In Maōri language it is called Te Whanganui-a-Tara (literally Wellington Harbour). The capital city of New-Zealand is known for its windy conditions. However, the world’s southernmost national capital feels less metropolitan than Auckland. Wellington is the second largest city in the country after Auckland in terms of population.

In the previous blogpost I already mentioned that I will stay in Wellington for 3 days (until  Sunday April 16th).

NL: De Nederlandse versie van dit blog artikel is gepubliceerd op de website van Urban Sketchers Nederland.
EN: The Dutch version of this blog article has been published on the Urban Sketchers Netherlands website.

On this Friday morning April 14, I decide to take a walk to Cuba Street, which has shops and barbershops in Cuban style. There I had Fish & Chips for early lunch in front of a fish market. Unfortunately, I was not yet in the mood to sketch.
After lunch I went up the hill with the cable car (a mountain train). The train leaves a few doors from my apartment. From the hill you have a beautiful view of the city.

I decided to walk the path down the botanic garden. I stopped at the duck pond and I decided to take a break on a bench and took out my sketch gear. I decided to sketch the duck pond and the gazebo next to it. Some passers-by stopped to have a look at what I was doing. I love these friendly chats that interrupt me, as I can have a fresher look at the scene once I continue after these short breaks. I decide to keep it simple as I am just warming up.

The Duck Pond of Wellington Botanic Garden
The Duck Pond of Wellington Botanic Garden

On Saturday I joined the wonderful group of Urban Sketchers Wellington. Their sketch walk took us to ‘The Beehive’, which is part of the capital’s parliament buildings. It was just a short walk from my apartment on Lambton Quay. When approaching the building I felt some excitement to see the famous building in front of me. I joined the group in front of the building and I was lucky that I could buy the brand new book ‘Pages In The Wind: Urban sketching in Wellington β€’ Te Whanganui a Tara‘. A wonderful souvenir to take home.


While sitting on a bench, chatting and sketching with Debbie Boorman, an unexpected sight caught our attention – a group of dedicated nurses, fervently standing up for their rights. Their voices filled the air, resonating with strength and unity, marking a memorable protest. I decided to include the protest in my sketch. After the sketch walk, the group headed to a bar and I joined this friendly group of sketchers for a well deserved beer. It was nice to meet Dave Black, Andrew James and his dad, Sharon Alderson and many others, whom I would meet again at the symposium the week after.

The Beehive, part of the parliament buildings in Wellington
The Beehive, part of the parliament buildings in Wellington, with protesters in the front.

As the day waned into the evening, my path led me to a charming local eatery, ‘Go Vietnam’. Tucked away in a corner of the city center, this place beckoned with the aroma of authenticity. As I waited for my Vietnamese meal, I sketched the bottles on my table. It was a delicious meal, rounding off an eventful day. The day’s experiences served as yet another reminder of the beauty and vibrancy of life here in Wellington.

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Tomorrow, I have to get up early to catch The Northern Explorer train again, back to Auckland, to finally meet with other symposium participants. Stay tuned for the next episode.


In a series of sketches and short narratives I will take you to New Zealand’s North Island. These are the fruits of my explorations around the time of the International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Auckland in April 2023.

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