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Are you ready to learn about one of the most exciting days of the year in Wellington? Wellington Anniversary Day is a day where Wellingtonians come together to celebrate and have fun. From parades to food festivals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, mark your calendars and get ready for a day of celebration!

History of Wellington Anniversary Day

Wellington (also known as “Windy Wellington” or “Welly”) is the capital city of New Zealand and is located at the southern tip of the North Island. The city was founded in 1840 by the British as a settlement for the colonization of New Zealand, and was named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington.

With a deep, rich history, Wellington has played an important role in the country’s development as the political and cultural center of New Zealand, and is home to many historical landmarks and museums, such as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which showcases the country’s cultural heritage and natural history.

Today, Wellington is a vibrant and diverse city, known for its arts and culture, and beautiful natural surroundings. The city has a bustling downtown area, with a mix of modern high-rise buildings and heritage architecture, and its compact size means that it’s easy to get around and explore by foot. It’s also home to a thriving creative community, known for its film and theater scene, so it’s great for catching a movie or a play.

Overall, Wellington has a lot to offer for locals and visitors alike, making it a great place to visit at any time, but especially on Wellington Anniversary Day.

Wellington Anniversary Day Timeline


Wellington Becomes Capital City

Wellington officially becomes the capital of New Zealand. This designation solidifies the city’s position as the center of the country’s political and administrative activity and cements its importance in the nation’s history.[1]

July 26, 1865

Parliament Established

New Zealand’s first Parliament meet for the first time in Wellington, marking the establishment of the city as the nation’s political center. This important moment in the history of Wellington sees the foundation of the country’s government and the beginning of Wellington’s role as the seat of political power in New Zealand.[2]


First New Zealand International Festival of the Arts

A celebration of the performing and visual arts that takes place in the city, the first New Zealand International Festival of the Arts is held in Wellington. It goes on to become one of the premier arts events in New Zealand and highlights the city’s thriving creative community.[3]

February 14, 1998

Te Papa Tongarewa Opens

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa opens its doors to the public. This major cultural institution, which tells the stories of New Zealand’s people, land, and culture, becomes one of Wellington’s most popular attractions.[4]

October 18, 2018

The Great NZ ShakeOut

The country’s largest earthquake drill is held. The Great New Zealand ShakeOut’s aim is to educate people about the importance of earthquake preparedness and to practice the “drop, cover and hold” safety procedure.[5]

How to Celebrate Wellington Anniversary Day

Wellington Anniversary Day is on the January 22 every year, but is actually celebrated on the Monday closest to that date. The day is a public holiday in the Wellington province, as well as the Whanganui, Palmerston North, Kapiti, Feilding, Levin and Masterton regions of New Zealand, and is marked by a variety of events and activities that take place throughout the city, from parades and street fairs to arts and cultural events.

Here are some suggestions for how you can celebrate Wellington Anniversary Day:

Attend the Parade

One of the main highlights of Wellington Anniversary Day is the parade, which features a wide variety of participants, including marching bands, dancers, and other performers. The parade winds its way through the streets of Wellington, giving you an opportunity to see and experience the vibrant culture and spirit of the city.

Visit the Wellington Museum

Another way to celebrate the day and learn more about the city’s history is by visiting the Wellington Museum. The museum is located in the historic Bond Store, which was once used to store the colony’s supplies, today it’s a place where you can learn about the rich history of Wellington and the people who shaped it.

Enjoy Food and Drinks at a Festival

Wellington Anniversary Day is also a great opportunity to sample some of the delicious food and drink that the city has to offer. The day is marked by food festivals that take place in various locations around the city, featuring a myriad of cuisines from different cultures and regions.

Visit a Park or a Beach

Wellington is surrounded by beautiful nature, and there’s no better way to spend the day than by enjoying the outdoors. Take a stroll through one of the city’s many parks or visit the beach and soak up the sun; a great way to relax and unwind after the parade.

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