Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- Alternative meanings at Wellington (disambiguation)
|Extent|| Central Wellington,|
Hutt Valley, Porirua,
Pukerua Bay and
|Names|| Porirua City|
Upper Hutt City
Lower Hutt City
| Population estimate is as at 30 June 2004|
Source: Statistics New Zealand
Wellington (Te Whanganui-a-Tara or Poneke) is the capital city of New Zealand and the country's second largest urban area. Wellington () stands at the southern tip of the North Island in the geographical centre of the country.
New Zealand's major financial institutions are divided between Wellington and Auckland and some organisations have headquarters in both cities. Wellington is often described as New Zealand's cultural centre, boasting a world class film and theatre industry, the Museum of New Zealand, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Its compact city centre supports an arts scene, café culture and nightlife much larger than most cities of a similar size.
Wellington was named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor at the Battle of Waterloo. The Duke's title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset.
In the Māori language Wellington goes by two names. Te Whanganui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara". The alternative name Poneke is often discouraged because of a belief that it is nothing more than a transliteration of the harbour's former name in English, Port Nicholson. The Wellington City Council uses the name Poneke and claims the name is much older, coming from po + neke meaning night movement.
A third name is used when talking about the lower North Island in general, Te Upoko o te Ika, which means the head of the fish and refers to the legend that the North Island is a gigantic fish that was dragged from the sea by the demigod Maui-Tikitiki-a-Taranga.
Like many cities, Wellington's urban area extends well beyond the boundaries of a single local authority. The name Central Wellington is often used to describe the part of Wellington under the jurisdiction of the Wellington City Council. Greater Wellington means the entire urban area, and often includes rural parts of the cities and the Kapiti Coast. The Wellington Region extends further still, across the Rimutaka Ranges to the Wairarapa.
Location and demographics
Wellington stands at the southwestern tip of the North Island on Cook Strait, the passage that divides the North and South Islands. On a clear day the snowcapped Kaikoura Ranges are visible 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 worldwide acclaim.
Wellington is the southernmost national capital city in the world with a latitude about 41 degrees south. 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. Because of its location in the roaring forties latitudes and its exposure to omnipresent wind 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. Approximately 62,000 people work in the Wellington 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 the southern part of the CBD, making the inner city suburb of Te Aro the largest entertainment destination in New Zealand.
Wellington has the highest average income of a main urban area in New Zealand and the highest percentage of people with tertiary qualifications.
Wellington has a reputation for its picturesque natural harbour and green hillsides adorned with tiered suburbs of colonial villas. The city's CBD is sited close to the Lambton Harbour, an arm of Wellington Harbour. Wellington Harbour lies along an active geologic fault which is clearly evident it 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.
To the southern end of the city is the Miramar Peninsula, connected to the rest of the island by a low-lying isthmus at Rongotai, which is 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's 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. 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 limited access to the public during daylight hours by means of a stop-off on the Dominion Post Ferry.
The city has an average annual rainfall of 1270 mm.
The Maori who originally settled the Wellington area knew it as Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui, meaning "the head of Maui's fish". Legend recounts that Kupe discovered and explored the district in about the 10th 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 ship Aurora on 22 January 1840. Legend states that the settlers constructed their first homes at "Britannia" (now Petone) on the flat area at the mouth of the Hutt River but when this proved too swampy and flood-prone they transplanted the plans without regard for a more hilly terrain—Wellington has some extremely steep streets running straight up the sides of hills.
Wellington suffered serious damage in a series of earthquakes in 1848 and from another earthquake in 1855. The event in 1855, now known as the Wairarapa earthquake, occurred on a fault line to the north or 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. It caused vertical movements of 2 to 3 m to land 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 m distant from the harbour. A number of plaques set into the footpath at major intersections on Lambton Quay indicate the location of the shoreline in 1840 and thus indicate the extent of the uplift.
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 typically notice at least one earthquake every year, particularly in the high-rise office buildings in the city. For many years after the 1855 earthquake, the majority of buildings constructed in Wellington were made entirely from wood. The recently-restored Government Buildings, between the Railway Station and Parliament Buildings, comprise the largest wooden office building in the Southern Hemisphere. While masonry and structural steel have subsequently been used in building construction, especially 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 20th century.
In 1865 Wellington became the capital of New Zealand, replacing Auckland where William Hobson had established his capital in 1840. Parliament first sat in Wellington on 7 July 1862, but the city did not become the official capital for some time. In November 1863 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 goldfields 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 (reference Phillip Temple: Wellington Yesterday).
Government House, the official residence of the Governor-General, stands next to the Basin Reserve. The official residence formerly occupied the site where the "Beehive", the executive wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings, is today.
- Home of the Wellington Hurricanes - Super 12 Rugby Team
- Wellington Lions - National Provincial Championship Rugby Team
- Wellington City Council
- What's On In Wellington
- What's on and happening in Wellington, New Zealand from restaurants and cafes to events and services
- Official NZ Tourism website for Wellington
- Wellington history
- 360° views of and from NZ Parliament buildings
- Wellington Institute of Technology
- Wellington Hurricanes
- Wellington Lions
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