The Maori were New Zealand's first settlers and made an epic journey from legendary Hawaiki to the north of New Zealand about 1,000 years ago. The great explorer Kupe, who legend says first discovered New Zealand, named the new land Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud.
In North Shore City the ancient volcano, Mt Victoria was the site of a Maori pa or fortified village of the local Kawerau tribe before the European era. Today, you can still see traces of the terraces once protected by palisades of sharpened stakes.
The first documented European to discover New Zealand was Dutch navigator Abel Tasman who came to New Zealand in 1642 in search of the fabled great southern continent. Over a century and a quarter later Captain James Cook claimed it for Britain in 1769 and produced a map.
By the turn of the 19th Century small settlements could be found in Devonport, Takapuna and Northcote. Devonport was the first settlement on the North Shore and was originally known as Flagstaff, after the signal station on the summit of Mount Victoria.
In 1840 leading Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown signed The Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document that established the country as a nation. In North Shore City, the official handing over of lands took place in 1841, between the British Crown and the local hapu of Ngati Paoa. By 1843, all the main arterial routes in North Shore had been laid out, as had the basic outline for early development.
From the 1850s the areas of Takapuna and Devonport slowly began to develop. There was a steady increase of settlers and investors in various land enterprises. The first harbour ferry service began with whaleboats in 1854. Later in the century the Devonport Steam Ferry began operations and ferries scuttled back and forward across the harbour.
Through the course of the 19th Century the North Shore continued to develop with the help of the brickwork, timber and ship building industries. The Shore also came to be viewed as a playground for Aucklanders, and by the late 1870s several new hotels had sprung up. Development on the Shore continued, with the help of Auckland's inner city building boom in the late 1870s and early 1880s.
North Shore grew steadily until Auckland's Harbour Bridge opened in 1959. The direct road link with Auckland City made North Shore more accessible and spawned massive growth in both industry and housing. Today, North Shore City is New Zealand's fourth largest city and continues to grow.
Source: New Zealand Tourism Board , Ralph Johnson - Research Topic: The Conception and Birth of North Shore Suburbs from Mother Auckland in the Nineteenth Century