Wellington History

Māori history

Early tribes include Ngāi Tara, Rangitāne and Ngāti Mamoe. Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha invaded in the 1820s and took Kapiti Island. Later, Taranaki tribes including Te Āti Awa moved south and became Wellington’s tangata whenua (people of the land).

Britain’s first settlement

Sited in the middle of the country, Wellington was well placed for trade. In 1839 it was chosen as the first major planned settlement for British immigrants coming to New Zealand, and several ships arrived at Petone in 1840. A business district soon grew around the harbour, which became a busy port.

Settlers also cleared the forest and built townships at Petone, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt.

In 1865 Wellington was made the country’s capital, replacing Auckland. This gave the city a secure future. The government built a new Parliament and other grand buildings, and businesses flourished. Roads and railways helped spread the population away from the cramped city.

Wellington Today (The regional view)

The Wellington 'Today' region has been defined into the following five major land blocks;

  1. Wellington Central (CBD and including western suburbs up until Johnsonville and southern suburbs out to Miramar)
  2. Mana (Western suburbs from Tawa through until Pukerua Bay)
  3. Kapiti (Western suburbs from Paekakariki through to Otaki)
  4. Hutt Valley (Includes Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata through to Upper Hutt)
  5. Wairarapa (Featherston out to the eastern coast through to north of Masterton and the eastern coast up and beyond castlepoint.)

Wellington City is a thriving urban centre with many galleries, museums, theatres and festivals. Cafés, restaurants, bars, shops, cinemas and apartments keep the inner city lively. Locals love to walk or bike in the hills, the harbour is ideal for windsurfing and yachting, and the rugged coastline offers excellent fishing and diving.

Throughout the greater Wellington Region there are fabulous attractions, unique and prosperous businesses, scenic walks, vibrant Cafés, wonderful townships, beautiful landscapes all cradled by the mighty Pacific Ocean, exciting Cook Straight, abundant Tasman Sea offering a multitude of water based activities for both locals and visitors alike.  The Wellington Region then anchors the North Island of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and in the north leads into the central region including Horowhenua, Manawatu and Southern Hawkes Bay.  Beyond the Cook Straight you find the South island.

The Wellington 'Today' Region