Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in both Polynesia and New Zealand, with a population of 1.45 million people. It is in the northern half of the North Island, on a narrow isthmus of land that joins the Northland peninsula to the rest of the North Island.
Auckland is a modern cosmopolitan city with a population of over 1.8 million people — roughly one third of New Zealand's entire population reside in Auckland. The city and suburbs have developed within the same time frame and similar urban patterns as California (Los Angeles and Auckland have shared urban planning designs and are sister cities). Today the city and suburbs sprawl over a large urban area, hemmed to the east and west by two large harbours (Waitemata and Manukau) and ocean (Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea) beyond. Many suburbs were once separate towns and offer examples of early European settlement (Mission Bay, Parnell Village and Ponsonby are historic suburban centres that remain well preserved and contain good examples of Victorian, Edwardian and Deco residential styles). An extensive tram system was removed in the 1960s and motorway systems have since been implemented, although recent efforts to return two areas to trams for tourism purposes (in the CBD Wynyard Quarter and at Western Springs linking the Zoo and Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)) have had mixed results.