Tōtara Park

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Tōtara Park
California Drive in Tōtara Park, built extra wide to keep houses away from the Wellington Fault that runs under it.
California Drive in Tōtara Park, built extra wide to keep houses away from the Wellington Fault that runs under it.
Coordinates: 41°06′29″S 175°05′06″E / 41.108°S 175.085°E / -41.108; 175.085Coordinates: 41°06′29″S 175°05′06″E / 41.108°S 175.085°E / -41.108; 175.085
CountryNew Zealand
IslandNorth Island
CityUpper Hutt
 • Total2,874

Tōtara Park is a suburb of Upper Hutt, New Zealand, located 2 km northeast of the city centre. It is accessed via the Tōtara Park Bridge which crosses the Hutt River, connecting it to State Highway 2 and the main Upper Hutt urban area. It was popular in the 1970s and 1980s for families moving into the Upper Hutt area.

Most of the streets in Tōtara Park are named after states, towns and cities of the United States, with the main road running through the suburb being California Drive.

Tōtara Park is built on alluvial gravel. The Wellington Fault runs through the suburb—one section of California Drive straddles the fault, and the road lanes are built on either side of the fault with a large central reservation between them. This was designed so houses would be offset at least 20 metres from the fault, hopefully limiting damage if the fault were to rupture.[1]

The Māori names for this area are Te Hau-karetu and for the Hutt River itself; Heretaunga, and Awa Kaiangi. In December 2019, the approved official geographic name of the suburb was gazetted as "Tōtara Park".[2]

Points of interest[edit]

Tōtara Park was the name for the entire eastern side of the upper valley, due to the Tōtara trees that grew there.[citation needed]

Was the western side to an ornate suspension bridge opened in 1917. Maoribank Bridge, originally being able to carry automobiles and trucks, eventually was used for pedestrians only, and finally collapsing in a medium flood in the early 1990s. A new modern type suspension bridge was then built on the northern side towards Brown Owl.

The river surrounding the original suspension bridge was a popular picnic and swimming spot for the entire region.

Cannon Point Walkway[edit]

Cannon Point (elevation 345 m [1]) is a high point along the western side of the valley and forming part of Akatarawa Regional Park. It was named for an old fallen tree resembling a cannon that was once there. Walking routes, cycle tracks and logging roads connect Cannon Point to Akatarawa, Moonshine and other areas to the west.

California Park[edit]

California Park features the Wellington Fault Scarplet, a rare example of a fault scarp that is readily accessible to the public.


Metlink bus route 111 connects Tōtara Park with central Upper Hutt and Upper Hutt Railway Station.


Totara Park School is a co-educational state primary school for Year 1 to 6 students,[3][4] with a roll of as of November 2020.[5]


  1. ^ McSaveney, Eileen (16 November 2012). "Active faults - Building on or near active faults". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  2. ^ "NZGB notices – December 2019". Land Information New Zealand. 10 December 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Totara Park School Official School Website". totarapark.school.nz.
  4. ^ "Totara Park School Education Review Office Report". ero.govt.nz. Education Review Office.
  5. ^ "Totara Park School Ministry of Education School Profile". educationcounts.govt.nz. Ministry of Education.