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Naenae
Basic information
Local authority Lower Hutt City
Population 8,292 (2006)
Facilities
Train station(s) Naenae Railway Station
Surrounds
North Wingate
Southwest Epuni
West Boulcott
Northwest Avalon

Naenae ( occasionally spelled NaeNae) is a suburb of the city of Lower Hutt in the North Island of New Zealand. It lies on the eastern edge of the floodplain of the Hutt River, four kilometres from the Lower Hutt Central business district. A small tributary of the Hutt, the Waiwhetu Stream, flows through the suburb.

Naenae has a population of around 8,000 people. It has several schools, including Naenae College (previously the second largest in Lower Hutt), Naenae Intermediate, Naenae Primary, Rata Street School, St. Bernadettes' and Wa Ora Montessori.

Naenae's shopping centre contains an Olympic-size swimming-pool, built when New Zealand hosted an international diving championships. The pool has three diving boards. Originally open-air, the complex gained a roof due to overwhelming public support, making it accessible all year round. A hydroslide adjacent to the main pool attracts more people. The toddlers' paddling pool remained open-air for a few years more.

Naenae or nae-nae is a translation from the Māori, meaning "mosquito" or "sandfly", recalling a time prior to the draining of the area, when the mosquito population predominated.

History

As Lower Hutt expanded after the end of World War II in 1945, the Labour government under Peter Fraser selected Naenae as an ideal site to become a "designer community", a model suburb of sorts, where a suburban state housing estate would complement a substantial shopping centre. This community centre would serve as a social hub for the greater area. The planners hoped that nuclear family life could manifest itself in such a scheme. Due to the increasing urbanisation of New Zealand, demand for housing outstripped the need for such centres, leaving the scheme only partially realised.

Ernst Plischke, an Austrian architect, designed plans for the new community centre between 1942 and 1943. However the design was later drastically changed by government architect Gordon Wilson.

Naenae railway station (opened 1946), on the Hutt Valley section of the Wairarapa Line, adjoins Naenae's shopping centre.

Naenae's post-modern Post Office officially opened in 1966, paying homage to the Art Deco era Main Post Office in Lower Hutt town centre.

A re-zoning of Naenae made it partly industrial in the 1960s, but it was principally a residential area. At its peak, Naenae boasted two manufacturers with strong Dutch connections:

  1. Philips, which produced televisions and radios, see pictures here. This industry closed down during the 1980s: Resene Paints now occupies the buildings.
  2. Rembrandt Suits Ltd, formed following the Second World War by Dutch tailors. It now exports mainly to Australia, and has major contracts throughout the world.
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