History of Wellington
According to legends, Kupe, a Maori explorer discovered the area as early as the 10th century and Maori seasonally inhabited it, but there is no actual hard evidence on human activity before 1280. Another Maori explorer, Whatonga named the harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara after his son and the name is still in use for Wellington Harbour. At the time of signing the Treaty of Waitangi, several iwi (tribe) fought each other for occupying the area. These iwi had contacts with Pākehā (European) traders and whalers, and the European settlement is dated from 1839 with the arrival of colonel William Wakefield. The city was named by the first settlers after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. Less than a year after the arrival of the settlers, Wellington was declared a city in 1840 and became the capital by constitutional convention in 1865. To date, Wellington is the center of the major government institutions: the parliament, the supreme court, Governor-General’s residence, the Government House and the Premier House (residence of the Prime Minister).
The economy of the city benefits from domestic tourism, as Wellington is constantly named as the favourite destination of New Zealanders. Building on Wellington’s charm and being named the coolest little capital in the world by Lonely Planet, the number of guest nights in the city is steadily increasing, thanks to the many museums, cultural institutions, the cafe and restaurant culture, and attractions and landmarks such as Mount Victoria, the stunning harbour, the botanic garden, the cable car and more.