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Lower Hutt seen from the air, looking eastwards.

Lower Hutt ( ) is a city in the Wellingtonmarker region of New Zealandmarker. Its council has adopted the name Hutt City Council, but neither the New Zealand Geographic Board nor the Local Government Act recognise the name Hutt City. This alternative name can lead to confusion, as there are two cities in the Hutt Valley, Lower Hutt and Upper Huttmarker. The Upper Hutt City Council objects to the name of Hutt City. The former Hutt County included much of the area of both Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt.

Lower Hutt is in the Wellington Regionmarker. It is the tenth largest city in New Zealand in population, and covers an area of 376.74 km².


The city centres on the lower (southern) valley of the Hutt Rivermarker, to the northeast of Wellingtonmarker. 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 Harbourmarker. These include the two large townships of Wainuiomatamarker (inland) and Eastbournemarker (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 Rangesmarker.

Lower Hutt includes the islands in Wellington Harbour, the largest of which, Matiu/Somes Islandmarker, is commonly referred to by its former name of Somes Island.

Hutt River

The Hutt Rivermarker is one of the most significant features of the city, which occupies the lower regions of its flood plain. In the 20th century stopbanks were built to contain the river, but the threat of flooding as the result of heavy rainfall persists. In 1985 the river bursts 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 persistently exceeds average levels.

Much of the land adjacent to the river is protected as reserve and provides a much-appreciated recreational feature, with walking tracks and grassed areas over approximately 12 km of river bank.

The river is crossed by 5 bridges within the Lower Hutt City boundaries.From the North (upstream).
  • Kennedy-Good Bridge is a two lane road bridge that was opened in 1979 and was the first bridge at this site. The bridge is named after the Mayor of Lower Hutt at that time.
  • Melling Bridge is a 3 lane bridge (1 east, 2 west) that was opened 1957. This is the second bridge at this site, the first being a one lane suspension bridge opened in 1909 that was sited approximately 200 metres upstream from the current bridge.
  • Ewen Bridge is the seventh bridge at this site and was opened in 1996. The preceding bridges were opened in 1844, 1847, 1856, 1872, 1904 & 1929.
  • The 'Rail Bridge'. Two track rail bridge with pedestrian walkway. Opened 1927.
  • Estuary or Pipe Bridge. Two lane road bridge which also carried the pipe for Wellington's water supply.


The central urban area of Lower Hutt (including Wainuiomata and Eastbourne) had a population of


Listed approximately north to south from the upper valley:
North of the Central Business District (CBD)
Avalonmarker; Belmont; Boulcott; Epuni; Fairfield; Harbour View; Kelson; Manor Park; Melling; Naenae; Pomare; Stokes Valley; Taitāmarker; Tirohangamarker; Wingate

South of the CBD
Alicetownmarker; Avamarker; Gracefieldmarker; Korokoromarker; Maungaraki; Moeramarker; Normandale; Petonemarker; Waiwhetū; Waterloo; Woburn

Parkway; Arakuramarker; Glendale; Homedalemarker

Eastern harbour
Days Bay; Eastbournemarker; Lowry Bay; Muritai; Point Howard; Rona Bay; Seaview


Prior to European settlement, the Hutt Valley was thickly forested, with areas of marshland close to the river's mouth. Māori inhabited the shoreline, with a pa at each end of Petone beach.

The Māori welcomed the arrival of the 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 as Wellington's Anniversary Day. The settlement, Britannia, was established close to the mouth of the Hutt River, and settlers established the country's first newspaper and bank.

The city got its name from the river, which was named after the founding member, director and chairman of the New Zealand Company, Sir William Hutt.

Within months of settlement the river flooded, and the settlers decided to move the new colony to Thorndon, in what is now the heart of Wellington, though some settlers remained at the north end of the harbour.

In 1846 there was conflict between settlers and Māori, which led to skirmishes (see Hutt Valley Campaign). In 1855 a major earthquake raised part of the lower valley, allowing land to be reclaimed from swamp.

The arrival of the railway from Wellington in 1874 and the subsequent location of the railway's engineering works at Woburn in 1929 led to a rapid expansion of the area's population and economy. Other industries were soon attracted to the district.

The present boundaries of the local body have evolved from a series of amalgamations and boundary changes over the years.

The Hutt County Council was established in 1877 and covered the region from Wellington’s south coast up to Waikanae, excluding 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 Huttmarker in 1926, Poriruamarker in 1962 and Kapiti in 1974.

In 1941 Lower Hutt became a city and was joined by Normandale in 1957.

In 1987-89 the Government forced local authorities to consolidate, which led to Lower Hutt amalgamating with the adjacent Boroughs of Petonemarker and Eastbournemarker and the Wainuiomatamarker District (which had its own independence for barely a year) and the abolishment of the Hutt County Council.

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 Gallery (now called TheNewDowse)[744016] and the former Avalon Television studios, now used for world-class cinematic purposes.

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.

The city is popular for outdoor sports, especially mountain biking, hiking, fishing, recreational walking and swimming. Lower Hutt is home to the worlds most southern American Football team, the Protein Cookie Spartans.

Among the filming locations for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy 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.


Historically, Petone and nearby parts of Lower Hutt acted as the principal area for light industry in this region, with industries including meat processing and freezing, motor vehicle assembly, and timber processing. This activity has been significantly diminished or discontinued in recent decades with either the transfer of industrial activity to the more heavily populated area of Aucklandmarker or cessation at a national level. Such movement has often resulted from competitive pressures on commercial organisations for increased efficiency, as a result of opening up the New Zealand economy to international competition since the mid-1980s.

Nevertheless, Lower Hutt is the main location for light industrial activity in the Wellington Region, but it largely lacks heavy industry. Trends over the past 25 years have seen service, distribution, and consumer-oriented activity replace the industrial activity previously a feature of the Petone area.

Lower Hutt also continues to be one of Wellington's dormitory areas and a significant proportion of the population commutes to the commercial and Government offices in Wellington 12 km to the south-west.

David Ogden was elected Mayor in 2004, succeeding John Terris.

Fauna and Flora

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 kererū (wood pigeon), tui, fantail, waxeye, shining cuckoo (in season), grey warbler and morepork (native owl). Introduced species include the blackbird, song thrush, sparrow, goldfinch, chaffinch, starling, and magpie.

Sister-city relationships

Lower Hutt has four sister cities:

Tempe was the first Sister City, in 1981; Taizhou the most recent, in 2005.







  1. Lower Hutt Sister Cities Website

External links

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