Hutt at Heart

City of Lower Hutt Coat of Arms

You may recognise our ‘City of Lower Hutt Coat of Arms’. It’s on some of our official documents, and in the Office of the Mayor, but what you may not know is what it means.

The first drawing of our coat of arms was done by W. R. Bock & Son Ltd in 1940, as part of the 50 year jubilee celebrations when the borough became a city (1941) – it was even used on the luncheon menu cover!

Conversations began in 1952 about officially registering the coat of arms and a new design was created. It was based on the original design, but added some new Hutt features, such as the cogwheel.

An application was sent to the Royal College of Arms (London) in 1954 and granted by the Garter Kings of Arms in 1955. Council was very keen to put the coat of arms on the new War Memorial Library, Town Hall and Admin Building and was still making final tweaks when the arms were installed.

Every city has a coat of arms. They are adopted to give cities a unique sense of identity. Each coat of arms is made up of traditional heraldic elements: the arms (inside the shield), crest (above the shield), supporters (beside the shield), and motto. In New Zealand, the imagery often combined British and Māori elements.

The top of the shield is broken into thirds. The first is an arms (the thing that looks like a flag) that belongs to Sir William Hutt, a Member of Parliament in England and a Director of the New Zealand Company, the namesake of Lower Hutt.

The centre is a cogwheel that represents industrial growth and the final third is a wheat sheaf that represents agriculture as the first occupation.

The bottom of the shield is made up of a ship that represents the coming of British settlers to Lower Hutt (if you look closely you can even make out the Southern Cross on the flag).

On the crest sits a tui holding a Kōwhai flower on top of a helmet. Tui were, and continue to be, prevalent in Lower Hutt. Their song is a complicated mix of notes and they gather around Kōwhai trees.

The two supporters represent the British settler/farmer, holding a long handed shovel and resting his hand on the head of a farm dog and a Māori Warrior holding a taiaha (a traditional Māori war weapon) encountered on arrival.

If you’d like any more information on our coat of arms, contact the fantastic team at the Hutt City Council Archives.

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