Mayor of Wellington
|Term length||Three years|
|Inaugural holder||George Hunter|
|Formation||3 October 1842|
The Mayor of Wellington is the head of the municipal government of Wellington, New Zealand, and presides over the Wellington City Council. Adjacent local bodies - Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, and Porirua - have their own mayors. The Mayor is directly elected using Preferential Voting, commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as STV.
The development of local government in Wellington was erratic. The first attempt to establish governmental institutions, the so-called "Wellington Republic", was short lived and based on rules written by the New Zealand Company. Colonel William Wakefield was to be the first President.
When the self-proclaimed government arrested a ship's captain for a violation of Wellington law, the Governor William Hobson quickly asserted British sovereignty over the whole of New Zealand, sending a contingent of soldiers to disband the council in Wellington.
In January 1842, the Legislative Council in Auckland passed the Municipal Corporations Ordinance, and in May 1842 Wellington was officially proclaimed a borough, the first municipality with this status. The office of mayor was established, but there were only two holders of this office under the Ordinance.
George Hunter received the most votes in the election for 12 Burgesses to the new council on 3 October 1842 and was declared mayor. He died suddenly on 19 July 1843. William Guyton was then declared mayor, as runner-up in 1842.
The British Government disallowed the Municipal Corporations Ordinance, but news of this did not reach Wellington until late September 1843, after the election had been held and a second Burgess Roll of qualified voters had been prepared, in 1843 (both Rolls are listed in Carman).
After a brief period of little local government, the Province of Wellington was established in 1852, and most of Wellington's affairs were handled by the provincial government.
In 1863, a Town Board was established with three wards (Thorndon, Lambton, Te Aro), but no Mayor.
On 16 September 1870, Wellington was officially incorporated as a city, and a new mayoralty created, which continues. The establishment of the new council was primarily driven by John Plimmer, called by some the Father of Wellington.
Since then the office of Mayor has been held by 34 people. Five people have been Mayor on two separate occasions, and the longest-serving Mayor was Sir Frank Kitts, from 1956 to 1974.
Five former mayors are alive:
- Michael Fowler (1974–1983)
- Ian Lawrence (1983–1986)
- Fran Wilde (1992–1995)
- Mark Blumsky (1995–2001)
- Kerry Prendergast (2001–2010)
Since the early 1980s, only one recent death of a former mayor has occurred:
List of Mayors of Wellington
- Harper, Paul (13 October 2010). "Prendergast ousted as Wellington mayor". The New Zealand Herald (NZPA). Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Forbes, Michael (15 September 2015). "Former Wellington mayor Sir James Belich dies at age 88". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (October 2010)|
- Wellington: Biography of a City by Redmer Yska (2006, Reed Books, Auckland) ISBN 9780790011172
- Betts on Wellington: A City and its Politics by G. M. Betts (1970, Reed, Wellington) ISBN 0-589-00469-7
- The Birth of a City: Wellington 1840–1843 by A. H. Carman (1970, Wright & Carman, Wellington)
- No Mean City by Stuart Perry (1969 booklet, Wellington City Council) includes a paragraph and a portrait or photo of each mayor, including Hunter & Guyton.
- Mayors of Wellington (with photos, from WCC Archives)