Mountains, volcanoes and lakes, oh my! New Zealand is world-renowned for its natural beauty and gorgeous views. But in Wellington, a city with a San Francisco vibe, you can find man-made beauty around every corner. Murals line the streets and sculptures adorn the city squares. In the middle of a country full of nature, there’s a city full of art. And it’s just as breathtaking, in its own special way.

The art that flourishes in this city parallels the creative, quirky people who inhabit it. The study abroad program I am in is heavily involved in art programs, and it’s amazing to see how the art culture has influenced the surrounding area. The art gives a narrative of the city—telling a story of its values. These values denote the city as creative, beautiful, forward-thinking and expressive, with the goal of keeping art alive. Not only is the artwork itself something to be appreciated at face value, its meaning and values are truly spectacular too.

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In addition to the street art, there are many museums to explore. The national museum and art gallery of New Zealand, Te Papa, also happens to be located in Wellington. Here, you can learn about New Zealand’s history and Maori culture—that of the ingenious people of New Zealand—by viewing artifacts and various art mediums. With an astonishing 2.5 million items in the museum, Te Papa is able to meet its goals of being bicultural, scholarly, innovative and fun, in a way that is representative of New Zealand’s community.  

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It’s amazing that you can experience this in downtown Wellington, take a 30 minute bus ride and find yourself hiking along the mountainside. Because of its versatility, it is truly the best of both worlds here in New Zealand.

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About The Author

I’m a junior at UW-Madison, majoring in communication science and rhetoric studies. I am currently studying abroad in Wellington, New Zealand, so this semester is going to be full of adventure and traveling! When I’m not studying, I enjoy exploring the natural surroundings as well as local coffee shops and boutiques. I have always wanted to explore the world and can’t wait to share my experiences with everyone.

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