Auckland Commonwealth Walkway

New Zealand / The Pacific

AUCKLAND Auckland sits in a magnificent position on North Island, astride an isthmus and between two harbours, the largest of which is the Waitemata, rather like a smaller version of Sydney Harbour, with many miles of sheltered waters.  Many of the suburbs overlook the sea.  Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand.   It has been described as ‘a bustling, important, anxiously modern city, closer to the American way of life than its southern counterparts, but finding relaxation and contentment in homes whose gardens take full advantage of the climate, and in the sea, the perpetual playmate and companion.’  Queen Street is the axis of city life, the wharves are busy and the ferries are active between the city and the northern suburbs. Auckland has the largest Polynesian population anywhere in the world.  The isthmus was first settled in about 1350, with more than Maoris settled there.  A British colony was settled there in 1840, and Captain William Hobson (1792-1842), 1st Governor-General and the man who co-authored the Treaty of Waitangi, chose the area as his capital and named the city Auckland after George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland (1784-1849), a Whig, who was then First Lord of the Admiralty and had previously served as Governor-General of India.   Auckland was replaced as capital by Wellington in 1865.  Auckland expanded greatly in the early half of the Twentieth Century and is the major economic and financial centre of New Zealand. There have been many royal visits to Auckland, dating back to 1869, when Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, arrived as Captain, HMS Galatea.  In 1927 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited as Duke and Duchess of York, unveiling a war memorial to the Arawas in Rotorua.  In 1953 the Queen arrived in Auckland as first stop in New Zealand on her Commonwealth tour, and she delivered her Christmas broadcast from Auckland. The Queen has returned to New Zealand in 1963, 1970, 1974, 1977, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1995, and 2002.  The Earl of Wessex spent two terms as a house tutor at the Collegiate School, Wanganui.  And there have been many other royal visits.

3.7 miles / 6 kilometres

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