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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


Petone … Home of Industries

Pre-Eminent Advantages
Dominion's Geographical Centre
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Petone, 1940, from Koro Koro Hills. (See page 29 for contrast Petone, 1840).

Second thoughts are not always the best, and the first decision of Captain Mein Smith, the surveyor attached to the New Zealand Land Company, to make Petone the site of the future city was probably wiser than the second decision to transfer to the site of the present City of Wellington. Petone has many important natural advantages which make it pre-eminently the site of the chief industrial centre of the Dominion. Lying, as it does, at the head of Port Nicholson, with the whole of the Hutt Valley for a background, with splendid hillside residential sites on either side, with a river mouth capable of becoming an important harbour and seaplane base, with ample water supplies from river, rivulet, and underground artesian supply, facing the finest harbour in New Zealand, and in almost the exact geographical centre of the Dominion, it commenced its race for industrial supremacy with a clear lead. To these natural advantages are added ones that it lies athwart the main highway and is traversed both from north to south and from east to west by the main railway line. It is probably the most compact borough in the Dominion forming, roughly, a rectangle about two miles from east to west and one-and-a-quarter miles from north to south. On the south it is bounded by Port Nicholson, on the east by the Hutt river, on the north chiefly by Wakefield Street (which was at one time called White's Line—being the first east to west survey line cut across the Hutt Valley by a surveyor named White) and on the west by a line running closely parallel to the Koro Koro stream. It contains a total of 1,052 acres of which 767 are flat and 285 of rolling hills comprising the suburbs of Koro Koro and Maungaraki, at present only sparsely settled; but destined to be an important residential district.
In addition to sites at present available for industries it is almost certain that an area of probably 300 or more acres will be reclaimed from the harbour in the Koro Koro bight, while a further large area at the western harbour mouth is planned for reclamation by the Hutt River Board. This latter area would form a first-class site for an aerodrome with a seaplane base adjoining. Tentative plans have from time to time been formulated for a harbour at the river-mouth, and at the present time the Hutt Valley Development Plan, in process of compilation, envisages such a harbour.
It may, therefore, be said that, great as has been the progress during the past half-century, Petone is as yet only in the cradle stage of its development.

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