Our Wellington

News | 16 July 2021

Pōneke honours Paddy the Wanderer’s anniversary

Every dog has its day, and today is the anniversary of the day Wellington’s iconic Paddy the Wanderer died in 1939.

Image of Paddy the Wanderer in Wellington, 1935 via the Alexander Turnbull Library
Paddy the Wanderer 1935 courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library

Paddy, an Airedale Terrier aka Dash, was a well-known figure around the docks during the 1930s after his young owner died, and he became an unofficial mascot for the locals working on the wharf – and beyond.

It was rumoured he travelled around the country, even to Australia and America, hence earning him the nickname Paddy the Wanderer.

Image of Paddy the Wanderer fountain design from City Archives
Fountain design courtesy of City Archives

His adopted wharf family raised funds for a collar and registration until he was given the title of Assistant Night Watchman In Charge of Pirates, Rodents and Smugglers by the Harbour Board.

When he died in 1939, a procession of taxis took his body to be cremated and a death notice appeared in the newspaper at the time, The Evening Post.

A life-sized model of Paddy is on display at the Wellington Museum, and a plaque and drinking fountain using stones from Waterloo Bridge in London were erected in his honour on Queens Wharf.

Wellington Museum renews Paddy’s registration every year, and he was even gifted the first aluminium One Tag by Wellington City Council when they were introduced in May – with the honour of having 00001 engraved on his.

Image of Paddy sculture with Animal Services Steph and One Tag at Wellington Museum
Paddy sculpture with Steph from Animal Services