Auckland, also known as Tamaki Makau Rau or Tāmaki Makaurau, was originally a Māori settlement. New Zealand’s first Governor, William Hobson, established Auckland as the nation’s capital in 1841 on land offered by Ngāti Whātua, following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
In 1840, Hobson charged Deputy Governor Symonds with securing an indefeasible title on land on which the Government settlement was to stand. Negotiations took place with Ngāti Whātua for the purchase of an approximately 3,000-acre block of land that was to become ‘Auckland’, referred to on the Deed of Purchase as Mataharehare, Opou and W[h]au. According to a report at the time, “The three thousand acres more or less was part of a desolate and deserted landscape providing few resources to assist the development of a town.”
Facsimile of the original Deed of Purchase of the site of the city of Auckland
Hobson renamed the place after his patron, Lord Auckland, first Lord of the Admiralty.
Auckland remained the seat of government until February 1865, when the capital shifted to Wellington.
The initial purchase by the Crown was followed shortly after, in May 1841, with the sale of the Kohimarama Block of about 6,000 acres by twenty-four Hauraki chiefs, predominantly Ngati Paoa. This block, situated on the West bank of the Tamaki River, took in most of what are regarded today as Auckland’s eastern suburbs.
An even bigger sale was to follow on 29 June 1841. Five Ngati Whātua chiefs, headed by Te Kawau, sold a block of about 8,000 acres known as the ‘Waitematā to Manukau Purchase”. The eastern boundary line ran from Orakei through to the summit of Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill).
This was followed by the sale of further smaller blocks of land by Ngati Whātua between 1842 and 1856.
Additionally, in 1842-43 a substantial block of land was granted by Ngati Whātua to the people of Waikato lineage, Ngati Tamaoho, and Ngati Te Ata. This land was later sold by these tribes to private European buyers.
Read more at: The Founding of the City of Auckland - eLocal Nov 23