In & Around Auckland

Greater Auckland, whose emblematic ferry building is above and whose favorite beach (Piha and Lion Rock) are below, holds about 1/3 of all the 4.2 million inhabitants of New Zealand. Yup, New Zealand is a bit larger than the United Kingdom and has about 1/15 as many inhabitants. Auckland itself — fairly interesting city but one doesn’t come to NZ for its cities, really. 🙂

Rangitoto is a recent volcanic island very visible a short way out in Auckland’s harbor. Maori inhabitants first arrived in Aotearoa/New Zealand between about 900 and about 1200 CE, and it’s within Maori memory that Rangitoto came into being, if I’ve understood correctly. It’s all open space reserve now with no shops or water or anything, but a few good walking trails over hot volcanic rock — and very cool lava tubes (below) you can walk through if you crouch low enough and have carried something to light you way.

The TV tower is really the most emblematic building in the city, seen above and below and various other shots here, since it’s mighty visible and graceful from many parts of the region. It’s some kind of southern-hemisphere tallest thingy, but there are various category of tallest and I’m not sure which it is.

Auckland (and Wellington, though there the weather wasn’t as good for photography that day) has some lovely wooden houses and bungalows in various neighborhoods, dating most likely to the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s important, with New Zealand, to remember serious European settlement didn’t really begin until mid-1800s.

Remember The Piano, that great movie from the early 1990s? Karekare — above and below — is the beach on which the piano was deposited, and from which many of the famou marketing shots from that movie were taken. I’ve taken different angles, of course… NZ movie trivia: it was for The Piano that the very first Kiwi won an Oscar — Jane Campion for the screenplay (she also directed); she was followed a bit later that same evening by the second Kiwi, Anna Paquin as supporting actress.

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