New Zealand’s capital city, built on dramatic hills surrounding one of the southern hemisphere’s largest deep water ports. In 2017, Wellington was ranked No.1 city in the world to live in a global Deutsche Bank study.

Wellington region takes up the southern end of the North Island. Most people here live in the four cities at the south western corner - Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua. The Wellington region consists also of the Kapiti and Wairarapa regions.


Population (2013 Census)

Wellington region 471,315
Main cities combined 381,000

% born outside NZ:


Average house price
Dec 2019:

Carterton District $450,000
Lower Hutt City $616,000
Upper Hutt City $610,100
Wellington City: $805,000 

Median Wage


Wellington’s location at the centre of New Zealand won Wellington the role of capital in 1865. Today, Parliament and the Beehive building alongside it are national icons. Wellington is approximately 8½ hours from Auckland by road, about an hour by air. The South Island is a three hour scenic ferry ride away across Cook Strait.

Wellington City is wedged between steep hills and the sea. Rugged mountain ranges (the Rimutakas and the Tararuas) loom beyond the harbour. The diversity of natural resources means within 10-15 minutes, you can be walking or mountain biking in native bush, or kayaking around the coastline.

The capital's location has created a walkable central business district that encourages a now-famous café and craft beer culture. The creative, IT, education and government sectors combine in a way that means it always does feel like there’s something going on. 

Wellington is cosmopolitan: only Auckland is more ethnically diverse. Average salaries and education levels are high, supporting a thriving artistic and cultural community with many galleries, museums, theatres and festivals. The city is known for fine restaurants and its café culture – it has more cafés per head than New York.

Wellington region’s hills and town belt offer great walking, tramping and mountain biking. Hutt River is popular with kayakers while in summer swimmers can choose peaceful inner harbour beaches or more exciting coastal surf. Windsurfing and sailing are also popular and there’s excellent fishing and diving.

Accommodation options range from hip urban apartments to spacious suburban homes, seaside villages and rural lifestyle blocks - many people commute into Wellington City from Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Wairarapa, Porirua and the Kapiti Coast.

As the capital, Wellington is home to many national institutions and government agencies. In recent years Wellington has developed thriving digital technology and film industries with files such as The Hobbit, King Kong, Lord of the Rings and Avatar being produced here. Tertiary education and research are other important contributors to the local economy.

Average summer maximums range between 17-21°C in Wellington, while winter maximums average around 9-10°C. Overall, temperatures rarely rise above 25°C or fall below 4°C. However southerly blasts in winter can make the temperature feel much colder. Temperatures tend to be warmer to the north on the Kapiti Coast.

The city is also relatively windy, affected by gusts funnelled through Cook Strait.

Many migrants have already made Wellington home. The table below shows where these migrants are moving from and demonstrates the diverse population you can expect to find in Wellington.

It can be comforting to know there are others, similar to you, who have experienced the move.

table caption

Country of origin

No. of migrant

UK and Ireland




Pacific Islands 14,964
Europe (excl. UK and Ireland) 9,720
Middle East and Africa 9,180

Now that you know about what Wellington has to offer, have a read about everyday life in the region, and services and support you can access.

In this section:

  • Jobs & employment

    Is there work for you here? Find out what’s available, where to get help and where to start looking.

  • Information & advice

    Where to go for information, help and support with personal, family, migrant or legal issues.

  • Housing

    Find out what renting or buying costs, where to start looking and all about power, water and rubbish.

  • Learning English

    Find out more about your options for English language courses.

  • Recreation

    There’s heaps to see and do. Connect with local sport, culture, entertainment and shopping.

  • Education

    Check out the local education facilities - schools, tertiary, Adult education courses and more.

  • Healthcare

    Need a doctor, dentist, hospital, after hours clinic or other health service? Find one here.

  • Community services

    Get transport information, access government offices, learn about safety in NZ and find family support services here.

Events for new migrants

Upcoming events in your region

Events for new migrants are regularly held throughout the country. Gain local insight into finding a job and getting setup and settled in New Zealand.

View events calendar

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Sign up to receive relevant job opportunities from New Zealand employers and practical advice on how to make your move to New Zealand a reality.


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Page last updated: 22/06/2020

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