City Discovery: The World’s Southernmost Capital – Wellington, New Zealand

Discover Wellington

Wellington is the political and cultural capital of New Zealand and the southernmost capital in the world. As the country’s cultural capital, Wellington plays host to numerous events, like movie premiers, art exhibits and New Zealand’s annual Fashion Week.

And if being in the middle of the action with all these events wasn’t enough, residents have the ocean to play in as well. Almost all Wellington residents live less than two miles from the ocean.

Don’t miss these Discovery Compass activities in Wellington!

Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

Explore the city. Over 27% of Wellington’s population was born outside New Zealand. This results in a city full of diversity, with a wide range of cuisine, art, music, language and fashion to match. Students are encouraged to use their free time to explore Wellington and experience the city’s unique Kiwi cultural mix.

Visit the Weta Cave. This production workshop showcases props and collectibles from international films that were created by Wellington artists.

ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Spend a day on Matiu Island. Situated in Wellington Harbor, Matiu Island is a place of great significance to the original Maori inhabitants of the Wellington region and a former New Zealand military outpost.

Visit one of New Zealand’s many Maori cultural centers. These cultural centers allow visitors a chance to see the country’s pre-European history, learn about the language and arts of the Maori and try some fantastic food made in a traditional underground oven.

Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Living in Wellington gives students the unique chance to see the New Zealand government at work, often as part of a university class.

Visiting the Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand which is located in Wellington, offers a glimpse into New Zealand’s history, particularly in relation to the interactions of European settlers and Maori natives.

Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

Wellington offers a number of volunteer organizations in many different fields, giving students the opportunity to find a way to connect with the city through serving the community.

Many of the departments in both Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington have connections to organizations in the Wellington area, including the New Zealand Symphony, the Te Papa national museum and numerous research institutes, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in various fields.

Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

Cycle or kayak along the Wellington coast. The city’s coastline gives visitors a rare opportunity to see Wellington’s incredible wildlife, including orcas, dolphins and little blue penguins.

Take a trip to Kapiti Island. Up the coast, north from Wellington along the western coast of the North Island, sits Kapiti Island, a nature preserve and home to numerous native birds and plant life.

There are so many more things to discover in Wellington during a semester abroad. We can help you make your dream of studying abroad in New Zealand happen. Get started today!


The 2015 City Discovery Series aims to showcase one of ISA’s program locations each week. Facts about each location and Discovery Compass activity examples are given, highlighting the areas of Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental discovery. The Discovery Compass aims to help students have the best possible study abroad experience by helping them to gain a better understanding of the local environment, customs and people through a variety of experiences.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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