Sunday, 9 January 2011


So I'm living in Wellington and so I thought I'de tell you a little about the city. I also realised I never wrote about my tour of parliament here or Dean's movie tour while I was job hunting so I'll write about those here. Dean is an actor who was a pilot in Avatar and on his days off he takes small groups around to the sights of Wellington, not jsut the film studio but other places of interest. It was a tour from a local which combined history and the movie industry. The parliament tour is pretty self explanatory. I also went to the Wellington City and Sea museum so here is a bit of info collected fro all these places.

Firstly Wellington is the worst place in the World to put a capital, seriously there is no place worse in the world.
The city is built on three major fault lines and 11 minor ones, one of the major lines even runs under the parliament building! Which means Wellington is just one big earthquake waiting to happen and when it does it will be like a house of cards, as Wellington is build on a few hills. Then there is the weather, its not called Windy Welley for nothing!! There is not land at all between Wellington and the Antarctica which means when there is a southerly it is freezing cold wind. When it comes from the east or west then it is forced through to Cook Straight, the bit of sea between the north and south island. This makes a sort of wind tunnel which intensifies the wind even more so there is a 3 out of 4 chance that the weather is going to be bad. The record for the strongest wind speed was over 250km/hr and that was only because the measuring equipment blew away.

Wellington was made the capital in 1865 replacing Auckland because they thought it would be better to have the capital in the middle of the country which means today it is a mixture of serious politicians and buisnessmen and an artsy alternative young scene. There really are some crazy people here, two universities, more cafes per person than New York and lots of second had shops and boutiques. When the politicans first moved to Wellington they came by boat, the White Swan, as there was no road back then. On the way into the harbour they the boat sank and they thought the records of all the parliamentary matter would be ok as they were in sealed metal boxes. However, only one of the many boxes of papers survived which meant that when parliament first sat and an issue was raised someone would shout 'it went down with the White Swan' and after a few years things got settled and order was restored, the lost records were re-written. However every once and a while whenever an issue is raised and there aren't any records of it, perhaps it was lost or the MP has simply decided to drop it, you can still here 'it went down with the White Swan.' New Zealand only has one house, as the House of Lords never did anything so elected to dissolves itself in the 1950's. The High Commissioner, the Queen's representative, chooses the Prime Minister, normally the leader of the party which has one the majority, much like the UK.

The Movie industry in relatively new and is a great asset to Wellington and the New Zealand economy. Weta studios (named after a giant cockroach, or weta, which has been around since before the dinosours and was common in the swamps near where the studio was built) and Peter Jackson started making movies together with the Lord of the Rings and Avatar being the most famous. Built in Miramar, suburb of Wellington the studios are world famous. Miramar used to be a bit of a dump, a sort of ghetto or poor area. When our tour guide, Dean's grandparents bought house it was worth about $16,000. He sold it after they died for not much more than that then a few years later Peter Jackson bought about half of Miramar to make the Lord of the Rings and suddenly the land on its own was worth well over $1,000,000. Peter Jackson owns about 5 houses in a row right on the beach in Miramar, they are just normal every day houses in a row of other detached houses spaced fairly close together. Apparently his 5 are joined by underground passages so that they don't get tourists staring and he can have all his actors, producers and assistants can sleep in one area and be on hand work on the movie.

Thats just a little bit about Wellington, I'm sure google can tell you more. It just remains to tell you all about one of the greatest battles of World War II, the battle of Manners Street. American soldiers posted here during the war with Japanese were paid more than the New Zealand boys, they often were more 'modern' and 'sophisticated' and as such got into bars, restaurants, and clubs much easier than Kiwi boys. They were also much more attractive to the local women. As someone put it the Yanks are 'over paid, over sexed and over here.' Apparently one Saturday night some American soldiers made a racist comment to some Maori soldiers and the ensuing riot lasted 4 hours, involved 1,000 people and at least two people died. So there you go!

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