The Auckland East electorate was established for the 1860-1861 elections, when the Auckland electorate was split in half. It consisted of most of modern Auckland's central business district. Its boundaries remained largely static until 1875-1876 elections, when the focus of the electorate shifted eastwards, making room for Auckland North electorate. It was abolished in the 1887 elections, with most of its territory being absorbed by the neighbouring Parnell electorate.
At the 1905 elections, a new electorate of the same name was created, again by abolishing a multi-member seat called City of Auckland. The boundaries of the new Auckland East were similar to those of the original, although its borders often shifted. By the 1938 elections, it had lost most of the central business district, and was more focused on Parnell, Newmarket, and Grafton. It was abolished in the 1946 elections, with most of its territory becoming part of a re-established Parnell electorate.
The first seat called Auckland East existed before political parties. The second seat was initially held by the Liberals, but later swung to the rising Labour Party, with the United Party (the Liberals' successor) capturing it only once after its initial loss. The seat also briefly belonged to the Reform Party, which captured it in a by-election but was unable to keep it.
John A. Lee failed to win the seat for Labour in the 1921 by-election, but won it in the 1922 election and the 1925 election. However he lost the seat in the 1928 election (by 37 votes), which he later blamed on boundary changes. In 1927 the Representation Commission proposed altering the boundaries of the Parnell electorate; which if confirmed would have made the electorate "dry" or no-licence, and without an authority which could issue temporary licences for the Ellerslie and Alexandra Park raceways. Following objections, the boundary between the Parnell and Auckland East electorates was adjusted to include a hotel in the Parnell electorate (so retaining the licensing committee). 
|1861 election||Thomas Russell|
|1866 election||Archibald Clark|
|1871 election||Julius Vogel|
|1875 election||William Rees|
|1879 election||William Speight|
|1881 election||Sir George Grey|
|(Electorate abolished 1887–1905)|
|1905 election||Frederick Baume|
|1910 by-election||Arthur Myers|
|1921 by-election||Clutha Mackenzie|
|1922 election||John A. Lee|
|1928 election||James Donald|
|1931 election||Frederick Schramm|
|(electorate abolished 1946; see Parnell)|
|Reform||Harold Percy Burton||3,803||32.20||+8.06|
|Reform||Harold Percy Burton||2,256||24.14|
|United||William Henry Horton||1,754||18.77|
|Women's Candidate||Ellen Melville||1,002||10.72|
|Independent||John Alexander Arthur||439||4.70|
|Labour||John A. Lee||4,477||44.95|
|Liberal||H. Oakley Browne||1,293||12.98|
|Labour||John A. Lee||2,153||32.51|
|Liberal||George Warren Russell||1,015||15.33|
|Independent||George H Foster||862||13.01|
|Independent Liberal||Arthur Myers||3,180||58.42|
|Independent||R W Hill||309||5.67|
|Labour||G J McKnight||75||1.37|
|Socialist||Robert Frederick Way||103||1.86|
|Independent||Sir George Grey||349||52.56|
- McRobie 1989, pp. 10.
- Hutching, Megan. "Emily Maguire". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- Cyclopedia Company Limited (1902). "Mr. Archibald Clark". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Auckland Provincial District. Christchurch. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- "Electoral". Auckland Star. LXXIV (290). 7 December 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
- The General Election, 1935. National Library. 1936. pp. 1–35. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- "Recount of Votes". Auckland Star. LXII (289). 7 December 1931. p. 9. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- The General Election, 1925. Government Printer. 1926. p. 1. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Independent Stand". The New Zealand Herald. LXII (19149). 15 October 1925. p. 14. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Polling in Auckland East". The Press. LVII (17293). 3 November 1921. p. 6. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Auckland East by-election". Wanganui Chronicle. L (12539). 17 June 1910. p. 5. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "The General Election, 1905". National Library. 1906. pp. 1–6. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
- *Cooper, G. S. (1882). Votes Recorded for Each Candidate. Government Printer. Retrieved 24 October 2015.