Wellington Commonwealth Walkway

New Zealand / The Pacific

WELLINGTON Wellington became the capital of New Zealand by convention in 1865.   It is located at the south-western tip of North Island and is thus well placed between North and South Island.  It is thus the seat of parliament and the Supreme Court and contains the National Archives, the National Library and important museums.  It has been described as ‘the coolest little capital in the world.’ Kupe, a legendary figure in Maori mythology, was said to have discovered the region in the 10th century, while the city was founded and lived in by the indigenous Maori in the 12th century.  European settlement began in 1839 when Colonel William Wakefield (1801-48) arrived to buy land for British settlers.  Settlement of Wellington preceded the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840.  Wellington was declared a city in 1840 and named after Arthur, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), the victor of the Battle of Waterloo, by the early settlers of the New Zealand Company, in recognition of his support of their principles of colonisation.  Auckland had been the capital but in 1862 parliament met in Wellington and in 1865 it was recognised as the capital.   There have been several serious earthquakes, notably in 1848 and 1855, and several since 2010, and in 2016 the Kaikoura earthquake caused considerable damage to the city.   Wellington has an interesting variety of architecture from its 19th-century wooden cottages, art deco buildings, Gothic revival to modernist buildings such as Te Papa and the Beehive parliamentary extension.  The city is also one of New Zealand’s oldest seaports. Wellington’s Commonwealth Walkway was officially launched by HRH The Prince of Wales when he laid the second marker at Pukeahu National Memorial in November 2015 and the final marker was placed by the Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy (born 1954), on 3 October 2016.

6.2 miles / 10 kilometres

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