Ben Woodward is the mastermind behind @WhyWellington, the rapidly growing social media movement that is showing the world what Wellington has to offer. Almaz Rabb caught up with him to chat about the best of Wellington and life as a social media guru in the coolest city on the planet. Photography by Clive Pigott

Capital Questions with Ben Woodward


Ori­gin­ally hail­ing from Perth, Ben and his wife Helen made the move to Wel­ling­ton in Janu­ary last year. He instantly fell for the city and star­ted @WhyWellington on Twit­ter and Ins­tagram as a way of show­cas­ing what makes Wel­ling­ton unique and spe­cial, encour­aging Wel­ling­to­ni­ans to use the #Why­Wel­ling­ton hasht­ag to share what we love about the capital.

Just months into the pro­ject, @WhyWellington now reaches over 9,000 people every day and con­tin­ues to grow quickly. Ben took time out from his busy sched­ule to grab a drink with Fish­Head at Ori­ent­al Bay.

If it’s been a hard week at work and I’m in need of a drink I’ll be at… Cuckoo Cock­tail Empori­um hav­ing an Old Fig, which is a fig-infused Old Fash­ioned. Oth­er­wise I’ll be at Bur­ger Liquor hav­ing a $10 bour­bon and beer combo with the pork belly burger.

If I need a slap-up feed and a cup of Wellington’s finest cof­fee I’ll be at… Boon Broth­ers’ Crum­pet hav­ing the Gentleman’s Pair­ing, which is an espresso and a grappa for $9. It’s a good little heart-starter in the morn­ing! Then I’ll move along to Five Bor­oughs for the South Pacific eggs and bot­tom­less coffee.

On week­ends you will find me… walk­ing, walk­ing, walk­ing. I love a good walk! My favour­ite is the City to Sea, mainly because no mat­ter where you are on that route, if you change your mind along the way there’s a sub­urb you can drop into and get a beer.

My favour­ite Wel­ling­ton land­mark is… the Mt Vic swing, but it’s been taken down! Let’s change that. Tweet #Bring­TheSwing­Back and #Why­Wel­ling­ton to start a movement.

The Wel­ling­to­ni­an that I would take to a pub quiz is… Taika Wai­titi. He’d be my Kiwiana pop cul­ture wingman!

I star­ted @WhyWellington because… before I moved here so many people kept ask­ing me, why Wel­ling­ton? About the thou­sandth time I was asked the ques­tion, I decided to start a Twit­ter account to help answer it.

@WhyWellington can also be used for… pro­mot­ing events, find­ing lost pets, ask­ing ques­tions about the city. It’s not just about post­ing images, but also about bring­ing the com­munity together.

The future of @WhyWellington looks like… telling more stor­ies. It’s about how to move past just post­ing awe­some pic­tures, to being able to bet­ter tell the stor­ies of our city. It might be about a little kid’s sports team or some­body who has been writ­ing a book for 20 years and has just had it pub­lished. I want there to be more depth behind it all.

I do what I do because… I freak­ing dig this town! I love it and it’s the place that feels like home. I’ve now been here just over a year and for both myself, and my wife, our last 12 months has been the hap­pi­est of our lives, and that’s because of Wel­ling­ton. I love the walkab­il­ity, the sun­sets, the eat­ing and drink­ing places, and the people. I want to give some­thing back to the city and help oth­ers enjoy Wel­ling­ton as much as I do.