Monday 21st January 2013 is Wellington Anniversary Day – but what exactly is this?

Monday 21st January is Wellington Anniversary Day, and there is more to it than just a day off for us Wellingtonians!

If you’re interested in reading or seeing more, come check out our Early Wellington display of books and images on the 2nd floor of the Central Library.

So, what is Wellington Anniversary Day?

Postcard: Wellington Harbour, 1905

  • An anniversary day commemorates the founding of a province or an early settlement event.
  • The first New Zealand Company immigrant ship, the Aurora, arrived 22nd January 1840.
  • The first settlement celebration was held on 22nd January 1841.
  • Wellington Anniversary Day is the Monday that falls closest to the 22nd of January.

Read about the very first Wellington Anniversary celebrations:

Names for Wellington:

Postcard: Petone Esplanade, ca. 1910

  • Te Upoko o te Ika a Māui – The head of Māui’s fish.
  • Te Whanganui a Tara – The great harbour of Tara.
  • The first European settlement, Britannia, was where Petone is now situated.
  • Popular choice for a new name was Durham. In England, Durham’s name comes from the Old English “dun”=hill and the Old Norse “holme”=island.
  • Finally in 1840 the name Wellington was chosen to honour the Duke of Wellington, who was a strong supporter of the New Zealand Company.

Wellington Heritage Trails:

(PDFs of some of these are available on the Wellington City Council website)Postcard: Worser Bay, ca. 1910

Books of interest:Postcard: Oriental Bay, ca. 1905