The Entrance to Hell, 1996 - a scene from the book Wellington: A Capital century by David McGill
(Photo by Geoff Churchman)
Above: The intersection of Lambton Quay and Featherston Street in December 1930; below: the cameraman swings around to the left to capture a vista of Featherston Street by Lambton Station.
Marking the Mayors by David McGill

The author grades 20th century civic leaders out of 10:

John Guthrie Wood Aitken 1900-1904. Presbyterian merchant built the first town hall and brokered village into city with its first building boom. 7.

Thomas William Hislop, 1905-1908. Midlothian lawyer steady extending trams and building municipal museum. 5.

Alfred Kingcombe Newman, 1909. Agreeable little doctor promoting parks and recreation. 2.

Thomas Mason Wilford, 1910-11. Indefatigable sporty lawyer promoting city water and safe wharves but illness brought low. 4.

David McLaren, 1912. Trade union secretary, rightwing socialist, well-meaning woofy first Labour mayor and victim of his leftwing. 2.

John Pearce Luke, 1913-21. An engineer who constructed a solid city, championed trams, tunnels, trees and turning back the tide for industrial progress. 7.

Robert Alexander Wright, 1921-25. Popular politician printer who sealed the road to Petone. 4.

Charles John Boyd Norwood, 1925-27. The city’s effective businessman philanthropist of free ambulance, clean milk and blooming roses. 8.

George Alexander Troup, 1927-31. Railways architect and visionary first town planner/builder of national museum/art gallery/carillon and transport infrastructure. 9.

Thomas Charles Atkinson Hislop, 1931-43. Lawyer problematic with people but industrious promoter of Centennial Exhibition and libraries. 7.

Will Appleton, 1944-48. A warmhearted accountant (true!) solid in postwar housing reconstruction. 5.

Robert Lachlan Macalister, 1948- 56. Local lawyer solid civic effort especially with reserves. 5.

Francis Joseph Kitts 1956-74. Professional Labour politician asleep at his desk for 18 years after too many civic lunches while the city was ruptured by the motorway. 1.

Michael Fowler 1974-83 Breezy architect blowing life into city with new town hall and building boom at expense of heritage. 7.

Ian Lawrence 1983-86 Loyal Fowler lawyer lieutenant, a busy caretaker establishing arts festival and car races but failed to appreciate the sewage issue. 5.

James Belich 1986-92 Affable quiet businessman restructurer of council incompetence looked good in robes bowled flat by sesquicentennial disaster. 6.

Fran Wilde 1992-95 Wonder Woman journalist healed fractious council forging absolutely positive city saving St James and relieving harbour city pollution. 8.

Mark Blumsky 1995-2001 Shoe salesmen charms maintained upbeat city image but shaken by council and waterfront dissent quakes. 6.

Kerry Prendergast No comment, she is outside the millennial brief, and anyway, she delivered my daughter.