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Wellington,city (1996 pop. 157,647; urban agglomeration 334,051), capital of New Zealand, extreme S North Island, on Port Nicholson, an inlet of Cook Strait. Socially and economically linked with Hutt City, Upper Hutt, and Porirua City, Wellington is a major communications and transportation center and is an important port for coastal and overseas trade. Wellington has garment, transportation-equipment, food-processing, and textile industries. Wellington was officially founded in 1840 and replaced Auckland as the capital in 1865. Notable are the governor-general's residence, the Parliament building, the National Art Gallery, and the National Museum. Victoria Univ. of Wellington, founded as Victoria Univ. College in 1897, became autonomous in 1962. Wellington has a symphony orchestra and ballet as well as opera companies. Among its religious functions, it serves as the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishopric.
an island off the coast of Chile. One of the largest islands in Chile’s archipelago, Wellington Island has an area of approximately 7,000 sq km. Of continental origin, it represents a continuation of the coastal cordillera. The island is covered by dense mixed forests and is sparsely populated. Economic activities include commercial fishing and logging.
the capital and principal political, economic, and cultural center of New Zealand. Wellington is located in southern North Island, on the hills bordering Wellington Harbour (formerly Port Nicholson), on the Pacific Ocean. It has a subtropical marine climate, with an average January temperature of 16°C and an average July temperature of 8°C. The average annual precipitation is 1,445 mm. The metropolitan area is subject to earthquakes. In 1975 the city had a population of 143,400 (including suburbs, 350,000), compared with 101,000 in 1926 and 123,000 in 1956.
Wellington is governed by a city council consisting of the mayor and 18 councilmen; these officials are popularly elected to a three-year term. The council administers municipal services, including transport, cultural institutions, and public utilities.
Founded in 1840 by British colonists, the city was named in honor of the British statesman and general the Duke of Wellington. It became the capital in 1865.
Wellington is an important transportation and commercial center. Its seaport handled 5.6 million tons of freight in 1974; this figure makes Wellington the third busiest port in the country, after Whangarei and Auckland. It exports meat, wool, butter, cheese, fruits, and agricultural machinery and imports manufactured goods, wheat, tea, coffee, and cocoa. The city is served by Wellington International Airport, in nearby Rongotai. Industry is represented by bakeries, shipyards, and railroad-car repair shops. In addition to some light industry, the suburbs have slaughtering, metallurgical, and food-processing industries. Also in the suburbs are sawmills and factories producing transportation equipment, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, and paper.
Situated on hills, Wellington has many winding streets, but a regular street plan predominates. The city has numerous bridges, viaducts, tunnels, parks, and public gardens, as well as a botanical garden. Buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in a variety of architectural styles—including a neo-Gothic cathedral (1938)—stand alongside modern structures. The city has large areas of wooden buildings.
Wellington’s educational institutions include Victoria University of Wellington, the Central Institute of Technology, Wellington Polytechnic, and the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. Other institutions include the Royal Society of New Zealand, Carter Observatory, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, and the New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Several learned societies and associations have their headquarters in the city. Cultural institutions include the New Zealand Drama School, the National Library of New Zealand, the National Museum, the National Art Gallery, and public libraries. Theaters include the Downstage, the New Theatre, the Unity Theatre, and the Wellington Repertory Theatre. Wellington is the home of the national opera and ballet companies, and the State Opera House is located in the city.