Wadestown is a northern suburb of Wellington, (the capital city of New Zealand), located about 2-3 km by road from the Wellington central business district and the New Zealand Parliament Buildings.

Wadestown is a largely residential suburb located on the northern flanks of Tinakori Hill (or Te Ahumairangi Hill), above the Ngaio Gorge. It includes an area on the eastern end of the suburb known as Highland Park. The suburb is hilly and includes Weld Street which is reportedly one of the steepest streets in Wellington.


The suburb takes its name from John Wade, who arrived in Wellington in 1840 on the vessel "Integrity". In 1841, together with another early settler, James Watt, he acquired land in the area now known as Wadestown, and divided it into one and two-acre lots. There are still roads named Wade Street and Watt Street in the suburb.[3]

The Wadestown community has relatively high levels of education and income. The 2006 Census showed that 73.4 percent of people aged 15 years and over have a post-school qualification, compared with 46.3 percent of people throughout the Wellington Region. 47.9 percent of people aged 15 years and over have an annual income of more than $50,000, compared with 23.6 percent of people in the Wellington Region.[1]


School enrolment zones

The suburb of Wadestown is within the enrolment zones of Wellington High School ,Wellington College , Wellington Girls College, Onslow College, and Wadestown School. The eastern parts of the suburb, including Highland Park, are within the enrolment zone of Thorndon School.

Primary school

Wadestown Side School

Wadestown School is a state co-educational primary school for Year 1 to Year 8 children, with a roll of about 350. The school is situated on two sites about 1 km apart.

The Side School in Weld Street is designed for new entrants, and consists of parallel junior classes (Year 1-2). The grounds include landscaped gardens, a playground with a slide and decks, a playing field and a small pool for swimming. The Deputy Principal’s office is situated at the Side School.

The Main School is located on multiple levels of a hilly site between Rose Street and Purakau Avenue, above Wadestown Road. It provides for children from Year 2 to Year 8. The access to the Main School is by footpath from Mairangi Road at the top of Rose Street, and only limited vehicular access is available. There is also pedestrian access from Wilton Road via Purakau Avenue. At the Main School there are four blocks of classrooms at different levels. Despite the hilly site, the Main School grounds include landscaped gardens, a playing field, a large flat playground and three tennis courts. The majority of Wadestown students come from the local suburb but a number also come from Wilton, Chartwell, Thorndon, Khandallah and Crofton Downs. The school is designated as Decile 10.[4]

Wadestown School was first opened on the site of the present Side School in Weld Street on 1 June 1881, and was one of the earliest schools in Wellington. It was initially built as a single classroom schoolhouse, but by 1896 it had been extended twice. The original Side School building was demolished after World War II and rebuilt in the current layout, being officially opened on 15 June 1946. The Main School began as two classrooms on the present Rose Street site, opening in February 1917. There have been a number of renovations and building developments that have occurred on the site since.

A detailed history of the school was published in 2006 in preparation for the 125th Anniversary in November 2006.[5]

Pre-school education

Pre-school education in Wadestown is provided by Wadestown Kindergarten.

Wadestown branch library


Wellington City Libraries operates a branch library at the corner of Lennel and Moorhouse Roads, at the bottom of a green space known as Philip Myers Park.

Wadestown Community Centre

Community Centre

The Wadestown Community Centre is located in Pitt Street. The Centre accommodates a number of community groups including the Wadestown Community Creche and the Wadestown Toy Library.


Wadestown is served by the No 14 Wilton bus route.[6]

Wellington had a tramway system between 1878 and 1964. Wadestown was part of the network from 1911. The narrow and steep cutting that forms part of Lennel Road between Barnard Street and Sefton street was specifically created for the tramway.[7] The Wadestown tram line was closed in 1949.[8]

The Johnsonville train line runs along the lower slopes of Wadestown, above the Ngaio Gorge. The line was originally created by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company in the mid-1880s, as part of a planned project for a line from Wellington to Palmerston North. This line was the route of the main trunk railway out of Wellington until the 1940s, when it became the Johnsonville branch line.[2] There are no train stations in Wadestown itself. The nearest station is Crofton Downs. The steep hillsides in Wadestown occasionally cause difficulties for the commuter train service.[9]


Wadestown has two main churches: Wadestown Presbyterian and St Lukes Wadestown (Anglican). Both churches are located on Wadestown Road, and both trace their history back to original establishment in Wadestown in 1881.

In August 2012, the Wadestown Presbyterian Church building and church hall were identified as earthquake prone, and were closed pending earthquake strengthening. Services were transferred to alternative locations.

Shops and Retail

The Wadestown Veterinary Clinic and Cattery is located at No 1 Grosvenor Road.

At the intersection of Lennel Road and Sefton Street there are three retail businesses:

The other group of retail businesses is located along Wadestown Road between Pitt Street and Weld street and includes:

Historic places

Fort Buckley

One of the most significant places of historic interest in Wadestown is Fort Buckley. The fort overlooks Wellington harbour from the top of a steep hill in Barnard Street, above Kaiwharawhara. Fort Buckley was built in 1885 in response to concerns that Russia was gearing up to expand its empire in the South Pacific. Fort Buckley was the first fort capable of defending Wellington's port from a naval attack. It is of national historical importance because the battery is one of the least altered examples of the first defences constructed in the late nineteenth-century in preparation for an expected Russian naval invasion. Fort Buckley is part of a wider network of coastal defences erected around that time, and its construction reflects New Zealand’s increasing independence from Britain on military matters during that period.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust gave the fort a category 1 historic place listing in 2004. The Fort is now a recreation reserve managed by the Highland Park Progressive Association.[10] [11]

Salisbury Garden Court

Salisbury Garden Court is a group of 16 houses clustered in matching pairs around a tennis court near the top of Tinakori Hill in Wadestown. Special aspects of the area are the central court, the bush reserve around the group of houses, and the very steep, pedestrian-only access. Built in 1929-30, the houses show the influence of ‘Garden City’ design ideas. Wellington City Council has designated Salisbury Garden Court a Heritage Area.[12]

During the Great Depression and War years, the earliest tenants made full use of the tennis court as a central activity area. In the 1950s, the Court briefly became a miniature ‘Polish village’, as at one point 13 of the 16 houses were occupied by Poles, many of whom had arrived in New Zealand in 1944 as child refugees. By the 1970s, a ‘hippy commune’ was flourishing at the Court. A documentary film ‘A Place to Stay’, was made by Marie Russell in 2009 about the unique design and unusual social history of Salisbury Garden Court. The film explores the interaction of urban design and community.[13]

No 4 Goldies Brae

Another historic place in Wadestown (although strictly located just inside the Thorndon boundary), is the house at 4 Goldies Brae. It is popularly known as the Banana House because of its crescent-shaped layout. The house was constructed in 1876. It is unusual because of the continuous glazed gallery (or conservatory) that provides enclosed access to each of the ten rooms. This gallery provides solar heat to the rest of the house. Another notable feature is that the house is constructed of concrete, and is probably only the second house in Wellington to be built in this material that was relatively new at the time. The house has a Category 1 listing from the NZ Historic Places Trust.[14] Silston Cory-Wright lived in this house from 1928 until his death in 1976.[15]

Notable people

Notable people who have grown up, lived or worked in Wadestown include:

Wadestown events

The Wadestown Fair is held annually, on the green space adjacent to the Wadestown Library.

The fair has taken place for many years and is one of the main community events held in Wadestown.

Geographic boundaries

From a boundary between Wadestown and Thorndon at the northern end of Grant Road, the Wadestown boundary follows a line along Frandi Street and Sar Street, above the Hutt Road to a point below the eastern most extent of Barnard Street. From there, the boundary turns northwest and continues into the Ngaio Gorge to an intersection with Kaiwharawhara Road. It then follows the course of the Kaiwharawhara stream up the Ngaio Gorge to the intersection of Churchill Drive and Blackbridge Road. The boundary then turns south and follows a line along Wilton Road to the intersection with Norwich Street. From there, it takes a line to the top of Tinakori Hill above Salisbury Garden Court. The southern boundary descends along the top section of Weld Street and then runs east above Wade Street, descending southwest of Orchard Street into Thorndon.[18]

Electorate boundaries

Prior to 2014, Wadestown was in the Wellington Central Electorate.

In 2014, the Electoral Commission announced various changes to electorate boundaries. One of these changes was to extend the boundaries of the existing Ōhariu electorate to now include Wadestown. [19]

Further reading

  • Monigatti, Debbie (2006). Windows over Wadestown. Wellington: Debbie Monigatti Communications. pp. 112 pages. ISBN 978-0-473-11677-4. 
  • Ward, Ray (1997). The History of Rose Street, Wadestown. Wellington: Ray Ward. pp. 23 leaves. 


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b Quickstats about Wadestown
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b "Wellington places: Wadestown". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  3. Jump up ^ Irvine-Smith, Fanny L (1948). "Streets of my city, Wellington; Part 3: Chapter 1 - Northern Suburbs". Wellington City Libraries - Digitised book. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  4. Jump up ^ "Wadestown School - Profile & Contact Details". Educationcounts.govt.nz. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  5. Jump up ^ Monigatti, D (2006)
  6. Jump up ^ "No 14 - The Silver Route - (Kilbirnie - Wilton)". Metlink. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  7. Jump up ^ "Wellington tramway remnants". Markline-users.net. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  8. Jump up ^ "History of Trams in Wellington". Wellington trammway museum. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  9. Jump up ^ "Train line closed after slip". Stuff.co.nz. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  10. Jump up ^ "Fort Buckley". Register of Historic Places. New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  11. Jump up ^ "Historic Wadestown fort gets a facelift". Stuff.co.nz. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  12. Jump up ^ "Salisbury Garden Court Heritage Area Boundaries". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  13. Jump up ^ Marie Russell (2009). "A Place to Stay". Wellington: New Zealand Film Archive. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  14. Jump up ^ "Goldie's Brae". Register of Historic Places. New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  15. Jump up ^ Stace, Nigel (22 June 2007). "Cory-Wright, Silston 1888 - 1976". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. 
  16. Jump up ^ "A tribute to Peter Campbell". Beatties book blog. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  17. Jump up ^ "Ian Foster". Listener. 2 April 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  18. Jump up ^ "Wellington suburbs: Crofton Downs, Ngaio and Wadestown". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  19. Jump up ^ "2014 Electoral Boundaries - Key Changes". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 24 June 2014.

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