Wellington is the centre of government in New Zealand and the public service is a major employer, providing employment to over 9% of the workforce in the Wellington region and over 12% in Wellington city. Almost the entire government sector is here including parliament, the judiciary, many related national institutions and cultural bodies and foreign embassies.
It is therefore not surprising that over 36% of those employed nationally in the government sector are located in the Wellington region (compared to 19% in Auckland).
Government organisations are many and varied. View the directory
Local government in the Wellington region consists of eight local bodies ranging from Wellington City Council, also a major employer in Wellington city, to district councils in the rural parts of the region. Click here for a map of the Wellington region and links to the websites of local authorities. You can also visit the local government portal and click on Wellington on the map.
Greater Wellington is the regional council responsible for regional functions such as emergency management, environment, land management, water supply, pollution control, harbours, flood protection, transport, parks and reserves and biosecurity. Greater Wellington employs about 400 people across the region.
World of water
Capacity is a water services infrastructure company, owned by shareholders Wellington City Council and Hutt City Council. It is a Council Controlled Trading Organisation, which manages water, storm water and wastewater for the Wellington region, and aims to be the first choice in infrastructure services.
Capacity was established in 2004 to provide high quality, safe and environmentally sustainable services to its shareholders, with a focus on asset management planning and contracted service delivery. Management of water services now also extends to Upper Hutt, since July 2008.
Based on the Petone foreshore, about 15 minutes north of Wellington and overlooking the harbour, Capacity knows that staff are critical to the success of the business. It is therefore dedicated to providing a fantastic cultural and work environment, where empowered staff feel motivated and rewarded for excellence. Benefits include flexible working hours, life insurance and access to the latest educational opportunities.
Capacity staff are comprised of 14 different nationalities, and out of a workforce of 65, 22 are migrants. This includes employees from England, the Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, India, The Netherlands, South Africa, Iraq, France, Croatia, China and Fiji. Capacity has embraced these migrant employees, providing courses to help with spoken English, and engaging in employee participation programmes with Volunteer Wellington. For example, Capacity has involved staff members in umpiring and supervising cricket matches for local children.
Capacity appreciates the diversity of culture and knowledge depth that migrant staff can bring to an organisation. Recruitment drives focus on job seekers websites (Seek, TradeMe), their own website and word of mouth.
For more information, visit Capacity.
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A very unique place
After 10 years away, expatriates Ryan Orange and Angela Ballantyne were nervous that Wellington would not live up to their expectations on their return.
“We were a little worried that we had built up Wellington in our minds and that we might find it a bit small or provincial or underdone,” said Ryan, 33.
“But we haven’t found that at all.”
Ryan’s background is in strategic social policy. He has two Masters degrees from Oxford University, England, and worked for the eminent consulting firm McKinsey & Co in Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland. He now works at the Ministry of Social Development.
Angela, 30, is an academic. She earned her PhD in bio-ethics at Monash University in Melbourne and did further work in London, and then Geneva for the World Health Organisation. Most recently she taught at Yale University in the US.
The couple returned to New Zealand in September 2008, and their daughter Scout was born in January 2009. They live in a house in Northland that they bought five years earlier.
“Wellington has changed in ten years. In 1999, when we left, there was no stadium, no Te Papa, no Cuba Street Carnival, no decent waterfront development. The city has gone from strength to strength.”
Their decision to return was a considered move, and they rejected a number of cities for Wellington.
“The distinctive thing about Wellington is that it combines being interesting and dynamic, a manageable size, and a capital city.
“London is interesting/dynamic and a capital city but is not a manageable size. Melbourne and Sydney are interesting/dynamic and close to being a manageable size but are not capital cities.”
Said Ryan: “For someone like me, being in the capital makes all the difference. Wellington is known as a social laboratory, where we try out new ideas. We are a world leader in all sorts of things. That creates a very unique environment.”
Settling back in has been surprisingly easy. “Logistics aside, it felt right. It felt good.”
They are enjoying renovating their house, having installed French doors to a deck and painted throughout. They have now started on the garden.
Each day Ryan walks to work through the Botanic Gardens. “The view of the harbour is spectacular. It’s just magic, really.”
Angela has not felt isolated being home with a new baby. “I’m only 10 minutes walk from the Northland shops – that’s too close for a decent walk – so I often stretch it out to the 25 minutes it takes to get to the Kelburn shops. And it’s still only a 30 minute walk to the central city.”
They compare their situation to New York friends who have also had a baby. “They have no Plunket equivalent, no public nurses who help you learn how to care for your baby. The mother was [effectively] left to her own devices. What they’ve done is hire a professional nanny!”
When ready to resume work, Angela is confident of picking it up in Wellington. “To the extent that any decisions will be made about bioethical issues, they are likely to occur here.”
On weekends, they love to explore the hills and nature reserves near their home. On Sundays, they often walk downtown for coffee and brunch at a café, pick up fresh supplies then return home to prepare a shared meal for friends or family.
“Big cities are exciting and dynamic but hard work. We find Wellington is the ideal size.”
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