Congratulations, Auckland. This weekend is the fifth birthday of the Super City.

Five years ago, in what was the biggest and most complex merger in New Zealand's local government and corporate history, the late Mark Ford and his team at the Auckland Transition Agency broke eight councils into bits and reassembled them into one new Super City with assets worth $29 billion and annual revenues of $3.1 billion.

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It was a complex exercise, likened to joining together eight jumbo jets while they were still in the air.

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On November 1, 2010, the Auckland Council was born, replacing the existing Auckland Regional Council, Auckland City Council, Manukau City Council, North Shore City Council, Papakura District Council, Rodney District Council, Waitakere City Council, Franklin District Council and their associated community boards.

The ambition for the new Super City was breathtaking. The project was risky. But what project worth doing was ever straightforward? It was also done under extreme time pressure.

Auckland is now on its way to being an internationally competitive, inclusive and dynamic economy; a great place to live and conduct business; and a place buzzing with innovation, where skilled people work in world-class enterprises.

The city is also bursting its seams through an influx of foreign immigrants -- particularly from Asia -- and New Zealanders who want to move north. This has contributed to a Auckland housing shortage and rampant house price inflation.

But it is also a vote in the city's future.

For this year's Project Auckland report, Mayor Len Brown has issued a mayoral scorecard charting progress on some key indicators over the five years he has worn the Auckland mayoral chains.

A 30-year Auckland Plan has been adopted.

The Government is signalling it will likely step in to help Auckland Council make critical decisions on the housing front.

Auckland also retains its third place on the Mercer Quality of Living rankings.

Auckland's diverse population carries with it challenges, but also opportunities.

Brown will face challengers for the mayoralty next year from those who believe they have better leadership smarts to push through a new ambitious agenda for Auckland.

This is also the 10th issue of Project Auckland, an integral part of the Herald's annual Business Series. In our first report in 2006, we asked whether "Auckland was up for it?"

We wanted to focus attention on Auckland's drive to increase its international competitiveness and attract and retain the necessary talent and investment to ensure the city-region became a thriving metropolis.

Back then we were focused on Auckland's importance to the New Zealand economy, the potential of Rugby World Cup 2011 to catalyse growth, the Metro Action Plan which had been formed by leading city organisations and champions with the assistance of an international review team, and the debate raging over future governance options for Auckland.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett -- who led the Metro project -- now says Auckland's fast growth is bringing challenges that are proving difficult to master, not least because we have a council that after five years still hasn't fully established itself.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett -- who led the Metro project -- now says Auckland's fast growth is bringing challenges that are proving difficult to master, not least because we have a council that after five years still hasn't fully established itself.

Barnett expands on his prescription in today's report.

Former Cabinet Minister Rodney Hide -- who was tasked by John Key to lead the implementation of the Super City project at Government level -- also gives his unique take on its successes.

ANZ's Sharon Zollner picks six key trends that will affect Auckland: House prices, migration, the rise of the Asian consumer, ageing populations. global warming and new technology.

There is much food for thought.

In the background, Ateed's Global Auckland project is focused on producing a compelling contemporary story that makes Auckland stand out.

Auckland's diverse population carries with it challenges, but also opportunities.

It is time to savour the Super City's successes -- before getting back to work on the next phase.