Events In History
15 February 1978New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time
Chasing 137 for victory in the first test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, England was bowled out for 64, with Richard Hadlee taking 6 for 26. Read more...
2 May 1964NZ's last electric tram trip
Tram no. 252, displaying the message ‘end of the line’, travelled from Thorndon to the zoo in Newtown, Wellington, bringing an end to the use of electric trams in New Zealand. Read more...
3 April 1943'Battle of Manners Street'
The most famous of several wartime skirmishes between New Zealanders and American servicemen, the 'Battle of Manners Street' saw hundreds of soldiers and civilians slugging it out in downtown Wellington. Read more...
17 July 1939Death of Paddy the Wanderer
Paddy, a ginger and brown Airedale terrier, became a national celebrity because of his exploits on the Wellington waterfront (and beyond) during the 1930s. He was remembered as providing a 'little light in the dark days of the Depression'. Read more...
2 February 1939Welfare plan gets baptism of fire
A massive fire destroyed the nearly-completed three-storey Social Security building. Just seven weeks later a new building was completed and opened by prime minister Michael Joseph Savage Read more...
16 June 1923Baby-farmer Daniel Cooper hanged
A generation after the execution of the infamous Minnie Dean, the murder trial of Daniel and Martha Cooper revealed that 'baby farming' was still seen as a solution to the problem of unwanted children in 1920s New Zealand. Read more...
5 November 1913Battle of Featherston Street
The ‘Battle of Featherston Street’ occurred in Wellington, with some of the most violent street fighting of the 1913 Great Strike. Read more...
24 September 1905Race killing in Haining St, Wellington
Lionel Terry killed Joe Kum Yung to draw attention to his crusade to rid New Zealand of Chinese people. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the grounds of insanity. Read more...
27 August 1904Foundation stone for Victoria’s first building laid
Victoria College (now Victoria University of Wellington) was founded in 1897 to mark Queen Victoria's 60th jubilee. Until the opening of the Kelburn building in 1906, classes were taught in rented accommodation. Read more...
22 May 1884First NZ Rugby team in action
The first representative New Zealand rugby team played its first match, defeating a Wellington XV 9-0 before embarking on a tour of New South Wales. Read more...
24 August 1878Wellington steam-tram service opened
The Governor, the Marquess of Normanby, opened the new service, reportedly the first to operate in the Southern Hemisphere. The unpopular steam-powered trams were later replaced by horse-drawn trams. Read more...
26 July 1865Parliament moves to Wellington
The capital moved from Auckland to the more central Wellington on the recommendation of an Australian commission. The former Wellington Provincial Council chamber became the new home for Parliament. Read more...
23 January 1855Massive earthquake hits Wellington region
A magnitude 8.2 earthquake lifted the southern end of the Rimutaka Range by 6 m. Land raised from the harbour now forms part of Wellington's CBD. Read more...
26 February 1844'Pistols at dawn': deadly duel in Wellington
Two Wellington lawyers, W.V. Brewer and H. Ross, drew pistols over a legal difference in Wellington. Brewer fired into the air but was shot in the groin and died a week later. Read more...
22 January 1840First European settlers arrive in Wellington
The New Zealand Company's first settler ship, the Aurora, arrived at Petone, marking the founding of the settlement that would become Wellington Read more...
Te Āti Awa leader Wiremu Tako Ngātata was one of the first Māori members of the Legislative Council. Here he opposed legislation threatening Māori possession of land.Read more...
Dr Frederick Knox was the librarian of New Zealand's first public library.Read more...
A stalwart of Wellington political life, Featherston served as provincial Superintendent and later served as a member of the House of Representatives, colonial secretary and minister without portfolio.Read more...
Café culture has become integral to Wellington's identity. This culture began in the 1930s with the emergence of the milk bar, followed by coffee houses in the 1950s. After a period of decline in the 1960s and 70s, the city's café scene has grown in spectacular fashion over the last 20 years.
Page 2 – Overview
Wellington city centre is renowned for its flourishing café scene and the culture it inhabits. But it was nearly 1950 before there was much sign of the sparkling capital
Page 3 – Design and technology
New construction materials and equipment fashioned the cafe culture rising in the 1950s. Wellingtonians were introduced to the espresso machines as European styled cafes
Page 4 – Immigration and Society
The rise of coffee houses in the 1940s, 50s and 60s was not a phenomenon confined to Wellington, or indeed to New Zealand. The connection between the history of cafe
Page 5 – Music and cafe culture
Entertainment generally and music in particular have always been a part of the Wellington cafe scene.
Page 6 – Personalities
New Zealand in the 1940s and 1950s has been described as a drab and uniform place. From the late 1950s, however, a café culture was established throughout the country
Page 7 – Further information
Sources on Wellington cafe culture.
Parliament buildings have been modified, destroyed by fire, half-built and restored; the parliamentary places and spaces have formed an important part of New Zealand's history.
Page 2 – First Parliament buildings
Auckland was a bustling place in 1854 when Parliament met there for the first time. The buildings were located in paddocks on what was then the edge of town, Constitution Hill
When four young Liverpool musicians landed in Wellington on a lazy Sunday afternoon in June 1964, seven days of pandemonium erupted. Young New Zealanders flocked in their thousands to hear or just catch a glimpse of the famous 'Fab Four'.
Page 3 – Wellington
Seven thousand screaming fans waited as The Beatles touched down at Wellington airport on 21 June 1964. As the band stepped off the plane, the fans' shrieks drowned out the
This April marks the 45th anniversary of the sinking of the ferry Wahine. With more than 50 lives lost, this was New Zealand's worst modern maritime disaster. The Wahine’s demise on 10 April 1968 also heralded a new era in local TV news as pictures of the disaster were beamed into Kiwi living rooms.
Page 2 – Timeline to tragedy
The events that led to the drowning of 51 people in the Wahine disaster of 10 April 1968
Page 3 – Co-ordinating the rescue
The police, emergency services and civilians rescued passengers and crew from the inter-island ferry Wahine in Wellington Harbour in April 1968.
In 1846 fighting broke out in the Wellington region as the Ngāti Toa chief Te Rangihaeata backed local Maori opposed to European settlement in the Hutt Valley. The campaign claimed few lives and Ngāti Toa resistance in the region was effectively ended as a result.
Page 2 – The Port Nicholson purchase
In September 1839 William Wakefield, the principal agent for the New Zealand Company, met Te Ātiawa chiefs Te Puni and Te Wharepōuri at Pito-one (Petone), on the northern shore
Page 3 – Return to the Hutt Valley
It was soon apparent that Wellington lacked sufficient quantities of flat fertile land to realise this vision. Attention turned back to the lower Hutt Valley as the best
Page 7 – Political prisoners
Te Rauparaha became one of New Zealand’s first political detainees when he was seized during the fighting in the Hutt Valley in 1846.
Seventy years ago, in June 1942, the first American soldiers landed on New Zealand soil, to begin an 'invasion' which would have a profound impact on both visitors and hosts over the next 18 months.
- Page 3 - Arrival The invasion began in Auckland on 12 June 1942 when five transport ships carrying soldiers of the US Army sailed into the harbour. Two days later Marines landed in
Almost 150 years after the government purchased the first official premier's residence on Tinakori Road, Wellington, the address of Premier House remains the same. But in the intervening years the building has been extended, renamed, abandoned and refurbished.
- Page 2 - The first premier houseOur first premiers had to find their own digs. That changed in 1865, when the government bought the premier a simple 22-year-old wooden cottage in Thorndon’s Tinakori
New Zealand's Parliament dates back to 1854, just 14 years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the beginning of the European settlement of the country. For most of its history as a nation state, New Zealand has had some form of elected government.
- Page 6 - First sitting, 1854It started with a bang – 21 in fact, fired from the guns at Auckland's Fort Britomart. As soon as the smoke had cleared, New Zealand's first Parliament was under
The Great Strike of 1913 was in fact a series of strikes between mid-October 1913 and mid-January 1914. It was one of New Zealand’s most violent and disruptive industrial confrontations.
Page 4 – The 1913 strike in Wellington
Because the strike threatened their livelihoods, rural men were keen to volunteer as special constables.
The passion and parochialism of provincial rugby has helped to give the game a special place in New Zealand’s social and sporting history. Read brief histories, highlights and quirky facts for each of New Zealand's 26 regional rugby teams.
- Page 20 - Wellington rugbyHistory and highlights of rugby in the Wellington
- hms philomel
- WW1 home front
- radio broadcasts
- vietnam war
- international relations
- walter nash
- cold war
- gallipoli campaign
- maheno (hospital ship)
- hospital ships
- native contingent
- maori in war
- 1913 strike
- trade unions
- coal mining
- workers rights
- red feds
- basin reserve
- william wakefield
- new zealand company
- historic places
- wellington harbour
- lower hutt
- social policy
- michael joseph savage
- malayan emergency
- child welfare
- wellington high school
- frank kitts
- famous firsts
- william brewer
- victoria university
- physical education
- queen elizabeth
- war art
- frances hodgkins
- art history
- athletic park
- american forces
- great depression
- railway stations
- julius vogel
- frederick weld
- prime ministers
- richard seddon
- joseph ward
- air force
- james stellin
- royal air force
- parliament buildings
- daniel cooper
- whanganui river
- battle hill
- te umuroa
- hutt valley
- nuclear free
- royal new zealand navy
- south african war
- boer war
- home front
- island bay
- second contingent
- first contingent
- frederick knox
- war objects
- isaac featherston
- roadside stories
- upper hutt
- wellington wars
- edward gibbon wakefield
- container shipping
- legislative council
- te ati awa
- wi tako
- maori leaders
- new zealand wars
- port nicholson
- auckland city
- war memorials
- ron jarden
- battle for crete
- peace celebrations
- william massey
- royal tours
- don peebles
- abstract art
- charles heaphy
- battle of the river plate
- HMS Achilles
- centennial exhibition
- aerial photography
- oriental bay
- red cross
- national war memorial
- milk bars
- dominion day
- wahine disaster
- pencarrow head
- waterfront dispute
- kemal ataturk
- maori pa
- pacific war
- terrace school
- boulcotts farm
- NZ Wars memorial
- public holidays
- assisted immigration
- anzac day
- wellington cenotaph
- VJ day
- robert scott
- port chalmers
- richard byrd
- state housing
- lord liverpool
- dominion of new zealand
- rolling stones concert
- nuclear ships
- influenza pandemic
- air transport
- george grey
- western front
- wellington college
- passchendaele offensive
- cook strait
- VE day
- labour day
- labour party
- music month
- battle of messines
- fat freddys drop
The New Zealand Company chose Wellington as its first organised settlement in 1839. Its future was uncertain until 1865 when it was chosen as the colony’s new capital. Alongside the shift in the seat of government was the centralisation of businesses – many major firms set up their head offices in Wellington. From the 1990s Wellington has rebranded itself as the country’s creative capital.