall occur almost year-round with an average of 1240 mm per year spread over 137 'rain days'. Snowfall in Auckland is extremely rare; recorded instances include 27 July 1939 and 15 August 2011, although without any accumulation.
The early morning calm on the isthmus during settled weather, before the sea breeze rises, was described as early as 1853: "In all seasons, the beauty of the day is in the early morning. At that time, generally, a solemn stillness holds, and a perfect calm prevails...". Many Aucklanders use this time of day to walk and run in parks.
Auckland occasionally suffers from air pollution due to fine particle emissions. There are also occasional breaches of guideline levels of carbon monoxide. While maritime winds normally disperse the pollution relatively quickly it can sometimes become visible as smog, especially on calm winter days. Precipitation is relatively abundant all year round, but peaks marginally in winter.
|Climate data for Auckland|
|Average high °C (°F)||23.3
|Average low °C (°F)||15.3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||75
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||229||195||189||157||140||110||128||143||149||178||188||197||2,007|
|Source: NIWA Science climate data|
Auckland is home to many cultures. The majority of inhabitants claim European - predominantly British - descent, but substantial Māori, Pacific Islander and Asian communities exist as well. Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world and a higher proportion of people of Asian origin than the rest of New Zealand. Ethnic groups from all corners of the world have a presence in Auckland, making it by far the country's most cosmopolitan city.
At the time of the 2006 Census, Auckland had 32.4% of New Zealand's population. The proportion of Asians and other Non-European immigrants has increased during the last decades due to immigration, and the removal of restrictions directly or indirectly based on race. Immigration to New Zealand is heavily concentrated towards Auckland (partly for job market reasons). This strong focus on Auckland has led the immigration services to award extra points towards immigration visa requirements for people intending to move to other parts of New Zealand.
The following table shows the ethnic profile of Auckland's population, as recorded in the 2001 and 2006 New Zealand Census. The percentages add up to more than 100%, as some people counted themselves as belonging to more than one ethnic group. Figures for 2006 refer to the whole Auckland Region, not just the urban area. The substantial percentage drop of 'Europeans' was mainly caused by the increasing numbers of people from this group choosing to define themselves as 'New Zealanders' - even though this was not one of the groups listed on the census form.
|Ethnic Group||2001 (%)||2001 (people)||2006 (%)||2006 (people)|
|New Zealand European||66.9||684,237||56.5||698,622|
|Middle Easterners/Latin Americans/Africans||n/a||n/a||1.5||18,555|
|Total giving their ethnicity||1,022,616 (individuals)||1,237,239 (individuals)|
Similar to the rest of the country, over half of Aucklanders profess Christianity, but fewer than 10% regularly attend church and almost 40% profess no religious affiliation (2006 census figures). The main denominations are Roman Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian. Pentecostal and charismatic churches are the fastest growing. A small community of Coptic Orthodox Christians is also present.
Recent immigration from Asia has added to the religious diversity of the city, and about 10% of the population follow such beliefs as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism, although there are no figures on religious attendance. There is also a small, long-established Jewish community.
Auckland's lifestyle is influenced by the fact that while it is 70% rural in land area, 90% of Aucklanders live in urban areas - though large parts of these areas have a more suburban character than many cities in Europe and Asia.
Positive aspects of Auckland life are its mild climate, plentiful employment and educational opportunities, as well as numerous leisure facilities. Meanwhile, traffic problems, the lack of good public transport, and increasing housing costs have been cited by many Aucklanders as among the strongest negative factors of living there, together with crime. Nonetheless, Auckland ranks 4th equal in a survey of the quality of life of 215 major cities of the world (2009 data). In 2006, Auckland placed 23rd on the UBS list of the world's richest cities.
In 2011, Auckland is ranked by the Mercer consulting firm as 149 of 214 centres for affordability, i.e. making it one of the most affordable cities world-wide to live in, with living expense of $20000 per year., based on the comparative cost of 200 aspects of life including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods.
Auckland is popularly known as the "City of Sails" because the harbour is often dotted with hundreds of yachts and has more per capita than any other city in the world, with around 135,000 yachts and launches. Around 60,500 of the country's 149,900 registered yachtsmen come from the Auckland Region. About one in three Auckland households owns a boat.
Viaduct Basin also hosted two America's Cup challenges (2000 Cup and 2003 Cup), and its cafes, restaurants, and clubs add to Auckland's vibrant nightlife. With the sheltered Waitemata Harbour at its doorstep, Auckland sees many nautical events, and there are also a large number of sailing clubs in Auckland, as well as Westhaven Marina, the largest of the Southern Hemisphere.
High Street, Queen Street, Ponsonby Road, and Karangahape Road are very popular with urban socialites. Newmarket and Parnell are up-market shopping areas, while Otara's and Avondale's fleamarkets offer a colourful alternative shopping experience. Newer shopping malls tend to be outside city centres, with Sylvia Park (Sylvia Park, Auckland City), Botany Town Centre (Howick, Botany Downs) and Westfield Albany (Albany, North Shore) being the three largest.
The Auckland Town Hall and Aotea Centre host conferences and cultural events such as theatre, kapa haka, and opera. Auckland also boasts a full-time professional symphonic ensemble in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
Many national treasures are displayed at the Auckland Art Gallery, such as the work of Colin McCahon, while many other significant cultural artefacts reside at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the National Maritime Museum, or the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). Exotic creatures can be observed at the Auckland Zoo and Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium. Movies and rock concerts are also well patronised.
The Waitemata Harbour has popular swimming beaches at Mission Bay, Devonport, Takapuna, and the west coast has popular surf spots such as Piha and Muriwai. Many Auckland beaches are patrolled by surf lifesaving clubs, which are part of Surf Life Saving Northern Region.
The Auckland Festival is a biennial event that takes place throughout the Auckland region. It features local and international music, dance, theatre and visual arts.
The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is the region's resident full-time symphony orchestra, performing its own series of concerts and accompanying opera, ballet and visiting artists like Luciano Pavarotti, Burt Bacharach, Meat Loaf, Nigel Kennedy and the orchestra's patron Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is considered the home of the visual arts in New Zealand with a collection of over 15,000 artworks, including prominent New Zealand, Māori and Pacific Island artists, as well as international painting, sculpture and print collections ranging in date from 1376 to the present day. In 2009 the Gallery was promised a gift  of fifteen works of art by New York art collectors and philanthropists Julian and Josie Robertson — including well-known paintings by Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin and Piet Mondrian. This is the largest gift ever made to an art museum in Australasia.
Auckland Domain is one of the largest parks in the city, close to the Auckland CBD and having a good view of the Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island. Smaller parks close to the city centre are Albert Park, Myers Park, Western Park and Victoria Park.
While most volcanic cones in the Auckland volcanic field have been affected by quarrying, many of the remaining cones are now within parks, and retain a more natural character than the surrounding city. Prehistoric earthworks and historic fortifications are in several of these parks, including Mount Eden, North Head and One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie).
Ferries provide transport to parks and nature reserves at Devonport, Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island and Tiritiri Matangi. The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park to the west of Auckland offers beautiful and relatively unspoiled bush territory, as do the Hunua Ranges to the south.
Rugby union, rugby league, soccer, cricket and netball are widely played and followed. Auckland has a considerable number of rugby union and cricket grounds, and venues for motorsports, tennis, badminton, netball, swimming, soccer, rugby league, and many other sports.
Annual sporting events include:
Auckland hosted the 1950 British Empire Games and the 14th Commonwealth Games in 1990, and hosted a number of matches (including the semi-finals and the final) of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final events were held in the Auckland CBD in October 2012. The 2013 Series kicks off in April in Auckland and will continue there yearly for at least 3 more years.
Most major international corporations have an Auckland office, as the city is the economic capital of the nation. The most expensive office space is around lower Queen Street and the Viaduct Basin in the Auckland CBD, where many financial and business services are located, which make up a large percentage of the CBD economy. A large proportion of the technical and trades workforce is based in the industrial zones of South Auckland.
The largest commercial and industrial areas of Greater Auckland are in the southeast of Auckland City and the western parts of Manukau City, mostly bordering the Manukau Harbour and the Tamaki River estuary.
The sub-national GDP of the Auckland region was estimated at US$47.6 billion in 2003, 36% of New Zealand's national GDP, 15% greater than the entire South Island.
Auckland's status as the largest commercial centre of the country reflects in the high median personal income (per working person, per year) which was NZ$44,304 (approx. US$33,000) for the region in 2005, with jobs in the Auckland CBD often earning more. The median personal income (for all persons older than 15 years of age, per year) was NZ$22,300 (2001), behind only North Shore City (also part of the Greater Auckland area) and Wellington. While office workers still account for a large part of Auckland's commuters, large office developments in other parts of the city, for example in Takapuna or Albany, both on the North Shore, are slowly becoming more common, reducing concentration on the Auckland CBD somewhat.
The Auckland urban area has 340 primary schools, 80 secondary schools, and 29 composite (primary/secondary combined) schools as of February 2012, catering for nearly quarter of a million students. The majority are state schools, but 63 schools are state-integrated and 39 are private.
The city is home to some of the largest schools in New Zealand, including Rangitoto College in the East Coast Bays area, the largest school in New Zealand with just over 3000 students.
Auckland has a number of important educational institutions, including some of the largest universities in the country. Auckland is a major centre of overseas language education, with large numbers of foreign students (particularly East Asians) coming to the city for several months or years to learn English or study at universities - although numbers New Zealand-wide have dropped substantially since peaking in 2003. As of 2007, there are around 50 New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) certified schools and institutes teaching English in the Auckland area.
Amongst the more important tertiary educational institutes are the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, Massey University, Manukau Institute of Technology and Unitec New Zealand.
Housing varies considerably between some suburbs having state owned housing in the lower income neighbourhoods, to palatial waterfront estates, especially on the Waitemata. Traditionally, the most common residence of Aucklanders was a bungalow on a 'quarter acre' (1,000 m²). However, subdividing such properties with 'infill housing', has long been the norm. Aucklanders' housing preferences resulting from a lack of apartments and poor public transport has resulted in a large urban sprawl and reliance on motor vehicles. This will probably continue, as the vast majority of Aucklanders live in low-density housing, which is expected to remain at up to 70% of the total share even in 2050.
In some areas, the Victorian villas are being increasingly torn down to make way for large mansions with tennis courts and swimming pools. The demolition of the older properties is being combated by the Auckland City Council passing laws that cover heritage suburbs or streets. Auckland has been described as having 'the most extensive range of timbered housing with its classical details and mouldings in the world', many of them Victorian-Edwardian style houses.
From 1989 to 2010 Auckland was governed by several separate city and district councils. In the late 2000s (decade), New Zealand's central government and parts of Auckland's society felt that this large number of councils, and the lack of strong regional government (with the Auckland Regional Council having only limited powers) were hindering Auckland's progress. A Royal Commission on Auckland Governance was set up in 2007, and in 2009 recommended a unified local governance structure for Auckland, amalgamating the councils. Government subsequently announced that a "super city" would be set up with a single mayor by the time of New Zealand's local body elections in 2010. Many aspects of the reorganisation were or are still controversial, from matters such as the form of representation for Maori, the inclusion or exclusion of rural council areas in the city, to the role of council-controlled organisations that are intended to place much of the day to day business of council services at arms length from the elected Council.
Between 1842 and 1865, Auckland was the capital city of New Zealand. Parliament met in what is now Old Government House on the University of Auckland's City campus. The capital was moved to the more centrally located Wellington in 1865.
Auckland, because of its large population, is covered by 21 general electorates and three Maori electorates, each returning one member to the New Zealand House of Representatives. In addition, there are a varying number of Auckland-based List MPs, who are elected via party lists. As of 2012, there are twelve list MPs in the House who contested Auckland-based electorates at the 2011 election.
|Auckland Central||Nikki Kaye||National|
|East Coast Bays||Murray McCully||National|
|Epsom||John Banks (New Zealand politician)||ACT|
|Mangere||Su'a William Sio||Labour|
|Manukau East||Ross Robertson||Labour|
|Maungakiekie||Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga||National|
|Mount Albert||David Shearer||Labour|
|Mount Roskill||Phil Goff||Labour|
|New Lynn||David Cunliffe||Labour|
|North Shore||Maggie Barry||National|
|Te Atatu||Phil Twyford||Labour|
|Hauraki-Waikato (Maori)||Nanaia Mahuta||Labour|
|Tamaki Makaurau (Maori)||Pita Sharples||Maori|
|Te Tai Tokerau (Maori)||Hone Harawira||Mana|
|List||Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi||National|
|List||Julie Anne Genter||Green|
|List||Andrew Williams||NZ First|
Private vehicles are the main form of transportation within Auckland, with around 7% of journeys in the Auckland region being undertaken by bus (2006 data), and 2% undertaken by train and ferry. Usage is however heavily skewed towards travel to and from the Central Business District, where more than half of trips are undertaken by public transport. Auckland still ranks quite low in this regard, having only 46 public transport trips per capita per year, while Wellington has almost twice this number at 91, and Sydney has 114 trips. This strong roading focus results in substantial traffic congestion during peak times.
Regular trains operating along four lines travel between the CBD and the west, south and south-east of Auckland, with longer-distance options scarce. In 2007 approximately NZ$5.3 billion worth of large-scale projects were underway or planned (and budgeted for) in the Auckland area to improve rail and public transport patronage over the next decade, 31% of the transport budget. However, policy changes in early 2009 by the incoming National government have meant a shift in emphasis to more highway construction, and have removed the provision of a regional fuel tax that was to pay for ARTA's public transport upgrades. While the government has promised to fund the rail electrification, the process and associated tenders were delayed by approximately one year, and some rail station upgrades and the funding of the integrated ticketing upgrade were in doubt. The lack of future funding also forced ARTA to hand over the Auckland region's rail stations to government control. Electrification is now underway however, with electric trains scheduled to be running in the next 18 months.
Auckland's ports are the second largest of the country, behind the Port of Tauranga, and a large part of both inbound and outbound New Zealand commerce travels through them, mostly via the facilities northeast of Auckland CBD. Freight usually arrives at or is distributed from the port via road, though the port facilities also have rail access. Auckland is a major cruise ship stopover point, with the ships usually tying up at Princes Wharf. Auckland CBD is connected to coastal suburbs, to the North Shore and to outlying islands by ferry.
Auckland has various small regional airports and Auckland Airport, the busiest of the country. Auckland Airport, New Zealand's largest, is in the southern suburb of Mangere on the shores of the Manukau Harbour. There are frequent services to Australia, and to other New Zealand destinations. There are also direct connections to many locations in the South Pacific, to the United States, Asia and to Santiago in South America.
Research at Griffith University has indicated that in the last 50 years, Auckland has engaged in some of the most pro-automobile transport policies anywhere in the world. With public transport declining heavily during the second half of the 20th century (a trend mirrored in most Western countries such as the US), and increased spending on roads and cars, New Zealand (and specifically Auckland) now has the second-highest vehicle ownership rate in the world, with around 578 vehicles per 1000 people. Auckland has also been called a very pedestrian- and cyclist-unfriendly city, though some efforts are being made to change this. At the same, high-profile gaps in the network, such as the inability for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Waitemata Harbour, will probably remain for the foreseeable future, with councils generally not considering the costs involved as sensible expense.
The State Highway network connects the cities in the Auckland urban area through the Northern, Southern, Northwestern and Southwestern Motorways.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge (Northern Motorway) is the main connection to the North Shore, and also a major traffic bottleneck. The Harbour Bridge does not provide access for rail, pedestrians or cyclists, which has repeatedly (most recently in 2008) led to campaigns for and investigations into retrofitting the structure.
The Central Motorway Junction, also called 'Spaghetti Junction' for its complexity, is the intersection between the two major motorways of Auckland (State Highway 1 and State Highway 16).
Auckland has three main railway lines, serving the general western, southern, and central eastern directions from the Britomart Transport Centre in downtown Auckland. It is the terminal station for all lines, and connects them to ferry and bus services.
Auckland is New Zealand's largest electricity consumer, and uses around 20% of the country's total electricity each year. Vector, which operates the majority of Auckland's local distribution system, measured maximum demand to be 1722 MW in 2011, with 8679 GWh delivered.
There are two major electricity generation stations located within the city, both of which are natural gas-fired combined cycle gas turbine stations. Otahuhu B is owned by Contact Energy and generates 380 MW, while Southdown is owned by Mighty River Power and generates 175 MW.
Since there is not enough generation in Auckland to meet the demand, and there is very little generation north of Auckland, most of the electricity for Auckland and Northland must be transmitted from power stations in the south, mainly from Huntly Power Station and the Waikato River hydroelectric stations.
Transpower owns the national grid and is responsible for the high voltage transmission lines into and across Auckland. As at March 2012, the existing grid has six major 220 kV transmission circuits bringing power into Auckland from the south. These six circuits are carried on four main transmission lines, and all terminate at Otahuhu substation. A low capacity 110 kV transmission line also brings power from the south, but makes only a minor contribution to meeting the demand.
The sub-transmission and distribution network in the Auckland region is mostly owned by Vector. The network south of central Papakura is owned by Counties Power.
There have been several notable power outages in Auckland. The five-week long 1998 Auckland power crisis blacked out much of the CBD after a cascade failure occurred on four underground cables in Mercury Energy's sub-transmission network. The 2006 Auckland Blackout interrupted supply to the CBD and many inner suburbs after an earth wire shackle at Transpower's Otahuhu substation broke and short-circuited the lines supplying the inner city. In 2009, much of the northern and western suburbs, as well as all of Northland, experienced a blackout when a forklift accidentally came in contact with the only major line supplying the region.
These outages have shown that the transmission and distribution systems are in need of enhancement. Transpower is currently spending $1.25 billion upgrading transmission into Auckland and Northland, to relieve supply constraints and to improve security. The largest single project is the Whakamaru to Brownhill Road transmission line being built from the south Waikato to a new switching station at Brownhill Road near Whitford in south-east Auckland. From Brownhill Road, underground cables operating at 220 kV connect the new line to Pakuranga substation. This project significantly increases transmission capacity into the Auckland region, and provides diversity by reducing the dependence on Otahuhu substation. A further 37 km of 220 kV underground cable is being installed as part of the North Auckland and Northland grid upgrade project from Pakuranga to Penrose, and then via the CBD across the Waitemata Harbour to Albany. This project creates an alternative transmission route to the north of Auckland.
Auckland is expecting substantial population growth via immigration and natural population increases (which contribute to growth at about one-third and two-thirds, respectively), and is set to grow to an estimated 1.9 million inhabitants by 2031. This substantial increase in population will have a major impact on transport, housing and other infrastructure that is in many cases already considered under pressure. It is also feared by some organisations, such as the Auckland Regional Council, that urban sprawl will result from the growth and, as a result, that it is necessary to address this proactively in planning policy.
A 'Regional Growth Strategy' has been adopted that sees limits on further subdivision and intensification of existing use as its main sustainability measures. This policy is contentious, as it naturally limits the uses of private land, especially the subdivision of urban fringe properties, by setting 'Metropolitan Urban Limits' in planning documents like the District Plan.
According to the 2006 Census projections, the medium-variant scenario shows that the population is projected to continue growing, to reach 1.93 million by 2031. The high-variant scenario shows the region's population growing to over two million by 2031.
Tourist attractions and landmarks in the Auckland metropolitan area include:
Auckland Council maintains relationships with the following cities
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