Mayor of Wellington

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Mayor of
Celia Wade-Brown, 2013.jpg
Celia Wade-Brown

since October 2010
Style His/Her Worship
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 current Mayor is Celia Wade-Brown, elected in October 2010 and October 2013.[1]


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.

Recent mayors[edit]

Five former mayors are alive:

Since the early 1980s, only one recent death of a former mayor has occurred:

List of Mayors of Wellington[edit]

# Name Term Affiliation (if any)
a George Hunter 1842–1843
b William Guyton 1843
1 Joseph Dransfield 1870–1873
2 Charles Borlase 1874
3 William Sefton Moorhouse 1875
4 William Hutchison 1876–1877
Joseph Dransfield, 2nd time 1878–1879
5 George Allen 1879
William Hutchison, 2nd time 1879–1881
6 George Fisher 1882–1885
7 Arthur Winton Brown 1886
8 Samuel Brown 1887–1888
9 John Duthie 1889
10 Charles Johnston 1890
Arthur Winton Brown, 2nd time 1891
11 Francis Bell 1892–1893
12 Alfred Brandon 1894  Liberal  
13 Charles Luke 1895  Liberal  
George Fisher, 2nd time 1896  Liberal  
Francis Bell, 2nd time 1897
14 John Blair 1898–1899
15 John Aitken 1900–1904
16 Thomas William Hislop 1905–1908
17 Alfred Newman 1909
18 Thomas Wilford 1910–1911  Liberal  
19 David McLaren 1912  Ind. Labour League  
20 John Luke 1913–1921  Liberal  
21 Robert Wright 1921–1925  Reform  
22 Charles Norwood 1925–1927
23 George Troup 1927–1931  Reform  
24 Thomas Hislop 1931–1944  Democrat  
25 Will Appleton 1944–1950  National  
26 Robert Macalister 1950–1956
27 Sir Frank Kitts 1956–1974  Labour  
28 Sir Michael Fowler 1974–1983  National  
29 Ian Lawrence 1983–1986
30 Sir James Belich 1986–1992  Labour  
31 Fran Wilde 1992–1995  Labour  
32 Mark Blumsky 1995–2001  National  
33 Kerry Prendergast 2001–2010  National  
34 Celia Wade-Brown 2010–present  Green  


  1. ^ Harper, Paul (13 October 2010). "Prendergast ousted as Wellington mayor". The New Zealand Herald (NZPA). Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Forbes, Michael (15 September 2015). "Former Wellington mayor Sir James Belich dies at age 88". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 


  • 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.

External links[edit]