The Hutt River is a steep alluvial river that starts from the Tararua Ranges and enters Wellington Harbour at Petone. It flows through the mountainous terrain of southern Tararua and western Remutaka Ranges with several streams and rivers from the Eastern and Western Hutt hills joining with it on the journey.
The catchment is spread over 655 square kilometres, nearly seven times the area of Wellington Harbour. The 56-kilometre long Hutt River has a history of flooding with four main tributaries – Akatarawa, Mangaroa, Pakuratahi and Whakatiki. A storm in any part of the catchment could result in flooding. It takes only seven hours for heavy rain at the top of the catchment to turn into floodwaters at the Hutt River mouth.
The Hutt River provides opportunities for many environmental, ecological and social benefits, ranging from weekend leisure activities to ecological links down the whole valley length.
Following a review of the 2001 Hutt River Environmental Strategy, a new and revised Action Plan has been developed. Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River Environmental Strategy Action Plan (HRES Action Plan) frames the vision and sets out what is needed to achieve the aims and objectives identified by the community for the management and enhancement of the river corridor environment.
Greater Wellington works with our regions communities to manage the flood risk from rivers in our catchments. Our approach to managing flood risk is to understand river and floodplain processes and provide a coordinated response through our floodplain management plans in partnership with the community.
Hutt Floodplain Management Brochure [1.2MB] (PDF 1.2 MB) [this is designed to be printed at A3 size]
Recent rainfall events on 13 June and 8 July 2018 in the Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River have resulted in erosion at some places of the bank edge in Upper Hutt. This resulted in a washout of the Hutt River Trail, which also acts as a truck bypass route for State Highway 2 (SH2) opposite Gibbons Street. The truck bypass is already unusable. If the erosion is not managed, SH2 and the stopbank will be at risk.
Erosion protection work near Gibbons Street in Upper Hutt on the Hutt River is being carried out to preserve the river channel alignment and to provide protection for SH2. The work is being done by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and is jointly funded by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
GWRC is constructing a new 125-metre rockline, which is placing large boulders against the river bank to prevent erosion and an existing 80-metre rockline is being re-built. These rocklines will protect SH2, stopbanks, and the Hutt River Trail from erosion.
The work involves using bulldozers and heavy machinery for construction and rebuilding. We will be monitoring river flows over the entire duration of the construction and re-building work.
Construction and rebuilding works will cause temporary sedimentation and the river may appear muddy at times.
We are mindful of the impact our work in the river can have on fish and nesting birds. We have carried out ecological monitoring before starting work at the site. Monitoring covers studying physical habitat, water quality, suspended sediment, habitat mapping and fish communities. We will continue to monitor during the duration of the construction and rebuilding works, and also after completion of the project to gather information about the effects of flood protection activities.
Conscious about the native fish migration and spawning periods, we have timed our work outside the time when fish migrate and spawn. We have also done our work to avoid the riffle (shallow part of the stream where water flows brokenly), and any fish stranded will be relocated.
The work will have no impact on nesting birds as the site has been surveyed prior to starting of the project. No nesting birds were found.
Our work to mitigate erosion risks will have no impact on lizard populations as there is no impact on lizard habitat such as river terrace manuka, kanuka scrub, native grassland, scree or border fields.
The project is expected to be completed by early May 2019.
We will avoid works outside 7am – 7pm Monday to Saturday and we aim to complete work during dry weather when ground conditions are dry.
For providing feedback and suggestions, call: 0800 496 734, or
The Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) Hutt River (Te Awa Kairangi) flood protection project for the City Centre section is a combination of stopbank raising and widening on both banks of the river, as well as river channel widening. The project stretches some 3 kilometres from Kennedy Good Bridge to the Ewen Bridge downstream and completes an upgrade to the level of protection for the more intensively urbanised river plain contiguous with the Hutt City town centre.
This project’s urban interface also gives rise to opportunities for additional ‘layers’ of public benefit to be realised over and above flood protection. These additional benefits can be gained from combining the projects of stakeholders, particularly Hutt City Council’s (HCC) town centre improvements called Making Places, and the New Zealand Transport Agency’s (NZTA) Melling Bridge and highway intersection improvements, with the flood protection project.
The map below shows an overview of the Hutt Valley. To find out flood hazard information about a specific area, download the plan number shown below from the flood map box on the right of this page.
Alternatively you can view our GIS maps online.
Get in touch