Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Auckland, North Island

"Big Tree, Little City", Auckland, North Island, New Zealand.
Photo Image © Chris Gin
Our adventure began in Auckland. Auckland is the largest populated city in New Zealand, and also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. Auckland straddles the volcanoes of the Auckland Volcanic Field.

One Tree Hill, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand. Photo Image © Wikipedia
We joined a walking tour that started from Mount Eden, led by our guide - Prince. Mount Eden is the name of the volcano surrounding the suburb which is situated 5 km south the Auckland city centre. It is the highest non-man-made point in the whole of Auckland, and provides great 360 degree views of the city. It used to be a fortified hill pa (village) by various Maori tribes during the pre-European times.

Our guide welcomed us with his traditional greeting, and showed us the landscape of the mountain including the crater, and areas where the Maori would store their potatoes. He told us stories that were told by his fore-fathers, and how the Europeans settled in Auckland. He spoke of the One Tree Hill (or Maungakiekie in Māori), which was the largest and most important Maori pa (fort) in pre-European times, due to its strategic location.
"Auckland City", Auckland, North Island, New Zealand.
Photo Image © Mike Hollman
A few other areas in the North that we didn't visit, but would very much like to are the Bay of Islands, and the Hole in the Rock.

- The Bay of Islands is an area in the Northland Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Located 60 km north-west of Whangarei, it is close to the northern tip of the country.
The Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand.  Photo Image © Wikipedia 
About 700 years ago, the Mataatua, one of the large Māori migration canoes which journeyed to New Zealand from Hawaiki, sailed to the Bay Of Islands (from the Bay of Plenty) by Puhi, a progenitor of the Ngāpuhi Iwi (tribe) which today is the largest in the country. Māori settled and multiplied throughout the bay and on several of its many islands to establish various tribes such as the Ngāti-Miru at Kerikeri. 

The first European to visit the area was Captain Cook, who named the region in 1769.

- The Hole in the Rock, or Piercy Island, is located off the north coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is at the very northern tip of Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands. The island is more of a rock, barren only having gannets and other sea birds to call it home.
The 'Hole in the Rock', aka  Piercy Island, North Island  Photo Image © Wikipedia 

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