Oriented cell division is an integral part of pattern development in processes ranging from asymmetric segregation of cell-fate determinants to the shaping of tissues. Despite proposals that it has an important function in tissue elongation, the mechanisms regulating division orientation have been little studied outside of the invertebrates Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. Here, we have analysed mitotic divisions during zebrafish gastrulation using in vivo confocal imaging and found that cells in dorsal tissues preferentially divide along the animal-vegetal axis of the embryo. Establishment of this animal-vegetal polarity requires the Wnt pathway components Silberblick/Wnt11, Dishevelled and Strabismus. Our findings demonstrate an important role for non-canonical Wnt signalling in oriented cell division during zebrafish gastrulation, and indicate that oriented cell division is a driving force for axis elongation. Furthermore, we propose that non-canonical Wnt signalling has a conserved role in vertebrate axis elongation, orienting both cell intercalation and mitotic division.