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Hawke's Bay Region


Hawke's Bay Region

Hawke's Bay
Country: New Zealand
Regional council
Name: Hawke's Bay Regional Council
Seat: Napier
Largest city: Hastings
Population: 160,100 June 2015 estimate [1]
Land area: 14,111 km²
Chair: Fenton Wilson
Deputy chair: Ewan William McGregor
Cities and towns
Cities: HastingsNapier
Towns and other settlements: Bridge PaCliveFrasertownHaumoanaMahia BeachMaraekakahoNuhakaOcean BeachOngaongaOtaneTakapauTe AwangaTikokinoTuaiTutiraWaimaramaWaipawaWaipukurauWairoa
Territorial authorities
Names: Central Hawke's Bay
Hastings District
Napier City
Wairoa District
Geographic figures
Land area: 14,111 km²
Coastline: 360 km
Highest point: Mount Mangaweka 1,733m
Longest river: Mohaka River 174 km
Largest lake: Lake Waikaremoana 54 km²

Hawke's Bay (Māori: Heretaunga) is a region of New Zealand on the east coast of the North Island. It is recognised on the world stage for its award-winning wines. Hawke's Bay Regional Council sits in both the cities of Napier and Hastings. It derives from Hawke Bay which was named by Captain James Cook in honour of Admiral Edward Hawke who decisively defeated the French at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759.


  • Geography 1
  • Population 2
  • History 3
  • Economy 4
  • Seismicity 5
  • Culture 6
  • Sport 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Part of the Hawke's Bay landscape

The region is situated on the east coast of the North Island. It bears the former name of what is now Hawke Bay, a large semi-circular bay that extends for 100 kilometres from northeast to southwest from Mahia Peninsula to Cape Kidnappers.

The Hawke's Bay region includes the hilly coastal land around the northern and central bay, the floodplains of the Wairoa River in the north, the wide fertile Heretaunga Plains around Hastings in the south, and a hilly interior stretching up into the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges.

Five major rivers flow down into the coast of Hawke's Bay. From north to south, they are the Wairoa River, Mohaka River, Tutaekuri River, Ngaruroro River and Tukituki River respectively. Lake Waikaremoana is situated in northern Hawke's Bay roughly 35 km from the coast. It is the largest lake in Hawke's Bay, 4th largest in the North Island and 16th largest in New Zealand.

The region consists of Wairoa District, Hastings District, Napier City, and Central Hawke's Bay District, as well as the town of Taharua in Taupo District and the town of Ngamatea in Rangitikei District. The region's boundaries vary somewhat from the former provincial boundaries of Hawke's Bay, and some towns in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region to the southwest, such as Dannevirke and Woodville, have a historical association with Hawke's Bay.

In June 2015, the Local Government Commission proposed the amalgamation of the four local councils with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.[2]

The region has a hill with the longest place name in New Zealand, and the longest in the world according to the 2009 Guinness Book of Records. Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu is an otherwise unremarkable hill in southern Hawke's Bay, not far from Waipukurau.


A map showing population density in the Hawke's Bay region at the 2006 census

The region's population is 160,100 from the June 2015 estimate.[1] Of these, 60,400 lived in Napier district and 74,300 lived in the Hastings district. The main urban areas are Napier and Hastings. Smaller communities include Wairoa, Taradale, Havelock North, Tikokino, Waipawa, Waipukurau, and Takapau. The region has a significant Māori population (24% of the total population at the 2006 census). A major local Māori tribe is Ngāti Kahungunu.

Below is a list of urban areas that contain more than 1,000 population.
Urban area Population
(June 2015 estimate)[1]
% of region
Hastings 68,200 42.6%
Napier 61,500 38.4%
Wairoa 4,260 2.7%
Waipukurau 4,060 2.5%
Waipawa 2,070 1.3%


Hawke's Bay Province was founded in 1858 as a province of New Zealand, after being separated from the Wellington Province following a meeting in Napier in February 1858. The Province was abolished in 1876 along with all other provinces in New Zealand. It was replaced with a Provincial District.

On February 3, 1931, Napier and Hastings were devastated by New Zealand's worst natural disaster, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale, which killed 256 people. Napier rebuilt and now the city is world famous for its Art Deco buildings, and celebrates its heritage each February with the Art Deco Weekend. MTG Hawke's Bay, formerly Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery, has an exhibition on the earthquake, its causes and impact.


The GDP of the Hawke's Bay region was estimated at US$4.3 billion in 2003, 3% of the national GDP.[3]

A Hawke's Bay vineyard in autumn
Maraetotara Falls

The region is renowned for its horticulture, with large orchards and vineyards on the plains. In the hilly parts of the region sheep and cattle farming predominates, with forestry blocks in the roughest areas.

Inside a Hawke's Bay winery

The climate is dry and temperate, and the long, hot summers and cool winters offer excellent weather for growing grapes. Missionaries in the mid 19th century planted the first vines in Hawke's Bay and it is now becoming an important place for full bodied red wines.[4] As of January 2010, there are an estimated 75 wineries located across Hawke's Bay.[5]


Hawke's Bay is one of the most seismically active regions in New Zealand and has experienced many large and often damaging earthquakes. More than 50 damaging earthquakes have rocked the region since the 1800s. Some of the more notable are listed below.

Date Location Magnitude (ML) Depth Fatalities More information
8 July 1843 25 km west of Tikokino 7.6 12 km 2
22 Feb 1863 Waipukurau 7.5 25 km 1863 Hawke's Bay earthquake
5 Oct 1911 Hastings 5.6 33 km
28 Jun 1921 Kaweka Forest Park 7.0 80 km
12 Feb 1930 Porangahau 6.2 33 km
3 Feb 1931 20 km north of Napier 7.8 20 km 256 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake
8 Feb 1931 Wairoa 6.4 60 km
13 Feb 1931 50 km east of Napier 7.3 30 km
5 May 1932 50 km east of Napier 5.9 12 km
16 Sep 1932 Wairoa 6.9 12 km
15 Mar 1934 Mohaka 6.1 25 km
14 Apr 1934 Takapau 5.6 30 km
15 Dec 1938 Waipukurau 5.6 25 km
26 Feb 1940 Hastings 6.0 25 km
28 Feb 1950 Lake Waikaremoana 5.8 60 km
10 Feb 1951 Porangahau 6.1 33 km
31 Jan 1958 Waipawa 6.1 12 km
20 Mar 1976 Wairoa 5.5 6 km
5 Oct 1980 Hastings 5.7 30 km
11 Apr 1993 Hastings 6.1 38 km
15 Oct 2001 Hastings 5.8 40 km
25 Aug 2008 Hastings 5.9 31 km 2008 Hastings earthquake


The region is served by a variety of radio stations including Radio Kahungunu, Classic Hits 89.5, More FM, access station Radio Kidnappers and local station Bay FM. As well, most of the national commercial and non-commercial operators have transmitters covering the region. Hawke's Bay also has its own TV station, TVHB, which provides a mix of news and information programmes hosted by local personalities.

Hawke's Bay produces some of New Zealand's finest wines and once a year Harvest Hawke's Bay celebrates the fact by offering a three-day wine and food festival. This event attracts many thousands.

Napier is home to the Mission Concert held early each year since 1993. The event, held at the Mission Estate Winery in Taradale, has attracted performers such as Kenny Rogers, Shirley Bassey, Rod Stewart, The B-52's, Belinda Carlisle, Ray Charles, and Eric Clapton. The 2009 concert attraction was to be Lionel Richie, but the concert was cancelled because of rain.


As throughout New Zealand, Rugby union is the most popular sport. The Hawke's Bay Magpies play in New Zealand's annual professional domestic rugby union competition, the ITM Cup. The team represents the Hawke's Bay region in provincial representative rugby, and draws its players from the constituent clubs who are affiliated to the provincial union. The team play their home matches in McLean Park in Napier. Players representing Hawke's Bay are also eligible to play for the Hurricanes franchise in the annual transnational Super Rugby competition. Hawke's Bay has produced a number of notable All Blacks, including Cyril Brownlie, Maurice Brownlie, Mark Donaldson, and more recently, Bryn Evans, Greg Somerville, and current All Blacks Israel Dagg, Hikawera Elliot and Zac Guildford. The Hawke's Bay Hawks compete in the New Zealand National Basketball League.


  1. ^ a b c For urban areas,
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ The-Wine-Library Short Description of wine in Hawkes Bay
  5. ^ [1] List of Wineries in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

External links

  • Food and Wine Destinations
  • Official Hawke's Bay Tourism Portal
  • Official Newcomers website - free information service for newcomers to Hawke's Bay
  • Hastings District Council website
  • Napier City Council website
  • Hawke's Bay Regional Council website
  • "Hawke's Bay Province and Provincial District". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A.H. McLintock, Wellington, 1966
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