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"Welcome to Upper Hutt" sign at Te Marua, with a wrought iron depiction of a New Zealand fantail
The location of Upper Hutt City within Wellington Region
|Territorial Authoritiy||Upper Hutt City|
|Suburbs||Te Marua, Akatarawa, Rimutaka, Parkdale, Emerald Hill, Birchville, Timberlea, Brown Owl, Kaitoke, Maoribank, Upper Hutt Central, Clouston Park, Mangaroa, Maymorn, Whitemans Valley, Totara Park, Kingsley Heights, Elderslea, Wallaceville, Trentham, Heretaunga, Riverstone Terraces, Silverstream, Pinehaven|
|• Mayor||Wayne Guppy|
|• Land||540 km2 (210 sq mi)|
|Population (June 2013 estimate)|
|Time zone||NZST (UTC+12)|
|• Summer (DST)||NZDT (UTC+13)|
Upper Hutt is 30 km north-east of Wellington. While the main areas of development lie along the Hutt River valley floor, the city extends to the top of the Rimutaka saddle to the north-east and into the Akatarawa Valley and rough hill-country of the Akatarawa ranges to the north and north-west, almost reaching the Kapiti Coast close to Paekakariki. Centred on the upper (northern) valley of the Hutt River, which flows north-east to south-west on its way to Wellington harbour, it widens briefly into a 2500-m-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 on this plain. A smaller flood plain lies upstream, above the Kaitoke Gorge, but there is little development on it.
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Upper Hutt has a temperate climate however due to its sheltered valley location, it generally tends to be warmer than inner city Wellington in summer and much colder in the winter. It is not uncommon in summer for temperatures to reach the mid 30's Celsius (+/- 95f), and in winter the temperature to drop to maybe -3c (about 26f). Snow generally doesn't fall below 300m, but in 2011 Upper Hutt got sea level snow twice. On July 25 and again between August 14 and 16 which was the heaviest blizzard in Upper Hutt since 1976 and came as a great novelty to residents.
Upper Hutt City Council administers the city with its surrounding rural areas, parks and reserves. Its area is 540 km², the third-largest area of city council in New Zealand, after Dunedin and Auckland. 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 was originally administered by the Hutt County Council, which was constituted in 1877. The Town Board was proclaimed on 24 April 1908. Upper Hutt became a Borough on 26 February 1926 and a City on 2 May 1966. On 1 April 1973, the Rimutaka Riding of Hutt County was added to the city. When the Hutt County Council was abolished on 1 November 1988, the city took over administration of the Heretaunga/Pinehaven ward, which was incorporated into the city on 1 November 1989 when the Heretaunga/Pinehaven Community Council was abolished.
The main urban area of the city has a population of 39,400 (June 2013 estimate), including people who live in the sparsely-populated regions beyond the upper Hutt Valley plain.
The main suburbs of Upper Hutt, from north-east to south-west, include:
- Te Marua, Akatarawa, Rimutaka, Parkdale, Emerald Hill, Birchville, Timberlea, Brown Owl, Kaitoke, Maoribank, Ebdentown, Upper Hutt Central, Clouston Park, Mangaroa, Maymorn, Whitemans Valley, Totara Park, Kingsley Heights, Elderslea, Wallaceville, Trentham, Heretaunga, Silverstream and Pinehaven.
Upper Hutt is in an area originally known as Orongomai, and that of the river was Heretaunga (today the name of a suburb of Upper Hutt). The first residents of the area were Māori 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. Orongomai Marae is to the south of the modern city centre.
Richard Barton, who settled at Trentham in 1841 in the area now known as Trentham Memorial Park, was 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 became the Upper Hutt town in 1848.
The railway line from Wellington reached Upper Hutt on 1 February 1876. The line was extended to Kaitoke at the top end of the valley, reaching there on 1 January 1878. The line continued over the Rimutaka Ranges to Featherston in the Wairarapa as a Fell railway, opening on 12 October 1878.
For many years Upper Hutt was a rural service town supporting the surrounding rural farming and forestry community. Serious urbanisation of the upper Hutt Valley only started around the 1920s but from the late 1940s onwards Upper Hutt's population exploded as people moved from the crowded hustle and bustle of inner city Wellington into a more secluded yet sprawling Hutt Valley. In 1950 Trentham Memorial Park was created with an area of almost 50 hectares. In July 1955, the electrification of the railway line from Wellington to Upper Hutt was completed, allowing fast electric multiple unit trains to replace steam- and diesel-electric-hauled carriage trains. Later in November, the 8.8 km Rimutaka Tunnel opened, bypassing the Rimutaka Incline and most of the existing line between Upper Hutt and Featherston, and reducing the time between the two from 2.5 hours to just 40 minutes.
Upper Hutt continued to grow in population and became a city within the Wellington metropolitan area on 2 May 1966.
Residential subdivision in areas such as Clouston Park, Maoribank, Totara Park and Kingsley Heights continued into the 1980s.
In the 1980s, significant travel delays were being experienced through Upper Hutt, with State Highway 2 traffic travelling from Lower Hutt and Wellington to central Upper Hutt and further afield to the Wairarapa being funneled down the two-lane Fergusson Drive and mixing with local traffic through Silverstream and Trentham. With central government reluctant to fund any road improvements in the area, the Upper Hutt City Council commissioned the construction of a two-laned high-speed bypass along the banks of the Hutt River from the Taita Gorge in the south to Māoribank in the north. River Road, as the road became to be known, opened in 1987. It 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. Today, River Road is a median-divided 2+1 road from the Taita Gorge to Totara Park, with two-laned undivided sections over the Moonshine Bridge and from Totara Park to Maoribank.
Upper Hutt is 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.
Upper Hutt is on the Hutt Valley railway line, with half-hourly daytime Metlink electric trains operated by Tranz Metro, which reach Waterloo in around 20 minutes and Wellington in around 45 minutes. Many commuters, however, still use their cars.
The railway continues beyond Upper Hutt to Masterton, becoming the Wairarapa Line, not electrified. Masterton is about an hour away by morning and afternoon trains. There are services five times a day each way Monday to Thursday, six on Friday, and twice a day each way on Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays. A notable feature of this section of railway is the Rimutaka Tunnel, the second-longest railway tunnel in New Zealand, which replaced the Rimutaka Incline.
To assist with the 1 in 15 grade of the Rimutaka Incline on the Featherston side of the range, Fell engines that used a raised centre rail to haul trains up the steep grade were employed. 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 small bus-like Wairarapa railcars, colloquially known as "Tin Hares".
By the 1950s the Fell system had become too expensive to operate and was closed on 29 October 1955. To replace it, the Rimutaka Tunnel had been constructed, opening on 3 November 1955. In conjunction with the tunnel, the laying of a new route, new bridges and substantial realignment and double-tracking of the rest of the line from Wellington to Trentham station had occurred by 26 June 1955.
The course of the incline is open to the public as part of the Rimutaka Rail Trail.
Sports and recreation
Walking and mountain-biking is popular 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 Rail Trail. Popular team sports include Cricket, Netball, Rugby, Rugby league, Soccer, and Valley Gridiron American football.
Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre is home to Upper Hutt's public art gallery including Mount Marua Gallery and Vector Gallery, these two galleries feature a diverse programme of Local and National exhibitions. The Expressions complex also includes Genesis Energy Theatre; the city's performing arts venue, and the civic hall known as Riverstone Recreation.
Upper Hutt is home to the biggest junior football club in New Zealand. The club was formed when Tararua Sports Club Inc and Upper Hutt City Soccer merged to create one club. The club now carries both of the old clubs names. The club primarily plays its home games at Maidstone Park but also plays at Awakairangi, Harcourt Park and Trentham Memorial Park.
The city has one of New Zealand's largest Inline speed skating clubs, Valley Inline which has many successful skaters and holds the annual Speed King Tour that celebrated its 22nd year in 2012.
Popular recreation sites include:
- Taekwon-Do with United ITF New Zealand at Heretaunga
- Royal Wellington Golf Club at Heretaunga
- Te Marua Golf Club at Te Marua
- Wellington Family Speedway at Te Marua
- Kartsport Wellington Raceway at Kaitoke
- Wellington Racing Club at Trentham
- Trentham Memorial Park at Trentham
- Upper Hutt Rugby Football Club at Maidstone Park, Upper Hutt
- Rimutaka Rugby Football Club at Maoribank, Upper Hutt
- Upper Hutt United Cricket Club at Trentham, Upper Hutt
- Upper Hutt City Soccer Club at Maidstone park, Upper Hutt
- Harcourt Park diskgolf course at Harcourt Park, Upper Hutt
- Upper Hutt Roller Skating Club at Upper Hutt
- Wellington Model Aeroplane Club Inc at Trentham, Upper Hutt
- Fraser Crescent School
- St Brendans School, Heretaunga
- Trentham School
- Birchville School
- Totara Park School
- St Josephs School, City Centre
- Upper Hutt School
- Plateau School
- Silverstream School
- Mangaroa School
- Maoribank School
- Pinehaven School
- Plateau School
- Oxford Crescent School
- Heretaunga College
- Hutt International Boys' School, Trentham
- St. Patrick's College, Silverstream
- Upper Hutt College
- Upper Valley Middle school
- Mesa, Arizona, United States
- "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2013 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013. Also "Infoshare; Group: Population Estimates - DPE; Table: Estimated Resident Population for Urban Areas, at 30 June (1996+) (Annual-Jun)". Statistics New Zealand. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- History of our city: Local Government in Upper Hutt. Retrieved from Upper Hutt City Council website, 12 January 2011.