Living In A Westport Down Under

The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport Meets the World.”

You can’t get much further from Westport in this world than New Zealand.

But wait! What about Westport, New Zealand?

Vin Donnelly

Vin Donnelly counts as a very alert “06880” reader. The other day he was in China — also very far from Westport.

He was on business, missing his Westport greatly. Searching online for something hometown-related, he stumbled on our hometown.

Hey, any port in a storm.

Vin’s Westport is also on the coast, on South Island.

And a river runs through it.

But that’s not where the similarities end. For a while, Vin said, he thought “06880” was a blog about his Westport.

For example, the local paper is called…the Westport News

Recent headlines include:

  • “Fitness centre tops 400 members”
  • “Bakers battle for perfect pie”
  • “10 drink drivers in court” (They ranged in age from 20 to 75. One was “almost three times the legal limit.” Click here for details.)

Downtown Westport. The tall building on the left is the Municipal Chambers. I could not tell whether the stores on the right are chains, or mums-and-pops.

Westport is also — according to a New Zealand website — “home to world-class painters, sculptors, potters, wood carvers and other artists.”

Galleries, studios, workshops and craft co-operatives dot the area. Artists use high-quality, locally sourced tree burls for wood turning.

For all I know, there was even a Fine Arts Festival in the other Westport last weekend. On second thought, I doubt it. It’s mid-winter.

Vin asked me about life in our Westport. He’s never been to the US. The only Americans he knows are those he picks up as they hitchhike around New Zealand.

Another connection! I pick up hitchhikers too. Although the last one was back in the Carter administration.

So, for all those wanting to see more of Westport, New Zealand — whether here in “06880” or, like Vin himself, stuck in China — here are a few more photos.

Westport’s beach. This was taken early in the day, before the New Yorkers arrived.

We have hills. They have cliffs.

Westport, New Zealand has a bit more open space than Westport, Connecticut.

13 responses to “Living In A Westport Down Under

  1. What a beautiful town / country!

    I will add going to New Zealand to my Bucket List.

  2. Westport CT was also home to Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone. Glad to see he’s still at it!

  3. Dick Lowenstein

    What ever happened to the “Westports of the World” conclaves that were held periodically in different nationwide and worldwide Westports? There is a web site (, but the domain name is “for sale.”

  4. Fran Taylor

    Loved your story on Westport, NZ — had I known about it when I visited several years ago I would have made a point of stopping by. We have a dear friend from the north island who has the dubious honor of having his stepdaughter post a blood alcohol reading 4 times the legal limit – of which I learned about through reading his local paper…. love those small town papers!

  5. OK, here we go…I’m sure you figured somebody would play the “What about the other Westport(s)?” card…and it is I. We enjoyed a family vacation a few years back (my husband’s first bona fide pleasure trip since 1979 – no exaggeration) and we stumbled upon, yup, WESTPORT!! Check out a bit of the Wikipedia description: “…a town in County Mayo in Ireland. It is at the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Ireland…a particular feature is the incorporation of the river into the composition. Westport is a popular tourist destination…it also won the Best Place to Live in an Ireland competition run by The Irish Times…Westport hosts many Festivals including the annual Westport Music Festival on the Fairgreen…(and) the Westport Festival of Music and Performing acts.” It’s a little speck of a town and very, very charming…just like (be it ever so humble) home.

  6. We took the family to NZ in 2000, but couldn’t quite get Westport on the itinerary. Wonderful country, nice people, good food. It has the diversity of California, mountains to deserts to coastline, but with only 3 million people total. I’ll go back again.

    • Kirsten Woods

      NZ is spectacular- we were also there in 2000. I took my 3 yr old (at the time) son to the America’s Cup in Auckland and was blown away by the beauty and genuine niceness of the locals. Perfect vacation spot and would be more frequented by Americans i’m sure if it weren’t so far away. Given the exchange rate at the time it was also 1/2 price!

      • I was in New Zealand too, more than 20 years ago (not Westport, unfortunately). A spectacular place, with wonderful people. Go!

      • Yup – we spent 2 weeks traveling, and then 1 week in Auckland for the AC races. We met Dawn Riley after her boat got eliminated. The city of Aukland was still growing, so there was an interesting mix of old and new. We saw Christchurch, Kaikoura, Blenheim, Wellington, the sulfur pits and volcanoes in the middle of the North Island, the Xena beach, and Auckland. Didn’t go south to the mountains, or north to the islands. It’s one of our options for retirement, as your money goes a long way.
        Unfortunately, its own economy struggles at the whim of the rest of the world. With limited industry and exports, it can be difficult to raise a family there.

  7. FMI, how many Westports are there in the U.S. and how many in the rest of the world?

    • 10 Westports in the U.S.A:
      Westport, CA
      Westport, IN
      Westport, KY
      Westport, MA
      Westport, MN
      Westport, NC
      Westport, NY
      Westport, OK
      Westport, PA

      and Westport, CT!

      • Thanks Ironic. Any idea regarding the rest of the world?

      • Jim Goodrich

        We’re just returning from a 6 week cruise in the New York and Canada canal systems by boat and we’ve visited both Westport, NY and Westport, Ontario. A beautiful trip and fun to get recognition from being from another Westport.