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Petone

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Petone is a large suburb of Lower Hutt, in the Wellington Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is located at the southern end of the Hutt Valley, on the northern shore of Wellington Harbour. The name, from the Māori Pito-one, means "end of the sand beach".Petone was first settled by Europeans in 1840, making it one of the oldest settlements in the Wellington Region. It became a borough in 1888, and merged with Lower Hutt City in 1989.HistoryPetone was the first European settlement in the Wellington region and retains many historical buildings and landmarks.A substantial Maori pa (fortified settlement) was already established at Pito-one close to the beach when the first European settlers arrived in the region. The first European settlers in large numbers arrived on 22 January 1840, on the ship Aurora carrying 25 married couples, 36 single persons and 40 children. The locality was described as, "sandy beach, which is about two miles long... bounded on either side by wooded hills from 300 to 400 feet in height. It was covered in high forest to within a mile and a half of the beach, when swamps full of flax and a belt of sand hummocks intervened." The Maori from the nearby pa came to meet them, one passenger's diary recording, "the venerable old chief Te Puni... together with sons and endless relatives and a pa full of natives who were delighted to greet us with 'Kapai-te-Pakeha' and other expressions of greeting". A beach settlement of small wooden houses and tents was established, which was initially called Britannia. The earliest European settlers found life hard. Nevertheless the settlement grew: the population of "Pito-one and Hutt" in 1845 was given as 649, compared to, "Town of Wellington" of 2,667. In 1850 the Maori pa at Pito-one was described as, "the largest and best fortified within the District of Wellington... their cultivations of kumara and maize look well and the residents, in point of comfort and wealth, are better off than any of the Port Nicholson natives... total population 136." There was horse racing at Pito-one Beach on 20 October 1842, attracting a crowd of five or six hundred people from Wellington.
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