For those of our overseas readers who haven’t visited us at home, we thought it was time to let you have a look at where we live. Our suburb is called “Totara Park”, developed in the late 1960s after the completion of a new bridge across the Hutt River. The land on this side of the river was originally the Whiteman Farm. The subdivision was named Totara Park, after the many large totara trees growing here. These slow growing native trees can reach a height of 25 metres and the tree trunks have a great girth. There are several totara trees on the round-about at the entrance of Totara Park, and others scattered around the area.
Totara Park bridge
The Hutt River is a steep alluvial river that starts in the Tararua Ranges and enters Wellington Harbour at Petone. The river drains mountainous terrain in the southern Tararua and Rimutaka Ranges and streams and rivers from the Eastern and Western Hutt hills. Our river is very important, supplying most of the municipal water supplies for the Wellington region, held in two large storage lakes at Te Marua, north of Upper Hutt. The lakes are filled from the river when there is plenty of water available. Stored water is pumped back to the treatment plant when there is not enough water in the river to meet public demand, when the river is too dirty - after heavy rainfall - or when it is in flood and the intake is closed to prevent rocks and gravel from entering the intake pipes.
The Hutt River from the Totara Park bridge
Heavy trucks and trailers laden with logs rumble down from the Akatarawa Forest in the hills and cross over the bridge. Saw milling has been going on for over 100 years in this area, firstly cutting down native timbers. Plantations of “exotics” such as radiata pine are now milled. I had my trusty camera with me and I just managed to snap a heavily laden truck as it turned on to the bridge.