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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Administrative and Industrial Centre

As the seat of Government, Wellington is the location for most head offices of national and international organisations and for agricultural, scientific, and industrial bodies, cultural archives, and records. It is also the home of representatives of foreign governments and other nations of the Commonwealth. In Kelburn overlooking the city are the Dominion Meteorological Office, the Carter Observatory, and Wellington's famous cable car, which runs from the heart of the city to a viewpoint 500 ft above. While Wellington has continued to expand as an administrative and commercial centre, the nature of the city's physical location has restricted industrial growth. The main portion of industry, through lack of suitable sites, has become decentralised to nearby urban areas, such as the Hutt Valley and Tawa-Porirua. During the past three years, in conjunction with the development of Wellington Airport at Rongotai, there has been a concomitant development there of warehouses, stores, and various light industries, such as engineering, electrical appliances, printing, and aircraft repairs and maintenance. Apart from an iron foundry and engineering works at Kaiwharawhara and meat freezing works at Ngauranga, the range of manufacturing in Wellington is limited mainly to consumer goods. The industrial centre of the Wellington conurbation is concentrated in Lower Hutt.

Situated as it is in a central position in the country, the city holds a commanding position for trade and communications. The airport, only four miles south-east from the Chief Post Office, is the hub of internal air services. For the year ended 31 December 1964 the airport statistics were as follows: domestic arrivals, 260,552, and departures, 254,526; overseas arrivals, 25,237, and departures, 25,201; cargo, 1,939,799 lb; and mail, 336,374 lb. An air-freight service to Nelson and Blenheim links the two main islands of the country, while daily air services by TEAL and QANTAS connect the capital with Australia. Road and rail services join the capital with all parts of the North Island, while the barrier of Cook Strait to continuous communication with the South Island is overcome by nightly sailings of the inter-island passenger vessels, Maori, Hinemoa, and Rangatira. In the spring of 1962 the Government-owned road and rail ferry Aramoana (“pathway over the sea”) began plying between Wellington and Picton, the northern terminal of the South Island Main Trunk railway. The Port of Wellington, adjacent to the main streets of the city and providing one of the major bases in the country for handling exports and imports, serves all the ports in New Zealand and shipping centres the world over. For the year ended 31 December 1964 shipping arrivals were 571 overseas vessels (2,457,314 net tons) and 2,022 coastal vessels (2,380,036 net tons). Inward cargo totalled 2,010,556 tons and outward cargo 860,822 tons. The chief commodities exported overseas, in order of importance, are frozen meat, 78,907 tons; wool, 46,950 tons; tallow, 9,734 tons; milk products, 14,888 tons; butter, 13,891 tons; and hides, skins, and pelts, 13,474 tons. Motor spirit and kerosene, 236,372 tons; and motor vehicles and parts, 188,121 tons, are the chief imports from overseas. Specialised coastal cargoes such as coal and cement accounted for 86,054 tons and 100,153 tons respectively of the inward coastal cargo. Major repairs can be effected to all sizes of ships on one of several slipways or on the floating dock, which can accommodate ships up to 16,000 tons.

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