Greater Wellington Regional CouncilCommunity profile
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The Wellington Region

About the profile areas

The 2018 population for the Wellington Region is 506,811, with a population density of 0.62 persons per hectare.


Note: This page displays the area boundaries used for the 2018 Census. In some cases, these are significantly different to the pre-2018 areas. For more on this, see the Census 2018 page.

Location and boundaries

The Wellington Region encompasses the southern-most parts of New Zealand's North Island. The Wellington Region is bounded by the Horowhenua and Tararua District Council areas in the north, the Pacific Ocean in the east, Cook Strait in the south, and the Tasman Sea in the west.

Profile areas
Wellington Region

Settlement history

European settlement dates largely from 1840, when a township was established in the Wellington area. Land was used mainly for farming. Growth took place from the 1880s into the 1920s, particularly around Wellington, spurred by commercial and industrial growth and improved access. Further expansion took place from the post-war years, with rapid development during the 1950s and 1960s in many of the coastal townships. The population continued to grow from the 1970s, rising from under 400,000 in 1986 to about 414,000 in 1996, to 449,000 in 2006 and then to 471,000 in 2013.

Land use

The Wellington Region features rural, urban and conservation areas. Most of the population live in the south-western corner of the Region. About 40% of the population of the Region live in Wellington City, with the next most populous area being Hutt City, with about 20% of the Region's population. Rural land is used largely for sheep grazing and dairy farming, with some horticulture, market gardening, forestry and conservation. The Region encompasses a total land area of about 8,100 square kilometres, including about 500 kilometres of coastline.


The Region is served by State Highway 1, State Highway 2, State Highway 53, State Highway 58, the Centennial Highway, the Johnsonville-Porirua Motorway, the Wellington Urban Motorway, the Hutt Valley, Kāpiti and Wairarapa railway lines, the Overlander Train, Wellington International Airport, Hood Aerodrome, the Paraparaumu Airport and several wharves and ferries.

Major features

Major features of the Region include the Wellington CBD, the Carterton CBD, the Hutt CBD, the Masterton CBD, the Porirua City Centre, the Upper Hutt CBD, Belmont Regional Park, East Harbour Regional Park, Kaitoke Regional Park, Aorangi Forest Park, Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, Rimutaka Forest Park, Tararua Forest Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Waiohine Gorge, numerous wineries and vineyards, Massey University (Wellington Campus), Open Polytechnic New Zealand, University of Otago (Wellington School of Medicine & Health Science), Victoria University of Wellington (Karori, Kelburn, Pipitea and Te Aro Campuses), Wellington Institute of Technology (Petone and Wellington CBD Campus), Whitireia Polytechnic (Kāpiti and Porirua Campuses), Te Wananga O Raukawa (Otaki Campus), Universal College of Learning (Wairarapa Campus), New Zealand International Campus, Royal New Zealand Police College, Hutt Hospital, Wairarapa Hospital, Wellington Hospital, Mana Island, Kāpiti Island, Kāpiti Island Nature Reserve, Nga Manu Nature Reserve, Porirua Harbour, Wellington Harbour, Lake Wairarapa, the Weta Cave, Wellington Zoo, Wellington Cable Car, Westpac Stadium, Zealandia, numerous museums, Trentham Camp (Military Facility), Rimutaka Prison, the Hutt River, the Otaki River, various beaches, the Hutt River Trail and numerous golf clubs.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Wellington Region were the Māori people.

Included areas

The Wellington Region encompasses eight territorial authorities: the Carterton District, the Kāpiti Coast District, Hutt City, the Masterton District, Porirua City, the South Wairarapa District, Upper Hutt City and Wellington City.