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A southern part of North Shore viewed from Forrest Hill, with central Auckland in the background
North Shore within the North Island of New Zealand
North Shore (in orange) within the Auckland metropolitan area
|• Total||129.81 km2 (50.12 sq mi)|
|Population (2006 census)|
|• Density||1,600/km2 (4,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||NZST (UTC+12)|
|• Summer (DST)||NZDT (UTC+13)|
North Shore was formerly North Shore City, a distinct territorial authority district, which was governed by the North Shore City Council from 1989 until 2010, when it was incorporated into Auckland Council. The city had an estimated population of 229,000 at 30 June 2010, making it the fourth most populous city in New Zealand prior to the November 2010 reorganisation. The former city was also the country's fourth largest city in land, with an area of 129.81 square kilometres and a coastline of 141 kilometres. It was also the most densely populated city in the country because, unlike other New Zealand cities, most of the city's area was urban or suburban in character.
The North Shore comprises a large suburban area to the north of downtown Auckland; linked to the rest of the greater Auckland metropolitan area by two harbour bridges – the Auckland Harbour Bridge crosses the inner Waitemata Harbour to Auckland City, while the Upper Harbour Bridge provides a connection to Auckland's western suburbs, Waitakere, across the northern stretches of the harbour.
The North Shore has been administered by various councils over the years, in the most recent past the North Shore City Council. On 1 November 2010, North Shore City Council and the six other local councils and Auckland Regional Council merged to create Auckland Council.
Today, the entire area has been divided among four local boards of the amalgamated Auckland Council: Devonport-Takapuna, Kaipatiki, Upper Harbour (along with part of the former Waitakere City) and Hibiscus and Bays (along with part of the former Rodney District).
The administrative area of North Shore City Council was bounded by Rodney District to the north, Waitemata Harbour to the south and the Rangitoto Channel of the Hauraki Gulf to the east. The seat of the council was in Takapuna. North Shore City was divided into the following wards, which each ward was further divided into two community boards.
1 - Inner suburbs
2 - Outer suburbs
3 - Those suburbs, along with several other beaches on the Hauraki Gulf coast, are collectively known as the East Coast Bays.
The European history of the North Shore was initially dominated by very rural settlement, with people from the "main" Auckland generally venturing there only during weekends, when the beaches and many coastal settlements were favourite daytripper goals reached by the ferries connecting the North Shore to Auckland. By the 1950s, only about 50,000 people lived on the Shore, and its growth rate was still about half that of the areas south of the Waitemata, partly because few jobs were on offer.
This changed significantly with the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959, which opened up the Shore for Auckland expansion – vehicle volumes on the bridge became three times the forecast volume within the first decade – and began turning parts of it into a dormitory town for people working in the Auckland CBD or further south. Eventually the growth became significant enough for the North Shore to be considered a city in its own right, though densities remained (and remain as of the 2000s) still below what is typical south of the Harbour.
On 1 November 2010 the North Shore boundaries were amalgamated with the rest of the entire Auckland Region, and the North Shore City Council was abolished and replaced by a single unitary city authority. All council services and facilities are now under authority of the Auckland Council.
Commuting within the North Shore itself can be done relatively easily, but those who commute to Auckland City and need to cross the Auckland Harbour Bridge face severe traffic congestion. The alternative route through western suburbs is also prone to nose-to-tail traffic at peak times. As with the greater Auckland area, there has been much discussion regarding the problem at both national and local government levels, but very little concrete action, mostly related to the high cost and difficulty of providing additional crossings over the Waitemata Harbour. Several options for new bridges and tunnels have been studied in depth, but at the moment, the official position is to mitigate congestion effects instead of providing new infrastructure.
Public transport has been upgraded in an attempt to reduce the city's car dependence. The Northern Busway along the Northern Motorway, together with park and ride facilities in Albany and Constellation Drive (completed in late 2005), serves as the spine of a bus-based rapid transit system for North Shore and Hibiscus Coast citizens. In 2003, there were indications that the early stages of the busway project were generally regarded as a success but that important tasks regarding integration of bus lines were unresolved. The North Shore City Council increased the number of facilities with more park and ride stations in Sunnynook, Smales Farm and Akoranga park. These were completed in February 2008. In January 2009, the Northern Busway began trial runs featuring New Zealand's first "bus-dedicated roadway."
A number of North Shore suburbs have a regular ferry service to Auckland City, including Devonport, Stanley Bay, Bayswater, Birkenhead. Others are planned for Takapuna and Browns Bay. A plan in the mid-2000s to turn North Shore streets into a venue for a three-day V8 supercar race generated controversy; traffic experts were hired by the North Shore City Council to assess whether such a race was possible "without causing mayhem on the roads."
The city was run by a 15-member council (North Shore City Council) and mayor, democratically elected every three years using the First Past The Post voting system. The final mayor prior to 2010 amalgamation was Andrew Williams. The mayor was a strong critic of the 'Super City' proposals which would see North Shore City amalgamated into a larger Auckland authority, Auckland Council. Mayor Williams voiced strong opposition to Transit New Zealand's delays regarding bus lanes. He was a proponent of the $300 million joint busway venture. While the Auckland Regional Council had power to impose property tax rates on suburban areas such as North Shore City, local residents voiced strong opposition. There was a pattern of conflict between local authorities and Auckland city officials regarding many matters, such as transportation, land purchases and decay of wharf facilities. The issue of whether Auckland should be a single city, or a collection of autonomous cities, was a subject of debate in the lead up to amalgamation.
For the purposes of general elections, the city contained three whole electorates, being Northcote, North Shore and East Coast Bays. The electorate of Helensville also takes in portions of the northwest of the city. Politically the city tends to lean to the right: all electorates except Northcote are considered safe National Party seats. Northcote meanwhile is considered a bellwether seat, swinging left and right with the nation as a whole.
There are over 22,000 businesses located on the North Shore, contributing to over 6% of New Zealand's GDP. The city topped the nation's growth rates for numbers of businesses between 1998 and 2002, growing 29.3%.
The suburb Albany has become the commercial centre of the North Shore. A number of retailers like Westfield are building or have built "super stores" in the area, anticipating ongoing commercial growth and expansion. The area has also experienced the construction of intense cheaper housing, and thousands of acres of farmland has been turned into mini-suburbs comprising hundreds of houses all of a similar design. As such, the Albany area has attracted hundreds of millions of investment dollars.
Residential development on the North Shore continues to rapidly sprawl northwards. The Rodney township of Orewa and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, 25 kilometres north of Takapuna, were once holiday resorts. They are now linked by the Northern Motorway and may eventually be contiguous with the North Shore's northward urban expansion.
Some parts of the North Shore boast some of the most expensive real estate in New Zealand. The stretch of coast that runs north from Takapuna Beach to Milford, often referred to as the "Golden Mile", has many properties there that have sold for several million dollars (NZ$) particularly because of the beaches, Lake Pupuke, popular schools and shopping centres. In 2005, one beachfront property sold for $12.8 million. Rents and property prices on the North Shore are high in relative terms, with average weekly rents (in 2002) of $243 versus $237 for Wellington and $236 for Auckland.
In the 2006 New Zealand census, the median income for North Shore residents over 15 years was $29,100, compared with a national average of $24,400.
The racial makeup of the city was 67.5% European, 18.5% Asian, 6.3% Māori, 3.4% Pacific Islander, and 1.8% from the Middle East, Africa or Latin America. Just under 10% gave their ethnicity as "New Zealander", with most of this group having identified itself as European in former Census surveys.
The North Shore is the onscreen home of New Zealand's most successful soap opera: Shortland Street (It was previously primarily filmed there but still has scenes on the North Shore). Go Girls is another popular show set on the North Shore. Prime TV channel has its studios and base in Albany.
North Shore City was a sister city of:
North Harbour travel guide from Wikivoyage