Hawke's Bay Region

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Coordinates: 39°25′S 176°49′E / 39.417°S 176.817°E / -39.417; 176.817

Hawke's Bay
Country: New Zealand
Position of Hawkes Bay.png
Regional council
Name: Hawke's Bay Regional Council
Seat: Napier
Largest city: Hastings
Population: 164,000 June 2017 [1]
Land area: 14,111 km²
Chair: Rex Graham
Deputy chair: Rick Barker
Website: http://www.hbrc.govt.nz/
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 Region (Māori: Te Matau-a-Māui[2]) 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 the city of Napier. 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.


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 its southernmost district, Central Hawke's Bay District, as well as the town of Taharua in Taupo District and the town of Ngamatea in Rangitikei District. It does not include Southern Hawke's Bay, whose constituent districts, the Dannevirke and Woodville counties, came under the Tararua District Council and the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council (also known as Horizons Regional Council) in the 1989 local government reforms.[3][4]

In June 2015, the Local Government Commission proposed the amalgamation of the four local councils with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.[5] This proposal was rejected by the affected communities.[6]

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 Central Hawke's Bay region at the 2006 census

The region's population is 164,000 as of June 2017, 3.4 percent of New Zealand's population.[7] Around 81 percent of the region's population lives in the Napier-Hastings conurbation.

Below is a list of urban areas that contain more than 1,000 population.

Urban area Population
(June 2017)[1]
 % of region
Hastings 79,900 48.7%
Napier 62,000 37.8%
Wairoa 4,280 2.6%
Waipukurau 4,140 2.5%
Waipawa 2,100 1.3%

Culture and identity

The region has a significant Māori population; 24.3 percent of the population identified as of Māori ethnicity at the 2013 census.[8] A major local Māori tribe is Ngāti Kahungunu.

Around 50.5 percent of Hawke's Bay's population affiliate with Christianity at the 2013 Census, making it one of two regions in New Zealand (the other being Southland) with a majority Christian population.[9]

Ethnic groups of Hawke's Bay residents, 2013 census[10]
Ethnicity Number  %
European 110,940 77.7
   New Zealand European 104,250 73.0
   English 1,320 0.9
   British 1,077 0.8
   Dutch 972 0.7
Māori 34,659 24.3
Pacific peoples 6,270 4.4
   Samoan 2,859 2.0
   Cook Islands Maori 2,283 1.6
Asian 5,118 3.6
   Indian 1,974 1.4
   Chinese 1,422 1.0
Middle Eastern/Latin American/African 666 0.5
Other 2,766 1.9
   New Zealander 2,709 1.9
Total people stated 142,845 100.0
Not elsewhere included 8,334 5.5


Maraetotara Falls

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 magnitude 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.


A Hawke's Bay vineyard in autumn

The GDP of the Hawke's Bay region was estimated at US$4.3 billion in 2003, 3% of the national GDP.[11]

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.

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.[12] As of January 2010, there are an estimated 75 wineries located across Hawke's Bay.[13]

Hawke's Bay is home to New Zealand's first space launch complex, Rocket Lab's orbital launch site (known as Launch Complex 1) on the Māhia Peninsula in Wairoa District. Wairoa District is home to 'Space Coast New Zealand' - that stretch of Wairoa district's coastline from which space launch viewing can be undertaken. Rocket Lab anticipates launching its 17m Electron vehicle early in 2017.


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 Jul 1843 25 km west of Tikokino 7.6 12 km 2 [14]
22 Feb 1863 Waipukurau 7.5 25 km 1863 Hawke's Bay earthquake [15]
14 Sep 1875 Mahia Peninsula 5.8 25 km [16]
9 Aug 1904 Porangahau 7.0 16 km [17]
28 Jun 1921 Kaweka Forest Park 6.7 80 km [18]
12 Feb 1930 Porangahau 6.2 33 km [19]
3 Feb 1931 20 km north of Napier 7.8 20 km 256 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake [20]
3 Feb 1931 25 km north east of Napier 5.8 25 km [21]
8 Feb 1931 Wairoa 6.4 60 km [22]
13 Feb 1931 50 km east of Napier 7.3 30 km [23]
5 May 1932 50 km east of Napier 5.9 12 km [24]
16 Sep 1932 Wairoa 6.9 12 km [25]
5 Mar 1934 Pongaroa 7.2 12 km [26]
15 Mar 1934 Wairoa 6.3 25 km [27]
26 Feb 1940 Hastings 6.0 25 km [28]
1 Mar 1950 Lake Waikaremoana 5.8 60 km [29]
10 Feb 1951 Porangahau 6.2 33 km [30]
6 Oct 1980 Hastings 5.7 30 km [31]
19 Feb 1990 Porangahau 6.2 34 km [32]
13 May 1990 Porangahau 6.4 30 km [33]


The Hawke's Bay regional council consists of nine elected members and holds elections every three years. As of the 2016 election the current council is:

Member(s) Constituency
Rex Graham - Chair Hastings
Rick Barker - Deputy Chair Hastings
Alan Dick Napier
Tom Belford Hastings
Fenton Wilson Wairoa
Debbie Hewitt Central Hawke's Bay
Peter Beaven Ngaruroro
Neil Kirton Napier
Paul Bailey Napier


Inside a Hawke's Bay winery

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.[citation needed]

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 "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2017 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2017.  For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-16 (2017 boundary)". Statistics New Zealand. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 
  2. ^ {{Kerryn Pollock, 'Hawke’s Bay region - Overview', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/hawkes-bay-region/page-1 (accessed 9 November 2017)}
  3. ^ Pollock, Kerryn (15 November 2012). "Hawke's Bay region – Local government boundary changes". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  4. ^ Pollock, Kerryn (15 November 2012). "Hawke's Bay region – Government, education and health". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  5. ^ Lunn, Annette (9 June 2015). "Hawke's Bay to amalgamate councils". Newstalk ZB. 
  6. ^ Henderey, Simon (15 September 2015). "Hawke's Bay voters reject five-council amalgamation proposal". The Dominion Post. 
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference NZ population data was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ "2013 Census QuickStats about culture and identity – data tables". Statistics New Zealand. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2016.  Note some percentages (e.g. ethnicity, language) may add to more than 100 percent as people could give multiple responses.
  9. ^ "2013 Census QuickStats about culture and identity – tables". Statistics New Zealand. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2016. 
  10. ^ "Ethnic group (total responses), for the census usually resident population count, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses (RC, TA, AU)". Statistics New Zealand. 
  11. ^ "Regional Gross Domestic Product". Statistics New Zealand. 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  12. ^ The-Wine-Library Short Description of wine in Hawkes Bay
  13. ^ [1] List of Wineries in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
  14. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2177691
  15. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178061
  16. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178066
  17. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178086
  18. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178100
  19. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178136
  20. ^ http://info.geonet.org.nz/display/quake/M+7.8%2C+Hawke%27s+Bay%2C+3+February+1931
  21. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178230
  22. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178231
  23. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178232
  24. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178243
  25. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178245
  26. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/1584770
  27. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/1584816
  28. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/2178296
  29. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/1543792
  30. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/1544095
  31. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/1561256
  32. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/100789
  33. ^ http://www.geonet.org.nz/quakes/region/newzealand/125056

External links

  • Lake Road B&B (recommended by Lonely Planet)
  • Luxury Hawke's Bay Private Tours
  • 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
  • Wairoa District 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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