Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, sits near the North Island’s southernmost point on the Cook Strait. A compact city, it encompasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. From Lambton Quay, the iconic red Wellington Cable Car heads to the Wellington Botanic Gardens. Strong winds through the Cook Strait give it the nickname “Windy Wellington” with an average wind speed of over 26 km/h (16 mph), Wellington features a temperate maritime climate
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.
Wellington was well placed for trade. In 1839 it was chosen as the first major planned settlement for British immigrants coming to New Zealand. The settlement was named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo.
As the nation’s capital since 1865, the New Zealand Government and Parliament, Supreme Court and most of the civil service are based in the city. Architectural sights include the Government Building—one of the largest wooden buildings in the world—as well as the iconic Beehive. Despite being much smaller than Auckland, Wellington is also referred to as New Zealand’s cultural capital. The city is home to the National Archives, the National Library, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, numerous theatres, and two universities. Wellington plays host to many artistic and cultural organisations, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet, it is ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
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 Wairarapa, and ferries connect the city to the South Island. The Cable Car is a Wellington icon. It runs from Lambton Quay up to Kelburn, where at the top there’s a lookout, the Cable Car Museum, and Space Place at Carter Observatory.
In the Māori language, Wellington has 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, deriving from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demi-god Māui.
- The average temperature in Wellington is 15-20 degrees,
- 750+ restaurants and cafes
- 363 Km of mountain biking and walking tracks
- 55+ galleries and museums
- 130+ Kiwis live in Zealandia Nature Reserve
- 2 Premium wine growing areas – Marlborough and Wairarapa
In wellington we pay a visit to The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa and Wildlife Sanctuary, Zealandia where we find out the culinary uses of some of the plants. The people of Wellington love their coffee so Catherine visits Mojo Coffee Bar to find out what make’s New Zealand’s coffee so unique, she learns about Maori foods at Karaka Café and from Maori Chef Rex Morgan at his Boulcott Sreet Bistro, she pays a visit to the NZ Parliament Buildings to meet top Kiwi Chef Shaun Clouston to taste one of his signature dishes + meets fellow Irish man Shane Harmon, CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington where Catherine also get’s taught how to perform the haka!
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Te Papa Tongarewa
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is New Zealand’s National Museum, located in Wellington. Known as Te Papa, or “Our Place”, it opened in 1998 after the merging of the National Museum and the National Art Gallery.
Catherine was given a tour of the Museum from Tour Guide Shaun Pallett – and her tour consisted of the following areas:
Location 1 – The Canoe
The Tangata o le Moana exhibition tells the story of the Pacific people in New Zealand.
Hull of the vaka (outrigger canoe) Tauhunu from Manihiki in the northern Cook Islands is one of only three such vaka that survive in museums worldwide.
Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists. One of the opening exhibitions in Te Papa’s new spectacular art gallery – Toi Art. A retrospective of the Auckland artist collective works over the last 26 years in giving voice and visibility to Māori and Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Location 3 – The Red Wall Portrait Gallery
The portrait wall is part of Te Papa’s new art gallery Toi Art. Toi Arts showcases iconic works from the national art collection, alongside new art created especially for the gallery.
Location 4 – Gallipoli exterior sign and the food area
Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War. The internationally award–wining exhibition created by Te Papa with Weta Workshop (the special effects and design masterminds behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy amongst other movie blockbusters) The eight-month Gallipoli campaign is told through the eyes and words of eight ordinary New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Each is captured frozen in a moment of time on a monumental scale – 2.4 times human size
Location 5 – Lobby area (round window and red maori carving)
The level 2 foyer of the museum which also displays the Waharoa / Māori gateway carved from a huge slab of tōtara wood.
Contact Person: Andrea Tandy
Address: 55 Cable St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Opening Hours: Open every day 10am–6pm (except Christmas Day)
Address: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 55 Cable Street, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand
Phone: +64 (04) 381 7000
Zealandia (Wildlife Sanctuary)
ZEALANDIA is the world’s first fully fenced urban eco sanctuary, with an extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. ZEALANDIA is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, with an extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. The 225 hectare ecosanctuary is a groundbreaking conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, 6 of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.
Prior to the arrival of humans, Aotearoa (New Zealand) was isolated and unique. Without any mammalian predators an ecosystem of remarkable flora and fauna had evolved – the likes of which could be found nowhere else in the world. Sadly, over the last 700 years, that paradise was almost destroyed by humans and the mammals they introduced with them.
Introduced predators decimated New Zealand’s native and endemic species, who had evolved without needing defence from mammals for millions of years. Since human arrival, at least 51 bird species, three frog species, three lizard species, one freshwater fish species, one bat species, four plant species, and a number of invertebrate species have become extinct.
ZEALANDIA has a vision to restore this valley to the way it was before the arrival of humans. With its 8.6km fence keeping out introduced mammallian predators, birds such as the tūī, kākā and kererū, once extremely rare in the region, are all now common sights around central Wellington. Other vulnerable native species such as tīeke, hihi, little spotted kiwi, and tuatara remain thriving safely in the sanctuary.
New Zealand’s flora and fauna differs from every other large land-mass on earth due to its long isolation and uniqueness as a (near) mammal-free environment. The isolated species living here were affected dramatically around 800 years ago, when humans from Polynesia settled in New Zealand. Not long afterwards the first Europeans arrived and both, with the help of introduced pests, began to deplete species around them and clear vast tracts of land. They brought with them a multitude of mammalian pests. Still chewing the life out of our New Zealand bush, these pests are bringing about a grim ending to an almost inconceivably long history of unique and beautiful life.
This trend continued into the early 1990’s, when Wellington was in a biologically poor state with native flora and fauna in danger of local extinction and very little happening on the ground other than small-scale planting schemes. Drastic measures needed to be taken to ensure the survival of our species.