Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. About 1.4 million people live in the Auckland region. For a short time in New Zealand's history it was the capital city. Now Wellington is the capital city.
Auckland is in the north of the North Island. It is situated on two harbours: the Manukau and Waitemata harbours. It is known as the "City of Sails" because there are many sailing boats in the city. The Hauraki Gulf has many different islands and provides safe anchorage and good sailing that is recognised around the world. It has a temperate oceanic climate (Cfb in the Koeppen climate classification).
Auckland is built on a series of dormant volcanos. The youngest and largest of these is called Rangitoto. Rangitoto is an island just a few kilometres from the city centre. It has many pohutukawas, native trees also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree because of their brilliant red flowers which bloom in December.
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According to the NIWA, Auckland has a subtropical climate, with warm, humid summers and mild, rainy winters. Under Köppen's climate classification, the city has an oceanic climate (Cfb). It is the warmest main centre of New Zealand and is also one of the sunniest, with an average of over 2000 sunshine hours per annum. The average daily maximum temperature is 23.7 °C (74.7 °F) in February and 14.7 °C (58.5 °F) in July. The absolute maximum recorded temperature is 34.4 °C (93.9 °F), while the absolute minimum is −0.6 °C (30.9 °F). High levels of rainfall occur almost year–round with an average of 1,212.4 millimetres (47.7 in) per year spread over 136 rain days, but is most frequent in Winter. Snowfall in Auckland is extremely rare; recorded instances include 27 July 1939 and 15 August 2011, although without any accumulation.
The early morning calm on the isthmus during settled weather, before the sea breeze rises, was described as early as 1853: "In all seasons, the beauty of the day is in the early morning. At that time, generally, a solemn stillness holds, and a perfect calm prevails...". Many Aucklanders use this time of day to walk and run in parks.
Auckland occasionally suffers from air pollution due to fine particle emissions. There are also occasional breaches of guideline levels of carbon monoxide. While maritime winds normally disperse the pollution relatively quickly it can sometimes become visible as smog, especially on calm winter days. The west of Auckland is slightly wetter and cooler than the eastern side, with the gulf islands being warmer and drier still.
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