Wellington (New Zealand)

September 8, 2022

Situated in the southwestern portion of North Island and covering a total area of about 171 square miles, Wellington is the home of approximately 420,000 people, making it the second largest city in New Zealand. Its privileged location between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range makes it the southernmost capital of the world.

Designated as the capital of New Zealand in 1865, Wellington was originally designed in 1840 by Surveyor General Captain William Mein Smith. An interesting fact about the Executive Wing of Wellington's Parliament Building, lovingly known as The Beehive because of its particular shape, is that it was first designed on a napkin by architect Sir Basil Spence during dinner with Prime Minister Keith Holyoake in 1964. The Beehive, which is now a source of national pride, was officially inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth in 1977, although it wasn't completed until 1981.

The city of Wellington received its name as a tribute to Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, but its original Maori name is Te Whanganui-a-Tara, which means "The Great Harbor of Tara." As part of its long-standing battle to preserve its Maori heritage, New Zealand is considering retaking its original name of Aotearoa, as well as that of many cities and landmarks, including Wellington.

Today, Wellington is a bustling city that boasts a myriad of museums, galleries, festivals and 400 busy cafes. Wellington is home to the National Museum of New Zealand, also known as Te Papa, which in Maori means "Our Place." The museum opened its doors to the public in 1998 and received over a million and a half visitors each year. Because of its deep roots in Maori culture, its numerous activities, and more, Wellington, New Zealand, is one place no traveler should ever miss!


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