Industrial and Commercial Centre
The retail and commercial centre of Auckland is Queen Street. Here big department stores, small shops, theatres, and offices line both sides of the city's busiest thoroughfare, from the wharves to Karangahape Road. Increasing inner-city traffic congestion, however, is popularising the larger suburban shopping centres, such as Mount Roskill, Takapuna, Otahuhu, and Papatoetoe. Because of its leadership in the industrial field, the city contains the head offices of many New Zealand-wide firms, as well as provincial offices of most Government Departments. Industrial growth in Auckland began soon after the establishment of a settlement there in 1840, with industries essentially concerned with the everyday necessities of the community–saw-milling, brewing, flourmilling, clothing, and boat-building. Up till 1870 there was only an expansion in the number and size of these existing industries, but thereafter came the development of larger industries, such as machinery manufacture and tanneries, and brickworks at Onehunga and New Lynn. During the years 1900–30, there was little change in industry location, except for the development of freezing works at Southdown and Westfield, the opening up of Penrose for heavy industry after 1920, and the siting of engineering, boilermaking, shipbuilding, etc., on the reclaimed land behind the wharves. The 1936 Industrial Efficiency Act caused a large decentralisation of new and existing industries, so that most of the industries are located outside the central business area, the largest concentrations now being in Freemans Bay, Parnell, Rosebank Peninsula, Glen Innes, Onehunga, Ellerslie, Penrose, Panmure, and Otahuhu. Although the city has more heavy industry than any other centre in New Zealand, its major industrial activities are the manufacture of clothing, footwear, foodstuffs, domestic appliances and requisites, textiles, furnishings, building materials. It has also engineering and allied trades.
The University of Auckland is one of the six autonomous university institutions in New Zealand. There are nearly 5,000 enrolments in the faculties of arts, science, law, music, commerce, and education, as well as in the schools of architecture, fine arts, and engineering; the latter is situated at Ardmore, some 20 miles south of the city. Besides the old-established public and private secondary schools, there are many colleges newly built in the suburban areas to cope with the rapid post-war increase in school children. The Auckland Public Library is the largest of its type in New Zealand, with a Central Library, 10 branches and a mobile service. The rare books and manuscript collections of Sir George Grey, and the brothers Henry and Fred Shaw are without parallel in the Southern Hemisphere. The Reed Dumas Collection of books by and about Alexander Dumas is the largest outside Paris. Other libraries of note in Auckland include the Leys Institute Public Library, Auckland Institute and Museum, University of Auckland Library, and St. John's Theological College Library. The Auckland City Art Gallery has a comprehensive range of New Zealand art; its collection of European Old Masters is second only to Melbourne's, and its Frances Hodgkins Collection is especially fine.