Hutt CityPopulation forecast
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Hutt City

Drivers of population change

Development history

Hutt City is located at the southern end of New Zealand's North Island, north-east of Wellington City. Geographically, the city has developed around the southern half of the Hutt Valley and the eastern coast of the Wellington Harbour with the outer parts of the City (such as Homedale and Pencarrow) having their coasts out into the Cook Strait. Prior to European settlement, Māori settlements were located near the Hutt River mouth and the shoreline, with a pa at each end of Petone Beach, in the City’s south. European settlement began in 1839 with the arrival of immigrant ships soon after. Before the Second World War, urban settlement in Hutt City concentrated mainly on Petone, central Hutt City and the Esplanade area.

Hutt City’s growth has gone hand in hand with major residential developments, focused squarely on family homes and sections, alongside major transport and business developments such as developments of the Ford assembly plant in 1936. In the late 1940s, new suburbs of state housing developed along the eastern side of the City, from Waiwhetu to Taita, to alleviate nationwide housing shortages and to cater for the booming post-war population. During this time of growth, railway line extensions into new suburbs of Hutt City encouraged further growth, including expansion to Wainuiomata, Stokes Valley, Normandale and Avalon. Residential growth slowed considerably by the early 1980s. By this time, most of the greenfield potential in Hutt City was developed and the remaining large land holdings moved into multiple ownership, while greenfield areas in other parts of Wellington were developed.

Migration patterns

The Hutt City area was mainly developed for agriculture and horticulture until the 1920s, when the New Zealand Government bought large tracts of land for housing. In the mid-1940s, state housing for 20,000 people was built in the north-eastern suburbs of the city (Epuni, Naenae, Taita) and the new suburban rail line connected people to workplaces further down the valley and in Wellington City. From the 1960s, middle class home buyers (families) headed for the western hill suburbs. Maungaraki was developed by the then city council for private housing and was the largest government subdivision in New Zealand involving significant earthworks to cut valleys and fill hilltops. In terms of migration moves – Hutt City has both gained residents from a variety of places and lost residents to a variety of places.

The highest net migration gains in the 2008-2013 period were people moving here from Wellington City (a gain of 775 persons over five years). This represents many people who are moving here either for employment or to purchase more affordable housing than what may be available in Wellington City. There were also 1,110 arrivals from overseas in the same 2008-2013 period. Note that because this information is based on the Census question “Where did you live five years ago?” it does not necessarily mean that overseas arrivals moved directly to Hutt City. They may have moved elsewhere first and then within those five years migrated to Hutt City, again for proximity to employment or rental/housing affordability reasons. Hutt City lost most of its residents in the 2008-2013 period to Upper Hutt City ( a loss of 828 people), Auckland City (-516 people), Kapiti Coast District (-453 people) and Porirua City (-129 people). Other less notable territorial authorities to which Hutt City has lost population in the 2008-2013 period are Tauranga, Dunedin and Palmerston North. These departures will also have a dominant age group profile depending on whether they are younger people leaving the City for education and employment purposes (to areas such as Auckland City, Dunedin) or young families who may be looking to purchase a first home either in Upper Hutt City or across in Porirua City in the new greenfield estates offering housing there.

Just over 47% of all Hutt City residents did not move between 2008 and 2013, i.e. remained at the same address (46,461 residents). Of all the residents who moved during this time, 20.8% have moved within the city (20,454 residents), 4.3% have moved to Hutt City from other parts of New Zealand (4,182 residents) and 5.1% have moved to Hutt City from another country (5,049 residents). For more information on migration moves to and from the city, the “Migration by Location” page provides useful information and data (

The abovementioned migration information relates to long term/permanent migration moves. However, on a daily scale, i.e. journey to work, it is visible that Hutt City is very connected with its neighbours – Wellington City and Porirua City. 34% of people who are employed in Hutt City travel from outside the City to work here. Of the total number of employed Hutt City residents – 52% work within the city and 32% commute to Wellington City for work (just over 15,000 employed residents) with 1,500 travelling to Upper Hutt City and approximately 700 to Porirua City for work.

Historical migration flows, Hutt City, 2006-2011
Historical migration flows, Hutt City, 2006-2011
'Overseas' refers to arrivals only.

Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.

Housing role and function

Different parts of Hutt City have diverse housing roles and functions. As a whole, the City contains following housing markets establishing within it:

In recent years and during the forecast period, Hutt City as a whole will continue to have a net migration gain of young couples and young families in their late twenties and thirties with children aged 0-9 years old who move to the area from other parts of the Wellington region, such as Wellington City, or further afield – mainly for more affordable housing opportunities while remaining relatively close to the Wellington City employment hub. There is also a net gain of established families aged 40-49 years with children aged 10-14 years. There is a net loss of young adults in their late teens and early twenties, aged 18-24, who leave the City in search of education and employment opportunities elsewhere in the region (such as Wellington City) or other centres around New Zealand. There is also a notable net loss of adults aged over 50 (50-69 years old) who represent empty nesters, early retirees and retirees. This segment of the population may be moving out of Hutt City to downsize housing after children have left home or may be selling property here in Hutt City and moving to areas where their money goes further in terms of housing purchase possibilities. Older age groups remain relatively stable in terms of net migration with some minor increases in 75-89 year olds who may be moving here from some less services territorial authorities in order to live in independent retirement living units, aged care facilities or just to be closer to heath care providers, doctors and hospitals as they reach this stage of their lives.

Within the city, there are some variations in terms of housing roles and functions. Places such as Alicetown-Melling and Glendale tend to have a net gain of young adults aged 18-24 who may be moving here from more suburban parts of the City. These areas have slight losses of couples with children who may be migrating in the opposite direction – to the suburbs to establish families. Other central Hutt City areas such as Esplanade will also gain young adults, likely to be a mix of young lone persons, young couples without children and young couples with children aged 25-34 years old.

Small areas such as Belmont, Boulcott and Haywards-Manor Park-Kelson will experience net gains in slightly more established families who can afford to purchase property here. These established families (adults aged 39-49 years with children aged 5-14 years) are offset by expected losses of young adults aged 18-24 who vacate the areas in search of schooling and employment elsewhere. Some areas with little residential development assumed during the forecast period will experience suburban regeneration during the forecast period. This means that as an existing population in an area ages over time (i.e. The population ages in place), older people tend to vacate properties as they get older, downsize or become frail and the vacant households may be taken up by younger generations and therefore the demographic characteristics of the area also change during the forecast period.

Housing supply

Historically, most development in Hutt City occurred in the more accessible valley sections before the hilly suburbs were established. The New Zealand Government helped develop housing for 20,000 people in the mid-1940s as part of a state housing initiative in the north-eastern suburbs of the city (Epuni, Naenae, Taita). In recent years, these areas have actually experienced some demolitions of aged state housing dwelling stock which is reflected in the 2013-2043 forecasts. From the 1960s, more attractive housing was developed for middle-class residents on the western hills of the City. Other suburbs of the TA further out of the central valley area such as Eastbourne and Wainuiomata have also developed during this time. In recent years, Hutt City experienced similar annual rates of development, with around 167 dwelling additions in the 2001-2006 period and a slightly lower average annual rate of dwelling additions in the most recent 2006-2013 Census period. Most development in the 2001-2006 period occurred in Normandale-Tiruhanga and Maungaraki whereas in the 2006-2013 period, most development occurred in Parkway, Stokes Valley and Korokoro-Petone Central-Wilford. During this latest Census period, Taita North actually experienced a net loss of 87 dwellings due to the state housing demolitions, which were followed by the development of Riverside Gardens from 2014.

During this forecast, Hutt City will continue to experience a mix of small scale infill development in established areas, greenfield development, both lifestyle blocks and more dense stand alone housing in areas such as Belmont (Sweetacres Drive lifestyle blocks), Glendale (Upper Fitzherbert/Wise Street), Stokes Valley Northwest and Stokes Valley West (Shaftesbury Grove developments) Haywards-Manor Park-Kelson (both standard greenfield development and Liverton Road lifestyle blocks). Some Low rise apartment/townhouse development and urban intensification areas can be expected to develop in small areas such as Alicetown-Melling, Avalon, Boulcott, Epuni East and West, Esplanade, Gracefield-Seaview-Waiwhetu, Hutt Central-Waterloo West, Korokoro-Petone Central-Wilford, Naenae and Waterloo East with different assumed development rates and capacities of anticipated residential development. Central, well established and connected areas can be expected to be the first to experience low rise apartment and townhouse/urban intensification growth followed by outer established areas in the City.

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