Story: Wellington region

Wellington’s plan

Under constant pressure from settlers wanting to occupy their land, William Mein Smith worked by candlelight to complete his 1840 survey of Wellington. As was common practice, Smith laid the town out as a series of grids. Town founders favoured the grid plan because land could be easily subdivided. But this ignored the actual lay of the land, which was not flat. Streets ran through or up hills rather around them, necessitating expensive excavations or steep gradients. Strong calf muscles soon became a hallmark of Wellingtonians.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: MapColl 832.4799/1840/Acc.317

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Chris Maclean, 'Wellington region - The struggle to survive: 1840–1865', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 April 2023)

Story by Chris Maclean, updated 1 Aug 2015