🇳🇿 Lower Hutt is a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Administered by the Hutt City Council, it is one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area. If considered a city it is New Zealand's sixth most populous. The total area administered by the council is 376.4 km² (145 sq mi) around the lower half of the Hutt Valley and along the eastern shores of Wellington Harbour, of which 78.53 km² (30 sq mi) is urban. It is separated from the city of Wellington by the harbour, and from Upper Hutt by the Taita Gorge.
Lower Hutt is unique among New Zealand cities, as the name of the council does not match the name of the city it governs. Special legislation has since 1991 given the council the name "Hutt City Council", while the name of the place itself remains "Lower Hutt City". This name has led to confusion, as Upper Hutt is administered by a separate city council, the Upper Hutt City Council. The entire Hutt Valley includes both Lower and Upper Hutt cities. Lower Hutt is also often simply called "the Hutt".
History Before European settlement, thick forest covered most of the Hutt Valley, with areas of marshland close to the river's mouth. Māori inhabited the shoreline, with a pā at each end of Petone beach.
Māori welcomed the arrival of the New Zealand Company ship Tory in 1839, and William Wakefield (the company's agent) negotiated with some local chiefs to allow settlement. The first immigrant ship, the Aurora, arrived on 22 January 1840, an event still commemorated every year on the Monday closest as Wellington's Anniversary Day. A settlement, Britannia, grew up close to the mouth of the Hutt River (Te Awa Kairangi in Māori language), and settlers set up New Zealand's first newspaper and bank.
The city takes its name from the English name given to the river, named after one of the founding members, director and chairman of the New Zealand Company, Sir William Hutt. The dual name of Hutt River Te Awa Kairangi has been used since 2010.
Within weeks of settlement the Hutt River flooded, and in March 1840 the majority of Britannia settlers decided to move to Thorndon, (as of 2013 in the heart of Wellington city), though some settlers remained at the north end of the harbour. In the 1840s an area on the west bank of the Hutt River, in what is now Alicetown, formed the village then known as Aglionby.
In 1846 conflict arose between European settlers and Māori, which led to armed conflict in the Hutt Valley Campaign.
The 1855 Wairarapa earthquake (in the range of magnitude 8.1 to 8.3) raised part of the lower valley, allowing reclamation of land from swamp. The fault escarpment from the earthquake is still visible, notably at Hutt Central School.
On New Year's Day 1859 the first permanent lighthouse to be built in New Zealand was lit at Pencarrow Head. New Zealand's only female lighthouse keeper, Mary Jane Bennett, became the inaugural operator of the lighthouse.
The railway line from central Wellington reached Lower Hutt station (subsequently Western Hutt) in April 1874, with the line running north up the west side of the Hutt River to Silverstream opening two years later.
Before the Second World War of 1939–1945, urban settlement in the lower Hutt Valley concentrated mainly on Petone, central Lower Hutt and Eastbourne, with a total population of 30,000. In 1927 the Public Works Department completed the construction of a branch railway line to Waterloo on the east side of the river; the route diverging from the main line between Lower Hutt and Petone. Two years later the railway workshops moved from Petone to a new larger site off the new branch at Woburn.
In the late 1940s new suburbs of state housing developed along the eastern side of the Hutt Valley, from Waiwhetū to Taitā (then known as Taita), to alleviate nationwide housing shortages and to cater for the booming population. Between 1946 and 1954 the railway line from Waterloo extended through these new suburbs to Haywards, becoming the main line in 1954 when the existing main line between Haywards and Melling closed.
Geography The city centres on the lower southern valley of the Hutt River, to the north-east of the city of Wellington. The valley widens into a delta as the river nears its mouth, so the central urban area of the city forms a triangle with its longest side along the shoreline. In the upper reaches of the city the Western and Eastern Hutt Hills become closer, culminating in the Taitā Gorge at the northern end of Lower Hutt, separating the city from neighbouring Upper Hutt.
Lower Hutt includes the cluster of small settlements that extend down the eastern coast of Wellington Harbour. These include the two large townships of Wainuiomata and Eastbourne. The city also includes a large area of sparsely-populated land to the east of the harbour, extending to Pencarrow Head and into the Remutaka Range. Lower Hutt's boundaries also include the islands in Wellington Harbour, the largest of which is Matiu / Somes Island.
Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River A single major aquifer dominates the lower Hutt Valley: the river, originally named Heretaunga, and since 2010 known as "Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River". Awakairangi in the Māori language means "river of food from the sky".
Lower Hutt occupies the lower regions of the flood plain of the river, one of the most significant features of the city. In the 20th century the Hutt River Board built stopbanks to contain the river, but the threat of flooding from heavy rainfall persists. In 1985 the river burst its banks, and since then floods have been on a smaller scale. Smaller streams and storm-water drains have also caused occasional problems when rainfall exceeds average levels.
Much of the land adjacent to the river is protected as reserve by the City Council and managed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council to provide popular recreational areas. From the river mouth, walking and cycling trails and grassed areas occur at various points along both sides of the river up the Hutt Valley to Te Mārua, 28 km further north in Upper Hutt.
With lower river-levels in mid-summer, algal blooms have contributed to making slow-flowing areas anoxic. The Regional Council has cited the algal blooms as the cause of death of a small number of dogs swimming in the river, as well as of skin reactions in the case of swimmers.
Seven bridges cross the Hutt River within the city of Lower Hutt, with several other bridges built and replaced from the 1850s onwards.
Tributaries of the Hutt River within Lower Hutt include: • Waiwhetū Stream • Te Mome Stream • Opahu Stream (Black Creek)
Suburbs Here are listed the following suburbs of Lower Hutt City (unofficial suburbs are in italics); Northern Ward Pomare; Stokes Valley; Taitā; Western Ward Haywards; Manor Park; Kelson; Belmont; Tirohanga; Harbour View; Melling; Normandale; Maungaraki; Alicetown; Central Ward Avalon; Boulcott; Epuni; Lower Hutt Central; Woburn; Eastern Ward Wingate; Naenae; Fairfield; Waterloo; Harbour Ward Petone Community Board; Ava; Korokoro; Petone; Waiwhetū; Moera; Gracefield; Seaview; Harbour Ward Eastbourne Community Board; Point Howard; Sorrento Bay; Lowry Bay; York Bay; Māhina Bay; Sunshine Bay; Days Bay; Eastbourne; Wainuiomata Ward Wainuiomata; Wainuiomata Coast; Pencarrow Head; Arakura; Homedale Village; Wainuiomata West; Glendale.
Economy Historically, Petone, Seaview and Gracefield have been the main area for industry in the Wellington region, with industries including meat processing and freezing, motor vehicle assembly, and timber processing. As business have taken advantage of global manufacturing efficiencies, much of this large scale industry has changed to smaller design-led and medium-sized industries exporting to the world. Over the past 25 years service, distribution, and consumer-oriented sectors have increased. Lower Hutt remains the main location for light industrial activity in the Wellington Region.
Until post-war housing development took over, the central and northern areas of the city were largely market gardens.
In 2010 the lower reaches of the Waiwhetū Stream was cleaned up to remove toxins from decades of industry use. The channel was also widened to better protect against floods and native plantings and management has seen native waterlife and birds return to their habitat.
Petone's Jackson Street and neighbouring areas have seen a resurgence in to one of Wellington's most popular retail and hospitality area.
Lower Hutt has one of the greatest proportion of science, technology and high value manufacturing businesses in New Zealand. Crown research institute GNS Science and New Zealand's innovation centre and business accelerator Callaghan Innovation are based in Lower Hutt, along with over 800 research organisations in high-end manufacturing, research and technology.
The suburb of Avalon was home to New Zealand's television industry from 1975 until the late 1980s. The Avalon film and television studios were New Zealand's first purpose-built television studios, and is the largest television studio complex in New Zealand and Australasia. The studios were home to Television One from 1975 to 1980, when it merged with South Pacific Television to form Television New Zealand (TVNZ). After 1989 most of TVNZ's operations moved to Auckland, and the studios were eventually sold off in 2012 to a consortium of Wellington investors. Avalon continues to operate independently with seven film and television studios used as primarily as a feature film production base.
A large proportion of Lower Hutt's residents commute to the mainly commercial, service and government offices in Wellington City 12 km to the south-west.
The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) has its headquarters in Aviation House in Petone, Lower Hutt.
Culture and leisure Several education and research facilities of national significance are in the southern half of the city. Cultural facilities include the Petone Settlers Museum, War Memorial Library, Dowse Art Museum and Vogel House.
The city possesses civic administration buildings constructed in the 1950s that are regarded as representative architecture of the era. A building of national significance is Vogel House, a two-storey wooden residence that was the official residence of the Prime Minister of New Zealand for much of the 20th century. It is a prime example of early colonial architecture in New Zealand and operates today as a tourist attraction.
The city is popular for outdoor sports, especially mountain biking, hiking, recreational walking and fishing. The central city is home to Queensgate Shopping Centre, the largest shopping centre in the lower North Island. The Riverbank car park adjacent to the central city is home to a Saturday produce market.
Among the filming locations for The Lord of the Rings directed by Peter Jackson, Dry Creek quarry, which dominates the hills above the suburb of Taitā, became the site for a huge medieval castle built for scenes of Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith.
Education Lower Hutt has four state secondary schools: Taita College, Naenae College, Hutt Valley High School and Wainuiomata High School. Other secondary schools include Chilton Saint James School, a private girls school; Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School, a state integrated Waldorf education school; Sacred Heart College, a state integrated Catholic girls school; St Bernard's College, a state integrated Catholic boys school; and St Oran's College, a state integrated Presbyterian girls school.
The city is home to two tertiary institutes: the Wellington Institute of Technology in Petone, and The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand in Waterloo.
Media The city is served by The Dominion Post, The Hutt News and community newspapers.
Local LPFM radio station The Cheese broadcasts in the city, and is licensed with APRA and PPNZ in New Zealand for music broadcasting rights. It began Saturday 1 July 2006 and its original frequency was at 88.4 FM from Wainuiomata. The station can be heard in Lower Hutt on 87.9 MHz FM with simulcasting via their official website. Subscribers to Vodafone TV can hear The Cheese on channel 417. The station broadcasts a mix of music from the 80s, 90s, recent and current hits.
Flora and fauna Hills to about 350 m (1000 ft) line both sides of the valley within the city limits. The western hills have been populated as residential areas, but the eastern side is protected and clad in native bush and scrub, and the ubiquitous gorse in areas that have been cleared as a result of scrub fires or earlier human activity.
Native birds are common, including the New Zealand pigeon, tui, grey fantail, silvereye, shining cuckoo (in season), grey warbler and morepork. Introduced species include the common blackbird, song thrush, house sparrow, European goldfinch, common chaffinch, common starling, and Australian magpie.
Lower Hutt has a population of over 111,800 people. Lower Hutt also forms part of the wider Wellington Region which has a population of over 415,000 people.
Twin Towns, Sister Cities Lower Hutt has links with:🇺🇸 Laredo, USA 🇯🇵 Minoh, Japan 🇨🇳 Tàizhōu, China 🇺🇸 Tempe, USA
Locations Near: Lower Hutt 174.917,-41.2167
Antipodal to: Lower Hutt -5.083,41.217