|— 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, the capital of New Zealand, the seat of government and of a bishop. Pop. (1901) 43,638; (1906) 58,563, and including suburbs, 63,807. It lies on the southwestern shore of North Island, on the inner shore of Port Nicholson, an inlet of Cook's Strait, the site affording a splendid harbour, walled in by abrupt hills. The original flat shore is occupied by massive walls constructed for the reclaiming of land, as the hills prevent an inland extension of the city. Wood was originally in favour as. a building material, owing to the prevalence of earthquakes, but brick and stone subsequently took its place in the construction of the principal buildings. The main street is a winding thoroughfare named in different parts Thorndon Quay, Lambton Quay, Wills Street and Manners Street. It runs parallel to the shore, but the quays properly so called are separated from it by blocks of buildings. It is traversed by an electric tramway. There are two railway stations in the town and one in the southern suburb of Te Aro. Two main lines leave the town, one following the west coast, the other an inland route to Napier. The principal buildings are governmental; the houses of parliament, formerly a wooden erection, are rebuilt in brick and stone; there are also the residence of the governor and court house. The fine town hall was founded by the prince of Wales in 1901. There XXVIII. 17 are several fine churches, and among educational institutions the chief is the Victoria University. An excellent school of art and several public libraries are provided, the latter including that in the house of parliament. The museum contains a beautiful Maori house of carved woodwork, and biological collections. There are several public parks and gardens on well-chosen elevated sites, the principal being the Botanical Garden, from which the city and port are well seen. Shipping is controlled by a harbour board (1880). The extensive wharves are amply served by hydraulic machinery and railways. Wellington was founded in 1840, being the first settlement of New Zealand colonists, and the seat of government was transferred here from Auckland in 1865. The town is under municipal government.
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.
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