1921 - 2013

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

Robert Alexander Wright

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Robert Alexander Wright

Mayor from 1921 - 1925

Between 1908 and 1911, Robert Alexander Wright represented the Wellington South electorate in Parliament. This was followed by a term as MP for the Wellington Suburbs and Country electorate.

Elected mayor of Wellington in 1921, Robert Wright was part of a changing Council face as 1921 saw the election of Annie McVicar, the first female councillor in Wellington.


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

Sir Charles John Boyd Norwood

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Sir Charles John Boyd Norwood

Mayor from 1925 - 1927

Charles Norwood was born in Queensland, Australia in 1871 and moved to New Zealand in his mid-twenties. A successful businessman, Norwood founded Dominion Motors and was the New Zealand agent for Morris cars. He was elected as mayor of Wellington in 1925.

Norwood is also remembered as the founder of the Wellington Free Ambulance. During his mayoralty, he witnessed a car accident on Lambton Quay where, while comforting the victim, he had difficulty arranging an ambulance. As a result, he resolved to start up the Wellington Free Ambulance - having seen a similar service operating in Australia.

Charles Norwood was knighted in 1937. The Lady Norwood Rose Garden is named after his wife.


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

Sir George Alexander Troup

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Sir George Alexander Troup

Mayor from 1927 - 1931

British-born George Troup was elected mayor of Wellington in 1927. Troup was a renowned architect best known for designing the baroque-styled Dunedin Railway Station. He carried his passion for architecture into his new role where he supported many civic improvements including the development of Wellington Airport and the National Art Gallery, and the widening and paving of many city streets.

This increase in civic construction was a chance to utilise the manpower of Wellington's unemployed. Troup and his Council used government loans to pay for many workers.

Troup was knighted in 1937.


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

Thomas Charles Atkinson Hislop

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Thomas Charles Atkinson Hislop

Mayor from 1931 - 1944

Thomas Hislop's first foray into local government was as a Wellington City Councillor from 1913 - 1915. His political career was interrupted when he opted to serve in World War I as a part of the Wellington Regiment.

On his return, Hislop regained his Council seat, and went on to become Wellington's mayor in 1931 following in his father's footsteps - Thomas William Hislop had been mayor of Wellington from 1905 - 1908.

As mayor during World War II, Hislop steered the city through difficult times, including the rationing of many everyday items such as petrol and pencils, and the influx of American soldiers stationed in the city.


Source: Wellington City Archives.

Sir William Appleton

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Sir William Appleton

Mayor from 1944 - 1950

A Wellington City Councillor during the Depression and World War II, William Appleton was elected mayor in 1944. As well as having an established political life, Appleton was a well known businessman and a founder of the Charles Haines Advertising Agency.

Karori's Appleton Park and Appleton Place are named after him.


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

Robert Lachlan Macalister

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Robert Lachlan Macalister

Mayor from 1950 - 1956

Barrister and solicitor Robert Macalister was a long-term city councillor before he was elected mayor of Wellington in 1950.

As mayor, Macalister helped oversee a major post-war Wellington clean up. This city-wide project was spurred on by the 1953 visit of newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II.

Community associations from all over the city worked hard to spruce up their neighbourhoods, prompting Macalister to comment on the unifying effect of the royal visit and the cooperation between the Council and the community.


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

Sir Francis Joseph Kitts

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Sir Francis Joseph Kitts

Mayor from 1956 - 1974

Born in Waimate, Canterbury, Francis Kitts entered the political arena at 16 when he joined the Labour Party. Kitts became Wellington's longest serving mayor.

At six foot two inches tall, Francis Kitts was an imposing figure. Throughout his 18-year mayoralty, he was well regarded for his tireless efforts to serve the public. Development in the city during his mayoralty included the opening of the Cuba Street mall.

Frank Kitts Park on the Wellington waterfront is named after Sir Francis Kitts.


Source: Wellington City Archives.

Sir Michael Fowler

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Sir Michael Fowler

Mayor from 1974 - 1983

Born in Marton, in the Rangitikei, Michael Fowler was well liked for his liveliness and sense of humour, traits that he brought to Wellington City Council when he was elected mayor in 1974.

Fowler, an architect, was concerned by the earthquake risk faced by the city. During his mayoral term, Wellington underwent a sustained period of development transforming it into a modern city. About 90 buildings were demolished in the central city. The 30-storey BNZ building - now known as the State Tower - was constructed and became Wellington's tallest building at the time.


Source: Wellington City Archives.

Ian Lawrence

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Ian Lawrence

Mayor from 1983 - 1986

An Australian-born lawyer, Ian Lawrence had been a member of Wellington City Council for 12 years before being elected mayor. Much of Lawrence's mayoralty was spent organising or attempting to organise major events for Wellington.

His work helped to shape the city's reputation as the cultural capital of New Zealand. Lawrence brought the Nissan Mobil car race to the city, and also helped to establish Wellington's International Festival of the Arts.


Source: Wellington City Archives.

Sir James Belich

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Sir James Belich

Mayor from 1986 - 1992

Sir James Belich - father of the New Zealand historian of the same name - was the mayor of Wellington between 1986 and 1992. Belich successfully concentrated on tightening up Council operations, turning Council departments into efficient and self accountable business units.

Belich also set up a trust to organise 'Sesqui' - a celebration marking 150 years since the founding of Wellington city. He was knighted in 1990.



Source: Wellington City Council.

Fran Wilde

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Fran Wilde

Mayor from 1992 - 1995

Fran Wilde was elected Wellington's first female mayor after resigning from Parliament, where she had been the MP for Wellington Central.

Wilde was responsible for having the 'Absolutely Positively Wellington' slogan adopted as the Council's logo after Wellington newspapers had used it in a successful promotional campaign.

Her mayoralty also saw the completion of the iconic city-to-sea bridge, the first discussion of a new multi-purpose stadium for the city, and more controversially, initial planning for an inner-city bypass.


Source: Wellington City Council.

Mark Blumsky

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Mark Blumsky

Mayor from 1995 - 2001

Mark Blumsky, the founder of shoe retailer Mischief Shoes, was elected mayor in 1995. Building on Fran Wilde's plan to boost Wellington's image, Blumsky set up a number of agencies designed to attract companies and tourists to the city.

Totally Wellington was set up to market the city as a tourist destination, and the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency was created to attract skilled workers to the city. His work on improving the film industry infrastructure helped secure many film projects for the capital, including production and post-production work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.


Source: Wellington City Council.

Kerry Prendergast

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Kerry Prendergast

Mayor from 2001 - 2010

Kerry Prendergast, a practising midwife, was elected to the former Tawa Borough Council in 1986. She was then voted on to Wellington City Council as a member for Tawa in 1989 when the borough became part of the city. In 1995, she became Deputy Mayor and held the position for Mark Blumsky's two terms. She successfully stood for Mayor in 2001.

Her three terms as Mayor spanned a period of huge growth in Wellington's economy. She launched the vision of Creative Wellington - Innovation Capital and helped establish and build the city's reputation as New Zealand's arts, culture and events capital.


Source: Wellington City Council.

Celia Wade-Brown

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Celia Wade-Brown

Mayor from 2010 - present day

Campaigning on a platform of community engagement, clean technology development and good transport policies, Celia Wade-Brown was elected Mayor in 2010 in the closest mayoral race in the capital.

Celia grew up in London and had a career in IT programming, consultancy and teaching. She came to Wellington in 1983 and served as a Southern Ward Councillor from 1994 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2010.

Her vision is to make the most of Wellington's abundant natural and social capital; promote our creative, hi-tech and education sectors internationally; enjoy affordable, safe and reliable transport choices; and attract and retain a skilled and diverse workforce.

Wellington Towards 2040: Smart Capital is the strategic guidance for the city's budgets and partnerships. It emphasises opportunities to combine economic, cultural, social and ecological success.