Many Aucklanders live in well-equipped houses and suburbs with adequate neighbourhood facilities, secure jobs and futures. However, not all Aucklanders share in this good fortune.
Where crime is concerned, for example, the vast majority (92%) of Aucklanders feel safe in their own homes but only 57% feel safe enough to walk alone in their own neighbourhood after dark, a rate significantly lower than in other major New Zealand centres.
This and other startling statistics are contained in a report released in March this year. The Macro Auckland report, co-authored by AUT's Professor Charles Crothers and Deb Schwarz from the Auckland Communities Foundation, takes a look at Auckland's most pressing social issues.
"The report gives people an explicitly honest picture of Auckland and the way we live in it and how we feel about it. It charts issues where there's consensus and where there is dissension and points of both concern and hope," Prof Crothers says.
Not likely, in fact Aucklanders spend more than those in any other region. Auckland is growing faster than the rest of New Zealand, its population is more diverse and many aspects of its cultural, social and physical environments are very good. But all is not well in the melting pot of Auckland.
Prof Charles Crothers says: "The scale of Auckland gives it huge potential for leading New Zealand in developing good ideas and practises but it also must be recognised that Auckland has extensive pockets of social difficulties and has not always looked after its physical environment as well as it should have."
Here's how Auckland shapes up compared to the rest of the country:
Ethnic Discrimination Aucklanders are more supportive of settlement assistance for immigrants than the rest of the country, yet many Asian Aucklanders still report both verbal and physical discrimination and harassment.
In 2009, Auckland had one of the highest numbers of heritage sites in New Zealand, but also had the highest number of heritage sites destroyed.
In the past two decades, New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions have increased by around 23%. Most of this increase comes from road transport and Auckland is the greatest contributor to New Zealand's road transport emissions.
Income, spending and consumption
While average earnings may be higher in Auckland than in other parts of New Zealand, income inequality in Auckland is well over the OECD average. Spending is higher in Auckland than in other regions, even once figures are adjusted for incomes and demographics.
Auckland has a greater proportion of schools with both the highest and the lowest decile ratings than the rest of the country.
Life Expectancy and Mortality
Auckland has a comparatively low proportion of New Zealand's deaths, probably because of the region's youthful population. The adult diabetes rate in Counties-Manukau is dramatically higher than in the rest of New Zealand. There is a strong relationship between deprivation and diabetes.
The health of our infants, children and young people
Approximately 10% of Auckland babies are growing up with concerning levels of vitamin deficiencies. Maori and Pacific young people have significantly worse health outcomes than other ethnic groups particularly in relation to rates of meningococcal disease, rheumatic fever and tuberculosis.
The Macro Auckland report provides us with an interesting picture of what we think about Auckland and Aucklanders compared to what we actually say about it, says Professor Charles Crothers from the Department of Social Sciences at AUT.
"This is a fascinating area of social science research. The Social Sciences department at AUT teaches a range of papers in which various aspects of Auckland's reality are studied in comparison to generally held views of the general public and overseas scholars. Because we are locally-orientated, we hope to be able to uncover what is going on locally."
Some of the interesting paradoxes noted in the Macro Auckland report include:
Increasing numbers of Aucklanders are attending cultural events of other ethnic groups, yet only half of Aucklanders consider our increasing diversity a good thing
Pacific Island students are remaining in school for longer than average, yet their tertiary enrolment rates are still low
Children's health outcomes differ dramatically across Auckland, yet perceptions of health by parents across all three of Auckland's district health boards are virtually the same
The majority of Aucklanders say they take action to save energy all or most of the time, yet Auckland's energy consumption is increasing rapidly
Auckland's overall crime rate is decreasing, yet Aucklanders are feeling less safe
There are stereotypes about unemployed Aucklanders choosing to be beneficiaries, yet when a new supermarket opened in South Auckland in 2010 offering 150 new jobs, more than 2,500 people lined up to apply
Boarding houses for 'rough sleepers' have available beds, yet homeless Aucklanders are sleeping on the street
Young people are more likely to take risks around water, yet almost half of those who drown in Auckland are over 45 years old
Auckland Communities Foundation and Macro Auckland
The role of Auckland Communities Foundation is to inspire generous individuals and organisations to support the new and emerging needs of our communities. MacroAuckland is a unique research and engagement project to inform generous New Zealanders about how they can successfully build on Auckland's strengths and meet Auckland's challenges in order to help keep Auckland great and develop it further as a vibrant and liveable city.
Prof. Charles Crothers is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social Sciences at AUT.