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Wellington, New Zealand

View from the Hill - City of Wellington

Where is it?

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, sits on the mouth of Cooks Strait, named after the famous explorer James Cook and  considered one of the most dangerous, unpredictable waters of the world (it connects the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean). An elegant city, Wellington is home to about 225,000 residents and is 400 miles southwest of Auckland. According to Maori tradition, Whatonga, a chief of the Kurahaupo waka was the first person to settle the lands at the tip of the North Island. The area, in the Maori practice of naming places as they appeared to the beholder, was called   Te Upoko-o-te-Ika - 'the head of the fish'.


?It is named after the then Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley) who commanded the British troops against Napolean. There is evidence of pre-Anglo-Saxon settlement by the Maori tribe of Kurahaupo Waka around 1200's AD. You may remember that the islands of New Zealand themselves split from the supercontinent Gandowanland around 85 million years ago.

Europeans arrived from England and Australia aorund 1840 

An early Polynesian explorer named Kupe arrived in Wellington in 950 AD. James Cook land in the Wellington Harbor in November, 1769.

In 1865, Wellington was declared the capital of New Zealand, transferring that honor from Auckland.

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