Wellington/Te Upoko-o-te-Ika-a-Maui ("head of Maui’s fish"), New Zealand’s capital city, leans out from the Rimutaka Range into the roaring forties headwinds blowing up through the Cook Strait. The city hunkers on the North Island’s southwestern tip, its stately suburbs of colonial villas climbing steeply from Wellington Harbour.
Its strapline "The coolest little capital in the world" could not be more succinct. This compact, densely populated city is New Zealand’s seat of political power, where the nation’s policies are thrashed out in the iconic "Beehive" parliamentary buildings.
Wellington is dynamic, creative, and well educated; over a third of its relatively small population holds a university degree. As a thriving business hub and cultural powerhouse, it plays host to the New Zealand Stock Exchange and is second only to Auckland in terms of CBD size and creative industries such as IT and film.
The city boasts a star-studded, action-packed cultural calendar. The World of Wearable Arts (WOW) show, Wellington Fashion Week, Art Splash Youth Festival and Rugby Sevens are just a taste of the events held throughout the year.
Gourmands and wine connoisseurs will revel in the wine-growing region of the Wairarapa plains that fall away from the Rimutaka Range. Go-getters and high-hitters will relish the city’s fast-paced politics and progressive business culture. Wellington’s creativity and passion for fashion will slake any thirst for culture. Meanwhile, the city’s proximity to fantastic alpine resorts and its prolific outdoor activities will satisfy the most avid sportsperson.
What is special or unique about your city?
It is a stronghold of the arts, home to the Royal Ballet and the New Zealand Symphony. It is also the second-largest city in the nation, home to approximately a third of a million people.
Also known as the “Harbour City,” Wellington boasts one of the most beautiful harbours in the world.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Wellington has emerged in recent years as the established cultural headquarters of New Zealand, as well as its political capital. With a condensed landscape, it has a compact feel within a multicultural environment. If first impressions count, then Wellington scores highly with new arrivals. The city is set between mountain ranges and the ocean. In addition, its harbour is ranked as one of the most scenic to be found anywhere.
The fact that the city itself is so compact aids greatly to the settling-in process. Distances and transportation fail to be insurmountable challenges even for the newest of arrivals. In fact, Wellington has been referred to as one of the easiest places for an expatriate to settle into. Wellingtonians are familiar with a diverse range of nationalities and cultures and newcomers to the city will find themselves embedded within the local communities and businesses within a very short time.
Are these impressions likely to change?
These impressions are not likely to change. Wellington harbour is the remnant of an ancient volcanic crater and while the City Council may have plans to revamp the waterfront, there is a responsibility to ensure that the natural resources are sustained. Wellington is a picture-perfect city and locals are determined to preserve this natural beauty
The city is also filled with funky shops, trendy cafes, exciting art galleries and great restaurants, all within easy walking distance. Furthermore, Wellington is home to the Parliament Buildings (icons of Wellington) and also many historic buildings and museums that tell the story of New Zealand.