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Wellington City Council is a territorial authority in New Zealand, governing the country's third-largest city by population, behind Auckland and Christchurch. Wellington City consists of the central historic town and certain additional areas within the Wellington metropolitan area, extending as far north as Linden and covering rural areas such as Makara and Ohariu. The city adjoins Porirua in the north and Hutt City in the north-east. It is one of nine territorial authorities in the Wellington Region.

Wellington City Council
Coat of arms or logo
Wellington City Council Current Composition.svg
Political groups
Last election
8 October 2016
Next election
Meeting place
Wellington Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand (11).JPG
Wellington Town Hall
Wakefield Street
  1. ^ Includes Mayor
Satellite photo of central Wellington (south at bottom left)

Wellington attained city status in 1886. The settlement had become the colonial capital and seat of government by 1865, replacing Auckland. Parliament officially sat in Wellington for the first time on 26 July 1865. During the last half of the nineteenth century, Wellington grew rapidly from 7,460 residents in 1867 to 49,344 by the end of the century.[1]

The council represents a population of 207,900 (as of 2016),[2] and consists of a mayor and fourteen councillors elected from five wards (Northern, Onslow-Western, Lambton, Eastern, Southern).[n 1][3] It administers public works, sanitation, land use and building consents, among other local services. The council has used the marketing slogan "Absolutely Positively Wellington" in an official capacity since the early 1990s.[4]


All councillors are members of Council, the City Strategy Committee, and the Long-Term and Annual Plan Committee.[5]


One mayor is elected at large from the entire Wellington City district.

Name Affiliation (if any) First elected Responsibilities
Justin Lester[6] Labour 2016
  • Portfolio Leader, Arts and Culture
  • Portfolio Leader, Major City Projects
  • Portfolio Leader, Governance
  • Ex-officio member of all Council committees and subcommittees

Eastern WardEdit

The Eastern ward returns three councillors to the Wellington City Council.

Name Affiliation (if any) First elected Responsibilities
Sarah Free Greens 2013
  • Chair, Grants Subcommittee
  • Portfolio Leader, Public Transport Infrastructure
  • Portfolio Leader, Cycling and Walking
Simon "Swampy" Marsh Independent 2010
  • Portfolio Leader, Economic Development
  • Joint Portfolio Leader, Small Business
  • Member, Council Controlled Organisations Subcommittee
Chris Calvi-Freeman Connecting Communities 2016
  • Portfolio Leader, Transport Strategy and Operations
  • Member, Regulatory Processes Committee

Lambton WardEdit

The Lambton ward returns three councillors to the Wellington City Council.

Name Affiliation (if any) First elected Responsibilities
Iona Pannett Greens 2007
  • Chair, City Strategy Committee
  • Portfolio Leader, Infrastructure
  • Portfolio Leader, Sustainability
  • Member, CEO Performance Review Committee
Nicola Young Freeze rates and cut waste 2013
  • Portfolio Leader, Central City Projects
  • Portfolio Leader, Education Partnerships
  • Member, Grants Subcommittee
  • Member, Finance, Audit and Risk Management Subcommittee
Brian Dawson[7] Labour 2016
  • Portfolio Leader, Social Development
  • Portfolio Leader, Housing
  • Member, Grants Subcommittee

Northern WardEdit

The Northern ward returns three councillors to the Wellington City Council.

Name Affiliation (if any) First elected Responsibilities
Malcolm Sparrow Independent 2013
  • Chair, Regulatory Processes Committee
  • Portfolio Leader, Community Resilience
Jill Day[8] Independent 2016
  • Portfolio Leader, Maori Partnerships
  • Portfolio Leader, Children and Young People
  • Member, CEO Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Grants Subcommittee
Peter Gilberd Labour 2016
  • City Scientist[9]
  • Portfolio Leader, Natural Environment
  • Member, Grants Subcommittee

Onslow-Western WardEdit

The Onslow-Western ward returns three councillors to the Wellington City Council.

Name Affiliation (if any) First elected Responsibilities
Andy Foster Independent 1992
  • Chair, Finance, Audit and Risk Management Subcommittee
  • Portfolio Leader, Urban Development
  • Portfolio Leader, Finance
  • Portfolio Leader, Predator Free Wellington
  • Portfolio Leader, Karori Framework
  • Member, CEO Performance Review Committee
Simon Woolf Independent 2013
  • Chair, Council Controlled Organisations Subcommittee
  • City Ambassador[9]
  • Joint Portfolio Leader, Small Business
  • Portfolio Leader, Sport
  • Portfolio Leader, Tourism
Diane Calvert Independent 2016
  • Portfolio Leader, Community Planning and Engagement
  • Member, CEO Performance Review Committee
  • Member, Regulatory Processes Committee
  • Member, Finance, Audit and Risk Management Subcommittee

Southern WardEdit

The Southern ward is the only ward that returns two councillors to the Wellington City Council (all others returning three).

Name Affiliation (if any) First elected Responsibilities
Fleur Fitzsimons Labour 2017
  • Portfolio leader, Living Wage
  • Portfolio leader, Social Development: City Safety
  • Portfolio leader, Community Facilities
David Lee Greens 2013
  • Portfolio Leader, Technology, Innovation and Enterprise (TIE)
  • Portfolio Leader, Climate Change
  • Member, Regulatory Processes Committee
  • Member, Council Controlled Organisations Subcommittee

Coat of armsEdit

Wellington Coat of Arms.

The City of Wellington has a Coat of Arms. The Blazon is;

  • Arms: Quarterly Gules and Azure, a Cross Or between; In the first quarter a Fleece Or; in the second quarter on Water barry wavy proper in base a Lymphad sail furled pennon and flags flying Argent; in the third quarter a Garb Or; in the fourth quarter five Plates in Saltire Argent.
  • Crest: On a Mural Crown Argent a Dolphin Naiant Azure, Mantled Gules.
  • Supporters: On the dexter side a Lion gorged with a Collar and Chain reflexed over the back Or, and on the sinister side a Moa proper.
  • Motto: Suprema a Situ

Translation of the Blazon:

The shield is divided vertically and horizontally, quarter of which the first and fourth are red and the remaining pair are blue. A golden cross is placed over the entire shield centrally between these quarters. The top left quarter contains a golden fleece (usually depicted as a whole sheep with a band around its middle). The second quarter is depicted as a silver sailing ship (lymphad) with its sails furled as it would be in port but with its flags flying, placed on waves in their natural colour. The third quarter contains a golden wheat sheaf, and the fourth has five silver discs arranged in a saltire.

The mural crown (a crown depicted as if made of stonewalling) is common as a crest in city coats of arms. It is coloured silver, and from its top comes a swimming dolphin. Around the crest is mantling in red. The supporters on either side of the shield are a golden heraldic lion with a chained collar around its neck to the left, and a moa in its natural colouring on the right (the terms "sinister" and "dexter" relate to the shield from the holder's point of view, not the viewer's, thus dexter is the viewer's left and sinister is the viewer's right). The base on which the supporters stand is normally not emblazoned but is left to the artist to decide. The Motto may be translated as "Supreme by position".


Wellington's demographics sets it apart from the rest of the country. According to the 2006 Census, Wellington has:

  • The second-largest percentage of people in their twenties and thirties (37.3% compared to 27.4% nationally).
  • The fewest people in their sixties (6.4%) and the second fewest people aged over sixty (12.2%).


Wellington city has roughly 60 officially defined suburbs; one can group them by the wards used to elect the City Council. Some areas, while officially forming part of a larger suburb (or several suburbs), are considered by some to be separate communities. The officially defined suburbs include:

Official suburbs of Wellington: the darker tone indicate built-up areas, the lighter parkland, green belt or rural areas.

Northern WardEdit

Onslow-Western WardEdit

Lambton WardEdit

Southern WardEdit

Eastern WardEdit

Communities of common interestEdit

Courtenay Place; Courtenay Quarter; Cuba Quarter; Lambton Quarter; The Waterfront Quarter

Positively Wellington Tourism, funded by the Wellington City Council, has designated the four inner-city "quarters" as marketing subdivisions to promote international and domestic tourism.

Educational facilitiesEdit

Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn campus

Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington's oldest university, has its main campus in the hill suburb of Kelburn overlooking the centre of the city. It also has two downtown campuses and in the 2000s briefly had one in the western suburb of Karori after absorbing the former Wellington College of Education there. It originated as a constituent college of the University of New Zealand. The Senate of the University of New Zealand operated in Wellington until its dissolution in 1961.

A branch of Massey University is located in Wellington: it took over the site and some of the courses of the former Wellington Polytechnic. The campus is based at the former Dominion Museum, which has moved to Te Papa. The University of Otago also has a Wellington connection, as the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences is a department of that university.

Wellington Institute of Technology serves Wellington and the neighbouring Hutt Valley. One of the largest polytechnics in the region, it dates from 1904.

Numerous primary and secondary educational institutions operate throughout the city, see List of schools in Wellington, New Zealand.

Wellington has a number of museums and galleries, including Te Papa, the City Gallery and the Museum of Wellington City & Sea. The Wellington Museums Trust runs the latter two, and other museums.

Sister-city relationshipsEdit

Sister cities[10]
Historical sister cities[12]
Friendly cities[13]


The City of Wellington has subsumed independent boroughs including:


Wellington Town Hall, incorporating the Mayor's Office and Council Chambers

The Wellington City Council owns and until May 2019 operated from a complex on Wakefield Street, with various extensions each representing a distinctive architectural period. The complex incorporates the Wellington Town Hall which opened in 1904, with the most recent extension completed in 1991 alongside the Wellington Central Library.

The Wakefield Street complex has been cleared of back office functions, and since 28 May 2019 will be closed completely for repairs and earthquake strengthening. In the interim, most of the council's central office staff are located in commercial premises at 113 The Terrace, and the council's public service centre is at 12 Manners Street. Due to repairs also being needed to the Wellington Central Library, and Capital E, all of the civic buildings on Civic Square are closed, except for the City Gallery.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Multiple councillors are elected to a ward using the single transferable vote (STV) system
  1. ^ "Wellington region. Page 8 – From town to city: 1865–1899". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Subnational population estimates at 30 June 2006–09". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  3. ^ "Overview – Elections 2010 – Wellington City Council". Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  4. ^ Maclean, Chris (14 November 2012). "Branding Wellington". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Sharp focus for Capital's new council". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Justin Lester elected Mayor of Wellington". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Reverend Brian Dawson moves from St Peters Church vicar to Wellington City Council". The Dominion Post. 3 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Wellington City Council welcomes first female Maori councillor". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  9. ^ a b "New city ambassador and scientist roles created for Wellington city councillors". The Dominion Post. 20 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Sister Cities – Overview". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Canberra and Wellington Strengthen Ties". ACT Government. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Historical Sister Cities". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Friendly cities". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  • A Complete Guide To Heraldry by A.C. Fox-Davies 1909.

External linksEdit