New Zealand is an independent country located in the South Pacific. It comprises two main islands and a number of smaller islands. It lies just to the west of the international date line and is thus the first land to experience each new day. The nearest neighbouring countries are Australia and New Caledonia, both approximately 2,000 kilometres distant. In size, New Zealand is about the same as Great Britain, and half the area of, for example, France. New Zealand has a population of over three million people. Most are of European descent but a large minority (about 10%) are descended from the indigenous Polynesian people, the Maori.
Auckland, with a population of close to one million, is the largest city in New Zealand. It is located in the north of the country, antipodal to Malaga in Spain, on a similar latitude to the northern hemisphere cities of Athens, Teheran, Seoul, Monterey, and Norfolk. Being sited on an isthmus between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Auckland is very spread out, extending 60 kilometres from north to south. Its climate is moderated by the ocean and can be described as sub-tropical and, although cool in winter, the temperature rarely falls below freezing point.
The University of Auckland dates from 1883. It has grown steadily since, most spectacularly in recent times, to its current enrolment of approximately 24,000 students. The university covers a wide range of subjects in arts, science, commerce, and music. It also has specialist schools of engineering, architecture, fine arts, law and medicine.
The university's city campus is situated on a rise overlooking the harbour, only five minutes' walk from the central business district. The university is easy of access, despite being so central. The city is a comfortable place to live, with many open spaces and easy access to sea, hills, and forest, but at the same time international in outlook. It has a varied population, including, as it is the main centre in Polynesia, residents from all over the Southern Pacific. The city has also benefited in recent times from a large increase in immigration from south-east Asia.
In 1991 the university opened a satellite campus on a spacious site in the suburb of Tamaki. This campus, fully integrated with the city campus, is planned to expand quickly to a self-contained operation with over 3000 students.