Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Hutt River flows down the Hutt Valley to Wellington Harbour...

The Hutt River flows through the southern North Island of New Zealand. It flows south-west from the southern Tararua Ranges for 56 km, forming a number of fertile floodplains, including Kaitoke, central Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt.

The headwaters in the Kaitoke Regional Park are closed to preserve the quality of the drinking water drawn off at Kaitoke to supply the greater Wellington area. Below Kaitoke is the Kaitoke gorge, a popular destination for Rafting. Below the gorge is Te Marua, where the Mangaroa River joins the Hutt from the east. Further down, just above of the Upper Hutt floodplain, the Akatarawa River joins the Hutt from the west. The Upper Hutt floodplain contains the greater potion of Upper Hutt city. At this point the river starts to flow along a virtually straight geologic fault. At the lower end of the Upper Hutt floodplain is Taita Gorge, which separates Upper Hutt from Lower Hutt, this gorge is significantly shorter and less constricting than Kaitoke gorge. The river's outflow, at Petone, is into Wellington harbour. The geological fault which the river previously followed continues as a steep bluff at the edge of the Wellington Harbour.

For most of its length, the Hutt is a shallow and sometimes braided river in a wide rocky bed, but in the Kaitoke gorge the river flows directly over bedrock and approaching the mouth at Petone the river is narrower and the banks steeper. The larger populated areas in Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt are protected from flooding by stopbanks and introduced willow trees, as is common in New Zealand. The regular flooding of Lower Hutt resulted in high fertility land and prior to the building of state housing by the Labour Government starting in 1937, there were many market gardens in Lower Hutt.

The Hutt has moved significantly since European settlement, due to a major earthquake. The pre-earthquake river emptied into the Pauatahanui Inlet (an arm of Porirua Harbour on the west coast). Pauatahanui Inlet is now slowly silting up.

State highway two follows the course of the river for most of its length, with the exception of the Kaitoke gorge and the head waters, before crossing the Rimutaka Ranges into the Wairarapa.

The Hutt River in photos

1 comment:

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