|— main urban area —|
Panorama of central Wellington
|Nickname(s): Wellywood, the Windy City, Welly|
Wellington urban area within New Zealand
|Territorial authorities||Wellington City
Lower Hutt City
Upper Hutt City
|- Urban||444 km2 (171.4 sq mi)|
|- Metro||1,390 km2 (536.7 sq mi)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Population (June 2009 estimate)|
|- Urban Density||869.4/km2 (2,251.7/sq mi)|
|Time zone||NZST (UTC+12)|
|- Summer (DST)||NZDT (UTC+13)|
|Postcode(s)||6000 group, and 5000 and 5300 series|
|Local iwi||Ngāti Poneke, Ngāti Tama, Te Āti Awa|
Wellington (pronounced /ˈwɛlɘŋˌtɘn/) is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand. It is often called Windy Wellington because it is the windiest city in New Zealand . The urban area is situated on the southwestern tip of the country's North Island, and lies between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is home to 386,000 residents, with an additional 3,700 residents living in the surrounding rural areas.
The Wellington urban area is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the seat of the Wellington Region - which in addition to the urban area covers the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. The urban area lie across four cities. Wellington City, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour, contains the central business district and about half of Wellington's population. Porirua City on Porirua Harbour to the north is notable for its large Māori and Pacific Island communities. Lower Hutt City and Upper Hutt City are suburban areas to the northeast, together known as the Hutt Valley.
The 2009 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th place in the world on its list.
In Māori, Wellington goes by three names. Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara". Pōneke is a transliteration of Port Nick, short for Port Nicholson (the city's central marae, the community supporting it and its kapa haka have the pseudo-tribal name of Ngāti Pōneke). Te Upoko-o-te-Ika-a-Māui, meaning The Head of the Fish of Māui (often shortened to Te Upoko-o-te-Ika), a traditional name for the southernmost part of the North Island, derives from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demi-god Māui.
Wellington also has nicknames including Windy Wellington and Middle-earth.
Wellington is New Zealand's political centre, housing Parliament and the head offices of all Government Ministries and Departments, plus the bulk of the foreign diplomatic missions that are based in New Zealand.
Wellington's compact city centre supports an arts scene, café culture and nightlife much larger than many cities of a similar size. It is an important centre of New Zealand's film and theatre industry, and second to Auckland in terms of numbers of screen industry businesses. Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Museum of Wellington City & Sea and the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival are all sited there.
Wellington has the 12th best quality of living in the world in 2009, a ranking holding steady from 2007, according to a 2007 study by consulting company Mercer. Of cities with English as the primary language, Wellington ranked fourth in 2007. Of cities in the Asia Pacific region, Wellington ranked third (2009) behind Auckland and Sydney, Australia. Of New Zealand cities only Auckland rated higher with a ranking of fourth best in the world in 2009, rising slightly from fifth in 2006 and 2007. Wellington became much more affordable, in terms of cost of living relative to cities worldwide, with its ranking moving from 93rd (more expensive) to 139th (less expensive) in 2009, probably as a result of currency fluctuations during the global economic downturn from March 2008 to March 2009. "Foreigners get more bang for their buck in Wellington, which is among the cheapest cities in the world to live", according to a 2009 article, which reported that currency fluctuations make New Zealand cities affordable for multi-national firms to do business, and elaborated that "New Zealand cities were now more affordable for expatriates and were competitive places for overseas companies to develop business links and send employees".
Legend recounts that Kupe discovered and explored the district in about the tenth century.
European settlement began with the arrival of an advance party of the New Zealand Company on the ship Tory, on 20 September 1839, followed by 150 settlers on the Aurora on 22 January 1840. The settlers constructed their first homes at Petone (which they called Britannia for a time) on the flat area at the mouth of the Hutt River. When that proved swampy and flood-prone they transplanted the plans, which had been drawn without regard for the hilly terrain.
Wellington suffered serious damage in a series of earthquakes in 1848 and from another earthquake in 1855. The 1855 Wairarapa earthquake occurred on a fault line to the north and east of Wellington. It ranks as probably the most powerful earthquake in recorded New Zealand history, with an estimated magnitude of at least 8.2 on the Richter scale. It caused vertical movements of two to three metres over a large area, including raising an area of land out of the harbour and turning it into a tidal swamp. Much of this land was subsequently reclaimed and is now part of Wellington's central business district. For this reason the street named Lambton Quay now runs 100 to 200 metres (325 to 650 ft) from the harbour. Plaques set into the footpath along Lambton Quay mark the shoreline in 1840 and thus indicate the extent of the uplift and reclamation.
The area has high seismic activity even by New Zealand standards, with a major fault line running through the centre of the city, and several others nearby. Several hundred more minor fault lines have been identified within the urban area. The inhabitants, particularly those in high-rise buildings, typically notice several earthquakes every year. For many years after the 1855 earthquake, the majority of buildings constructed in Wellington were made entirely from wood. The 1996-restored Government Buildings, near Parliament is the largest wooden office building in the Southern Hemisphere. While masonry and structural steel have subsequently been used in building construction, especially for office buildings, timber framing remains the primary structural component of almost all residential construction. Residents also place their hopes of survival in good building regulations, which gradually became more stringent in the course of the twentieth century.
In 1865, Wellington became the capital of New Zealand, replacing Auckland, which William Hobson had established as the capital in 1841. Parliament first sat in Wellington on 7 July 1862, but the city did not become the official capital for some time. In November 1863 the Premier Alfred Domett moved a resolution before Parliament (in Auckland) that "... it has become necessary that the seat of government ... should be transferred to some suitable locality in Cook Strait." Apparently there was concern that the southern regions, where the gold fields were located, would form a separate colony. Commissioners from Australia (chosen for their neutral status) pronounced the opinion that Wellington was suitable because of its harbour and central location. Parliament officially sat in Wellington for the first time on 26 July 1865. The population of Wellington was then 4,900.
Wellington is the seat of New Zealand's highest court, the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The historic former High Court building is to be enlarged and restored for the court's use.
Wellington is at the south-western tip of the North Island on Cook Strait, the passage that separates the North and South Islands. On a clear day the snowcapped Kaikoura Ranges are visible to the south across the strait. To the north stretch the golden beaches of the Kapiti Coast. On the east the Rimutaka Range divides Wellington from the broad plains of the Wairarapa, a wine region of national acclaim.
With a latitude of 41° 17' S, Wellington is the southernmost national capital city in the world. It is also the most remote capital in the world (i.e. the furthest from any other capital). It is more densely populated than most other settlements in New Zealand, due to the small amount of building space available between the harbour and the surrounding hills. Wellington has very few suitable areas in which to expand and this has resulted in the development of the surrounding cities in the greater urban area. Because of its location in the roaring forties latitudes and its exposure to omnipresent winds coming through Cook Strait, the city is known to Kiwis as "Windy Wellington".
More than most cities, life in Wellington is dominated by its central business district (CBD). Approximately 62,000 people work in the CBD, only 4,000 fewer than work in Auckland's CBD, despite that city having three times Wellington's population. Wellington's cultural and nightlife venues concentrate in Courtenay Place and surroundings located in the southern part of the CBD, making the inner city suburb of Te Aro the largest entertainment destination in New Zealand.
Wellington has a reputation for its picturesque natural harbour and green hillsides adorned with tiered suburbs of colonial villas. The CBD is sited close to Lambton Harbour, an arm of Wellington Harbour. Wellington Harbour lies along an active geological fault, which is clearly evident on its straight western coast. The land to the west of this rises abruptly, meaning that many of Wellington's suburbs sit high above the centre of the city.
There is a network of bush walks and reserves maintained by the Wellington City Council and local volunteers. The Wellington region has 500 square kilometres (190 sq mi) of regional parks and forests.
In the east is the Miramar Peninsula, connected to the rest of the city by a low-lying isthmus at Rongotai, the site of Wellington International Airport. The narrow entrance to Wellington is directly to the east of the Miramar Peninsula, and contains the dangerous shallows of Barrett Reef, where many ships have been wrecked (most famously the inter-island ferry Wahine in 1968).
Wellington Harbour has three islands: Matiu/Somes Island, Makaro/Ward Island and Mokopuna Island. Only Matiu/Somes Island is large enough for settlement. It has been used as a quarantine station for people and animals and as an internment camp during the First and Second World Wars. It is now a conservation island, providing refuge for endangered species, much like Kapiti Island further up the coast. There is access during daylight hours by the Dominion Post Ferry.
The city averages 2025 hours (or about 169 days) of sunshine per year. The climate is a temperate marine one, is generally moderate all year round, and rarely sees temperatures rise above 25 °C (77 °F), or fall below 4 °C (39 °F). The hottest recorded temperature in the city is 31.1 °C (88 °F), while -1.9 °C (28 °F) is the coldest. The city is notorious however for its southerly blasts in winter, which may make the temperature feel much colder. The city is generally very windy all year round with a lot of rainfall. Average annual rainfall is 1249 mm, June and July being the wettest months. Frosts are quite common in the hill suburbs and the Hutt Valley between May and September. Snow is very rare, although snow was reported to have fallen on the city on July 17, 1995.
|Average high °C (°F)||20.3
|Average low °C (°F)||13.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||72
|Source: NIWA Oct 2007|
Wellington contains a variety of architectural styles dating back from the past 150 years; from nineteenth century wooden cottages, such as the Italianate Katherine Mansfield Birthplace in Thorndon, some streamlined Art Deco structures such as the old Wellington Free Ambulance headquarters, the City Gallery, and the Former Post and Telegraph Building, as well as the curves and vibrant colours of post-modern architecture in the CBD.
The oldest building in Wellington is the late Georgian Colonial Cottage in Mount Cook. The tallest building in the city is the Majestic Centre on Willis Street at 116 metres high, the second tallest being the structural expressionist BNZ Tower at 103 metres. Futuna Chapel is located in Karori, was the first bicultural building in New Zealand, and is thus considered one of the most significant New Zealand buildings of the twentieth century.
Old Saint Paul's is an example of 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture adapted to colonial conditions and materials, as is Saint Mary of the Angels. The Museum of Wellington City & Sea building, the Bond Store is in the Second French Empire style, and the Wellington Harbour Board Wharf Office Building is in a late English Classical style. There are several restored theatre buildings, the St. James Theatre, the Opera House and the Embassy Theatre.
Civic Square is surrounded by the Town Hall and council offices, the Michael Fowler Centre, the Wellington Central Library,Capital E, Home of the National Theatre for Children, the City-to-Sea bridge, and the City Gallery.
Being the capital, there are many memorable government buildings in Wellington. Both the National Library of New Zealand, located on Molesworth Street, and the Te Puni Kōkiri building on Lambton Quay are aesthetically unique . The circular-conical Executive Wing of New Zealand Parliament Buildings, located on the corner of Lambton Quay and Molesworth Street, was constructed in the mid-60s and is commonly referred to as the Beehive. Across the road from the Beehive is the largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere, part of the old Government Buildings which now houses part of Victoria University of Wellington's Law Faculty. Further afield, Victoria University's Coastal Ecology Laboratory on the south coast of Wellington is an arresting new structure that was completed in early 2009.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is on the waterfront.
As tastes and trends in architecture have come into and fallen out of fashion, many memorable buildings have been lost.
Wellington also contains many iconic sculptures and structures. Elijah Wood mentioned that he urinated in the Bucket Fountain in Cuba Street in an interview with Jay Leno. More recently a number of new kinetic sculptures were commissioned, such as the Zephyrometer. This giant 26-meter orange spike built for movement by artist Phil Price has been described as "tall, soaring and elegantly simple" and which "reflects the swaying of the yacht masts in the Evans Bay Marina behind it" and "moves like the needle on the dial of a nautical instrument, measuring the speed of the sea or wind or vessel."
The real estate boom of the early 2000s and the bust beginning 2007 which affected most Western nations affected New Zealand as well, including Wellington. In 2005, the market was described as "robust". But by 2008, property values declined by about 9.3% over a twelve month period, according to one estimate. More expensive properties declined more steeply in value, sometimes declining as much as 20%. "From 2004 to early 2007, rental yields were eroded and positive cash flow property investments disappeared as house values climbed faster than rents. Then that trend reversed and yields slowly began improving," according to two New Zealand Herald reporters writing in May 2009. But in the middle of 2009, house prices have dropped, interest rates are low, and buy-to-let property investment is again looking attractive, particularly the Lambton precinct in Wellington, according to these two reporters.
The Wellington City Council conducted a survey in March 2009 and found the typical apartment dweller was a New Zealand native aged 24 to 35 with a professional job in the downtown area, with household income higher than surrounding areas. Three quarters (73%) walked to work or university, 13% traveled by car, 6% by bus, 2% bicycled (although 31% own bicycles), and didn't travel that far, since most (73%) worked or studied in the central city area. The large majority (88%) didn't have children in their apartments; 39% were couples without children; 32% were single person households; 15% were groups of people "flatting together". Most (56%) owned their apartment; 42% rented (of renters, 16% paid $351 to $450 per week, 13% paid less and 15% paid more—only 3% paid more than $651 per week). The report continued: "The four most important reasons for living in an apartment were given as lifestyle and city living (23 per cent), close to work (20 per cent), close to shops and cafes (11 per cent) and low maintenance (11 per cent) ... City noise and noise from neighbours were the main turnoffs for apartment dwellers (27 per cent), followed by a lack of outdoor space (17 per cent), living close to neighbours (9 per cent) and apartment size and a lack of storage space (8 per cent)."
Wellington households are primarily one-family, making up two thirds (67%) of households, followed by single-person households (25%); there were fewer multiperson households and even fewer households containing two or more families. These counts are from the 2006 census and pertain to the Wellington region (which includes the surrounding area in addition to the four cities area).
The energy needs of the Wellington area are increasing, and one new source is the wind. Project West Wind was granted resource consent for 66 turbines, which is estimated to generate approximately 140MW. Meridian Energy's Project West Wind is located a few kilometres west of Wellington's central business district, located on Meridian's Quartz Hill and Terawhiti Station. Near Project West Wind is the new proposed project Mill Creek - this is in neighbouring suburbs; Ohariu Valley (behind Johnsonville) and the back of Porirua. It will be smaller than project West Wind, but its exact size is still unknown - as it is going through the environment courts. In April 2009, a $440 million wind farm was connected to the power grid, including twenty 111 meter high turbines, and it is expected that by the end of 2009, there will be 62 turbines (each with 40 meter long blades) generating enough power for 70,000 homes.
Wellington's windy conditions, while perfect for wind farms, sometimes take down power lines; in May 2009, one windstorm left about 2500 residents without power for a few hours. In addition, infrastructure upgrades as well as lightning sometimes cause occasional power blackouts.
While electricity is supplied by national power grid operator named Transpower New Zealand Limited, Wellington's electricity network is owned and managed by a Hong Kong firm named Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings which purchased the network in 2008 (the sale generated much political controversy).
The urban area of Wellington stretches across the city council areas of Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua.
The four cities have a total population of 389,700 (June 2009 estimate), and the Wellington urban area contains 99% of that population. The remaining areas are largely mountainous and sparsely farmed or parkland and are outside the urban area boundary.
Counts from the 2006 census gave totals by area, sex, and age. Wellington City had the largest population of the four city council areas with 179,466 people, followed by Lower Hutt City, Porirua, and Upper Hutt City. Women outnumber men in all four areas, according to data from Statistics New Zealand, particularly in the Wellington City area.
Wellington Population by Area and Sex (2006 census)
|Lower Hutt City||97701||47703||49998|
|Upper Hutt City||38415||19088||19317|
|Total four cities||364128||177369||186759|
Source:Statistics New Zealand (2006 census)
Age distributions for the four city regions are given (see table below). Overall, Wellington's age structure closely matches the national distribution. The relative lack of older people in Wellington is less marked when the neighbouring Kapiti Coast District is included. Nearly 7% of Kapiti Coast residents are over 80. One United Nations forecast suggests the population will grow increasingly older during the next few decades.
Wellington Area—Age Distribution by Area
|Area||Under 20||20–39||40–59||60–79||80 and over|
|Lower Hutt City||30%||27%||27%||12%||3%|
|Upper Hutt City||30%||25%||28%||14%||3%|
|Total four cities||28%||32%||27%||11%||2%|
Source:Statistics New Zealand (2006 census)
Filmmaker Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and a growing team of creative professionals have turned the eastern suburb of Miramar into one of the world's most acclaimed film-making infrastructures, giving rise to the moniker 'Wellywood'. Jackson's companies include Weta Workshop, Weta Digital, Camperdown Studios in Miramar, a post-production facility, and Stone Street Studios near Wellington Airport.. Recent films shot in Wellington include the Lord of The Rings trilogy, King Kong and Avatar. Jackson described Wellington in this way: "Well, it's windy. But it's actually a lovely place, where you're pretty much surrounded by water and the bay. The city itself is quite small, but the surrounding areas are very reminiscent of the hills up in northern California, like Marin County near San Francisco and the Bay Area climate and some of the architecture. Kind of a cross between that and Hawaii."
Wellington directors Jane Campion and Vincent Ward have managed to reach the world's screens with their independent spirit. Emerging Kiwi film-makers, like Robert Sarkies, Taika Waititi, Costa Botes and Jennifer Bush-Daumec, are extending the Wellington-based lineage and cinematic scope. There are agencies to assist film-makers with such tasks as securing permits and scouting locations.
Wellington has a large number of independent cinemas, including The Embassy, Paramount, The Empire, Penthouse and Light House, which participate in film festivals throughout the year. Wellington is also one of fifteen locations for the annual New Zealand International Film Festival - in 2010, the film festival will take place from July 16 through August 1.
Wellington is home to Te Papa (the Museum of New Zealand), the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Museum, Colonial Cottage, the New Zealand Cricket Museum, the Cable Car Museum, Old Saint Paul's, and the Wellington Law school (largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere) and the Wellington City Art Gallery.
Wellington's café culture is prominent. The city has more cafes per capita than New York City. Restaurants are either licensed to sell alcohol, BYO (bring your own), or unlicensed (no alcohol); many let you bring your own wine. Restaurants offer a variety of cuisines from around the world, including from Europe, Asia, Polynesia. "For dishes that have a distinctly New Zealand style, there's lamb, pork and cervena (venison), salmon, crayfish (lobster), bluff oysters, paua (abalone), mussels, scallops, pipis and tuatua (both are types of New Zealand shellfish); kumara (sweet potato); kiwifruit and tamarillo; and pavlova, the national dessert," recommends one tourism website.
Wellington has become home to a myriad of high-profile events and cultural celebrations, including the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival, biennial Wellington Jazz Festival, biennial Capital E National Arts Festival for Children and major events such as World of Wearable Art, Cuba Street Carnival, New Zealand Fringe Festival, New Zealand International Comedy Festival (also hosted in Auckland), Summer City, The Wellington Folk Festival (in Wainuiomata), New Zealand Affordable Art Show, the New Zealand Sevens Weekend and Parade, Out in the Square, Vodafone Homegrown, the Couch Soup theater festival, and numerous film festivals.
The local music scene has, over the years, produced bands such as The Warratahs, The Phoenix Foundation, Shihad, Fly My Pretties, Rhian Sheehan, Fat Freddy's Drop, The Black Seeds, Fur Patrol, Flight of the Conchords, Connan and the Mockasins, Rhombus and Module. The New Zealand School of Music was established in 2005 through a merger of the conservatory and theory programmes at Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Nevine String Quartet and Chamber Music New Zealand are based in Wellington. The city is also home to an Internationally-renowned men's A Cappella chorus called Vocal FX.
Wellington is home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, City Gallery, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, St James' Theatre, Downstage Theatre, Bats Theatre, Circa Theatre, The National Maori Theatre company Taki Rua, the National Theatre for Children at Capital E in Civic Square and the New Zealand International Arts Festival; the Wellington Performing Arts Centre is also an important local source for theatre.
Wellington is also home to groups that perform Improvised Theatre and Improvisational comedy, including Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT), The Improvisors and youth group, Joe Improv. Poet Bill Manhire, director of the International Institute of Modern Letters, has turned the Creative Writing Programme at Victoria University of Wellington into a forge of new literary activity. Te Whaea, New Zealand's university-level school of dance and drama, and tertiary institutions such as The Learning Connexion, offer training and creative development.
Wellington has a small but thriving comedy scene. Aided in recent years by the emergence of the Fringe Bar as the home for Wellington comedy hosting up to 4 nights of comedy weekly, with a mix of stand-up, improv, sketch and the monthly El Jaguar Fiesta de Variety which showcases a mix of music, singing, burlesque, and comedy. . Other venues which host comedy in Wellington include the San Francisco Bath House and the Katipo Cafe.
Many of New Zealand's preeminent comedians have either come from Wellington or have got their start there; such as Dai Henwood, Ben Hurley, Steve Wrigley, and most famously Flight of the Conchords and the satirist John Clake who later found even greater fame after he moved to Australia.
Wellington also hosts shows in the annual New Zealand International Comedy Festival.
From 1936 to 1992 Wellington was home to the National Art Gallery of New Zealand, when it was amalgamated into Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Wellington is also home to the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. The city's new arts centre, Toi Poneke, serves as a nexus of creative projects, collaborations, and multi-disciplinary production. Arts Programmes and Services Manager Eric Vaughn Holowacz and a small team based in the Abel Smith Street facility have produced ambitious new initiatives such as Opening Notes, Drive by Art, the annual children's Artsplash Festival, and new public art projects. The city is also home to experimental arts publication White Fungus Magazine.
Wellington is the home to:
Sporting events hosted in Wellington include:
Wellington offers a variety of college and university programs for students.
Victoria University of Wellington (Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui) has four campuses across the city and works with a three trimester system (beginning March, July, and November). It enrolled 21,380 students in 2008; of these, 16,609 were full-time students. Of all students, 56% were women and 44% men. While the student body was primarily New Zealanders of European descent, 1,713 were Maori, 1,024 were Pacific students, 2,765 were international students. 5,751 degrees, diplomas and certificates were awarded. The school has 1,930 full-time employees.
Massey University has a Wellington campus known as the "creative campus" and offers programs in communication and business, engineering and technology, health and well-being, and creative arts. Its school of design was established in 1886, and has research centers for studying public health, sleep, Maori Health, small & medium enterprises, disasters, and tertiary teaching excellence. It combined with Victoria University of Wellington to create the New Zealand School of Music.
The University of Otago has a Wellington branch with its Wellington School of Medicine and Health.
The Wellington area has numerous schools for college preparation and study. See List of schools in the Wellington Region for more information.
Wellington is served to the north by State Highway 1 in the west and State Highway 2 in the east, meeting at the Ngauranga Interchange north of the city centre, where SH 1 runs through the city to the airport. Road access into the capital is lower in grade that most other cities in New Zealand - between Wellington and the Kapiti Coast, SH 1 travels along the Centennial Highway, an narrow accident-prone section of road, and between Wellington and Wairarapa, SH 2 transverses the Rimutaka Ranges on a similar narrow accident-prone road. Wellington has two short motorways, both part of SH 1: the Johnsonville-Porirua Motorway and the Wellington Urban Motorway, which in combination with a small non-motorway section in the Ngauranga Gorge, connect Porirua with Wellington City.
Bus transport in Wellington is supplied by several different operators under the banner of Metlink. Buses serve almost every part of Wellington City, with most of them running along the "Golden Mile" from Wellington Railway Station to Courtenay Place. Most of the buses run on diesel, but nine routes within Wellington use trolleybuses - the only remaining public system in Oceania.
Wellington lies at the southern end of the North Island Main Trunk Railway (NIMT) and the Wairarapa Line, converging on Wellington Railway Station at the northern end of central Wellington. Two long-distance services leave from Wellington Railway Station: the Capital Connection, for commuters from Palmerston North, and The Overlander to Auckland. During 2006, there was serious discussion to eliminate the Overlander train service altogether because of lack of passengers; a railway spokesperson said the number of passengers was so low that "we could not justify keeping it going". In September 2006, however, the rail operator announced there would be continued service but on a reduced basis (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the off-peak winter season, and daily in the peak summer and Easter period).
Four electrified suburban lines radiate out of Wellington Railway Station to the outer suburbs - the Johnsonville Line north to the northern Wellington City suburbs, ending at Johnsonville; the Paraparaumu Line along the NIMT to Porirua and to Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast; the Melling Line to Lower Hutt City centre via Petone, and the Hutt Valley Line along the Wairarapa Line via Waterloo and Taita to Upper Hutt. A diesel-hauled carriage service, the Wairarapa Connection, connects several times daily to Masterton in the Wairarapa via the 8.8-kilometre (5.5 mi) long Rimutaka Tunnel.
Wellington is the northern terminus of Cook Strait ferries to Picton in the South Island, provided by state-owned Interislander and private Bluebridge. Local ferries connect Wellington city centre with Eastbourne, Seatoun and Petone.
Wellington International Airport is 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south-east of the city. It is serviced by flights from across New Zealand, and several flights to Australia and the Pacific Islands. Flights to other international destinations require a transfer at another airport, as larger aircraft cannot use Wellington's short (1,936-metre/6,352-foot) runway. The airport is a base for Wellington Aero Club, a private not-for-profit aeronautical flight school.
Sister-city relationships are at the local government level:
Wellington  is the capital city of New Zealand. It is a harbour city nicknamed Windy Wellington and promotes itself as "Absolutely Positively Wellington". Its motto "Suprema a situ" claims site supremacy - with some justification.
Wellington, known as New Zealand’s arts and culture capital, offers an unmatched blend of culture, heritage, fine food, and lively arts and entertainment.
Surrounded by hills and a rugged coastline, the city boasts a stunning harbour. Wellington’s charm is that it serves up a vibrant inner city experience with a slice of New Zealand scenery. And because of its compact nature, you can sample it all - boutique shopping, art galleries, trendy cafes and restaurants. Right on its doorstep is a network of walking and biking trails with beautiful wineries and vineyards just a few hours away.
Wellington is a city that brims with energy and vitality, it offers an almost overwhelming array of theatre, music, dance, fine arts and galleries and museums. It is also home to one of the nation’s key attractions, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which is recognised as a world leader of interactive and innovative museum experiences.
Wellington offers a unique mix of experiences few cities could lay claim to. With so many options at your fingertips, you’ll need at least three days to slip into the groove of this amazing place.
Because it is the capital city, the New Zealand Parliament and the head offices of many Government departments and large businesses occupy central Wellington. This is especially true in the areas closest to Parliament Buildings - the northern end of The Terrace and Lambton Quay areas and the Thorndon commercial area. At midday hundreds of public servants can be observed eating lunch at several parks and open areas, notably Midland Park on Lambton Quay.
Much of the central city is built on reclaimed land that was raised up after a major earthquake in 1855. More land has been reclaimed since then. The shoreline as it was in 1840 is marked by plaques in the footpaths on Lambton Quay (hence the street name). There are several Quays which are now nowhere near the harbour. The harbour's former name was 'Port Nicholson' and the smaller bay surrounded by the city is called 'Wellington' or 'Lambton Harbour'.
Earthquakes have played a major part in forming the whole Wellington region - the exposed face of the Wellington fault being prominent as the line of hills adjacent to the harbour between Thorndon and Petone. There are several major earthquake faults in the region, some of which slip a metre or more in one jump every few centuries. Building regulations have meant that most of the older city buildings have been either demolished or strengthened in the last 20 years or so. Small and moderate earthquakes occasionally rock Wellington; so if the earth seems to move for you, it may not be just your imagination: stay indoors unless a "warden" or similar authority advises evacuation, and take shelter from potentially falling objects wherever you are.
There are some places in Wellington where damage from the 1855 earthquake is still visible. The most accessible is a large landslip on State Highway 2 between Ngauranga and Korokoro (just north of Rocky Point where the BP petrol station is located) where the dramatic change in terrain is visble. Bush has overgrown the slip but is visible. However, most locals are oblivious to the location of landslip as the drive by on the highway.
Wellington is known as the Windy City. The prevailing wind is from the northwest but the strongest winds are southerly. The wind speed and direction can be seen by the flag being flown from the Beehive. A large flag is flown only on calm days, a small flag is flown when windy days are expected.
The temperature in Wellington rarely drops below 0°C, even on a cold winter's night, while daytime winter temperatures are rarely lower than 8°C. During summer, the daytime maximum temperature rarely gets above 25°C. Away from the seaside, in inland valleys, frosts of up to -10°C have been recorded and snow has been known to fall and settle on the nearby mountain ranges for a few days after particularly nasty southerly storms.
Wellington sits at the southern tip of New Zealand's North Island. The city core lies along the western shore of highly-protected Wellington Harbor, with the city's suburbs spreading out in all directions. The city's primary urban core consists of the CBD and the adjoining 'city suburb' of Te Aro, to the south and east. A fairly dense zone continues south from Te Aro into the adjoining suburbs of Mt. Cook and Newtown, as well as Kilbirnie on the other side of the parklands of Mt. Victoria.
East from Te Aro, north-south-running ridgelines form Mt. Victoria and, further east yet, the Miramar Peninsula, which forms the western side of the mouth to Wellington Harbor. These hills—and the isthmus between—are home to a number of suburban areas as well as parkland and beaches.
Several kilometres south of central Wellington is the rugged and stunning South Coast of the North island, consisting of a string of small (and some large) bays, many with rocky beaches and interesting tide pools.
To the west, the suburbs between Karori and Johnsonville spread into the hillsides, with various parks and hiking trails, and then give way to open rural areas such as Makara.
Wellington International Airport  is in Rongotai, about 5 km from the central city. It sits on an isthmus between the Miramar peninsula and Mount Victoria. The southerly approach is over Cook Strait, while the northerly approach is over the harbor.
Wellington airport is a major transit point for domestic travellers. There are frequent flights to Auckland, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Hamilton, Nelson, Blenheim and many other destinations. International flights from Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane) arrive about twice daily - the evening flights arrive after midnight when most facilities are closed.
Landing at Wellington Airport in a strong cross-wind can be an adventure, and most pilots adopt a powered approach for approach, followed by a full reverse thrust and hard braked landing due to the shortness of the runway. This tends to create a rollercoaster ride, so make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened.
There is a regular airport bus known as the Flyer that departs from the south end of the domestic terminal until 9PM. Shuttle van services, taxis and covered carparking are directly outside the terminal. When you get to the airport, call the Metlink hotline at 0800 801700. They answer very quickly and a friendly person will tell you what bus to take and even what special pass to buy (for example, if after the "Flyer" you are taking a train) if you let them know where you are going.
There are only two major roads into Wellington, but they are the top two: State Highways 1 & 2. State Highway One follows the western coast to the north, and State Highway two heads north-east through the Hutt Valley, over the Rimutaka Ranges to the Wairarapa. Both roads are initially a motorway, but after approx 20kms turn into single lane highway as they negotiate difficult terrain. While local authorities are working on improvements, serious and fatal crashes are common on these roads - remember to keep left, keep to a reasonable speed, and to use the passing bays to overtake slower traffic.
Drivers using the Rimutaka Hill road must be alert to extreme wind and weather, especially in winter. The road can close several times a year due to snowfall near the summit. Also drive carefully when descending as crashes have occured where vehicles brakes have overheated and drivers have been unable to slow for sharp corners.
Hitchhiking from central Wellington is difficult as most traffic stays within the metropolitan area, and it is illegal to hitchhike on the motorway until the Hutt Valley (about 15km north-east of Wellington) or Paremata (about 20km north). If intending to hitchhike, you are best to catch a train to Paraparaumu or Upper Hutt then walk to the main highways to catch a lift from there. Using a sign will help in matching a willing driver and destination.
Be aware that a few hitchhikers, including tourists, have been attacked or murdered in New Zealand. While usually no problems occur, always be aware, and try to travel in pairs to reduce your risk.
There is a train service between Wellington and Auckland. There are daily commuter services from Palmerston North and Masterton and a generally half-hourly suburban commuter service to Johnsonville, the Hutt Valley, Porirua, and Paraparaumu on the Kapiti coast.
It is easy to get around the central city on foot, as is very compact and pedestrian-friendly. In addition, New Zealand's best public transit network—in the form of buses, commuter trains, and suburban ferries—is available to take you further afield, or if you just don't feel like hoofing it.
The core of Wellington is notably compact and vibrant, and is well-suited to exploration by walking. As dictated by geography, the core of the city is quite linear, with the classic commercial backbone known as the Golden Mile making for a diverting and pleasant walking route. This route runs from the Railway Station down Lambton Quay to its southern end at Willis Street. It then runs down lower Willis Street to Manners Street and the pedestrianized Manners Mall, and continues straight onto Courtenay Place. On the Manners Mall section, the route crosses Wellington's bohemian heartland of Cuba Street, which heads south into the core of Te Aro. While these streets mark the traditional core of the commercial city, the surrounding blocks also have plenty to be seen.
Another enjoyable and popular place to amble in the city core is the Waterfront, from the currently-being-revitalized Kumutoto area in the north, past Queen's Wharf to Frank Kitts Park, and then through the Lagoon and City-to-Sea Bridge areas and on to the Te Papa museum and the newly-created Waitangi Park. From here the waterfront curves northeastward along lovely Oriental Bay with its beach and promenade.
Wellington city itself has an extensive network of buses, including a significant number of routes served by electric trolleybuses.
Excellent and free network maps and route timetables and maps are available from locations throughout town, including the main visitor centre in Civic Square, the Central Library, and many convenience stores. While these maps can be quite useful if you desire to travel into the suburbs, they aren't generally necessary if you simply want to travel across the central city. Being a rather linear city, the heart of Wellington is heavily served by the central bus corridor between the Railway Station and Courtenay Place. Nearly all lines run along this section, so you rarely have to wait more than a few minutes to catch a ride. The route is approximately as follows:
You can always call the friendly hotline at 0800 801700 and they will tell you what buses to take and how much it will cost. Bus fares use a zone structure. While the metropolitan area includes many zones, nearly the entire city of Wellington (extending to the water's edge in the south, east, and west, and as far north as Johnsonville) exists within three zones. In addition, the core of the network between the Railway Station and Courtenay Place serves as a special fare zone. Fares are as follows:
|Number of Zones||Fare|
|City Core (Railway Station to Courtenay Place)||$1|
If you plan to use the bus extensively, you can also buy an all-day central Wellington Daytripper bus pass for $5 ($12 for up to 4 people). This pass allows unlimited trips (After 9:00AM on weekdays) within zones 1 through 3.
In addition, electronic Snapper fare cards are available from convenience stores, etc., which provide approximately a 25% discount off adult fares on Go Wellington buses. These cards can be topped up electronically at various agencies for a small fee. However, you need to remember to not only tag on when you board the bus but to tag off as you leave the bus, to avoid being charged for the whole route.
If you are planning on travelling further afield, a Starpass ($12) gives all day travel on all Go Wellington (city) and the Hutt Valley Flyer buses, including the Airport Flyer. A Metlink Explorer pass ($18) offers bus and train travel after 9AM on many Metlink bus and train services.
The Kelburn cable car is a Wellington icon. It provides a regular service between Lambton Quay and Kelburn. The Wellington city terminal is at the end of Cable Car Lane, just off Lambton Quay, near the intersection with Grey Street. The Kelburn terminal is at the end of Upland Road by an entrance to the Botanic Gardens.
The Eastbourne ferry service, which provides regular services between Queens Wharf and Days Bay in Eastbourne, also stops at Somes Island most trips.
The train is the best form of public transport between the central city and Johnsonville, as well as the Hutt Valley, Porirua or the Kapiti Coast - although you do have to walk from Melling or Western Hutt, or catch a bus from Petone or Waterloo (Hutt Central) stations to central Lower Hutt.
At Wellington station the destination and departure time of the next train departing from each platform is displayed on the message board at the entry to each platform. Two announcements are made a few minutes before each train is due to depart. Tickets can be bought at the Wellington station ticket office or suburban ticket agents. Since most smaller stations do not have ticket offices, you can also buy single journey tickets, and day passes, with cash, from the conductor on the train, after you board and often once the train is moving. Monthly passes do need to be purchased from a station ticket office or suburban ticket agents in advance.
The easiest way to travel between the Hutt Valley and Porirua is by train via Wellington (it is no cheaper to change at Kaiwharawhara, not all services will stop there and the timetables mean there is generally no time-saving). Trains run every half hour on the Hutt Valley and Porirua lines, and more frequently during peak hour. Services are generally every hour on Sundays.
A Day Rover pass can be brought for $10 per person, which allows you unlimited trips on any of the four commuter lines on the same day (from first off-peak service departing after 9AM weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday). This can often work out cheaper than buying separate tickets if you need to make two or more journeys. A 3 Day Weekend Rover pass ($15) is available for train travel from 4:30AM Friday to Midnight Sunday. If you have a group of people, a Group Rover pass ($25) allows up to 4 people to travel together on the same conditions as a Day Rover.
Taxis cost approximately $3 for flagfall plus $1.70 per kilometre. Executive Taxis has professional service and a larger cab at $1.80 per kilometre. There are sometimes budget taxis for cheaper rates. The taxi companies in Wellington tend to arrive more or less when expected. Wellington Combined taxis are arguably the most popular with locals, and certainly the easiest to spot with their distinctive blue roof-mounted signs.
As noted above, driving in the core of Wellington is generally not necessary or as convenient as walking. However, it is not particularly difficult once you learn the one-way system, nor is traffic a big worry outside of normal rush-hour periods.
Street and garage/surface lot parking is not particularly difficult for a city of Wellington's density, but as with any city you may have to search a bit for a street spot. Street parking is generally metered in the centre at a rate of $4/hour, often with a one or two hour time limit. Parking garages tend to be similarly priced, but you can generally stay for longer periods.
A bit out of the centre, coupon parking zones exist. In these zones, two hours of parking are free. Beyond that you must display a coupon to allow you to park for the entire day. These are available at convenience stores for $5 each. Enforcement of these zones is from 8AM to 6PM.
On the weekend, metered car parking is free, with a two-hour time limit on Saturdays and no limits on Sundays.
Capital E National Theatre for Children (http://www.capitale.org.nz/).
Wellington has a lot of restaurants and cafes, in fact more cafes, bars and restaurants per head than New York City. Malaysian food is surprisingly popular and available in most areas. You can also get good Lebanese kebabs anywhere in the city. Fish and chips is the best value food and you usually get better quality in the suburbs.
A lighthearted political/current affairs show is broadcast from the Backbencher on Wednesday nights (except in Summer) and the bar will often be packed with various Members of Parliament, Parliamentary staff, political activists, and journalists. Crowd participation is encouraged with heckling common, but the audience are good natured as a camadarie has developed amongst most activists, regardless of affiliation.
Some of the best ethnic restaurants are on Adelaide road in the southern suburb of Newtown, between Wellington Hospital and the Zoo
Wellington is home to a range of good coffee roasteries.
Local roasters include Cafe Laffare (recently sold for $25 million to an overseas company), Coffee Supreme, Havana, Mojo, and People's Coffee.
Below is a small range from the extensive list of the Wellington Cafe scene:
Every suburb in Wellington has a good fish and chip shop.
Wellington has a bustling nightlife, concentrated along Courtenay Place, one of the major streets running from the CBD. It runs through Te Aro and ends in Mt Victoria. The nightlife along this strip causes this street to have the highest population density in all of New Zealand on Friday and Saturday nights. In most establishments, drinks are remarkably affordable (~NZ$6), and cover charges are either nonexistent or minimal. In some of the better clubs reasonable dress standards apply, however in the day the mood is usually extremely causal, with flip-flop (Called Jandals in New Zealand) and even bare feet occasionally accepted (a common Kiwi choice on hotter days). Cuba Mall also features some cool and more alternative bars.
Away from Courtenay Place in the CBD district (Lambton Quay) there are many after work bars frequented by office workers, however this area becomes deserted in the later hours, and thus these establishments usually do not provide all night partying.
"UStay Dorm Rooms"  is a University student hall of residence which is mostly empty / transitory over the summer till about mid-February. (You don't want to stay in these places in university term time – they are NZ's closest thing to frat/sorority houses.)
There are several of these in Wellington, most are up the hill a little, closer to Mt Victoria (still very close to the city). Some are simpler – like just a room with shared bathroom facilities and a "mess" hall (might be closed in summer). Others are self-contained units, and some are 3-4 bedroom apartment buildings.
"aparthotels" are pricier, but you get more, and are usually more central and have better service and facilities. There is one in a complex adjacent to and managed by Quality Inn (http://www.hotelwellington.co.nz/) it is at the pricier end.
A better way to get to know more locals and experience some NZ culture (if that's what you are looking for) is a shared house (a "Flat" in NZ English). These are an option for stays of a month in the Summer while students are away – usually Flats are for the year or at least several months). Look for "Flatmates wanted" in the local Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday newspaper ("Dominion Post") classifieds. Online you can also see;
Flats are much cheaper and usually well furnished already by the other tenants in the communal rooms. You may need to provide your own bed (you could buy a cheap one second hand for the summer), or they might be able lend you one. All flatmates share the rent, bills and chores, and occasionally food, meals and even washing too. Some flats come fully furnished, but this is not the norm.
Wellington is reasonably safe at night, however common sense should prevail, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, as in any city.
Occasionally, tourists relax security in New Zealand thinking that it is a crime-free paradise. While violent crime against tourists is very rare (and usually followed up by public outrage against the offenders), opportunistic petty crime can occur. Taking simple steps like locking valuables away and keeping to well-lit areas at night usually prevent problems.
Vehicle break-ins are common, especially in shopping malls and 'park and ride' type car parks. Thieves generally target older vehicles with less complicated locks. Removing all valuables and leaving the glovebox open (to show no valuables are hidden) will usually act as a deterrent. Police will normally give you a copy of their report for insurance purposes, but it is very unusual for any stolen property to be recovered and returned to its owner.
The only other small worry is some areas of town during the very late hours of night/early hours of morning, particularly Cuba St - although a very interesting and great street for shopping during the day, it is also a local hangout for punks, homeless and general weirdos.
The Greater Wellington region is far bigger than just Wellington City. The old Wellington Province used to cover much of the southern half of the North Island, including the Horowhenua, Manawatu, and Wanganui regions.
There are three other cities that are so close to Wellington that they effectively form a single large urban area; in population order they are:
The nearby Hutt Valley and Porirua have a number of interesting sights and beaches. Plimmerton, for example, has seen future world windsurfing champions training, and Edmund Hillary practised rock-climbing at Titahi Bay before conquering Everest.
The suburbs of Eastbourne and Days Bay are on the eastern side of Wellington Harbour. They can be reached by car, bus or ferry. There are a number of enjoyable hill walks in both Days Bay  and Eastbourne . The East By West ferry service  departs from Queens Wharf (Wellington) and travels to Days Bay Wharf, some services will stop on request at Somes Island (in the middle of the harbour), see route map . On weekends and public holidays the ferry also operates a harbour tour service which stops at Petone Wharf and Seatoun.
Further afield, the south Wairarapa has become one of New Zealand's wine growing regions. Tranzit run a train/bus wine tasting tour  that leaves from Wellington Railway station each morning and visits four vineyards in the Wairarapa town of Martinborough, priced NZ$115.
The Kapiti Coast as referred to as 'The Nature Coast' is a beautiful mix of beaches and lush native scenery. Spend the day at the beaches, near a river, or taking a walk through one of the many beautiful trails surrounding the hills and valleys bordering the coastline.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!|
There is more than one meaning of Wellington discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.
Wellington (plural Wellingtons)
Cliff Ross Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand, is a city, a land district, a local government region (since the late 20th century), and a province (from the 1840s to 1876). All with different boundaries but all including the waterfront area where planned British settlement began in the early 1840s after the New Zealand Company's 1840 settlement at Petone was abandoned because the land was too flood-prone.
The city is the most southerly national capital in the world. It was named after the famous duke, who was named after his estate in Somerset.
After the institution of British rule in 1840, the capital was in the far north for a couple of years then in Auckland but moved to Wellington within a few years after that because of its central location in a very long thin country where the only convenient means of travel was by ship.
Central Wellington houses the National Archives and the office of the Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. Pay $20 for an inspection! Or find a cheaper way to get much the same information.
The name also applies to the whole local government region, including the adjoining cities Porirua to the north and Lower Hutt to the north-east, Upper Hutt City even further to the north-east up the Hutt River, and four distant districts. To the west and south lies Cook Strait (though the height of its swells often belies that word "lie"), while to the east of Wellington City and south-west of Lower Hutt City is Wellington Harbour, formerly known as Port Nicholson.
The region hosts several branches of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists and a few subgroups of its special interest groups.
This page is a "stub" and could be improved by additions and other edits.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. It has been the capital since 1865. Before then Auckland was the capital. Wellington is the second largest city in New Zealand. It had about 448,000 people in 2006. Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world.
Wellington is in the middle of New Zealand, at the south end of the North Island. South of Wellington is Cook Strait, the sea between the North Island and the South Island. The city has a lot of hills and a deep harbour. The middle of the city is busier than most small cities and is easy for people to walk around.
Wellington recently become famous because the The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was made there.