Auckland is a large city of 1.4 million people on a piece of land surrounded by two harbors, dotted with extinct volcanoes. It is called the "City of Sails" and on a summer's day it is obvious why - the whole population seems to be on beaches, or in yachts and fishing boats. It is the first port of call for most people arriving in New Zealand and has a truly international flavor with a diverse population and wonderful restaurants and cafes. While not a tropical climate, you'll find the weather relatively mild year-round.
Auckland is a vibrant city with film festivals, concerts and many other cultural events: The nightlife is humming. It's easy to find out what's going on through websites and the New Zealand Herald The new Viaduct area on the waterfront is full of open air cafes and restaurants and there are many bars and nightclubs to choose from. The Auckland Art Gallery and War Memorial Museum both have impressive collections. There are many opportunities to learn about Maori and Pasifika cultures. Both the Avondale and Otara markets are great places to go to buy local fruit and vegetables and taste the culinary ethnic diversity. Shopping near campus is easy because the university is 5 minutes walk from Queen St - the main shopping street - there are also Parnell and Newmarket nearby both with pockets of boutique clothes stores. For those needing a Mall - there are several large malls in the outer suburbs.
Auckland is a great place for watersports - including windsurfing, sailing, water skiing, swimming and rowing. The West Coast has good surf opportunities. It is also only an hour or two from Leigh Marine Reserve (wonderful snorkeling and diving), Coromandel (beautiful beaches and walks), Waitomo Caves (black water rafting and glow worms), and 2 -3 hrs from Rotorua and Taupo (geothermal activity and hot pools), and the Bay of Islands (swimming with dolphins and pretty beaches).