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Wellington

Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Māori)
Clockwise from top: Waterfront along Wellington Harbour, Parliament Buildings, The Bucket Fountain, National Library, Wellington Cable Car
Flag of Wellington
Flag
Coat of arms of Wellington
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): 
Windy Wellington, Wellywood
Wellington is located in New Zealand
Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is located in Oceania
Wellington
WellingtonWellington (Māori: Te Whanganui-a-Tara [tɛ ˈfaŋanʉi a taɾa]) is the capital city of New Zealand. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa. It is the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state.[3] Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.[4]

The position of Wellington as capital of New Zealand is not defined in legislation, but established by convention.[5] Its metropolitan area comprises four local authorities: Wellington City, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour, contains the central business district; Porirua on Porirua Harbour to the north is notable for its large Māori and Pacific Island communities; Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt are largely suburban areas to the northeast, together known as the Hutt Valley. The Wellington urban area, which only includes urbanised areas within Wellington City, has a population of 215,100 residents as of June 2020.[2] The urban areas of the four local authorities have a combined population of 429,700 residents as of June 2020.[2]

As the nation's capital since 1865,[5] the New Zealand Government and Parliament, the Supreme Court, and most of the public service are based in the city. Architectural sights include the Old Government Buildings—one of the largest wooden buildings in the world—as well as the iconic Beehive, the executive wing of Parliament Buildings. Wellington is also home to several of the largest and oldest cultural institutions in the nation, such the National Archives, the National Library, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and numerous theatres. It plays host to many artistic and cultural organisations, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet. One of the world's most liveable cities, the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world, and was first in the world for both liveability and non-pollution by Deutsche Bank, from 2017–18.[6][7]

Wellington's economy is primarily service-based, with an emphasis on finance, business services, and government. It is the centre of New Zealand's film and special effects industries, and increasingly a hub for information technology and innovation,[8] with two public research universities. Wellington is one of New Zealand's chief seaports and serves both domestic and international shipping. The city is served by Wellington International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country. Wellington's transport network includes train and bus lines which reach as far as the Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa, and ferries connect the city to the South Island.

Described by Lonely Planet in 2013 as "the coolest little capital in the world",[5][9] the global city[10][11] has grown from a bustling Māori settlement, to a remote colonial outpost, and from there to an Australasian capital experiencing a "remarkable creative resurgence".[12][13]

Toponymy

Wellington takes its name from Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo (1815): his title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset. It was named in November 1840 by the original settlers of the New Zealand Company on the suggestion of the directors of the same, in recognition of the Duke's strong support for the company's principles of colonisation and his "strenuous and successful defence against its enemies of the measure for colonising South Australia". One of the founders of the settlement, Edward Jerningham Wakefield, reported that the settlers "took up the views of the directors with great cordiality and the new name was at once adopted".[14]

In the Māori language, Wellington has three names. Te Whanganui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara";[15] 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);[16] 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, deriving from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demi-god Māui. The legendary Maori explorer Kupe, a chief from Hawaiki (the homeland of Polynesian explorers, of unconfirmed geographical location, not to be confused with Hawaii), was said to have stayed in the harbour prior to 1000 CE.[17] Here, it is said he had a notable impact on the area, with local mythology stating he named the two islands in the harbour after his daughters, Matiu (Somes Island), and Mākaro (Ward Island).[18] However, the primary settlement of Wellington is said to have been executed by Tara, the son of Whatonga, a chief from the Mahia Peninsula, who told his son to travel south, to find more fertile lands to settle.[17]

In New Zealand Sign Language, the name is signed by raising the index, middle and ring fingers of one hand, palm forward, to form a "W", and shaking it slightly from side to side twice.[19]

The city's location close to the mouth of the narrow Cook Strait leaves it vulnerable to strong gales, leading to the nickname of "Windy Wellington".[20]

History

The position of Wellington as capital of New Zealand is not defined in legislation, but established by convention.[5] Its metropolitan area comprises four local authorities: Wellington City, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour, contains the central business district; Porirua on Porirua Harbour to the north is notable for its large Māori and Pacific Island communities; Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt are largely suburban areas to the northeast, together known as the Hutt Valley. The Wellington urban area, which only includes urbanised areas within Wellington City, has a population of 215,100 residents as of June 2020.[2] The urban areas of the four local authorities have a combined population of 429,700 residents as of June 2020.[2]

As the nation's capital since 1865,[5] the New Zealand Government and Parliament, the Supreme Court, and most of the public service are based in the city. Architectural sights include the Old Government Buildings—one of the largest wooden buildings in the world—as well as the iconic Beehive, the executive wing of Parliament Buildings. Wellington is also home to several of the largest and oldest cultural institutions in the nation, such the National Archives, the National Library, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and numerous theatres. It plays host to many artistic and cultural organisations, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet. One of the world's most liveable cities, the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world, and was first in the world for both liveability and non-pollution by Deutsche Bank, from 2017–18.[6][7]

Wellington's economy is primarily service-based, with an emphasis on finance, business services, and government. It is the centre of New Zealand's film and special effects industries, and increasingly a hub for information technology and innovation,[8] with two public research universities. Wellington is one of New Zealand's chief seaports and serves both domestic and international shipping. The city is served by Wellington International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country. Wellington's transport network includes train and bus lines which reach as far as the Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa, and ferries connect the city to the South Island.

Described by Lonely Planet in 2013 as "the coolest little capital in the world",[5][9] the global city[10][11] has grown from a bustling Māori settlement, to a remote colonial outpost, and from there to an Australasian capital experiencing a "remarkable creative resurgence".[12][13]

Wellington takes its name from Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo (1815): his title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset. It was named in November 1840 by the original settlers of the New Zealand Company on the suggestion of the directors of the same, in recognition of the Duke's strong support for the company's principles of colonisation and his "strenuous and successful defence against its enemies of the measure for colonising South Australia". One of the founders of the settlement, Edward Jerningham Wakefield, reported that the settlers "took up the views of the directors with great cordiality and the new name was at once adopted".[14]

In the Māori language, Wellington has three names. Te Whanganui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara";[15] 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);[16] 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, deriving from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demi-god Māui. The legendary Maori explorer Kupe, a chief from Hawaiki (the homeland of Polynesian explorers, of unconfirmed geographical location, not to be confused with Hawaii), was said to have stayed in the harbour prior to 1000 CE.[17] Here, it is said he had a notable impact on the area, with local mythology stating he named the two islands in the harbour after his daughters, Matiu (Somes Island), and Mākaro (Ward Island).[18] However, the primary settlement of Wellington is said to have been executed by Tara, the son of Whatonga, a chief from the Mahia Peninsula, who told his son to travel south, to find more fertile lands to settle.[17]

In New Zealand Sign Language, the name is signed by raising the index, middle and ring fingers of one hand, palm forward, to form a "W", and shaking it slightly from side to side twice.[19]

The city's location close to the mouth of the narrow Cook Strait leaves it vulnerable to strong gales, leading to the nickname of "Windy Wellington".[20]

History

"The Old Shebang" on Cuba Street, c. 1883
The Old High Court, since restored as the Supreme Court of New Zealand

Māori language, Wellington has three names. Te Whanganui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara";[15] 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);[16] 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, deriving from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demi-god Māui. The legendary Maori explorer Kupe, a chief from Hawaiki (the homeland of Polynesian explorers, of unconfirmed geographical location, not to be confused with Hawaii), was said to have stayed in the harbour prior to 1000 CE.[17] Here, it is said he had a notable impact on the area, with local mythology stating he named the two islands in the harbour after his daughters, Matiu (Somes Island), and Mākaro (Ward Island).[18] However, the primary settlement of Wellington is said to have been executed by Tara, the son of Whatonga, a chief from the Mahia Peninsula, who told his son to travel south, to find more fertile lands to settle.[17]

In New Zealand Sign Language, the name is signed by raising the index, middle and ring fingers of one hand, palm forward, to form a "W", and shaking it slightly from side to side twice.[19]

The city's location close to the mouth of the narrow Cook Strait leaves it vulnerable to strong gales, leading to the nickname of "Windy Wellington".[20]

Legends recount that Kupe discovered and explored the region in about the 10th century. Before European colonisation, the area in which the city of Wellington would eventually be founded was seasonally inhabited by indigenous Māori. The earliest date with hard evidence for human activity in New Zealand is about 1280.[21]

Wellington and its environs have been occupied by various Māori groups from the 12th century. The legendary Polynesian explorer Kupe, a chief from Hawaiki (the homeland of Polynesian explorers, of unconfirmed geographical location, not to be confused with Hawaii), was said to have stayed in the harbour from c. 925.[17][22] A later Māori explorer, Whatonga, named the harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara after his son Tara.[23] Before the 1820s, most of the inhabitants of the Wellington region were Whatonga's descendants.[24]

At about 1820, the people living there were Ngāti Ira and other groups who traced their descent from the explorer Whātonga, including Rangitāne and Muaūpoko.[25] However, these groups were eventually forced out of Te Whanganui-a-Tara by a series of migrations other iwi (Māori tribes) from the north.[25] The migrating groups were Ngāti Toa, which came from Kāwhia, Ngāti Rangatahi, from near Taumarunui, and Te Atiawa, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Mutunga, Taranaki and Ngāti Ruanui from Taranaki. Ngāti Mutunga later moved on to the Chatham Islands. The Waitangi Tribunal has found that at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Tama, and Ngati Toa held mana whenua interests in the area, through conquest and occupation.[25]

Early European settlement

Steps towards Pākehā (European) settlement in the area began in 1839, when Colonel William Wakefield arrived to purchase land for the New Zealand Company to sell to prospective British settlers.[25] Prior to this time, the Māori inhabitants had had contact with Pākehā whalers an

Wellington and its environs have been occupied by various Māori groups from the 12th century. The legendary Polynesian explorer Kupe, a chief from Hawaiki (the homeland of Polynesian explorers, of unconfirmed geographical location, not to be confused with Hawaii), was said to have stayed in the harbour from c. 925.[17][22] A later Māori explorer, Whatonga, named the harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara after his son Tara.[23] Before the 1820s, most of the inhabitants of the Wellington region were Whatonga's descendants.[24]

At about 1820, the people living there were Ngāti Ira and other groups who traced their descent from the explorer Whātonga, including Rangitāne and Muaūpoko.[25] However, these groups were eventually forced out of Te Whanganui-a-Tara by a series of migrations other iwi (Māori tribes) from the north.[25] The migrating groups were Ngāti Toa, which came from Kāwhia, Ngāti Rangatahi, from near Taumarunui, and Te Atiawa, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Mutunga, Taranaki and Ngāti Ruanui from Taranaki. Ngāti Mutunga later moved on to the Chatham Islands. The Waitangi Tribunal has found that at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Tama, and Ngati Toa held mana whenua interests in the area, through conquest and occupation.[25]

Steps towards Pākehā (European) settlement in the area began in 1839, when Colonel William Wakefield arrived to purchase land for the New Zealand Company to sell to prospective British settlers.[25] Prior to this time, the Māori inhabitants had had contact with Pākehā whalers and traders.[26]

Early Map of Wellington – Wellington County DistrictTory on 20 September 1839, followed by 150 settlers on the Aurora on 22 January 1840. Thus the Wellington settlement preceded the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (on 6 February 1840). The 1840 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. Within months that area proved swampy and flood-prone, and most of the newcomers transplanted their settlement, which had been planned without regard for a hilly terrain,[citation needed] across Wellington Harbour to Thorndon in the present-day site of Wellington city.

National capital

Wellington was declared a city in 1840, and was chosen to be the capital city of New Zealand in 1865.[5]

Wellington became the capital city in place of Auckland, which William Hobson had made the capital in 1841. The New Zealand Parliament had first met in Wellington on 7 July 1862, on a temporary basis; in November 1863, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Alfred Domett, placed 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 [region]." There had been some concerns that the more populous South Island (where the goldfields were located) would choose to form a separate colony in the British Empire. Several commissioners (delegates) invited from Australia, chosen for their neutral status, declared that the city was a suitable location because of its central location in New Zealand and its good harbour; it was believed that the whole Royal Navy fleet could fit into the harbour.[27] Wellington's status as capital is a result of constitutional convention rather than statute.[5]

Auckland, which William Hobson had made the capital in 1841. The New Zealand Parliament had first met in Wellington on 7 July 1862, on a temporary basis; in November 1863, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Alfred Domett, placed 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 [region]." There had been some concerns that the more populous South Island (where the goldfields were located) would choose to form a separate colony in the British Empire. Several commissioners (delegates) invited from Australia, chosen for their neutral status, declared that the city was a suitable location because of its central location in New Zealand and its good harbour; it was believed that the whole Royal Navy fleet could fit into the harbour.[27] Wellington's status as capital is a result of constitutional convention rather than statute.[5]

Wellington is New Zealand's political centre, housing the nation's major government institutions. The New Zealand Parliament relocated to the new capital city, having spent the first ten years of its existence in Auckland.[28] A session of parliament officially met in the capital for the first time on 26 July 1865. At that time, the population of Wellington was just 4,900.[29]

The Government Buildings were constructed at Lambton Quay in 1876. The site housed the original government departments in New Zealand. The public service rapidly expanded beyond the capacity of the building, with the first department leaving shortly after it was opened; by 1975 only the Education Department remained, and by 1990 the building was empty. The capital city is also the location of the highest court, the Supreme Court of New Zealand, and the historic former High Court building (opened 1881) has been enlarged and restored for its use. The Governor-General's residence, Government House (the current building completed in 1910) is

The Government Buildings were constructed at Lambton Quay in 1876. The site housed the original government departments in New Zealand. The public service rapidly expanded beyond the capacity of the building, with the first department leaving shortly after it was opened; by 1975 only the Education Department remained, and by 1990 the building was empty. The capital city is also the location of the highest court, the Supreme Court of New Zealand, and the historic former High Court building (opened 1881) has been enlarged and restored for its use. The Governor-General's residence, Government House (the current building completed in 1910) is situated in Newtown, opposite the Basin Reserve. Premier House (built in 1843 for Wellington's first mayor, George Hunter), the official residence of the prime minister, is in Thorndon on Tinakori Road.

Over six months in 1939 and 1940 Wellington hosted the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, celebrating a century since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Held on 55 acres of land at Rongotai it featured three exhibition courts, grand Art Deco-style edifices and a hugely popular three-acre amusement park. Wellington attracted more than 2.5 million visitors at a time when New Zealand's population was 1.6 million.[30]

Wellington is at the south-western tip of the North Island on Cook Strait, separating 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 Remutaka Range divides Wellington from the broad plains of the Wairarapa, a wine region of national notability.

With a latitude of 41° 17' South, Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world.[3] It is also the most remote capital city, the farthest away from any other capital.

Wellington is more densely populated than most other cities in New Zealand due to the restricted amount of land that is available between its harbour and the surrounding hills. It has very few open areas in which to expand, and this has brought about the development of the suburban towns. Because of its location in the Roaring Forties and its exposure to the winds blowing through Cook Strait, Wellington is the world's windiest city, with an average wind speed of 27 km/h (17 mph).latitude of 41° 17' South, Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world.[3] It is also the most remote capital city, the farthest away from any other capital.

Wellington is more densely populated than most other cities in New Zealand due to the restricted amount of land that is available between its harbour and the surrounding hills. It has very few open areas in which to expand, and this has brought about the development of the suburban towns. Because of its location in the Roaring Forties and its exposure to the winds blowing through Cook Strait, Wellington is the world's windiest city, with an average wind speed of 27 km/h (17 mph).[31]

The urban area stretches across the areas administered by the city councils of Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua. The suburb of Porirua lies on Porirua Harbour to the north. Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt, collectively referred to as the Hutt Valley, are suburban areas to the northeast of Wellington City.

Wellington Harbour, which lies along an active geological fault, clearly evident on its straight western shore. The land to the west of this rises abruptly, meaning that many 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. These include Otari-Wilton's Bush, dedicated to the protection and propagation of native plants. 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. Industry has developed mainly in the Hutt Valley, where there are food-processing plants, engineering industries, vehicle assembly and oil refineries.[32]

The narrow entrance to the harbour is to the east of the Miramar Peninsula, and contains the dangerous shallows of Barrett Reef, where many ships have been wrecked (notably the inter-island ferry TEV Wahine in 1968).[33] The harbour has three islands: Matiu/Somes Island, Makaro/Ward Island and Mokopuna Island. Only Matiu/Somes Island is large enough for habitation. It has been used as a quarantine station for people and animals, and was an internment camp during World War I and World War II. It is a

The narrow entrance to the harbour is to the east of the Miramar Peninsula, and contains the dangerous shallows of Barrett Reef, where many ships have been wrecked (notably the inter-island ferry TEV Wahine in 1968).[33] The harbour has three islands: Matiu/Somes Island, Makaro/Ward Island and Mokopuna Island. Only Matiu/Somes Island is large enough for habitation. It has been used as a quarantine station for people and animals, and was an internment camp during World War I and World War II. It is a conservation island, providing refuge for endangered species, much like Kapiti Island farther up the coast. There is access during daylight hours by the Dominion Post Ferry.

Wellington is primarily surrounded by water, but some of the nearby locations are listed below.

Steep landforms shape and constrain much of Wellington city. Notable hills in and around Wellington include:

  • Mount Victoria – 196 m. Mt Vic is a popular walk for tourists and Wellingtonians alike, as from the summit one can see most of Wellington. There are numerous mountain bike and walking tracks on the hill.
  • Mount Albert[34] – 178 m
  • Mount Cook
  • Mount Alfred (west of Evans Bay)[35] – 122 m
  • Mount Kaukau – 445 m
  • Mount Crawford[36]
  • Brooklyn Hill – 299 m
  • Wrights Hill
  • Mākara Hill
  • Te Ahumairangi (Tinakori) Hill

Climate

Averaging 2,055 hours of sunshine per year, the climate of Wellington is temperate marine, (Köppen: Cfb), generally moderate all year round with warm summers and mild winters, and rarely sees temperatures above 25 °C (77 °F) or below 4 °C (39 °F). The hottest recorded temperature in the city is 31.1 °C (88 °F), while −1.9 °C (29 °F) is the coldest.[37] The city is notorious for its southerly blasts in winter, which may make the temperature feel much colder. It is generally very windy all year round with high rainfall; average annual rainfall is 1,250 mm (49 in), 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 at low altitudes, although snow fell on the city and many other parts of the Wellington region during separate events on 25 July 2011 and 15 August 2011.[38][39]

On 29 January 2019, the suburb of Kelburn reached 30.3 °C (87 °F), the highest temperature since records began in 1927.[40]

<

Averaging 2,055 hours of sunshine per year, the climate of Wellington is temperate marine, (Köppen: Cfb), generally moderate all year round with warm summers and mild winters, and rarely sees temperatures above 25 °C (77 °F) or below 4 °C (39 °F). The hottest recorded temperature in the city is 31.1 °C (88 °F), while −1.9 °C (29 °F) is the coldest.[37] The city is notorious for its southerly blasts in winter, which may make the temperature feel much colder. It is generally very windy all year round with high rainfall; average annual rainfall is 1,250 mm (49 in), 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 at low altitudes, although snow fell on the city and many other parts of the Wellington region during separate events on 25 July 2011 and 15 August 2011.[38][39]

On 29 January 2019, the suburb of Kelburn reached 30.3 °C (87 °F), the highest temperature since records began in 1927.[40]

Climate data for Kelburn (1928–2018, Humidity 1962–2018)
Month
Climate data for Kelburn (1928–2018, Humidity 1962–2018)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.1
(86.2)
30.1
(86.2)
28.3
(82.9)
27.3
(81.1)
[40]

Wellington suffered serious damage in a series of earthquakes in 1848[42] and from another earthquake in 1855. The 1855 Wairarapa earthquake occurred on the Wairarapa Fault to the north and east of Wellington. It was probably the most powerful earthquake in recorded New Zealand history,[43] with an estimated magnitude of at least 8.2 on the Moment magnitude scale. It caused vertical movements of two to three metres over a large area, including raising land out of the harbour and turning it into a tidal swamp. Much of this land was subsequently reclaimed and is now part of the central business district. For this reason, the street named Lambton Quay is 100 to 200 metres (325 to 650 ft) from the harbour – plaques set into the footpath mark the shoreline in 1840, indicating the extent of reclamation. The 1942 Wairarapa earthquakes caused considerable damage in Wellington.

The area has high seismic activity even by New Zealand standards, with a major fault, the Wellington Fault, running through the centre of the city and several others nearby. Several hundred minor faults lines have been identified within the urban area. Inhabitants, particularly in high-rise buildings, typically notice several earthquakes every year. For many years after the 1855 earthquake, the majority of buildings were made entirely from wood. The 1996-restored Government Buildings[44] near Parliament is the largest wooden 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 place their confidence in good building regulations, which became more stringent in the 20th century. Since the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, earthquake readiness has become even more of an issue, with buildings declared by Wellington City Council to be earthquake-prone,[45][46] and the costs of meeting new standards.[47][48]

Every five years a year-long slow quake occurs beneath Wellington, stretching from Kapiti to the Marlborough Sounds. It was first measured in 2003, and reappeared in 2008 and 2013.[49] It releases as much energy as a magnitude 7 quake, but as it happens slowly there is no damage.[50]

During July and August 2013 there were many earthquakes, mostly in Cook Strait near Seddon. The sequence started at 5:09 pm on Sunday 21 July 2013 when the magnitude 6.5 Seddon earthquake hit the city, but no tsunami report was confirmed nor any major damage.[51] At 2:31 pm on Friday 16 August 2013 the Lake Grassmere earthquake struck, this time magnitude 6.6, but again no major damage occurred, though many buildings were evacuated.[52] On Monday 20 January 2014 at 3:52 pm a rolling 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the lower North Island 15 km east of Eketahuna and was felt in Wellington, but little damage was reported initially, except at Wellington Airport where one of the two giant eagle sculptures commemorating The Hobbit became detached from the ceiling.[53][54]

At two minutes after midnight on Monday 14 November 2016, the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake, which was centred between Culverden and Kaikoura in the South Island, caused the Wellington CBD, Victoria University of Wellington, and the Wellington suburban rail network to be largely closed for the day to allow inspections. The earthquake damaged a considerable number of buildings, with 65% of the damage being in Wellington. Subsequently, a number of recent buildings were demolished rather than being rebuilt, often a decision made by the insurer. Two of the buildings demolished were about eleven years old – the seven-storey NZDF headquarters[55][56] and Statistics House at Centreport on the waterfront.[57] The docks were closed for several weeks after the earthquake.[58]

Demographics

Wellingtonians gathered for the Anzac Day dawn service (2011)

The four cities comprising Greater Wellington have a total population of 436,100 (June 2020),[2] with the urban area containing 98.5% of that population. The remaining areas are largely mountainous and sparsely farmed or parkland and are outside the urban area boundary. More than most cities, life 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 four times the population.

The four urban areas combined had a usual resident population of 401,850 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 26,307 people (7.0%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 42,726 people (11.9%) since the 2006 census. There were 196,911 males and 204,936 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.961 males per female. Of the total population, 74,892 people (18.6%) were aged up to 15 years, 93,966 (23.4%) were 15 to 29, 185,052 (46.1%) were 30 to 64, and 47,952 (11.9%) were 65 or older.[59]

Population density in Wellington region (2008) based on census data

Quality of living

Wellington ranks 12th in the world for quality of living,[6] according to a 2014 study by consulting company Mercer; of cities in the Asia–Pacific region, Wellington ranked third behind Auckland and Sydney (as of 2014).[6] Wellington has become 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.[60] "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 multinational firms to do business: "New Zealand cities were now more affordable for expatriates and were competitive places for overseas companies to develop business links and send employees".[61]

Religion and identity

Old St Paul's was the Anglican pro-cathedral, and is one of the oldest structures in Wellington

An increasing number of Wellingtonians profess no religious belief, with the most recent census in 2013 showing 44% in that category. The largest religious group was Christians at 39%. The latter figure represented a significant decline from seven years earlier at the previous census, when over 50% of the population identified as Christian.[62][63][64]

At the 2013 Census, just over 27% of Wellington's population was born overseas. The most common overseas birthplace is the United Kingdom, place of origin of 7.1% of the urban area's population. The next most-common countries of origin were Samoa (2.0%), India (1.8%), China (1.7%), Australia (1.6%), the Philippines (1.2%), South Africa (1.1%), Fiji (1.0%), the United States (0.8%) and Malaysia (0.6%).[65][66]

Ethnic groups of Wellington metro residents, 2006–18 census[67]
Ethnicity 2006 census 2013 census 2018 census
Number % Number % Number %
European 237,675 67.5 268,377 74.1 291,546 71.5
Asian 34,821 9.9 44,844 12.4 61,656 15.1
Māori 44,463 12.6 45,780 12.6 56,199 13.8
Pacific peoples 32,943 9.4 33,780 9.3 39,777 9.8
Middle Eastern/Latin American/African 5,163 1.5 6,294 1.7 9,027 2.2
Other 36,750 10.4 6,276 1.7 5,766 1.9
Total people stated 351,939 361,962 407,808
Not elsewhere included 12,189 3.5 19,131 5.3 0 0.0

Architecture

The old Public Trust Building in Lambton Quay is an example of Edwardian architecture in Wellington, built entirely from granite

Wellington showcases a variety of architectural styles from the past 150 years – 19th-century wooden cottages (Painted Ladies), such as the Italianate Katherine Mansfield Birthplace in Thorndon; streamlined Art Deco structures such as the old Wellington Free Ambulance headquarters, the Central Fire Station, Fountain Court Apartments, the City Gallery, and the former Post and Telegraph Building; and the curves and vibrant colours of post-modern architecture in the CBD.

The oldest building is the 1858 Colonial Cottage in Mount Cook.[68] The tallest building is the Majestic Centre on Willis Street at 116 metres high, the second tallest being the structural expressionist Aon Centre (Wellington) at 103 metres.[69] Futuna Chapel in Karori is an iconic building designed by Māori architect John Scott and is architecturally considered one of the most significant New Zealand buildings of the 20th century.[70]

Wellington Fault, running through the centre of the city and several others nearby. Several hundred minor faults lines have been identified within the urban area. Inhabitants, particularly in high-rise buildings, typically notice several earthquakes every year. For many years after the 1855 earthquake, the majority of buildings were made entirely from wood. The 1996-restored Government Buildings[44] near Parliament is the largest wooden 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 place their confidence in good building regulations, which became more stringent in the 20th century. Since the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, earthquake readiness has become even more of an issue, with buildings declared by Wellington City Council to be earthquake-prone,[45][46] and the costs of meeting new standards.[47][48]

Every five years a year-long slow quake occurs beneath Wellington, stretching from Kapiti to the Marlborough Sounds. It was first measured in 2003, and reappeared in 2008 and 2013.[49] It releases as much energy as a magnitude 7 quake, but as it happens slowly there is no damage.[50]

During July and August 2013 there were many earthquakes, mostly in Cook Strait near Seddon. The sequence started at 5:09 pm on Sunday 21 July 2013 when the magnitude 6.5 Seddon earthquake hit the city, but no tsunami report was confirmed nor any major damage.[51] At 2:31 pm on Friday 16 August 2013 the Lake Grassmere earthquake struck, this time magnitude 6.6, but again no major damage occurred, though many buildings were evacuated.[52] On Monday 20 January 2014 at 3:52 pm a rolling 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the lower North Island 15 km east of Eketahuna and was felt in Wellington, but little damage was reported initially, except at Wellington Airport where one of the two giant eagle sculptures commemorating The Hobbit became detached from the ceiling.[53][54]

At two minutes after midnight on Monday 14 November 2016, the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake, which was centred between Culverden and Kaikoura in the South Island, caused the Wellington CBD, Victoria University of Wellington, and the Wellington suburban rail network to be largely closed for the day to allow inspections. The earthquake damaged a considerable number of buildings, with 65% of the damage being in Wellington. Subsequently, a number of recent buildings were demolished rather than being rebuilt, often a decision made by the insurer. Two of the buildings demolished were about eleven years old – the seven-storey NZDF headquarters[55][56] and Statistics House at Centreport on the waterfront.[57] The docks were closed for several weeks after the earthquake.[58]

The four cities comprising Greater Wellington have a total population of 436,100 (June 2020),[2] with the urban area containing 98.5% of that population. The remaining areas are largely mountainous and sparsely farmed or parkland and are outside the urban area boundary. More than most cities, life 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 four times the population.

The four urban areas combined had a usual resident population of 401,850 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 26,307 people (7.0%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 42,726 people (11.9%) since the 2006 census. There were 196,911 males and 204,936 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.961 males per female. Of the total population, 74,892 people (18.6%) were aged up to 15 years, 93,966 (23.4%) were 15 to 29, 185,052 (46.1%) were 30 to 64, and 47,952 (11.9%) were 65 or older.[59]

The four urban areas combined had a usual resident population of 401,850 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 26,307 people (7.0%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 42,726 people (11.9%) since the 2006 census. There were 196,911 males and 204,936 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.961 males per female. Of the total population, 74,892 people (18.6%) were aged up to 15 years, 93,966 (23.4%) were 15 to 29, 185,052 (46.1%) were 30 to 64, and 47,952 (11.9%) were 65 or older.[59]

Wellington ranks 12th in the world for quality of living,[6] according to a 2014 study by consulting company Mercer; of cities in the Asia–Pacific region, Wellington ranked third behind Auckland and Sydney (as of 2014).[6] Wellington has become 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.[60] "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 multinational firms to do business: "New Zealand cities were now more affordable for expatriates and were competitive places for overseas companies to develop business links and send employees".[61]

Religion and identity

[62][63][64]

At the 2013 Census, just over 27% of Wellington's population was born overseas. The most common overseas birthplace is the United Kingdom, place of origin of 7.1% of the urban area's population. The next most-common countries of origin were Samoa (2.0%), India (1.8%), China (1.7%), Australia (1.6%), the Philippines (1.2%), South Africa (1.1%), Fiji (1.0%), the United States (0.8%) and Malaysia (0.6%).[65][66]

Ethnic groups of Wellington metro residents, 2006–18 census[67]
Ethnicity 2006 census 2013 census 2018 census
Number % Number % Number %
European 237,675 67.5 268,377 74.1 291,546 71.5
Asian 34,821 9.9 44,844 12.4 61,656 15.1
Samoa (2.0%), India (1.8%), China (1.7%), Australia (1.6%), the Philippines (1.2%), South Africa (1.1%), Fiji (1.0%), the United States (0.8%) and Malaysia (0.6%).[65][66]

Wellington showcases a variety of architectural styles from the past 150 years – 19th-century wooden cottages (Painted Ladies), such as the Italianate Katherine Mansfield Birthplace in Thorndon; streamlined Art Deco structures such as the old Wellington Free Ambulance headquarters, the Central Fire Station, Fountain Court Apartments, the City Gallery, and the former Post and Telegraph Building; and the curves and vibrant colours of post-modern architecture in the CBD.

The oldest building is the 1858 Colonial Cottage in Mount Cook.[68] The tallest building is the Majestic Centre on Willis Street at 116 metres high, the second tallest being the structural expressionist Aon Centre (Wellington) at 103 metres.[69] Futuna Chapel in Karori is an iconic building designed by Māori architect John Scott and is architecturally considered one of the most significant New Zealand buildings of the 20th century.[70]

Old St Paul's is an example of 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture adapted to colonial conditions and materials, as is St Mary of the Angels. Sacred Heart Cathedral is a Palladian Revival Basilica with the Portico of a Roman or Greek temple. The Museum of Wellington City & Sea in the Colonial Cottage in Mount Cook.[68] The tallest building is the Majestic Centre on Willis Street at 116 metres high, the second tallest being the structural expressionist Aon Centre (Wellington) at 103 metres.[69] Futuna Chapel in Karori is an iconic building designed by Māori architect John Scott and is architecturally considered one of the most significant New Zealand buildings of the 20th century.[70]

Old St Paul's is an example of 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture adapted to colonial conditions and materials, as is St Mary of the Angels. Sacred Heart Cathedral is a Palladian Revival Basilica with the Portico of a Roman or Greek temple. The Museum of Wellington City & Sea in 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.

Te Ngākau 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.

As it is the capital city, there are many notable government buildings. The Executive Wing of New Zealand Parliament Buildings, on the corner of Lambton Quay and Molesworth Street, was constructed b

Te Ngākau 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.

As it is the capital city, there are many notable government buildings. The Executive Wing of New Zealand Parliament Buildings, on the corner of Lambton Quay and Molesworth Street, was constructed between 1969 and 1981 and is commonly referred to as the Beehive. Across the road is the largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere,[71] part of the old Government Buildings which now houses part of Victoria University of Wellington's Law Faculty.

A modernist building housing the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa lies on the waterfront, on Cable Street. It is strengthened using base isolation[72] – essentially seating the entire building on supports made from lead, steel and rubber that slow down the effect of an earthquake.

Other notable buildings include Wellington Town Hall, Wellington railway station, Dominion Museum (now Massey University), Aon Centre (Wellington), Wellington Regional Stadium, and Wellington Airport at Rongotai. Leading architects include Frederick Thatcher, Frederick de Jersey Clere, W. Gray Young, Bill Alington, Ian Athfield, Roger Walker and Pynenburg and Collins.

Wellington contains many iconic sculptures and structures, such as the Bucket Fountain in Cuba Street and Invisible City by Anton Parsons on Lambton Quay. Kinetic sculptures have been commissioned, such as the Zephyrometer.[73] This 26-metre orange spike built for movement by artist Phil Price has been described as "tall, soaring and elegantly simple", 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."[74]

Wellington experienced a real estate boom in the early 2000s and the effects of the international property bust at the start of 2007. In 2005, the market was described as "robust".[75] By 2008, property values had declined by about 9.3% over a 12-month period, according to one estimate. More expensive properties declined more steeply, sometimes by as much as 20%.[76] "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 The New Zealand Herald reporters writing in May 2009.[77] In the middle of 2009 house prices had dropped, interest rates were low, and buy-to-let property investment was again looking attractive, particularly in the Lambton precinct, according to these two reporters.[77]

A row of classic weatherboard houses in the Mount Victoria neighbourhood, emblematic of the style of the area

A Wellington City Council survey conducted in March 2009 found the typical central city apartment dweller was a New Zealand na

A Wellington City Council survey conducted in March 2009 found the typical central city 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.[78] Three-quarters (73%) walked to work or university, 13% travelled by car, 6% by bus, 2% bicycled (although 31% own bicycles), and did not travel very far since 73% worked or studied in the central city.[78] The large majority (88%) did not have children in their apartments; 39% were couples without children; 32% were single-person households; 15% were groups of people flatting together.[78] Most (56%) owned their apartment; 42% rented (of renters, 16% paid NZ$351 to NZ$450 per week, 13% paid less and 15% paid more – only 3% paid more than NZ$651 per week).[78] The report continued: "The four most important reasons for living in an apartment were given as lifestyle and city living (23%), close to work (20%), close to shops and cafes (11%) and low maintenance (11%) ... City noise and noise from neighbours were the main turnoffs for apartment dwellers (27%), followed by a lack of outdoor space (17%), living close to neighbours (9%) and apartment size and a lack of storage space (8%)."[78][79]

Households are primarily one-family, making up 66.9% of households, followed by single-person households (24.7%); there were fewer multiperson households and even fewer households containing two or more families. These counts are from the 2013 census for the Wellington region (which includes the surrounding area in addition to the four cities).[80]

In December 2019, Quotable Value reported the average house price for Wellington metro was $747,000, ranging from $603,000 in Upper Hutt to $978,000 in the western suburbs of Wellington City.[81]

Economy

[80]

In December 2019, Quotable Value reported the average house price for Wellington metro was $747,000, ranging from $603,000 in Upper Hutt to $978,000 in the western suburbs of Wellington City.[81]

Wellington Harbour ranks as one of New Zealand's chief seaports and serves both domestic and international shipping. The port handles approximately 10.5 million tonnes of cargo on an annual basis,[82] importing petroleum products, motor vehicles, minerals and exporting meats, wood products, dairy products, wool, and fruit. Many cruise ships also use the port.

The Government sector has long been a mainstay of the economy, which has typically risen and fallen with it. Traditionally, its central location meant it was the location of many head offices of various sectors – particularly finance, technology and heavy industry – many of which have since relocated to Auckland following economic deregulation and privatisation.[83][84]

In recent years, tourism, arts and culture, film, and ICT have played a bigger role in the economy. Wellington's median income is well above the average in New Zealand,[85] and the highest of all New Zealand cities.[86] It has a much higher proportion of people with tertiary qualifications than the national average.[87] Major companies with their headquarters in Wellington include:

[83][84]

In recent years, tourism, arts and culture, film, and ICT have played a bigger role in the economy. Wellington's median income is well above the average in New Zealand,[85] and the highest of all New Zealand cities.[86] It has a much higher proportion of people with tertiary qualifications than the national average.[87] Major companies with their headquarters in Wellington include:

At the 2013 census, the largest employment industries for Wellington residents were professional, scientific and technical services (25,836 people), public administration and safety (24,336 people), health care and social assistance (17,446 people), education and training (16,550 people) and retail trade (16,203 people).[88] In addition, Wellington is an important centre of the New Zealand film and theatre industry, and second to Auckland in terms of numbers of screen industry businesses.[89]

Tourism

Elephant House at Wellington Zoo

Tourism is a major contributor to the city's

Tourism is a major contributor to the city's economy, injecting approximately NZ$1.3 billion into the region annually and accounting for 9% of total FTE employment.[90] The city is consistently named as New Zealanders' favourite destination in the quarterly FlyBuys Colmar Brunton Mood of the Traveller survey[91] and it was ranked fourth in Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011's Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011.[92] New Zealanders make up the largest visitor market, with 3.6 million visits each year; New Zealand visitors spend on average NZ$2.4 million a day.[93] There are approximately 540,000 international visitors each year, who spend 3.7 million nights and NZ$436 million. The largest international visitor market is Australia, with over 210,000 visitors spending approximately NZ$334 million annually.[94]

Te Papa ("Our Place"), the Museum of New Zealand

It has been argued that the construction of the Te Papa museum helped transform Wellington into a tourist destination.[95] Wellington is marketed as the 'coolest little capital in the world' by Positively Wellington Tourism, an award-winning regional tourism organisation[96] set up as a counci

It has been argued that the construction of the Te Papa museum helped transform Wellington into a tourist destination.[95] Wellington is marketed as the 'coolest little capital in the world' by Positively Wellington Tourism, an award-winning regional tourism organisation[96] set up as a council controlled organisation by Wellington City Council in 1997.[97] The organisation's council funding comes through the Downtown Levy commercial rate.[98] In the decade to 2010, the city saw growth of over 60% in commercial guest nights. It has been promoted through a variety of campaigns and taglines, starting with the iconic Absolutely Positively Wellington advertisements.[99] The long-term domestic marketing strategy was a finalist in the 2011 CAANZ Media Awards.[100]

<

Popular tourist attractions include Wellington Museum, Wellington Zoo, Zealandia and Wellington Cable Car. Cruise tourism is experiencing a major boom in line with nationwide development. The 2010/11 season saw 125,000 passengers and crew visit on 60 liners. There were 80 vessels booked for visits in the 2011/12 season – estimated to inject more than NZ$31 million into the economy and representing a 74% increase in the space of two years.[101]

Wellington is a popular conference tourism destination due to its compact nature, cultural attractions, award-winning restaurants and access to government agencies. In the year ending March 2011, there were 6495 conference events involving nearly 800,000 delegate days; this injected approximately NZ$100 million into the economy.[102]

Arts and culture