Thursday, November 23, 2017

Lower Hutt.

I moved to Lower Hutt from Bahrain when I was fourteen.
I've lived here ever since.
So why would you call a city Lower Hutt?
Obviously because there might also be a place with the same name a little north and
South Hutt somehow makes the place sound a bit rough.

The Hutt River
So where does the Hutt part of our city's name come from?
I decided to do a little research.

Here are some facts about the area:
  • Petone was the site of the first formalised settlement of the New Zealand Company in 1840.
  • Britannia, Wellington’s first European township, was established on the banks of the Hutt River in February 1840.
  • The first immigrant ship, the Aurora, arrived 22 January 1840. Maori from the nearby pa assisted the settlers to build their homes on Pito-one Beach. These settlers established New Zealand's first bank and newspaper.
Among these first settlers were two brothers - Tony and 'Big John' Hutt.

'Big John'

Tony with his wife around 1852
It is not known how John got the name 'Big John'. He was the eldest in a family of ten siblings and probably got the name because, when they were very young, he was taller than the rest of the siblings. Tony Hutt was the third child to be born to Mr and Mrs Hutt.
Both boys were ambitious and had come to this new country in an attempt to better themselves. They were always looking for opportunities for self advancement and the story goes that the Hutt river was named after Big John as a bit of a joke. There is no existing record of why the settlers thought this was funny. 

Stokes Valley - another humurous thing near the Hutt River.
The township of Britannia was flooded (by the humerous river, but not quite so funny that day) and Tony Hutt decided to build a town of his own. Again, as a bit of a joke (boy these Hutt boys loved a joke) he added the word Lower, probably as a reference to his taller brother. 
Tony married Elisabeth Benton and stayed in Lower Hutt where he opened a bank and built a golf course. Big John moved north. He cut his own hair and inadvertently invented a new hairstyle that was to become popular in the northern part of the valley.

Big John was also the first settler to use a cart pulled by eight horses. This might be a leap of faith but one can almost imagine that cart leading to a type of car that became popular in this area many years later.


Big John never named the settlement where he made his home but, probably by default, it became known as Upper Hutt. Not much is known about his later years. It seems that he liked bloke things like fast horses and sport and he might have played a bit of guitar.

Recently the council started referring to Lower Hutt as Hutt City. 

I don't know why they did this but it creates a big problem for Upper Hutt.
Should Upper Hutt now change its name?
What's the point of having an upper if there is no lower?

I'll leave you to ponder this point.


  1. There must be a job out there for you as a historian.

  2. On the web for say Wikipedia or one of those other sites where grammar, spell checking and certainly fact checking is optional.

  3. But thanks for posting - it must be a slow day down there ..... why isn't Nuova Lazio named wth Hutt in it?

  4. SLIGHTLY OFF HUTT - an abbreviation of Slightly Off The Beaten Track Hutt


  6. I think the last one was a bit silly.

  7. I don't like the red background in this blog

  8. Guess who is not playing tennis today.

  9. I sorted out the date and time settings on the new blogs.
    If only Robert would do the same.

    How about changing that horrible background colour?

  10. Sorry you don't like the background TC.