Story: City history and people

Population of the four main urban areas, 1858–2006

Population of the four main urban areas, 1858–2006

In the 19th century New Zealand’s rugged landscape and slow communications conspired against the rise of one primary city, as had occurred in the Australian colonies. Instead, four main cities of near-equal size emerged, separated by near-equal distances: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The population of the four cities largely kept pace with each other until 1911, when Auckland’s growth began to outstrip the others. Auckland’s rise became entrenched after 1945, when it raced ahead of the other main cities. By 2006 it contained nearly a third of the national population and was New Zealand’s primary city.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Source: G. T. Bloomfield, New Zealand: a handbook of historical statistics. Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall, 1984; New Zealand census, 1986–2006

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How to cite this page:

David Thorns and Ben Schrader, 'City history and people - The appeal of city life', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 June 2022)

Story by David Thorns and Ben Schrader, published 11 Mar 2010