Posted by David Thornton on
Auckland Anniversary Day is celebrated annually and always includes a variety of events in and around the city and especially on the Monday on the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour.
The holiday usually falls on the Monday closest to 29 January, the anniversary of the arrival of William Hobson, later the first Governor of New Zealand, in the Bay of Islands in 1840. In a tradition dating back to 1842 the day is celebrated by a major regatta on the Waitamata Harbour which features literally hundreds of boats.
AH Reed records in his The Story of New Zealand that there was a whaleboat race between the harbour-masters men and visiting sailors for "a purse of five ponds". Reed also mentions a "native war canoe race", a feature we still have today in the waka race.
.As a yachting event it pre-dates the more prestigious America's Cup by 11 years.
Hobson's barque, the Anna Watson, arrived in Auckland Harbour on 15 September 1840 and proclaimed that Auckland would be the capital of the new colony of New Zealand.
A foundation ceremony took place at 1:00 pm on 18 September 1840, on the higher ground at the top end of present-day Queen Street. Hobson named the new settlement in honour of George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, a patron and his friend. The New Zealand Government Gazette announced royal approval of the name on 26 November 1842
The first immigrant ships sailing directly from Britain started to arrive early in 1842. From early times the eastern side of the settlement remained reserved for government officials while the settlers, mostly mechanics and artisans,set themselves up on the western side, in areas like Freemans Bay.
As the city grew, so too did the regatta until it gained the reputation for being one of the biggest one-day regattas in the world.
Nowadays the Regatta attracts a huge fleet of vessels including, tall ships, gaff riggers, sloops, racing keelers, multi-hulls, sailing dinghies, radio controlled boats, waka ama, elegant sea scout craft, perfectly restored classic yachts, an armada of over 20 vintage tugboats and America’s Cup prototypes.
If you plan to visit the city you consider booking serviced accommodation which may be available close to all the action.