Capital city celebrates 150 years

This weekend, Wellington is celebrating 150 years since it became the capital city of New Zealand.

After the Treaty was signed at Waitangi in 1840, Governor Hobson – who was appointed by Queen Victoria – decided the capital should be in Russell, in the Bay of Islands. However, a year later, some Maori chiefs gave Hobson land in Auckland for a capital.

Because transportation was so difficult in the mid-nineteenth century, Auckland was not very convenient for a Parliament. It took 12 days for a steamer to sail from Christchurch to Auckland. After the gold rush in the 1860s, more people lived in the South Island than in the North Island. It was time to look for a more convenient capital. In 1865, Wellington became the capital city, the city with our Parliament.

Wellington today, not only has the Parliament, it also has the headquarters of most Ministries such as the Ministry for Education, Justice, Defence, Law and so on. It is also the home for the National Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Premier House, the official residence of the Prime Minister, and Government House, the residence of the Governor- General are in Wellington.

This weekend, there are many opportunities for people to visit some of these places. A free shuttle bus runs during the day. You can visit Parliament buildings, Premier House, Government House, the Supreme Court buildings, and ride the Cable Car for a gold coin donation. Tonight – Saturday night – there is a concert on the steps of Parliament. If you live in Wellington, you probably know some of the other entertainment offered this weekend.


• steamer – a small ship which used coal as fuel
• gold rush – when gold was found in the South Island, men from all over the world rushed there to look for gold
• headquarters – main office
• residence – home

One Comments

  1. Exciting!
    If i were a bird, i could fly to wellington!

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