1921 - 1992

Past mayors of Wellington from 1921 to 1992.

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.


References:

  • No Mean City Stuart Perry (1969, Wellington City Council)
  • The Streets of my City F.L Irvine-Smith (1948, Reed Ltd, Auckland)
  • Wellington: Biography of a City Redmer Yska (2006, Reed Ltd, Auckland)
  • Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
  • Te Papa Online