The Auckland urban area , in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country. Auckland has a population of 1,413,700, which constitutes 31 percent of the country's population. It is part of the widerAuckland Region, which includes the rural areas and towns north and south of the urban area, plus the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,527,100 that is governed by the Auckland Council. Auckland also has the largest Polynesianpopulation of any city in the world..In Māori, Auckland's name is Tāmaki Makaurau and the transliterated version of Auckland isĀkarana.
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 two harbours on two separate major bodies of water.
The 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland 3rd place in the world on its list, while the Economist's World's most liveable 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.
Tāmaki Makaurau (Māori)
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 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.
A number of arts events are held in Auckland, including the Auckland Festival, the Auckland Triennial, the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, and the New Zealand International Film Festival. The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is the city and region's resident full-time symphony orchestra, performing its own series of concerts and accompanying opera and ballet. Events celebrating the city's cultural diversity include thePasifika Festival, Polyfest, and the Auckland Lantern Festival, all of which are the largest of their kind in New Zealand. Additionally, Auckland regularly hosts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Important institutions include the Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand Maritime Museum, National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the Museum of Transport and Technology/. The Auckland Art Gallery is considered the home of the visual arts in New Zealand with a collection of over 15,000 artworks, including prominent New Zealand 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, includingMount Eden, North Head and One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie).
Other parks around the city are in Western Springs, which has a large park bordering the MOTAT museum and the Auckland Zoo. The Auckland Botanic Gardens are further south, in Manurewa..Ferries provide transport to parks and nature reserves at Devonport, Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island and Tiritiri Matangi. The Waitakere RangesRegional Park to the west of Auckland offers beautiful and relatively unspoiled bush territory, as do the Hunua Ranges to the south.
Tourist attractions and landmarks in the Auckland metropolitan area include: