Celia Wade-Brown

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Celia Wade-Brown
Celia Wade-Brown, 2013.jpg
Celia Wade-Brown in 2013
34th Mayor of Wellington City
In office
27 October 2010[1] – 10 October 2016
Preceded by Kerry Prendergast
Succeeded by Justin Lester
Personal details
Born (1956-07-12) 12 July 1956 (age 60)
Political party Green Party (2007-2010)
Alliance (1991–1997)
Spouse(s) Alastair Nicholson (m. 16 January 1993)

Celia Wade-Brown (born 12 July 1956) was the 34th Mayor of Wellington City, the capital city of New Zealand.

Wade-Brown was the third female mayor of the city, replacing centre-right Kerry Prendergast. She defeated Prendergast by 176 votes in the 2010 single transferable vote mayoral election.[2] Wade-Brown won a second term in 2013. She was the second mayor of a major New Zealand city to have been a member of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, after Dunedin's Sukhi Turner, but she stood as an independent candidate. Wade-Brown did not contest the Wellington mayoralty in the 2016 local election for a third term.

Early life[edit]

Born in Paddington, West London, to a British military officer father Paul Wade-Brown,[3] Wade-Brown grew up in a council flat.[4] She attended The Holt School in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. After school, she took a gap year in Cape Coast, Ghana, then earned an honours degree in philosophy from the University of Nottingham. She started her professional life with IBM in the United Kingdom,[5] and moved to Wellington in 1983.[4]

As an adult, Wade-Brown discovered and connected with two half-sisters.[3] One half-sister Gitta Rupp was an Austrian war child born to her father and an Austrian mother.[6]

Political career[edit]

National politics 1996–2002[edit]

Wade-Brown first stood for the Green Party as a list candidate (ranked 44th) under the Alliance banner in the 1996 election.[7] In the 1999 election, she stood for the Green Party as a list candidate (ranked 29th).[8] In the 2002 election, she stood for the Green Party as a list candidate (ranked 15th)[9] in the Rongotai electorate and placed third.[10] She has not appeared on the Green Party list since the 2005 election.[11] [12]

Local government politics 1994–2010[edit]

Wade-Brown served as a Wellington City Councillor for the Southern Ward in 1994–1998 and 2001–2010.[4]

In 2010 Wade-Brown decided to run to be the Mayor of Wellington, and not in the Southern Ward seat which she previously held. Wade-Brown beat the incumbent Mayor, Kerry Prendergast, by 176 votes—some media outlets reported that this was the closest margin seen in the Wellington Mayoral race.[13] In total, Wade-Brown received 24,881 votes, compared to Prendergast's 24,705 votes.[14]

Paul Eagle replaced Wade-Brown as a Councillor for the Southern Ward. As of 2016, Eagle still holds this seat.[15]

Wade-Brown does not favour Wellington's adopting a 'super city' type council like Auckland, though she supports reducing the number of councils in greater Wellington from nine to "three or four". [16]

Local government politics 2010–2016[edit]

Wade-Brown was re-elected as Mayor of Wellington in October 2013, beating her main rival John Morrison 27,171 to 24,691 after five rounds of vote allocation.[17] [18]

Wade-Brown listed her priorities for the first 100 days as "the south coast cycle lanes, completing the draft annual plan before Christmas, agreeing on three-year priorities, taking first steps towards a living wage for council staff, slimming down council-owned companies and continuing to improve shared services with other councils". A basic form of the living wage was introduced in 2014—this meant an increase in salaries of over 500 staff and been extended to the zoo, museums trust, security contract and cleaners.[19]

In August 2014 Wade-Brown became an executive leader of Mayors for Peace. Peace Action Wellington criticised Wellington Venues' decision to host a 'War Conference' sponsored by Lockheed Martin in June 2015 because of her role as the executive leader of Mayors for Peace.[20] A spokesperson for Peace Action Wellington said, "Her commitment to working for peace appears to be as shallow as her understanding of the role of weapons manufacturers in promoting war and militarism. In her response, the Mayor has equated the Weapons Conference with the likes of an international yoga meeting or a sustainable living expo."[21]

Wade-Brown has been criticised heavily for her involvement in the construction of a cycleway in the Wellington suburb of Island Bay.[22] [23] However, she increased the cycling budget from $70,000 p.a. When she was elected to $37 million over four years, including central government funding.

The World Economic Forum recognised her as one of five ground-breaking female Mayors.[24]

Under her leadership, Wellington has maintained its rank as the 12th highest city for quality of life. In 2015, Vogue magazine described Wellington as the coolest little city and the BBC described Wellington as the hottest little city. [25]

Successful projects in partnership with central government include Pukeahu National Memorial Park, the Cenotaph precinct and WW100 commemorations. Other achievements include significant biodiversity increases with pest control and forest restoration. Wellington is a lead member of the Biophilic Cities network.[citation needed]

During her terms as mayor, land was purchased for a Movie Museum that will showcase Sir Peter Jackson's memorabilia.[citation needed]

Celia Wade-Brown was expected to run for reelection in October 2016 but on the 5th August 2016 announced that she would not run for the mayoralty again. Justin Lester replaced Wade-Brown as Mayor of Wellington, winning the popular vote by more than 6000 votes over his rivals. [26][27][28]

Community involvement[edit]

Wade-Brown was a founding member of the New Zealand Internet Society (now known as InternetNZ). InternetNZ is a non-profit organisation set up in 1995 dedicated to protecting and promoting the Internet in New Zealand. In 2002 Wade-Brown founded Living Streets Aotearoa,[29] a walking-advocacy organisation with 15 branches. It holds collective membership of the International Federation of Pedestrians.[30]

Wade-Brown is a Friend of Taputeranga Marine Reserve.[31]


She is married to Alastair Nicholson and has two sons.[4]


  1. ^ "Celia Wade-Brown wins Wellington mayoralty". The National Business Review. 2010-10-13. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  2. ^ "News - Celia Wade-Brown Wins Wellington Mayoralty - Wellington City Council". wellington.govt.nz. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  3. ^ a b Macdonald, Nikki (2012-12-01). "Wellington Mayor finds secret sister". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d "New mayor for Wellington". The Dominion Post. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "Celia Wade-Brown". Election NZ. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Occupation children shunned in post-war Germany and Austria". BBC News. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Part III - Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Official Count Results -- Rongotai". 10 August 2002. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Party Lists of Successful Registered Parties". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Celia Wade-Brown wins Wellington mayoralty". 2010-10-13. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  14. ^ "Celia Wade-Brown wins Wellington mayoralty". 2010-10-13. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  15. ^ "Councillor Paul Eagle". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Mayors' anger at plan for supercity". 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  17. ^ "Elections - Mayor - Wellington City Council". wellington.govt.nz. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  18. ^ Mcbride, Katie Chapman, Tessa Johnstone and Kerry (2013-10-12). "It's Wade-Brown For Wellington". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  19. ^ "Living wage debate re-ignites in Wellington". Radio New Zealand. 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2016-10-08. 
  20. ^ ""Peace" Mayor calls for new weapons | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  21. ^ ""Peace" Mayor calls for new weapons | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  22. ^ "Mayor: Island Bay 'a mistake'". Stuff. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  23. ^ "How a cycleway split a community". Stuff. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  24. ^ "Five Female Mayors". weforum.org. 
  25. ^ "Wellington in BBC's 'hottest cities'". Stuff.co.nz. 
  26. ^ Celia Wade-Brown pulls out of Wellington mayoral race, Radio New Zealand, Retrieved 5 August 2016
  27. ^ Celia Wade-Brown pulls out of mayoral race, Stuff News. Retrieved 5 August 2016
  28. ^ "Wellington: Lester to replace Wade-Brown". Radio New Zealand. 2016-10-08. Retrieved 2016-10-08. 
  29. ^ "eBulletin September 2009". Living Streets Aotearoa. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  30. ^ IFP. "Board Members - International Federation of Pedestrians". www.pedestrians-int.org. Retrieved 2016-07-08. 
  31. ^ "Friends of Taputeranga Marine Reserve". Taputeranga Marine Reserve. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kerry Prendergast
Mayor of Wellington
Succeeded by
Justin Lester