Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is often known as the "City of Sails" for the large number of yachts that grace the Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. It could also be known as the "City of Volcanoes". Much of its natural character comes from the fact that it is built on the Auckland Volcanic Field which consists of about 48 volcanoes. All of the volcanoes are individually extinct but the volcanic field as a whole is not.

The indigenous peoples of New Zealand are the Māori, a large portion of whom have emigrated from their tribal villages in the last 60 years to cities such as Auckland. Representing about 11% of the city, most of these Māori are fully integrated into the urban culture and many are estranged from their tribal roots. Intermarriage rates have been substantial, so rather than appearing only as a prominently distinct ethnicity, an entire spectrum from European white to Māori has emerged. Like many indigenous peoples, the Māori suffered historical injustice at the hands of the colonizing British, though since the 1960s a revival of the Māori culture and language has emerged with New Zealand now celebrating the distinctness of its native inhabitants. Though most Māori speak far better English, New Zealand has added native Māori as an official language in 1987,however English is overwhelmingly dominant.

Auckland is generally a fairly safe place to visit. Be vigilant as you would in any other cities in the world, and with a little bit of common sense you will be safe. Being part of a group is obviously safer than walking about alone, particularly for women. Try to stay in lit areas and avoid dark side streets. Consider carefully where you leave your car especially if you park it in daylight and will have to relocate it after nightfall. Theft from cars is a common problem in New Zealand, so don't leave valuables in your vehicle, or at least make sure that they are hidden from sight.

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