Where in the World: Wellington
Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is perched on the windswept, southwest tip of the island. This small but cosmopolitan city has charming gabled cottages, impressive Gothic architecture, and some of the country’s best restaurants. To the north are massive ranges of hills, and to the west, long stretches of beaches and sand dunes make for picture-perfect views; in the south, low-lying coastal lands take center stage, and to the east lie New Zealand’s first sheep stations.
Beyond its natural highlights, New Zealand is also an extraordinarily progressive and inclusive nation; for instance, in 1893, the New Zealand parliament in Wellington passed the ‘Electoral Act 1893’, which made New Zealand the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. Fast forward to 2006, and you will find that the country evolved to the point that all major political and legal posts in the country were held by women for a time.
In the 1960s, when it was decided that Wellington’s Parliament Building needed a makeover, British architect Sir Basil Spence instead convinced officials to put up a new, modern building now known as ‘The Beehive’; to do so, he dined with then Prime Minister Keith Holyoake and sketched out his vision of the parliament on the back of a napkin, and the rest was history.
With a city that so perfectly marries outdoor wonders with a progressive culture, it comes as no surprise that Wellington has been deemed ‘The World’s Most Livable City’ twice in the last 5 years by the Deutsche Bank. Not only that, but the city’s idyllic weather combined with its compact layout means that more than 10% of the city commutes to work on foot, making it one of the world’s most active cities.
Finally, Wellington’s location at the southwestern tip of the North Island (41 south latitude) means that the city has been specially recognized as the southernmost capital city in the world; because of its location, this maritime enclave is also the world’s windiest city by average wind speed.