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Friday, 22 March 2019 08:17 pm

Upper Hutt’s gone to the dogs for its 50th birthday celebration


Marty was tuckered out after spending the day at the HUHA stand and entering the pup parade.

Upper Hutt city gave a nod to the 1960’s when it held a pup parade on Main Street Saturday afternoon.


Prince rocking his leather jacket

The 18 dogs paraded in costumes and showed off their obedience skills before a panel of judges and a street full of locals.

There were prizes for best dressed, best personality, most obedient, best human and the overall best Upper Hutt pup.

A similar parade took place in 1966 when Upper Hutt was declared a city by the then Governor General Sir Bernard Fergusson on May 28.

This year’s parade was part of the Little City Big Bash – the final event in a six month programme celebrating the city’s 50th anniversary.

The response to the event was fantastic considering the weather, says organiser Megan O’Conner.

“It’s so representative of what our community is about anyway, Upper Hutt people like to get in amongst it,” says O’Conner.


Caleb Te Hira (left) and Jessica Weston were the winners of the Voice of Upper Hutt competition

The Voice of Upper Hutt competition was the other major drawcard for the day as nine finalists competed for a spot in the grand final after competing in heats earlier in the month.

The competition, sponsored by Prime Music Academy and the Upper Hutt Cossie Club offered recording time, a performance at Carols in the Park, and vocal coaching as prizes for the winners.

Caleb Te Hira (12) won over the judges with his version of Hero by Mariah Carey and Jessica Weston (13) won the senior category with a song she wrote for her father who was heading to Afghanistan for seven months with the NZ Army.

The judges were Gareth Barker, Anita Prime and Lynne Radovich and gave constructive feedback to each performer.


Library staff Reid Perkins (left) and Rachel Sonius got right into celebrating the 1960’s at the pop-up museum

A pop-up museum was created by the archives team at the Upper Hutt Library and is open until next Sunday.

Over 700 people had been through by Saturday morning and library staff who were dressed appropriately for a celebration of the 1960’s were there to help people as they explored.

The library has over 23,000 photos stored on their online database and many of them appear as part of the museum.

“We’ve captured people’s memories from the 1960’s and so all the quotes on the wall are people’s memories of that time,” says staff member Reid Perkins.

Main Street was closed from 10am to 4pm as community groups and businesses had stalls where people could buy goodies or learn more about what happens in the city.

A sense of community and togetherness is something locals spoken to by NewsWire on the day appreciate about Upper Hutt.

“It’s very much community and family orientated and house prices are lower as well as the new developments so new houses in great locations,” says Laura Brown-Thomas (24), who is also a Girl Guide leader and homeowner.

Ingrid Goodwin Barratt wasn’t so sure about Upper Hutt having grown up in Wellington but had a total change of heart now that she lives in the city.

“We initially moved here because of house prices, it was somewhere affordable but somewhere we knew that we could settle in the long-term because it has great schools and a really good community spirit.

“Every day when we drive home from Wellington, our four-year-old son says ‘Yay, we’re back in our town!’ – he’s always happy to be back in


Phil McKirdy

Upper Hutt,” says Barratt.

The following were some of the other comments from locals who were asked what they like about Upper Hutt, and what they would change:

Phil McKirdy (61) likes the quiet, and would not change a thing: “It’s fine as it is”.

Caroline Welkon (56) cited community, everything is easy to get to, and beautiful views and also would change nothing.


Rosy Keane

Rosy Keane (27) says “it feels like you know everyone.” She’d love to see more commerce and support for local businesses.

Jess Milne (15) like the community but wishes there was more to do.


Melissa Cousins

Shikira McLean (14) loves the generosity but wishes there was more for teenagers to do.

Joncey Young says the people are friendly and she would love to be able to change people’s perceptions of the city.

Melissa Cousins (15) likes the freedom to walk around and wouldn’t change anything.

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