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|
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.
|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.