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Wellington facts & figures

Wellington is New Zealand's centre of government and the world's southernmost capital city. It is also the country's cultural capital and the third most populous urban area in New Zealand.

The people

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About 496,000 people live in the Wellington region, which is 10.6% of New Zealand’s population. The Wellington region is home to many diverse cultures, with Statistics New Zealand estimating around 25% of the people in Wellington are born overseas. Its rich cultural scene makes it as exciting for singles as it is welcoming for families.

The population mix consists of:

  • 77% European
  • 13% Maori
  • 8% Pacific Island
  • 10.5% Asian
  • 1.5% Middle Eastern/Latin American/African
  • 1.8 % other (New Zealander)

* Note: Total of more than 100% due to people being able to associate with more than one ethnic group.

Quality of life

Deutsche Bank named Wellington the city with the best quality of life in 2018, beating 50 global cities to the top spot. Pollution, traffic and commute, property price to income ratios and purchasing power were considered to determine the rankings.

The Nielsen Quality of Life Survey, released in October 2016, measures the perceptions of over 5000 residents living in six of the country’s largest urban areas.

  • 87% of Wellingtonians rated their quality of life as “good” or “very good” – compared to the average of 81%. Some 30% perceive their quality of life has increased in the last year.
  • 33% perceive their quality of life has increased in the last year, compared with the national average of 27%
  • 89% agree or strongly agree that Wellington is a great place to live, compared with the national city average of 79%
  • 82% of Wellingtonians have pride in the city’s look and feel – against the 62% national average
  • 86% report Wellington has a culturally rich and diverse arts scene
  • 85% of Wellingtonians report their overall health and wellbeing as “good”, “very good” or “excellent”

Weather and seasons

Wellington has more sunshine hours than London and less rainfall than Auckland. Wellington enjoys around 2,000 sunshine hours a year (NIWA). Find out more information on Wellington’s weather

  • Warmest month: February (17°C average)
  • Coldest month:  July (8.7°C average)
  • Average daily maximum for mid-summer: 20.3°C
  • Average daily minimum for mid-winter: 5.9°C
  • Average annual sunshine: 2025 hours
  • Average annual rainfall: 1270mm

Access to the great outdoors

  • The Wellington region covers 813,005 hectares
  • It has a maritime area of 786,000 hectares and 497 kilometres of coastline
  • The majority of Wellington region residents live within three kilometres of the coastline  
  • There are 102 playgrounds and parks in Wellington city alone 

Regional parks

  • Wellington has a diverse range of landscapes including 50,000 hectares of regional parks and forests and large back-country areas for hiking and camping managed by the Department of Conservation.  
  • The majority of regional park tracks are multi-use (ie pedestrians, cyclists, horses).
  • There is a total of 715km of tracks, which comprise 24% walks, 35% tramps, and 40% routes.
  • Other recreation facilities include camping, picnicking, toilets, on-park signs and information.
  • Some space is dedicated to exclusive use e.g. pony clubs, go kart track, rifle range, tram museum.

Source: Greater Wellington Regional Council

Environment friendly transport

More people use public transport in Wellington than anywhere else in New Zealand - 30% use public transport in Wellington compared with 18% of residents in Auckland and 9% of residents in Christchurch.

About 23,000 people commute into Wellington City every working day and around 11% of Wellingtonians walk to work. More people in Wellington walk or bike to work than the average New Zealander and there are regional initiatives to encourage cycling and walking to work.

Workforce and wealth

The most common occupational group in Wellington is 'Professionals'. Wellington region has the highest proportion of working age population and the highest median income in the country (Statistics New Zealand).

Wellington's median income is $49,192, higher than the national median of $45,760 and higher than Auckland's median income of $48,204 (Statistics New Zealand).

Home ownership
55.1% of Wellingtonians own their own home. The median house price in the Wellington region is $394,000. This is well below the national median house price of $448,000, and Auckland's median house price of $720,000 (REINZ).


Wellington’s talent pool of well educated, worldly and skilled people is its greatest asset, and Wellingtonians are better educated than the average New Zealander.

In the Wellington region, 28% percent of people aged 15 years and over hold a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest qualification, compared with 20% nationally (Statistics New Zealand).

As the capital city, Wellington is home to many of best education institutions in the country, including three universities, three institutes of technology, and a large number of private training establishments.