Auckland (Māori: Tāmaki Makaurau) is a large metropolitan city in the North Island of New Zealand. The most populous urban area in the country, Auckland has an urban population of about 1,470,100 (June 2020). It is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, and which has a total population of 1,717,500. While Europeans continue to make up the plurality of Auckland's population, the city became multicultural and cosmopolitan in the late-20th century, with Asians accounting for 31% of the city's population in 2018. Auckland is also home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki Makaurau, meaning "Tāmaki desired by many", in reference to the desirability of its natural resources and geography.Auckland lies between the Hauraki Gulf to the east, the Hunua Ranges to the south-east, the Manukau Harbour to the south-west, and the Waitākere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and north-west. The surrounding hills are covered in rainforest and the landscape is dotted with 53 volcanic centres that make up the Auckland Volcanic Field. The central part of the urban area occupies a narrow isthmus between the Manukau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and the Waitematā Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. Auckland is one of the few cities in the world to have a harbour on each of two separate major bodies of water.
The isthmus on which Auckland sits was first settled c. 1350 and was valued for its rich and fertile land. The Māori population in the area is estimated to have peaked at 20,000 before the arrival of Europeans. After a British colony was established in New Zealand in 1840, William Hobson, then Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, chose Auckland as its new capital. He named the area for George Eden, Earl of Auckland, British First Lord of the Admiralty. Māori–European conflict over land in the region led to war in the mid-19th century. In 1865, Auckland was replaced by Wellington as the capital, but continued to grow, initially because of its port and the logging and gold-mining activities in its hinterland, and later because of pastoral farming (especially dairy farming) in the surrounding area, and manufacturing in the city itself. It has been the nation's largest city throughout most of its history. Today, Auckland's central business district is New Zealand's leading economic hub.
The University of Auckland, founded in 1883, is the largest university in New Zealand. The city's significant tourist attractions include national historic sites, festivals, performing arts, sports activities, and a variety of cultural institutions, such as the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Museum of Transport and Technology, and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Its architectural landmarks include the Harbour Bridge, the Town Hall, the Ferry Building and the Sky Tower. The city is served by Auckland Airport, which handles around 2 million international passengers a month. Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, Auckland is recognised as one of the world's most liveable cities, ranking third in the 2019 Mercer Quality of Living Survey and at first place in a 2021 ranking of the global liveability index by The Economist.