South Auckland

South Auckland

South Auckland is an area of Auckland, New Zealand characterized in the popular mind as a socio-economically below-average, and sometimes rough, urban area with a relatively large Polynesian and Māori population. The name "South Auckland" is not an official place-name but is in popular use by New Zealanders. It is also used in the names of some organizations and companies. Coverage and connotations of the name are not precisely defined and vary somewhat with the user.

Definition by:


The heart of South Auckland is the low socio-economic suburbs of Manukau City, typified by Otara but including Mangere and Papatoetoe, Papakura, and Manurewa. Broadly speaking, South Auckland is the urban area stretching from the Auckland City suburb of Onehunga, or at the very least the narrowing of the Auckland isthmus at Otahuhu, southwards through to Franklin lying to the west and near east of Auckland's Southern Motorway (State Highway 1), to Papakura.

South Auckland does not include the more well-to-do, eastern and northern Manukau City suburbs such as Pakuranga and Howick nor the large rural area of Manukau City such as (the towns) Clevedon, Ardmore, and Flat Bush . Usually the name does not include Franklin District, which lies south of Papakura City.

Some of the suburbs contain predominantly state housing and are the poorest suburbs of Auckland. The area also contains the industrial heartland of Auckland (Mangere, Otahuhu, Manukau CBD, and the Port of Onehunga), with the workshops, factories and warehouses providing careers for many Aucklanders.


The area has a multiracial population including Pākehā (White New Zealanders), Indians and Asians as well as a relatively high proportion of Polynesians and Māori (Indigenous New Zealanders). This gives it a very cosmopolitan feel and a thriving culture, especially at street level, most often seen by visitors at the Saturday markets at Otara, Manurewa, Mangere. It is also one of the centres of hip hop culture and music in New Zealand. The Counties Manukau rugby team mainly draws players from South Auckland. Many Indians, Pākehā, Asians and Middle Easterns tend to live in the more affluent suburbs of South Auckland, these suburbs include Dannemora, Botany Downs and Howick. Also Many also live in less affluent areas of South Auckland.


Historically the name "South Auckland" has had negative connotations with outsiders, being associated with deprivation, crime and violence. When street crime occurs in the area, the mass media have a tendency to use the name "South Auckland" rather than the name of a suburb or territorial authority. Previous Manukau City mayor Barry Curtis has tried to discourage use of the name because of its negative connotations. South Auckland youth, however, use the name with pride.

Famous people

Celebrities who hail from South Auckland include cricketer Darryl Tuffey, who grew up in Manurewa, rugby union footballer Jonah Lomu, heavyweight boxer David Tua, the Right Honourable former Prime Minister, David Lange and hip hop music artist 'Savage', David Tua and K-1 Kickboxing world champion Mark Hunt and also Former All Black Winger Eric Rush.

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