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Wellington Anniversary Day

Upcoming Dates of Wellington Anniversary Day

2023: Monday 23rd January  

2024: Monday 22nd January

2025: Monday 20th January

A beach front with building in Wellington, New Zealand

The Province of Wellington

The Wellington region is the southernmost area of the North Island.

The next region north of here, the Manawatu-Whanganui region, including the cities of Whanganui and Palmerston North, also celebrates Wellington Anniversary Day.

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is the largest city in this area.

Located along the coast of Cook Strait gives Wellington the distinction of being the windiest city in the world. It has been nicknamed “Windy Wellington”.

Wellington is also the southernmost capital city of a sovereign state. The city is the second largest in New Zealand after Auckland.

The Anniversary Date

The site of Wellington had previously been visited by a ship in September 1839, and after deciding it would be a suitable location for a new town, they sent word for new settlers, who arrived on January 22, 1840.

Maori welcomed the newcomers, and order persisted. However, the town was not given the name “Wellington” until November of 1840, in honour of the hero of the Battle of Waterloo.

The Anniversary is celebrated on a Monday closest to 22nd January each year.

For Wellington Anniversary Day, there are a wide variety of public activities and festivities taking place in Wellington, many of which are extremely distinctive.

Taranaki Street Wharf Birdman Competition

This ‘birdman’ competition is one particularly distinctive activity that takes place on Wellington Anniversary Day. The competition comprises participants who dress as birds and alternately “fly” off the wharf into the harbour.

It is a very entertaining sight to witness each year.

There is a wide variety of entertainment activities for the whole family, including music stages, children’s rides, cuisine, market booths, and high-quality New Zealand crafts on sale.

5 Places to Visit on Wellington Anniversary Day

Anniversary Day in Wellington creates a multitude of things to do around the city. As this day falls in mid-summer, it is usually a great day to be outside.

Wellington Cable Car

The cable car in Wellington is one of the best-known tourist attractions. After riding to the top, there is the Cable Car Museum to visit and learn about its rich history, before travelling back down again.

Weta Workshop

Visit the Weta Workshop and get up close to the authentic film props, costumes, and creatures from some very famous movie sets.

Zealandia Eco-Sanctuary

Walk around the wildlife sanctuary and discover some of New Zealand’s native species and rare birds. This can be the perfect place for a quiet walk in the Anniversary Day sunshine.

Kapiti Island

Just off the west coast of Wellington (the Kapiti Coast), you can see Kapiti Island. The island is a nature reserve and is just a short boat ride from the mainland.

Cruise the Cook Strait

The enthralling ferry ride from Wellington to the South Island is not to be missed. It is a three-hour journey and lucky travellers get to see dolphins swimming alongside the ferry.

Related Guide: 20+ Fun Things To Do In Wellington With Kids