The Tory arrived at Petone Beach, in Wellington harbour (Te Whanganui a Tara) on 20 September 1839 and the flat river valley of Heretaunga (Hutt) became the focus for the initial site of the town of Wellington. They were met by the chief of Pito-one pa, Honiana Te Puni Kokupu (known as Te Puni) and Te Wharepouri welcomed the members of the New Zealand Company on board the Tory and given the respect and care according to Maori custom.
The reason for this event coming about can be attributed to a meeting in September 1839 between Lieutenant Colonel William Wakefield, representing the New Zealand Company, and significant rangatira (chiefs) of Te Atiawa in the Wellington and Hutt Valley regions. The result was a written agreement which today is the foundation of the Wellington Tenths. William Wakefield (the company’s principal agent) brought plans for a settlement, drawn up in England, showing a grid-like street structure with a river running through. The plan was soon abandoned but the agreement Wakefield had negotiated with Te Puni and Te Wharepouri effectively enabled the peaceful settlement of Wellington and the Hutt Valley.
Key to the agreement - the Port Nicholson Deed No 1 - was the provision that one tenth of what was termed Port Nicholson Block, would be set aside in perpetuity for the iwi. The Wellington Tenths trust, the iwi authority representing the descendants of these iwi estimate the entire Block comprised about 200,000 acres. Not withstanding the fact that one tenth of the land was never held in perpetuity and that several Treaty of Waitangi Claims addressing issues arising from this situation, Te Atiawa has always retained its position to manaaki (care and nurture) those who settle within its tribal boundaries.
The first settlers of The Hutt Valley
Subsequent settlers formed two distinct settlements. One, further inland from the beach, began the town of Britannia which peaked at 1,000 inhabitants. Within months of settlement, the Hutt River flooded the fledging settlement forcing Wakefield’s decision to move the settlement to Thorndon on the far side of the harbour. The settlement moved, with only a few remaining at Petone (a corruption of Pito-one) to take up farming amidst a constant threat of flooding.
In 1846 the settlers were also threatened by conflict with the Maori which led to skirmishes and deaths. In 1855 a major earthquake lifted the area, draining a portion of the lower valley. In 1874 the Wellington-Wairarapa rail line was opened as far as Petone and the settlement’s potential began to be realised.
In 1878 the Railway Department shifted its workshops from Pipitea to Petone and the following year James Gear began to buy land along the Petone foreshore for the Gear Meat Preserving and Freezing Company. Soon many industries were attracted to the community and surrounding areas.
22 January is celebrated every year as Wellington's Anniversary Day, the date of the arrival of the first immigrant ship, the Aurora.
Pito-one – belly button of the earth (Petone), is an historic site of national significance being the first place of arrival for English settlers from the New Zealand Company in 1840. This was the beginning of the relationship between Maori and Pakeha and the industrialisation of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Huttcam would like to thank The Lower Hutt I-Site for suppling all of the history information
History of the Hutt Valley
Hutt Valley has an ancient history that includes Maori mythology of taniwha and stories that show the area as a place of national and international importance.
Discover the stories of how this region became the place of the first organised settlement by the New Zealand Company out of England and grew as an important service centre for the nation.
The settlement of Hutt Valley is the story of the settlement of Wellington, capital of New Zealand.
Maori mythology and the ancient formation of the Hutt Valley
Mythological history tells of two taniwha, Ngake and Whaitaitai who lived in Wellington Harbour when it was just a lake. The lake eventually became too small for the taniwha and they longed to escape into the ocean to the south. Ngake positioned himself on the northern edge of the lake and using his tail as a spring thrust himself towards the southern shores, smashing a passage way through to what is today known as Cooks Strait.
The force of the release of Ngake’s coiled tail carved Awakairangi – the Hutt Valley. Awakairangi – river of food from the sky. As the name suggests, the Hutt Valley was once densely forested and abundant in bird life. Seafood formed a staple part of the diet of local Maori and until the early 1940s eel, crayfish and watercress were harvested from the Waiwhetu River.
The Hutt, Hutt Valley, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt; Which Hutt?
As the first settlement on the Petone foreshore and on the banks of the Hutt River was called Britannia, those living further north were distinguished by being referred to as living "up the Hutt". Thus, when E J Wakefield visited settlers at Britannia on the banks of the river during the winter of 1840 he referred to "visiting my friends up the Hutt".
As the number of settlers increased this general description of "the Hutt" proved to be too vague. People began to refer to those living on the Upper or Lower Hutt. Accordingly, S C Brees, describing the little hamlet of Aglionby, stated in the mid-1840s that it was sited "in the Lower Hutt". The names of the two hamlets, Aglionby or Richmond, failed to take permanent root as the basis for the city's present name. Instead variations on the name "Hutt" proliferated. The present city district was indiscriminately referred to by Brees as Lower Hutt, the Lower District of the Hutt and the Hutt.
This confusion continued for decades. To some extent it still continues today, the city being variously referred to as the Hutt, Lower Hutt or Hutt City. The name of the area is still Lower Hutt according to the New Zealand Geographic Board. It's the local body name, not the locality name that changed from Lower Hutt to Hutt City.
It was the Post Office which began to enforce a certain uniformity. The postmark used in 1874 read The Hutt. In the mid-1880s this was changed to Hutt. The name became Lower Hutt on 1 December 1910 and finally, following local body amalgamation on 1 November 1989, became Hutt City on 8 October 1991. This was designed to distinguish Lower Hutt from Upper Hutt City.
Dense forests here and a great depression in Great Britain; before the colonists arrived
Before the arrival of colonists the valley we know as Hutt was covered in dense forest and swamp, rich in native bird life. Two waterways ran through the forest, entering the sea at the eastern side of Pit-one Beach where the pa Hikoikoi stood. At the other end of the beach was Pito-one pa and an older pa, Tatau-o-te-po.
In the early 1800s Te Atiawa, under the mantle of Te Rauparaha, settled around the harbour’s edge and have retained occupation since then.
In the 1830s, Great Britain was experiencing a depression and colonisation was looked at as a possible solution to surplus population and widespread distress.
In 1829 Edward Gibbon Wakefield, foremost of a new school of social writers and thinkers, published ‘A Letter From Sydney’. He expounded a new, systematic and positive colonisation scheme emphasising care in the selection of would-be immigrants across all sections of society and a more enlightened attitude, for its time, to the indigenous inhabitants of lands proposed for colonisation.
In 1837 the New Zealand Association was formed in London with Francis Baring MP, Sir William Hutt MP, Sir William Molesworth MP and the Earl of Durham among its members. The Association solicited support from the Government which, in essence, would allow them the maximum power with the minimum of responsibility.
In a prophetic speech Mr Gladstone foresaw many difficulties connected with the alienation of Maori land and warned the House that great complexity of relations would ensue if the colonisers were given a free hand.
After this initial rejection by the Government Edward Gibbon Wakefield organised his colleagues into a more powerful combination which included Joseph Somes, the largest individual ship-owner in England
The New Zealand Company
The New Zealand Company was founded on 3 May 1839 with capital of 100,000 pounds. Three days later, after a farewell speech by William Hutt as chairman of the gathering, Edward Gibbon, Wakefield's younger brother (36 year old Colonel William Wakefield) set sail for New Zealand on the Tory as the Company's principle agent.
William Wakefield had instructions to acquire from the Maori 110,000 acres of flat and fertile land in easy reach of a safe harbour, prepare for the early arrival of a body of settlers from England and then acquire as much land as possible to 'keep off land-sharks and squatters'. The Tory left very hurriedly to beat the race against Sydney land speculators and other colonisation schemes under way in England and France, and in defiance of the Colonial Office and in contempt of the House of Commons who were planning to stop them.