Wellington is "relatively prosperous", well-educated, wealthy and happy, according to a government report.
And the region has the second-highest ranking for gross domestic product per person in the country, beaten only by oil-rich Taranaki.
Last year, Prime Minister John Key said Wellington was a "dying" city that the Government had no idea how to resuscitate.
But yesterday's government report on regional activity shows Wellington's GDP per head is well above that of Auckland and Canterbury.
Business Central and Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Raewyn Bleakley said the report "paints a picture of promise" for the Wellington region, with workers capable of big things.
"Far from how some might regard Wellington, this report shows we are an extremely attractive city with a huge amount to be proud of and a solid economic foundation," she said.
The report also shows 88 per cent of the Wellington population say they feel satisfied or very satisfied with their lives, one of the highest rates in the country.
The average household income in Wellington is $99,600 a year, more than $11,000 higher than the national average, in part because there are more working-age people living in the region.
While household incomes in Auckland are just as high as Wellington, more people tend to live in the average Auckland homes, boosting the average.
After subtracting an average annual rental cost of $20,000, the average Wellington household has the highest disposable income of any region, slightly ahead of Aucklanders, who face larger rental costs.
And almost a third of Wellington households had an income of more than $100,000 a year, much higher than the rest of New Zealand.
The report shows Wellington's GDP is equal to almost $58,000 a head, more than $10,000 higher than the New Zealand national average.
But Wellington's economic growth was relatively slow in the past six years, during a period when sectors such as agriculture grew strongly.
The report also shows Manawatu- Wanganui is one of the lower-income and slower-growing regions in New Zealand, reliant on sheep, beef and grain farming. Dairy and food-based manufacturing are also strengths in the region. The average household income in the region is about $71,000.
Hawke's Bay is one of the country's key horticulture and wine regions, but the primary sectors are lower earners and there are more unskilled workers in the region.
The average household income in Hawke's Bay is about $74,000, but rents are relatively cheap and a high 90 per cent of the population say they are satisfied or very satisfied with life.
GDP: $28.4 billion
GDP per capita: $57,941
Household income: $99,600
Rent, annual average: $20,000
Households with income of more than $100,000: 30.3 per cent
Satisfaction with life: 88 per cent