Capital and commercial port of New Zealand, in the province of the same name on North Island, on the Cook Strait; population (2001 est) city, 165,900, urban agglomeration, 351,700. After Auckland, Wellington is the second-largest manufacturing centre of New Zealand. Industries in the city include woollen textiles, clothing, processed foods, chemicals, engineering, and electrical goods. The harbour was sighted by Captain James Cook in 1773.
History Wellington was founded in 1840 by Edward Gibbon Wakefield as the first settlement of the New Zealand Company. It was originally known as Britannia, but was renamed after British soldier and politician Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. It has been the seat of government since 1865, when it replaced Auckland.
Features The city is the home of a number of national institutions, including the parliament buildings, the National Archives (1957), the National Library (1965), the Royal Society of New Zealand (1867), the National Art Gallery, the National Museum (1972), and the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand (1998). The Assembly Hall (1977), built alongside the original parliament building, was designed by British architect Basil Spence and is popularly called ‘the beehive’ because of its shape. Wellington is home to both the Victoria University of Wellington (1897) and the Wellington campus (1999) of Massey University. Other notable features include the Cathedral Church of St Paul (1866) and the War Memorial Carillon (1932).
Wellington's harbour is favoured by deep water and is one of New Zealand's principal ports for the shipment of wool, frozen meat, dairy produce, apples, and other exports, and a large proportion of the country's imports also arrive at the port. The city's airport is one of the busiest in the country for both domestic and international flights.