New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia and Tonga; because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal and plant life; the country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington. Sometime between 1250 and 1300, Polynesians settled in the islands that were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands.
In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a dominion. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.9 million is of European descent. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration; the official languages are English, Māori, NZ Sign Language, with English being dominant. A developed country, New Zealand ranks in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy; the service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, agriculture. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; the Realm of New Zealand includes Tokelau. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ASEAN Plus Six, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and named it Staten Land "in honour of the States General", he wrote, "it is possible that this land joins to the Staten Land but it is uncertain", referring to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America, discovered by Jacob Le Maire in 1616. In 1645, Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand. Aotearoa is the current Māori name for New Zealand.
It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans, with Aotearoa referring to just the North Island. Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui for the North Island and Te Waipounamu or Te Waka o Aoraki for the South Island. Early European maps labelled the islands North and South. In 1830, maps began to use North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907 this was the accepted norm; the New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, names and alternative names were formalised in 2013. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, South Island or Te Waipounamu. For each island, either its English or Māori name can be used. New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.
Over the centuries that followed, these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi and hapū who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to Rēkohu, now known as the Chatham Islands, where they developed their distinct Moriori culture; the Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862 because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases contributed. In 1862 only 101 survived, the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933; the first Europeans known to have reached New Zeala
The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture, with their own language, a rich mythology, distinctive crafts and performing arts. Early Māori formed tribal groups based on organisation. Horticulture flourished using plants; the arrival of Europeans to New Zealand, starting in the 17th century, brought enormous changes to the Māori way of life. Māori people adopted many aspects of Western society and culture. Initial relations between Māori and Europeans were amicable, with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, the two cultures coexisted as part of a new British colony. Rising tensions over disputed land sales led to conflict in the 1860s. Social upheaval, decades of conflict and epidemics of introduced disease took a devastating toll on the Māori population, which fell dramatically.
By the start of the 20th century, the Māori population had begun to recover, efforts have been made to increase their standing in wider New Zealand society and achieve social justice. Traditional Māori culture has thereby enjoyed a significant revival, further bolstered by a Māori protest movement that emerged in the 1960s. In the 2013 census, there were 600,000 people in New Zealand identifying as Māori, making up 15 percent of the national population, they are the second-largest ethnic group in New Zealand, after European New Zealanders. In addition, more than 140,000 Māori live in Australia; the Māori language is spoken to some extent by about a fifth of all Māori, representing 3 per cent of the total population. Māori are active in all spheres of New Zealand culture and society, with independent representation in areas such as media and sport. Disproportionate numbers of Māori face significant economic and social obstacles, have lower life expectancies and incomes compared with other New Zealand ethnic groups.
They suffer higher levels of crime, health problems, educational under-achievement. A number of socioeconomic initiatives have been instigated with the aim of "closing the gap" between Māori and other New Zealanders. Political and economic redress for historical grievances is ongoing. In the Māori language, the word māori means "normal", "natural" or "ordinary". In legends and oral traditions, the word distinguished ordinary mortal human beings—tāngata māori—from deities and spirits. Wai māori denotes "fresh water", as opposed to salt water. There are cognate words in most Polynesian languages, all deriving from Proto-Polynesian *maqoli, which has the reconstructed meaning "true, genuine"; the spelling of "Māori" with or without the macron is inconsistent in general-interest English-language media in New Zealand, although some newspapers and websites have adopted the standard Māori-language spelling. Early visitors from Europe to New Zealand referred to the indigenous inhabitants as "New Zealanders" or as "natives".
The Māori used the term Māori to describe themselves in a pan-tribal sense. Māori people use the term tangata whenua to identify in a way that expresses their relationship with a particular area of land; the term can refer to the Māori people as a whole in relation to New Zealand as a whole. The Māori Purposes Act of 1947 required the use of the term "Māori" rather than "Native" in official usage; the Department of Native Affairs was renamed as the Department of Māori Affairs. Before 1974, the government required documented ancestry to determine the legal definition of "a Māori person". For example, bloodlines or percentage of Māori ancestry was used to determine whether a person should enroll on the general electoral roll or the separate Māori roll. In 1947, the authorities determined that a man, five-eighths Māori had improperly voted in the general parliamentary electorate of Raglan; the Māori Affairs Amendment Act 1974 changed the definition, allowing individuals to self-identify as to their cultural identity.
In matters involving financial benefits provided by the government to people of Māori ethnicity—scholarships, for example, or Waitangi Tribunal settlements—authorities require some documentation of ancestry or continuing cultural connection but no minimum "blood" requirement exists as determined by the government. The most current reliable evidence indicates that the initial settlement of New Zealand occurred around 1280 CE, at the end of the medieval warm period. Previous dating of some kiore bones at 50–150 has now been shown to have been unreliable. Māori oral history describes the arrival of ancestors from Hawaiki, in large ocean-going waka. Migration accounts vary among tribes, whose members may identify with several waka in their genealogies. In the last few decades, mitochondrial-DNA research has allowed an estimate to be made of the number of women in the founding population—between 50 and 100. Evidence fro
Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa, its latitude is 41°17′S, making it the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, is the world's windiest city by average wind speed; the Wellington urban area comprises four local authorities: Wellington City, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour, contains the central business district and about half the population. As the nation's capital since 1865, the New Zealand Government and Parliament, Supreme Court and most of the public service are based in the city. Architectural sights include the Government Building—one of the largest wooden buildings in the world—as well as the iconic Beehive.
Wellington is home to several of the largest and oldest cultural institutions in the nation such the National Archives, the National Library, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, numerous theatres. It plays host to many artistic and cultural organisations, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet. One of the world's most liveable cities, the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world. Wellington's economy is service-based, with an emphasis on finance, business services, government, it is the centre of New Zealand's film and special effects industries, a hub for information technology and innovation, with two public research universities. Wellington is one of New Zealand's chief seaports and serves both domestic and international shipping; the city is served by the third busiest airport in the country. Wellington's transport network includes train and bus lines which reach as far as the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa, ferries connect the city to the South Island.
Wellington takes its name from Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo: his title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset. It was named in November 1840 by the original settlers of the New Zealand Company on the suggestion of the directors of the same, in recognition of the Duke's strong support for the company's principles of colonisation and his "strenuous and successful defence against its enemies of the measure for colonising South Australia". One of the founders of the settlement, Edward Jerningham Wakefield, reported that the settlers "took up the views of the directors with great cordiality and the new name was at once adopted". In the Māori language, Wellington has three names. Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara". In New Zealand Sign Language, the name is signed by raising the index and ring fingers of one hand, palm forward, to form a "W", shaking it from side to side twice.
The city's location close to the mouth of the narrow Cook Strait leads to its vulnerability to strong gales, leading to the city's nickname of "Windy Wellington". Legends recount that Kupe explored the district in about the 10th century; the earliest date with hard evidence for Maori living in New Zealand is about 1280. Situated near the geographic centre of the country, Wellington was well placed for trade. In 1839 it was chosen as the first major planned settlement for British immigrants coming to New Zealand; the settlement was named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo. European settlement began with the arrival of an advance party of the New Zealand Company on the ship Tory on 20 September 1839, followed by 150 settlers on the Aurora on 22 January 1840. Food processing plants, engineering industries, vehicle assembly and oil refineries were located in the NE which caused the main industrial growth in Hutt valley; the settlers constructed their first homes at Petone on the flat area at the mouth of the Hutt River.
When that proved swampy and flood-prone they transplanted the plans, drawn without regard for the hilly terrain. In 1865, Wellington became the capital city in place of Auckland, which William Hobson had made the capital in 1841; the New Zealand Parliament had first met in Wellington on 7 July 1862, on a temporary basis. There had been some concerns that the more populous South Island would choose to form a separate colony in the British Empire. Several Commissioners invited from Australia, chosen for their neutral status, declared that Wellington was a suitable location because of
Lower Hutt is a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Administered by the Hutt City Council, it is one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area, it is New Zealand's seventh most populous city, with a population of 105,900. The total area administered by the Council is 377 km2 around the lower half of the Hutt Valley and along the eastern shores of Wellington Harbour, of which 135 km2 is urban, it is separated from the city of Wellington by the harbour, from Upper Hutt by the Taita Gorge. Though the Hutt City Council administers the city, neither the New Zealand Geographic Board nor the Local Government Act recognises the name "Hutt City"; this name has led to confusion, as Upper Hutt is administered by a separate city council, the Upper Hutt City Council, which objects to the name "Hutt City". Before European settlement, thick forest covered most of the Hutt Valley, with areas of marshland close to the river's mouth. Māori inhabited the shoreline, with a pa at each end of Petone beach.
Māori welcomed the arrival of the New Zealand Company ship Tory in 1839, William Wakefield negotiated with local chiefs to allow settlement. The first immigrant ship, the Aurora, arrived on 22 January 1840, an event still commemorated every year on the Monday closest as Wellington's Anniversary Day. A settlement, grew up close to the mouth of the Hutt River, settlers set up New Zealand's first newspaper and bank; the city takes its name from the river, named after the founding member and chairman of the New Zealand Company, Sir William Hutt. Within weeks of settlement the Hutt River flooded, in March 1840 the majority of Britannia settlers decided to move to Thorndon, though some settlers remained at the north end of the harbour. In the 1840s an area on the west bank of the Hutt River formed the village known as Aglionby. In 1846 conflict arose between European settlers and Māori, which led to skirmishes in the Hutt Valley Campaign; the 1855 Wairarapa earthquake raised part of the lower valley, allowing reclamation of land from swamp.
The fault escarpment from the earthquake is still visible, notably at Hutt Central School. On New Year's Day 1859 the first permanent lighthouse to be built in New Zealand was lit at Pencarrow Head. New Zealand's only female lighthouse keeper, Mary Jane Bennett, became the inaugural operator of the lighthouse; the railway line from central Wellington reached Lower Hutt station in April 1874, with the line running north up the west side of the Hutt River to Silverstream opening two years later. Before the Second World War of 1939–1945, urban settlement in the lower Hutt Valley concentrated on Petone, central Lower Hutt and Eastbourne, with a total population of 30,000. In 1927 the Public Works Department completed the construction of a branch railway line to Waterloo on the east side of the river. Two years the railway workshops moved from Petone to a new larger site off the new branch at Woburn. In the late 1940s new suburbs of state housing developed along the eastern side of the Hutt Valley, from Waiwhetu to Taita, to alleviate nationwide housing shortages and to cater for the booming population.
Between 1946 and 1954 the railway line from Waterloo extended through these new suburbs to Haywards, becoming the main line in 1954 when the existing main line between Haywards and Melling closed. By the end of the 1950s, Lower Hutt had a population of 80,000; the Hutt City Council comprises 12 councillors. Ray Wallace first won election as Lower Hutt mayor in 2010; the city's six electoral wards each elect two councillors. Officers elected in the 2016 local-body elections: Wainuiomata Community Board: Richard Sinnott, Gabriel Tupou, Jodie Winterburn, Keri Brown, Terry Stallworth, Sisi Tuala-Le'afa, councilors Campbell Barry and Josh Briggs. Eastbourne Community Board: Virginia Horrocks, Murray Gibbons, Robert Ashe, Liz Knight, Anna Sutherland, councilors Michael Lulich and Tui Lewis. Petone Community Board: Pam Hanna, Mike Fisher, Mason Branch, Brady Dyer, Peter Foaese, Karen Yung, councilors Michael Lulich and Tui Lewis. Neighbouring councils are Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council to the north, Upper Hutt City Council to the north-east and South Wairarapa District Council to the east.
The boundaries of the Lower Hutt city local body have evolved from a series of amalgamations and boundary changes over the years. The Hutt County Council, established in 1877, covered the region from Wellington's south coast up to Waikanae, excluding the Wellington City Council area; as the region grew, urban parts of the Hutt County became autonomous boroughs: Petone in 1888, Lower Hutt in 1891, Eastbourne in 1906, Johnsonville in 1908, Upper Hutt in 1908, Porirua in 1962 and Kapiti in 1974. In 1941 Lower Hutt became a city, it incorporated Normandale in 1957. In 1987/1989 the New Zealand Government forced local authorities to consolidate, which led to Lower Hutt amalgamating with the adjacent Boroughs of Petone and Eastbourne and with the Wainuiomata District, to the abolition of the Hutt County Council; the area of Lower Hutt is covered by two general elect
New Zealand Labour Party
The New Zealand Labour Party, or Labour, is a centre-left political party in New Zealand. The party's platform programme describes its founding principle as democratic socialism, while observers describe Labour as social-democratic and pragmatic in practice, it is a participant of the international Progressive Alliance. The New Zealand Labour Party was formed in 1916 by trade unions, it is thus the country's oldest political party still in existence. With its main rival, the New Zealand National Party, Labour has dominated New Zealand governments since the 1930s. To date, there have been six periods of Labour government under ten Labour prime ministers; the party was first in power from 1935 to 1949, under prime ministers Michael Joseph Savage and Peter Fraser, when it established New Zealand's welfare state. It governed from 1957 to 1960, again from 1972 to 1975, a single term each time. Up to the 1980s the party advocated a strong role for governments in social matters; when it governed from 1984 to 1990 Labour instead privatised state assets and reduced the role of the state in the economy.
Labour prime minister David Lange introduced New Zealand's nuclear-free policy. Labour was again the largest party from 1999 to 2008 when it governed in coalition with, or on the basis of negotiated support from, several minor parties. Since the 2008 general election, Labour has comprised the second-largest caucus represented in the House of Representatives. In the 2017 general election, the party under Jacinda Ardern returned to prominence with its best showing since the 2005 general election, winning 36.9% of the party vote and 46 seats. On 19 October 2017, Labour formed a minority coalition government with New Zealand First, with confidence and supply from the Green Party. Jacinda Ardern serves as Labour Party leader and prime minister, Kelvin Davis is deputy leader; the New Zealand Labour Party was established on 7 July 1916 in Wellington, bringing together socialist groups advocating proportional representation, the abolition of the country quota, the "recall" of Members of Parliament, as well as the nationalisation of production and of exchange.
Despite its Wellington origins, the West Coast town of Blackball is regarded as the birthplace of the party, as it was the location of the founding of one of the main political organisations which became part of the nascent Labour Party. The party was created by, has always been influenced by, the trade unions, in practice Labour Party politicians regard themselves as part of a broader labour movement and tradition; the New Zealand Labour Party was an amalgamation of a number of early groups, the oldest of, founded in 1901. The process of unifying these diverse groups into a single party was difficult, with tensions between different factions running strong. At the turn of the century, the radical side of New Zealand working class politics was represented by the Socialist Party, founded in 1901; the more moderate leftists were supporters of the Liberal Party. In 1905, a group of working class politicians who were dissatisfied with the Liberal approach established the Independent Political Labour League, which managed to win a seat in Parliament in the 1908 election.
This established the basic dividing line in New Zealand's left-wing politics – the Socialists tended to be revolutionary and militant, while the moderates focused instead on progressive reform. In 1910, the Independent Political Labour League was relaunched as an organisation called the Labour Party, distinct from the modern party. Soon, the leaders of the new organisation decided additional effort was needed to promote left-wing cooperation, organised a "Unity Conference"; the Socialists refused to attend. The United Labour Party was born. Soon afterwards, the labour movement was hit by the Waihi miners' strike, a major industrial disturbance prompted by radicals in the union movement; the movement was split between supporting and opposing the radicals, in the end, the conservative government of William Massey suppressed the strike by force. In the strike's aftermath, there was a major drive to end the divisions in the movement and establish a united front – another Unity Conference was called, this time the Socialists attended.
The resulting group was named the Social Democratic Party. Not all members of the United Labour Party accepted the new organisation and some continued on under their own banner. However, the differences between the Social Democrats and the ULP Remnant broke down, in 1915 they formed a unified caucus both to better oppose Reform and to differentiate themselves from the Liberals. A year yet another gathering was held; this time, all major factions of the labour movement agreed to unite, establishing the modern Labour Party. The new Labour Party became involved in the acrimonious debate about conscription, which arose during World War I – the Labour Party opposed conscription, several leading members were jailed and expelled from Parliament for their stand against the war: Peter Fraser, Harry Holland, Bob Semple and Paddy Webb; the loss of leadership threatened to destabilise the party, but the party survived. In its first real electoral test as a united party, the 1919 election, Labour won eight seats – the party's quick success shocked many conservatives.
This compared with 47 for the governing Reform Party and 2
Paekakariki, prior to 1905 known as Paikakariki, is a town in the Kapiti Coast District in the south-western North Island of New Zealand. It is 45 km northeast of Wellington, the nation's capital city; the town's name in Māori means "kākāriki perch". Paekakariki's population was 1,665 in the 2013 census, up from 1,602 at the 2006 New Zealand census. Paekakariki lies on a narrowing of the thin coastal plain between the Tasman Sea and the Akatarawa Ranges and was an important transportation node. To the south, State Highway 1 climbs towards Porirua. Prior to European settlement the area had a violent history, due to the presence of the great Māori warrior leader Te Rauparaha, whose pa was on nearby Kapiti Island, he died in 1849, the same year. The name was spelled as Paikakariki prior to 1905, but is recorded as Paekakariki as far back as 1850 Paikakariki: A Sonnett is the title of an 1867 poem by William Golder. Paekakariki's history has been intimately linked with the railway, there is a museum at the railway station commemorating this heritage.
In 1886 the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company's line from Wellington to Longburn was completed, Paekakariki became an important stop on the journey. In 1908, the line was incorporated into the national network of the New Zealand Railways Department and became part of the North Island Main Trunk linking Wellington and Auckland, the North Island's most important line. In 1917, NZR withdrew dining cars from its passenger trains due to World War I economic difficulties and Paekakariki became a main refreshment stop on the trip north; the locomotive depot declined in importance due to changing motive power, nowadays only FP/FT "Matangi" class electric multiple units are stabled here. The old steam locomotive depot is now the location of "The Engine Shed", the base of Steam Incorporated, one of New Zealand's premier railway preservation societies; the Paekakariki Station Precinct Trust has been established to manage the station area, including the museum and Steam Incorporated's depot, establish it as a historical and tourist attraction.
During the Second World War Paekakariki served as a major base for US Marines fighting in the Pacific Campaign. There were three main camps, all adjacent to present-day Queen Elizabeth Park. At the height of the occupation there were over 20,000 Americans stationed in the region outnumbering locals; the camps were used for training purposes, as well as rest and recreation for those returning from the Pacific combat zone. Paekakariki's steep surrounding hills proved suitable terrain for marching and mortar practice, whilst its beaches were used to stage amphibian invasions, they were the scene of an unfortunate tragedy in June 1943 when a landing craft was swamped by a wave during a nighttime training exercise. Nine men drowned in the heavy surf according to official figures; the incident was never reported at the time due to wartime censorship provisions. While the American base in Paekakariki was only in existence for a few years it had an important and lingering impact on the region. Several local place names remain as reminders of this wartime presence.
Tarawa Street, for example, commemorates one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific War which locally based marines fought in directly after the camps were abandoned in October 1943. The town was featured in the 1999 song "Paekakariki Beach", by the British rock group New Model Army; the town appeared in an animated documentary by the Simmonds Brothers, entitled: "Paekakariki: Center of the Universe". The American writer Leon Uris was stationed as a marine in Paekakariki during World War II, he drew on his experiences there. An album entitled "Paekakariki Moon" by Warwick Murray, featuring songs written and sounds recorded in the town, was released in 2017. Sullivan, Justin. "Paekakariki Beach Lyrics". Attack Attack Music/Warner Chappell Music Ltd. Archived from the original on 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2007-02-28. Paekakariki.nz/ For information on local walks, cycle tracks, services, shops and the latest events in the village Paekakariki Station Museum Paekakariki community radio website Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards Paekakariki in the land of the Tiki Information Centre
Upper Hutt is a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand, one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area. 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 Pass to the north-east and into the Akatarawa Valley and rough hill-country of the Akatarawa ranges to the north and north-west reaching the Kapiti Coast close to Paekakariki. Centred on the upper valley of the Hutt River, which flows north-east to south-west on its way to Wellington harbour, it widens into a 2500-m-wide floodplain between the Remutaka 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. Upper Hutt has a temperate climate however due to its sheltered valley location, it 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 30s Celsius, in winter the temperature to drop to as low as −5 °C with regular and heavy frost. Snow doesn't fall below 300 m, but in 2011 Upper Hutt sea level snow occurred twice, as part of 2011 New Zealand snowstorms. On 25 July and again between 14 and 16 August, the heaviest blizzard in Upper Hutt since 1976 and came as a great novelty to residents. Upper Hutt receives about 1400mm of rain per year. Upper Hutt City Council administers the city with its surrounding rural areas 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 termed districts, but Upper Hutt maintains its status as a city because of its high degree of urbanisation. Upper Hutt was administered by the Hutt County Council, 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, incorporated into the city on 1 November 1989 when the Heretaunga/Pinehaven Community Council was abolished. Today, Upper Hutt City falls within the boundaries of the Rimutaka electorate, current held by Labour's Chris Hipkins. Upper Hutt was represented by the Heretaunga electorate prior to the introduction of MMP in 1996, when the seat was merged with Eastern Hutt to form Rimutaka. Upper Hutt is home to 43,700 people as of June 2018; the main suburbs of Upper Hutt, from north-east to south-west, include: Te Marua, Rimutaka, Emerald Hill, Timberlea, Brown Owl, Maoribank, Upper Hutt Central, Clouston Park, Maymorn, Whitemans Valley, Totara Park, Kingsley Heights, Wallaceville, Heretaunga and Pinehaven. Developments in the area include Mount Marua, Marua Downs, Waitoka Estate, Riverstone Terraces.
A development called The Lanes was proposed but rejected by the Lanes Commissioners appointed by the Council. This decision was made as to ensure the maintenance of the significant rural character and amenity in the Mangaroa Valley. Upper Hutt is in an area known as Orongomai, that of the river was Heretaunga; the first residents of the area were Māori of the Ngai Tara iwi. Various other iwi controlled the area in the years before 1840, 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, turned into parkland. James Brown settled in the area that became the Upper Hutt town in 1848. Having divided the land into 100 acre block, the settlers set about clearing the land of its indigenous forest and turning it into farmland.
Sawmillers milled larger trees, such as Totara, for building materials and burned off the remaining scrub and underbrush. Alarmed by unrest in Taranaki and sightings of local Maori bearing arms, settlers in the Hutt Valley lobbied for the construction of fortifications in Upper and Lower Hutt; the government and the military responded by constructing 2 stockades in the Hutt Valley in 1860. While the stockade in Upper Hutt was manned for 6 months, the threat of hostilities soon passed and neither installation saw hostile action; 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. By the beginning of March 1914, the area of Upper Hutt controlled by the Upper Hutt Town Board had its own water supply; the supply capacity was increased when the Birchville Dam was built in 1930.
On the evening of 28 March 1914, fire broke out at the Pratt store in Main Street. An explosion destroyed the building. 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 s