Wellington is only New Zealand's second largest city, but largely thanks to its position at the southern tip of the North Island, and thus at the center of New Zealand as a whole, it is the country's capital. At the time it was chosen as capital in 1865 there was concern among politicians from the North Island that the more populous South Island, where New Zealand's goldfields were located, would separate from the North.
Wellington's wonderful waterfront location on the Cook Strait (the narrow waterway separating the two islands) is perhaps its most beautiful feature. The city's top tourist attraction, the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) is located here. The land rises sharply up a steep hill from the waterfront, with many expensive properties built on the slopes. The city's residential buildings, due to threat of earthquakes, are mainly constructed from wood. "Government Buildings", located close to Parliament, is the largest wooden-constructed office building in the Southern Hemisphere.