Totara Park is located 2 km northeast of the city centre. It is accessed via the Totara Park Bridge which crosses the Hutt River, connecting it to State Highway 2 and the main Upper Hutt urban area. It was popular in the 1970s and 1980s for families moving into the Upper Hutt area.
Most of the streets in Totara Park are named after states, towns and cities of the United States, with the main road running through the suburb being California Drive.
Totara Park is built on alluvial gravel. The Wellington Fault runs through the suburb – one section of California Drive straddles the fault, and the road lanes are built on either side of the fault with a large central reservation between them. This was designed so houses would be offset at least 20 metres from the fault, hopefully limiting damage if the fault were to rupture.
The Māori names for this area are Te Hau-karetu and for the Hutt River itself; Heretaunga, and Awa Kairangi.
On the western side to an ornate suspension bridge opened in 1917. Maoribank Bridge, originally being able to carry automobiles and trucks, eventually was used for pedestrians only, and finally collapsing in a medium flood in the early 1990s. A new modern type suspension bridge was then built on the northern side towards Brown Owl.
The river surrounding the original suspension bridge was a popular picnic and swimming spot for the entire region. A high point along the western side of the valley is named Cannon Point, this is due to an old fallen tree resembling a cannon that was once there. Walking routes and logging roads connect Cannon Point to Akatarawa, Moonshine and other areas to the west.
Totara Park was the name for the entire eastern side of the upper valley, due to the Tōtara trees that grew there.
Totara Park School is the sole school located in Totara Park. Serving Years 1 to 6, it has a socioeconomic decile of 7 and a roll of approximately 250 students.
Totara Park Kindergarten
Totara Park School
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