The official Wellington Region, as administered by the Wellington Regional Council (under the brand-name "Greater Wellington") covers the conurbation around the capital city, Wellington, and the cities of Lower Hutt, Porirua, and Upper Hutt, each of which also contains a rural hinterland; it extends up the west coast of the North Island, taking in the coastal settlements of the Kapiti Coast district, which includes the southern fringe of the area commonly known as Horowhenua and the town of Otaki; east of the Rimutaka Range it includes three largely rural districts containing most of Wairarapa, covering the towns of Masterton and Carterton, Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough.
Greater Wellington Regional Council is a statutory body made up of 13 regional councillors, representing six constituencies:
- Wellington has 5 representatives
- Kapiti 1
- Porirua-Tawa 2
- Lower Hutt 3
- Upper Hutt 1
- Wairarapa 1
|Councillor||Sandra Greig||Lower Hutt|
|Councillor||Peter Glensor||Lower Hutt|
|Councillor||Prue Lamason||Lower Hutt|
|Councillor||Paul Swain||Upper Hutt|
Production and income
The Wellington Region is by a large margin the most wealthy region in the country. The most up-to-date estimates for regional GDP prepared by the Ministry for Economic Development put the region's GDP at $17.5 billion in the year to March 2004, $36,700 per capita, 19% more than the Auckland Region ($30,750); 38% more than the poorest region, Northland ($26,600); and 3% more than the second-highest region, Northern South Island ($35,800).
At the 2006 census Wellington region recorded the largest percentages of people in all of the four highest income groupings ($40,001-$50,000: 8.9%, $50,001-$70,000: 10.5%, $70,001-$100,000: 5.9% and $100,001+: 5.2%) and the lowest percentage of residents in the 'loss' group (0.37%). As at December 2007 people in the Wellington Region has a significantly higher average weekly income from all sources ($812/week) than other regions in New Zealand (18% more than second-place Auckland, $687/week).
As of 2006, 25.8% of employed Wellingtonians worked in professional occupations and 14.3% in clerical occupations, the largest percentage for each category of any region. Excluding 369 people in areas not covered by an official region, Wellington has the lowest percentage of technicians and trades workers (10.6%), the lowest percentage of machinery operators and drivers (4.1%) and the lowest percentage of labourers (7.1%).
Wellington Region is second only to Auckland in many statistics related to breadth of ethnicity. In the 2006 census Wellington had the second-highest Asian population (8.4%, Auckland 18.9%) and the second-highest Pacific Islander population (8.0%, Auckland 14.4%). 26.1% of Wellingtonians were born outside New Zealand, second to Auckland (40.4%).
The Wellington Region has the second-highest proportion of women at 51.52% (Nelson 51.53%, West Coast 49.21%), particularly between the ages of 16-29, where it is at 48.86% with Otago next at 49.11%, followed by Gisborne at 49.18%, contrasting with Marlborough at 52.61%.
In 2006 21.1% of Wellingtonians hade a degree, compared to 6.6% on the West Coast, 17.7% for Auckland and 14.5% for Otago (though 0.97% of Otago residents have Doctorate level degrees, compared with 0.87% for Wellington). Auckland and Wellington are equal lowest for "No Qualification" at 18.1%.
11.3% of Wellington households do not have access to a car, the highest for any region.
Wellington statistics for mobile phone use at 76.3% is exceeded only by Auckland (76.4%), followed by Waikato (75.3%). Access to the internet is 65.5%, highest equal with Auckland, followed by Canterbury (61.3%). Wellingtonians are least likely to have access to a fax machine (21.1%), after Gisborne (20.5%).
The sub-national GDP of the Wellington region was estimated at US$19.3 billion in 2003, 15% of New Zealand GDP.
Usage of the term Wellington region
The boundaries of the Wellington Region described in this article correspond to the local government region administered by Greater Wellington (the Wellington Regional Council). In common usage the terms Wellington Region and Greater Wellington are not so clearly defined and areas on the periphery of the region are often excluded.
In its more restrictive sense the Wellington Region refers only to the cluster of built-up areas west of the Tararua ranges. The much more sparsely populated area to the east has its own name, Wairarapa, and a centre in Masterton.
To a lesser extent, the Kapiti Coast is sometimes excluded from the region. Otaki, in particular, has strong connections to the Horowhenua District to the north.
Current Wellington City mayor Celia Wade-Brown is not in favour of the region adopting a 'super city' type council like the one in Auckland, though is in favour of reducing the number of councils in the greater Wellington area from nine to "three or four".
The region occupies the southern tip of the North Island, bounded to the west, south, and east by water. To the west lies the Tasman Sea and to the east the Pacific Ocean. At the southern end of the island these two bodies of water are joined by the narrow and turbulent Cook Strait, which is only 28 kilometres (17 mi) wide at its narrowest point, between Cape Terawhiti and Perano Head in the Marlborough Sounds.
The region covers 7,860 square kilometres (3,030 sq mi), and extends north to Otaki in the west and almost to Eketahuna in the east. Physically and topologically the region has four basic areas running roughly parallel to each other along a northeast-southwest axis.
|#||Towns with more than 1,000 people||2010||2010 (%)|
The first of these regions is a narrow strip of coastal plain running north from Paekakariki. This area, known as the Kapiti coast, contains numerous small towns, many of which gain at least a proportion of their wealth from tourism, largely due to their fine beaches.
Inland from this is rough hill country, formed along the same major geologic fault responsible for the Southern Alps in the South Island. Though nowhere near as mountainous as these, the Rimutaka and Tararua Ranges are still hard country and support only small populations, although it is in small coastal valleys and plains at the southern end of these ranges that the cities of Wellington and the Hutt Valley are located.
The third topological stripe of the region is the undulating hill country of the Wairarapa around the Ruamahanga River. This area, which becomes lower and flatter in the south, terminates in the wetlands around Lake Wairarapa and contains much rich farmland. The final section of the region's topology is another section of rough hill country, lower than the Tararuas but far less economic than the land around the Ruamahanga River. Both of the hillier striations of the region are still largely forested.
There are five regional parks: