|Extent||Upper Hutt Valley from
Silverstream to Timberlea
and lower slopes of
|Name||Upper Hutt City|
to Wainui Peak near
|See also||Hutt City
Table of contents
The city is 30 km northeast of the Wellington CBD, and is centred on the upper (northern) valley of the Hutt River which winds its way from northeast to southwest on its way to its outflow into Port Nicholson harbour. The Hutt Valley widens briefly into a 2500-metre-wide floodplain between the Rimutaka and Akatarawa Ranges before constricting nine kilometres further downstream at the Taita Gorge, which separates Upper Hutt from its neighbour, Lower Hutt. The city's main urban area is located on this plain.
Upper Hutt City Council administers the city and the surrounding rural areas, parks and reserves. This area covers 540 km2, the second largest area covered by a city council in New Zealand after Dunedin. New Zealand local authorities with a large land area are usually termed districts, but Upper Hutt maintains its status as a city largely because of its high degree of urbanisation.
Upper Hutt extends to the top of the Rimutaka saddle to the northeast and into the rough hill- country of the Akatarawa ranges to the north and northwest, almost reaching the Kapiti Coast close to Paekakariki.
The main urban area of the city has a population of 35,700, and a further 2,100 people live in the sparsely populated regions beyond the upper Hutt Valley plain.
The main suburbs of Upper Hutt, from northeast to southwest, include:
- Timberlea, Brown Owl, Maoribank, Mangaroa, Totara Park, Kingsley Heights, Wallaceville, Trentham, Heretaunga, Silverstream, and Pinehaven.
Upper Hutt is sited on an area originally known as Orongomai, and that of the river was Heretaunga (still the name of a suburb of Upper Hutt). The first residents of the area were Maori of the Ngai Tara iwi. Various other iwi controlled the area in the years before 1840, and by the time the first colonial settlers arrived the area was part of the Te Atiawa rohe.
Richard Barton, who settled at Trentham in 1841, in an area now known as Bartons Bush, is identified as the first European resident. Barton subsequently subdivided his land and set aside a large area that was turned into parkland. James Brown settled in the area that subsequently became the Upper Hutt town in 1848.
The railway line from Wellington reached Upper Hutt on February 1, 1876. The line was extended to Kaitoke at the top end of the valley over the next 2 years, running that far from January 1, 1878. The line was continued over the Rimutaka Ranges to Featherston in the Wairarapa, opening on October 12, 1878.
Upper Hutt was originally part of Hutt County, (which was constituted in 1877). The Town Board was proclaimed on April 24, 1908. Upper Hutt became a Borough on February 26, 1926. It was proclaimed a City on May 2, 1966.
The northern areas of Hutt County's Rimutaka Riding were included in the city on April 1, 1973. This expansion produced the second largest land area of any New Zealand city. The area administered by the Heretaunga-Pinehaven District Community Council was added when the Hutt County Council was abolished on November 1, 1988. A year later the Heretaunga-Pinehaven District Community Council was abolished on November 1 1989, producing the city in its current form.
Towards the end of the 1980s significant travel delays were being experienced with road access to Upper Hutt. With central government reluctant to fund any road improvements in the area, Upper Hutt City Council itself commissioned the construction of a high speed bypass route that became known as River Road. The road promptly ran at full capacity and, after several serious accidents that were a legacy of its origins, it was enlarged and re-engineered to cope with the growing traffic volume.
Upper Hutt is located in the bed of an ancient river flood plain and as such was prone to flooding. In the 1970s and 1980s, a stop bank was built alongside the eastern side of the river from northern Upper Hutt to the mouth of the Hutt River in Lower Hutt to prevent further flooding.
A notable feature of the section of railway between Upper Hutt and Featherston was the steep gradients. To assist with the 1 in 15 grade on the Featherston side of the range, the Rimutaka Incline employed Fell engines that used a raised centre rail to haul trains up the steep grade. The less steep 1 in 40 grades between Upper Hutt and the small settlement and shunting yard at Summit could be managed by ordinary steam locomotives. The only other rolling stock able to traverse the incline unaided were the small bus-like rail cars, colloquially known as "Tin Hares".
By the 1950s the Fell system had become too expensive to operate and was closed on October 29, 1955. To replace it, the Rimutaka Tunnel had been constructed, finally opening in 1955. In conjunction with the Tunnel, the laying of a new route, new bridges, and substantial realignments and double tracking of the rest of the line from Wellington as far as Trentham station had occurred by June 26, 1955. The line was also electrified as far as Upper Hutt Station. Today, Upper Hutt is served by a regular urban rail service that is a major commuter transport link, which allows access to Lower Hutt in around 25 minutes, and access to Wellington in around 50 minutes. Many commuters, however, still prefer to use their cars.
Sports and recreation
- Wellington Golf Club at Heretaunga
- Wellington Racing Club at Trentham
- Walking and mountain-biking along the Hutt River and on the tracks in many parks, including Karapoti (focal point of the annual Karapoti Classic), Kaitoke, Cannons Point, Tunnel Gully, and the Rimutaka Incline
- Team Sports including Cricket, Netball, Rugby, Rugby League, Soccer