Lower Hutt (Māori: Awakairangi) is a city in the
Wellington Region of
North Island of New Zealand. It is administered by the Hutt City
Council and is one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington
It is New Zealand's seventh most populous city, with a population of
104,700. The total area administered by the Council is 377 km2
(146 sq mi) around the lower half of the
Hutt Valley and the
eastern shores of
Wellington Harbour, of which 135 km2
(52 sq mi) is urban. It is separated from
Wellington proper by the harbour, and from
Upper Hutt by the Taitā
Though it is administered by the Hutt City Council, neither the New
Zealand Geographic Board nor the Local Government Act recognise the
name Hutt City. This name has led to confusion, as
Upper Hutt is
administered by a separate city council, the
Upper Hutt City Council,
which objects to the name "Hutt City".
3.2 Hutt River
4.1 Culture and identity
6 Culture and leisure
9 Flora and fauna
10 Notable people
11 Sister-city relationships
12 Image gallery
15 External links
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 pa at each end of
The local Māori welcomed the arrival of the
New Zealand Company
New Zealand Company ship
Tory in 1839, and
William Wakefield (the company's agent) negotiated
with local chiefs to allow settlement. The first immigrant ship, the
Aurora, arrived on 22 January 1840, still celebrated every year on the
Monday closest as Wellington's Anniversary Day. A settlement,
Britannia, grew up close to the mouth of the Hutt River, and settlers
set up the infant country's first newspaper and bank.
The city takes its name from the river, named after the founding
member, director and chairman of the New Zealand Company, Sir William
Christ Church, Taitā, built in 1853 is the oldest church in the
Within months of settlement the river flooded, and in March 1840 the
majority of Britannia settlers decided to move to Thorndon, (as of
2013[update] 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 formed the village then known as
In 1846 conflict arose between settlers and Māori, which led to
skirmishes in the
Hutt Valley Campaign.
1855 Wairarapa earthquake
1855 Wairarapa earthquake (in the range 8.1–8.3) raised part of
the lower valley, allowing reclamation of land from swamp. The fault
escarpment from the earthquake is still visible, notably at Hutt
On New Year's Day 1859 the first permanent lighthouse to be built in
New Zealand was lit at Pencarrow Head, and was home to New Zealand's
only female lighthouse keeper, Mary Jane Bennett, was the inaugural
operator of the lighthouse.
The railway line from central
Lower Hutt station
(now Western Hutt) in April 1874, with the line travelling north up
the west side of the river to Silverstream opening two years later.
Before the Second World War, 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
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 Waiwhetu to Taita, to alleviate
nationwide housing shortages and to cater for the booming population.
Between 1946 and 1954, the railway line from Waterloo was extended
through these new suburbs to Haywards, becoming the main line in 1954
when the existing main line was closed between
Haywards and Melling.
By the end of the 1950s,
Lower Hutt had a population of 80,000.
The Hutt City Council is made up of a mayor and 12 councillors. Ray
Wallace was elected
Lower Hutt mayor in 2010, succeeding David Ogden.
The city's six electoral wards (Northern, Western, Central, Eastern,
Harbour and Wainuiomata) each elect two councillors.
Neighbouring councils are
Wellington City Council (adjoining to the
Porirua City Council to the north,
Upper Hutt City
Council to the north-east and
South Wairarapa District
South Wairarapa District Council to the
east. The boundaries of the
Lower Hutt city local body have evolved
from a series of amalgamations and boundary changes over the years.
Hutt County Council was established in 1877 and covered the region
from Wellington's south coast up to Waikanae, excluding the Wellington
City Council area. As the region grew, urban parts of the Hutt county
became autonomous boroughs:
Petone in 1888,
Lower Hutt in 1891,
Eastbourne in 1906, Johnsonville in 1908,
Upper Hutt in 1908, Porirua
in 1962 and Kapiti in 1974.
Lower Hutt became a city. It incorporated Normandale in 1957.
In 1987/1989 the New Zealand Government forced local authorities to
consolidate, which led to
Lower Hutt amalgamating with the adjacent
Petone and Eastbourne and with the
(which had its independence for barely a year), and to the abolition
of the Hutt County Council.
Lower Hutt is covered by two general electorates,
Hutt South and
Rimutaka and two Māori electorates,
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti and Te Tai Tonga.
The city centres on the lower (southern) valley of the Hutt River, to
the northeast of Wellington. The valley widens 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
Wainuiomata (inland) and Eastbourne (on the coast). The
city also includes a large area of sparsely-populated land to the east
of the harbour, extending to Pencarrow Head and into the Rimutaka
Lower Hutt's boundaries include the islands in
Wellington Harbour, the
largest of which, Matiu/Somes Island, is commonly referred to by its
former name of Somes Island.
Lower Hutt has a humid climate with relatively warm summers and mild
winters with the occasional storm.
Climate data for Lower Hutt
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
A single major aquifer dominates the lower Hutt Valley: the Hutt
River, originally named Heretaunga and as of 2016[update] known as
Awakairangi / Hutt River. Awakairangi in the
Maori 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[by whom?] as
reserve and provides popular recreational areas, with walking and
cycling trails and grassed areas at various points along both sides of
the river up the Hutt Valley.
With lower river levels in mid-summer, algal blooms have contributed
to making slow-flowing areas anoxic. The algal blooms have been
attributed[by whom?] 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
The river is crossed by seven bridges within the city, and has seen
many times that number built and replaced since the 1850s.
Tributaries of the Hutt River within
Lower Hutt include:
Opahu Stream (Black Creek)
Here are listed the following suburbs of
Lower Hutt City (unofficial
suburbs are in italics).
Pomare2; Stokes Valley2; Taitā2
Haywards1; Manor Park1; Kelson1; Belmont1; Tirohanga1; Harbour View1;
Melling1; Normandale1; Maungaraki1; Alicetown1
Avalon2; Boulcott2; Epuni2;
Lower Hutt Central2; Woburn2
Wingate2; Naenae2; Fairfield2; Waterloo2;
Harbour Ward -
Petone Community Board
Ava1; Korokoro1; Petone1; Waiwhetū2; Moera2; Gracefield2; Seaview2;
Harbour Ward - Eastbourne Community Board
Point Howard3; Sorrento Bay3; Lowry Bay3; York Bay3; Mahina Bay3;
Sunshine Bay3; Days Bay3; Eastbourne3
Wainuiomata Coast; Pencarrow Head
1 - Suburbs west of the Hutt River
2 - Suburbs east of the Hutt River
3 - Suburbs from the Eastern Harbour
Lower Hutt is home to 104,700 people, of which 104,100 live in the
urban area. The city's population has remained stable since the
Culture and identity
At the 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings, 71.0 percent of Lower
Hutt residents identified as of European ethnicity, 17.1 percent as
Māori, 11.7 percent as Asian, 11.0 percent as Pacific Peoples, 1.1
percent as Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, and 1.6 percent as
another ethnicity (mainly 'New Zealander').
23.7 percent of Lower Hutt's population was born overseas, compared to
25.2 percent for New Zealand as a whole. Asia is the largest region of
origin, accounting for 30.7 percent of the overseas-born population in
Around 50.4 percent of
Lower Hutt residents affiliate with
Christianity and 6.7 percent affiliate with non-Christian religions,
while 40.6 percent are irreligious. Catholicism is the largest
Christian denomination in
Lower Hutt with 16.4 percent affiliating,
Anglicanism is the second-largest with 10.8 percent affiliating.
Hinduism (3.3 percent) and
Buddhism (1.5 percent) are the largest
Ethnic groups of
Lower Hutt residents, 2013 census
New Zealand European
European (not further defined)
Cook Islands Maori
Middle Eastern/Latin American/African
Total people stated
Not elsewhere included
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
Lower Hutt remains the main location for light
industrial activity in the
In 2010 the lower reaches of the Waiwhetu 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
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. Cutting edge
Crown Research Institutes such as GNS Science and business accelerator
Callagahan Innovation Ltd are based in
Lower Hutt along with over 800
research organisations in high-end manufacturing, research and
The suburb of Avalon was home to New Zealand's television industry
from 1975 until the late 1980s. The Avalon 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
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
A large proportion of Lower Hutt's residents commute to the mainly
commercial and Government offices in
Wellington City 12 km to the
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
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
Dowse Art Museum
Dowse Art Museum and the Avalon film and television studios
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
The city is popular for outdoor sports, especially mountain biking,
hiking, recreational walking and fishing. The central city is home to
Westfield Queensgate, a large shopping centre. The Riverbank car park
adjacent to the central city is home to a Saturday market.
Among the filming locations for The Lord of the Rings (film series)
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.
See also: List of schools in the
Wellington Region § Lower Hutt
Lower Hutt has four state secondary schools: Taita College, Naenae
Hutt Valley High School (the largest) and
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
of Technology in Petone, and
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand in
The city is served by The Dominion Post 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
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.
Terence Burns (born 1938), cricketer
Brad McKay (doctor)
Brad McKay (doctor) (born 1979), Australian medical doctor, sceptic,
television personality and author
Lloyd Jones (born 1955), author
Alan MacDiarmid (1927–2007), Nobel laureate
Anna Paquin (born 1982), Oscar winning actress
Peter Hogg (born 1939), Canadian lawyer, author and legal scholar best
known as the leading authority on Canadian constitutional law
Nick Willis (born 1983), two-time Olympic medallist (Beijing and Rio)
Piri Weepu (born 1983), former
All Blacks player and current rugby
Tana Umaga (born 1973), former
All Blacks captain, former player and
current rugby union coach
Julian Dennison (born 2002), child actor.
Lower Hutt has five sister cities:
Laredo, Texas, The
United States of America
Minoh City, Japan
United States of America
Tempe was the first Sister City, in 1981;
Minoh City in 1995; Xi'an
since 2000; Taizhou formalised the agreement in 2008; and Laredo the
most recent, in 2011.
Lower Hutt from Normandale, in the western hills. On the right is the
Wellington Harbour, with
Matiu/Somes Island beneath. The
Hutt River snakes from the right background to the left mid-ground,
entering the harbour between the suburbs of Seaview and Petone. The
Wainuiomata Hill Road climbs the hills in the centre background (the
track in the middle of the left half of the background is a firebreak,
not a road). At the foot of the
Wainuiomata Hill Road is the
Gracefield industrial area.
Wider view of the
Lower Hutt valley. This view shows
Wellington in the
distance on the extreme right hand side. Past the
Lower Hutt CBD in
the centre of the photo, and onto Avalon and Taitā on the left-hand
A panorama taken from 400 feet above the Wanuiomata hills. Wellington
Harbour can be seen on the far left, with
Petone and the Hutt Valley
towards the middle of the image. The
Wainuiomata Hill road can be seen
curling around the bottom right of the image as it snakes into the
Wainuiomata on the right hand side.
Lower Hutt from the top of the
Wainuiomata hills. This viewpoint can
be seen in the top panorama by following the ridgeline left from the
top of the
Wainuiomata Hill Road to the first major firebreak
Wellington Harbour and southern
Lower Hutt from the top of the
Wainuiomata Hill Road (south of the above photo), looking west.
Matiu/Somes Island is in the harbour on the left (South), and beyond
that the row of lights along State Highway 2, marking the line of the
geologic fault, both of which continue up the far side of the valley
to the right. The industrial area in the central foreground is
Gracefield. In the distance, behind Matiu/Somes Island, are Wellington
port and CBD.
^ a b c "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2017
(provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 24
October 2017. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates
(UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-16 (2017
boundary)". Statistics New Zealand. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 24
^ Wakefield, Edward Jerningham (1848). The Hand-book for New Zealand:
Consisting of the Most Recent Information. John W. Parker.
p. 103. Retrieved 5 June 2013. The main road [...] reaches the
west bank of the Hutt at the spot whence [...] the river bends
gradually towards the eastern side of the valley. [...] On the same
bank of the river, about half a mile lower down, is the village of
Aglionby, which contains an excellent Tavern, with good stabling and
other accommodation; a small building used as a Church and a school, a
blacksmith's forge, and several shops, one or two good farm-houses,
and numerous labourers' cottages.
^ "Climate Statistics for Lower Hutt, NZ (1985–2010)". Retrieved 27
^ 1952-, Easther, John, (1991). The Hutt River =
Te-Awa-kai-rangi : a modern history, 1840-1990. Wellington
(N.Z. : Region). Regional Council.
Wellington [N.Z.]: Wellington
Regional Council. ISBN 0909016097. OCLC 34915088.
^ "Opahu Stream – Hutt City".
Wellington Water. Retrieved 3 June
2016. The Opahu Stream (commonly known as Black Creek) begins near
Boulcott Street, meanders through the central city and flows into the
Hutt River at Whites Line West.
^ "Hutt City Wards and Suburbs" (PDF). Hutt City Council. Archived
from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 25 August
^ a b "Infoshare; Group: Population Estimates – DPE; Table:
Estimated Resident Population for Urban Areas, at 30 June (1996+)
(Annual-Jun)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 January
^ a b c "2013 Census QuickStats about culture and identity – data
tables". Statistics New Zealand. 15 April 2014. Archived from the
original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2016. Note some
percentages (e.g. ethnicity, language) may add to more than 100
percent as people could give multiple responses.
^ "Birthplace (detailed), for the census usually resident population
count, 2001, 2006, and 2013 (RC, TA) – NZ.Stat". Statistics New
Zealand. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
^ "Ethnic group (total responses), for the census usually resident
population count, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses (RC, TA, AU)".
Statistics New Zealand.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 August 2012.
Retrieved 27 March 2012.
^ Tom Hunt and Paul Easton (11 April 2011). "The rise and fall of
Avalon". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
^ "Contacting the CAA Archived 4 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.."
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand. Retrieved on 28 September
^ Saturday Riverbank Market
^ The Cheese
^ City Life Magazine 1 February 2007. Image of article
Lower Hutt Sister Cities on Hutt City Council website Archived 13
August 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
Carey, Alison (2008). Valleys & Bays – Origins of Street Names
in Lower Hutt, including Eastbourne,
Petone and Wainuiomata
(Paperback)format= requires url= (help). Lower Hutt: Lower Hutt
Historical Society. ISBN 978-0-473-13604-8.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Lower Hutt.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lower Hutt.
Hutt City Council
Hutt Valley tourism website
Lower Hutt City (Name of City Council) Act 1991[permanent dead link]
Avalon Film and Television Studios
New Zealand Racing Board
Callaghan Innovation Ltd
Territorial authorities of New Zealand
Western Bay of Plenty
Central Hawke's Bay
Authorities in italics are unitary authorities
Coordinates: 41°13′S 174°55′E / 41.217°S 174.917°E /