1972 - 2000

Source: Alexander Turnbull Library. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Overlooking Jervois Quay and surrounding area, Wellington 1978

Resize

1974: Old city torn down

In the mid-1970s the City Council required all older buildings to meet certain earthquake resistance standards.

The cost of strengthening was such that dozens of grand old Victorian buildings in central Wellington's 'Golden Mile' were torn down and eventually replaced with high-rise structures made of steel and glass.

Development of the inner city lasted well into the 1980s.

Photograph taken by Ian Mackley. 30 July 1981. Source:  Alexander Turnbull Library. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Anti-tour protestors and police in Molesworth Street

Resize

1981: Springbok rugby tour

South Africa's Springbok rugby team toured New Zealand in 1981 amid violent anti-tour/anti-Apartheid protests.

In Wellington, more than 2000 protesters marched to Parliament on 29 July 1981. In bloody scenes, many were batoned by riot police on lower Molesworth Street.

Later, there were violent clashes between police and helmeted protestors near Athletic Park in Newtown.

Michael Fowler Centre.

Michael Fowler Centre

Resize

1983: Michael Fowler Centre opening

The Michael Fowler 'Cultural Centre' was opened by England's Duke of Wellington on 16 September 1983.

The long-awaited opening was attended by the Governor-General, local and central government officials, and an excited crowd of 700.

The idea of a cultural centre to replace the old Town Hall was first mooted by Mayor Fowler in the early 1970s. He spearheaded development and fundraising for the $17.5 million Wakefield Street building.

Photograph taken by John Nicholson. Circa 30 March 1990. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Defaced banners advertising the failed Sesqui Carnival

Resize

1990: Sesqui fiasco

Wellington's ill-fated sesquicentennial celebrations marked 150 years since the founding of Wellington city and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

'Sesqui' was ambitiously marketed as 'New Zealand's biggest event ever,' to run for six weeks at fairground sites in Newtown and Taranaki Wharf.

However, poor ticket sales and attendance saw Sesqui close after only 12 days, with creditors owed $6.4 million.




Photograph taken by Mark Coote. 3 January 1992. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Absolutely Positively Wellington banner on the Beehive

Resize

1993: Absolutely Positively Wellington

Absolutely Positively Wellington was a city-wide branding campaign promoted by Wellington's first woman mayor Fran Wilde.

The campaign was successfully designed to create a sense of civic pride among Wellingtonians. It also aimed to promote Wellington as a tourist destination and 'a city of excellence'.

A further aim of stemming the northward drift of Wellington-headquartered firms proved less successful throughout the 1990s.

Te Papa Museum.

Te Papa Museum

Resize

1998: Te Papa museum opening

The Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa opened on Wellington's waterfront in February 1998.

Development proposals for the waterfront proved contentious in the late 1990s, but the Te Papa project was phenomenally successful.

By mid-1998, more than a million people had visited the museum to view its collections and interactive heritage and natural science showpieces.

The Lord of the Rings Cast on the Red Carpet.

The Lord of the Rings cast on the red carpet

Resize

1999 - 2003: The Lord of the Rings

From 1999, Wellington was the base for much of the filming and post-production work on The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

Directed by local Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings helped transform Wellington film-making into a hundred million dollar industry.

On 1 December 2003 the city hosted the world premiere of the final in the trilogy - The Return of the King. Thousands of people lined Courtenay Place to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood stars on the red carpet.

Westpac Stadium.

Westpac Stadium

Resize

2000: Westpac Stadium opening

In early 2000, a $125 million sports arena - the Westpac Stadium - was opened amid great fanfare.

The idea of a multipurpose sports and events stadium for the Wellington region was first proposed in the early 1990s. The stadium was built on disused railway land north of the city, beating out other proposed sites at Lower Hutt and Porirua.

The stadium, affectionately called the 'Cake Tin', is home to the Wellington Hurricanes rugby team. It is also used for international music acts and cricket matches.