Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago Region. While Tauranga, Napier-Hastings and Hamilton have eclipsed the city in population in recent years to make it only the seventh largest city in New Zealand, Dunedin is still considered to be one of the four main cities of New Zealand for historic, cultural, and geographic reasons. Dunedin was the largest city by territorial land area until superseded by Auckland on the creation of the Auckland Council in November 2010. Dunedin was the largest city in New Zealand by population until about 1900.
The Dunedin urban area lies on the central-eastern coast of Otago, surrounding the head of Otago Harbour. The harbour and hills around Dunedin are the remnants of an extinct volcano. The city suburbs extend out into the surrounding valleys and hills, onto the isthmus of the Otago Peninsula, and along the shores of the Otago Harbour and the Pacific Ocean.
The city's largest industry is tertiary education Dunedin is home to the University of Otago, New Zealand's first university (1869), and the Otago Polytechnic. Students account for a large proportion of the population: 21.6 percent of the city's population was aged between 15 and 24 at the 2006 census, compared to the New Zealand average of 14.2 percent.