Capital of Creative Businesses, Arts and Culture – a Dynamic City with Heart and Soul

We have an amazing Central City. We are the Capital of Arts and Culture, Capital of Creative Businesses, the Food Capital, Events Capital, just the Capital Capital!

Covid restrictions have been tough on central cities across the planet, keeping workers home, cancelling events, and leading to safety issues. That has hurt our dynamism, but we are getting our mojo back! More and more people are coming in to our central city, events are coming back, and I look forward to a summer season bringing international tourists back.

I have worked hard, worked with businesses, arts, culture and events, to keep our city going through the tough times.

“What is clear today is that we cannot just expect people to come to the city to work or visit – we need to be a place that people love to be and choose to be. We need to earn the return.”


Working towards this, I have

  • Delivered two pandemic packages, supporting our city by reducing business and parking costs.
  • Established our Poneke Promise partnership with Police, Hospitality, City Mission, DCM, Business, and more recently VUW and MSD. It’s making a difference, better supporting people who need help, improving lighting, CCTV, urban and community spaces.
  • Re-opened our stunning St James Theatre
  • Restored our Basin Reserve,
  • Got Wellingtonians the 500-1000 people performance and rehearsal space so long desired by our arts sector. It’s at Te Whaea in Newtown.
  • Strongly supported Events, Arts and Culture including establishment of two brand new local companies, Wellington Opera and Capital Theatre Trusts
  • Worked constantly with Wellington businesses on ideas for more business and jobs. We are a city of opportunity.

During my term, Wellington is a city that has been recognised on the world stage. Wellington:

  • Has been rated number one city in the world for Environment by The Economist
  • Is the only city in Australasia, and one of just 17 in the world recognised as a ‘City of the Future’ by US Tech Giant Cognizant.
  • Is the only Australasian winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayoral Challenge – one of 15 cities globally from 630 entries awarded $1 million US each for our ongoing work on our Digital Twin City, which will be a powerful way of all Wellingtonians being able to interact with plans for our city.

Re-energising the heart of our beautiful, dynamic City

I will:

  • Complete major building projects – Takina – our stunning new convention and exhibition centre, our Town Hall, and our exciting new Central Library. Together they will return a huge amount of life back to our city.
  • Facilitate the National School of Music’s new home on the MFC carpark. I led Council to agree to this in late 2022 and look forward to seeing building underway in the New Year. What a great statement for us as an Arts and Culture Capital!
  • Work with you to redevelop the rest of Civic Square (where most buildings are earthquake prone); along with the library and Town Hall there is an opportunity to make Te Ngakau Civic Square a far more alive, active space than it has ever been.
  • Continue working to make our central city safer including upgrading Courtenay Place and activating the Opera House
  • Encourage more Central City living
  • Continue to advocate for sensible seismic regulations and better insurance arrangements
  • Deliver at least three new and enhanced inner city parks, supporting inner city densification and attract workers and visitors.

Supporting a dynamic Economy

I will:

  • Support emerging businesses – creating a collaborative innovation hub and working with angel investors.
  • Work with business, research entities and universities on developing creative centres of excellence (e.g.) in film, biotech
  • Promote authentic Wellington craft, food and beverage artisans and markets. This is often the way small homegrown businesses start and grow.
  • Ensure cheaper evening and weekend parking supported by smarter technology
  • Pursue off street parking options to offset parking losses caused by transport and urban development.

Our Capital of Arts and Culture

To confirm ourselves as the Arts, Culture and Events Capital I will:

  • Bring our city alive around major events. We have a great events programme coming up over the next twelve months including FIFA Women’s World Cup, return of the Phoenix, Hurricanes, Pulse, Saints, Firebirds, Gardens Magic, Matariki, WOW, a fabulous summer of Stadium concerts, Cuba Dupa, Newtown Festival, Homegrown, Diwali, Pasifika, Waitangi Day and so much more!
  • Use lighting, virtual reality and screens to enliven city spaces, entertain us, and tell stories as we have on Te Papa during Matariki and the St James during recent ballet season Cinderella. It’s all about making the heart of our city a fantastic place to be.
  • Continue work to capitalise on being our Capital – the teller of our nation’s stories, keeper of its treasures. I am currently working on a proposal to partner with Government.
  • Continue to work with many events organisers to help their events be the best they can be, For example, the new Lumio Festival (formerly Lantern Festival) where I’ve supported our diverse Embassies to get involved to bring a special international flavour.