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Fertile soils and good fishing created comfortable living conditions for Māori, who named the area Māngere, meaning ‘lazy’. Europeans planted crops and then turned to dairying. From the mid-20th century Māngere attracted intensive market-gardening. As the area became suburbanised, growers moved further south to Pukekohe, or north to Whenuapai. The airport was built on partly reclaimed land on the eastern shore of Manukau Harbour. Opened in 1966 to replace Whenuapai Airport, it became New Zealand’s busiest airport and the country’s main gateway to the world.
Meaning of place name