The capital city of New Zealand since 1865, Wellington has been a focus of Pakeha settlement from 1840. It borders a magnificent harbour and boasts a varied range of architectural styles and heritage sites, complementing its claim as a culture capital.
The Polynesian explorer Kupe is credited with the initial discovery of Wellington Harbour. From Maori tradition it is estimated he arrived with his followers around the 10th century. Evidence of early Maori settlement and cultivation can be found at sites around the Wellington peninsula.
Wanganui and Manawatu have three great rivers flowing from the central North Island to the Tasman Sea – the Whanganui, Rangitikei and Manawatu. The Whanganui is one of New Zealand’s most historic waterways with a number of historic places along its length. The Rangitikei and Manawatu have historic connections with transport – the Rangitikei for the building of the Main Trunk Railway Line and the Manawatu for the building of the road and railway through its gorge.
Find out more about the history of these regions:
Manawatu and Horowhenua
Antrim House was built in 1904-05 for Robert Hannah, founder of Hannah's footwear company and one of the most successful businessmen of his time. Today, Antrim House is home to the National Office of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust
The only surviving wooden blockhouse, Wallaceville was built and occupied from 1860 to 1861 but was never involved in hostilities. Today, it serves as a headquarters for a service club.
Pencarrow Lighthouse, at the entrance to Wellington Harbour, turned 150 years old on 1 January 2009. It was home to New Zealand's first, and only, female lighthouse keeper.
Old St Paul's is a fine example of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture adapted to colonial conditions and materials. The church is built from native timbers and the glowing interior is enhanced by stunning stained glass windows.
"Must do" checklist
Absolutely positively Wellington has a lot to offer tourists and visitors:
The Beehive & Parliament Buildings
Wellington Museum of City and Sea
Zealandia (Karori Wildlife Sanctuary)
Waterfront and Oriental Parade
Find out more about what to see and do in Wellington by visiting the official tourism website.
New Zealand Rugby Museum, Palmerston North
Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui