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To celebrate Wellington’s 150th birthday as the capital city, we’re throwing a party and the whole country’s invited.
A weekend of celebrations is planned for 25-26 July, including a big birthday bash at Parliament and more than 30 Wellington institutions opening their doors free of charge to showcase their treasures and talents like never before.
“Wellington’s always looking for a reason to party and celebrating our 150th birthday as the country’s capital is a great excuse for a weekend in Wellington,” says Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks.
 To celebrate Capital 150, Wellington’s historic institutions are opening their doors free of charge over the weekend of 25-26 July, revealing some of our nation’s rarest and most significant treasures. Freshly minted bank notes will be on display at the Reserve Bank Museum and Education Centre, Parliament is running special ‘150 years of the People’s Parliament’ tours, City Gallery is building the Beehive out of white Lego, and the Prime Minister’s official residence, Premier House, will be open to view for the first time in 30 years. A free hop-on hop-off bus, sponsored by Go Wellington, will be running the Open House circuit, stopping at each destination. Parliament is also hosting free concerts from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand School of Music, while the Opera House has rehearsals from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and a special New Zealand Opera masterclass led by Dame Malvina Major.
Dave Dobbyn and the Orpheus Choir will lead the capital’s 150th birthday celebrations on Parliament’s Grounds from 5-7pm on Saturday 25 July. Parliament House will be lit up with 3D projections to tell the capital’s story and the Beehive will come complete with candles.
National Museum’s 150th anniversary
This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the National Museum. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the latest iteration of the national museum, following on from the Colonial Museum and the Dominion Museum at Buckle Street. Te Papa is commemorating the centenary of World War One with its ground-breaking Gallipoli: The scale of our war exhibition, created by Te Papa and Sir Richard Taylor’s Weta Workshop, while the Dominion Museum Building is home to Sir Peter Jackson’s The Great War Exhibition. Te Papa is also taking part in Open House, offering behind the scenes tours of its national collections, including showcasing treasures housed at its Tory Street storage facility.
Wellington in the history books
On 26 July 1865 Parliament sat in Wellington for the first time, cementing it as New Zealand’s capital city. “For the past 150 years Wellington’s been home to some of New Zealand’s most defining moments. From leading the world in giving women the right to vote in 1893, to legalising gay marriage in 2013, Wellington’s proudly been in the thick of it for the past 150 years,” says Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks.