Hastings District

Hastings District

Heretaunga (Maori)

Coordinates: 39°39′0″S 176°50′0″E / 39.65000°S 176.83333°E / -39.65000; 176.83333

Country  New Zealand
Region Hawke's Bay
Territorial authority Hastings District
 • Mayor Lawrence Yule
 • Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers
 • Territorial 5,229 km2 (2,019 sq mi)
Population (June 2013 estimate (June 2012 for urban areas))[1]
 • Territorial 75,700
 • Density 14/km2 (37/sq mi)
 • Urban 66,200
Postcode(s) 4120, 4122
Website HastingsDC.govt.nz

The city of Hastings is a major urban settlement in the Hawke's Bay region of the North Island of New Zealand, and it is the largest settlement by population in Hawke's Bay. Hastings city is the administrative centre of the Hastings District. Hastings is located some 20 km inland from the neighbouring port city of Napier.

Less than twenty kilometres separate the centres of Hastings and Napier, and as such the two are often grouped together as "The Twin Cities" or "The Bay Cities", and are increasingly treated together in official statistics. Their combined population is 125,000, making the combined urban area the fifth-largest by population in New Zealand, between Hamilton (209,300) and Tauranga (122,200).

The principal settlements in the Hastings District are the city of Hastings itself and the nearby towns of Flaxmere and Havelock North. These main centres are surrounded by thirty-eight rural settlements, including Clive, Haumoana and Bridge Pā. Hastings District covers an area of 5,229 square kilometres (2,019 sq mi) and has 1.7 % of the population of New Zealand, ranking it fourteenth in size out of the seventy-four territorial authorities. Since the merger of the surrounding and satellite settlements, Hastings has grown to become the largest urban area in Hawke's Bay.

The Hastings district has a long history of a food producing region, and is commonly referred to as the 'Fruit Bowl of New Zealand'. The fertile plains surrounding the city have grow an abundance of stone fruit, vegetables, and more recently has become the base of New Zealand's red wine industry. Associated business included food processing, agricultural services, rural finance, and freight. Hastings also is the major service centre for the surrounding inland pastoral communities while the service industry and tourism is growing rapidly.


Māori history

Near the fourteenth century AD, Māori arrived in Heretaunga or Hawke's Bay, settling in the river valleys and along the coast where food was plentiful. It is believed that Maori came to Heretaunga by canoe, travelling down the coast from the north, landing at Wairoa, Portland Island, the Ahuriri Lagoon at Westshore, and at Waimarama. Their culture flourished, along with gradual deforestation of the land, making this one of the few regions of New Zealand where sheep could be brought in without felling the bush first. In the sixteenth century, Taraia, great-grandson of the great and prolific chief Kahungunu, established the large tribe of Ngāti Kahungunu, which eventually colonised the eastern side of the North Island from Poverty Bay to Wairarapa. They were one of the first Māori tribes to come in contact with European settlers.

European settlers' history

The Māori owners leased approximately seventy square kilometres on the Heretaunga Plains to Thomas Tanner in 1867; Tanner had been trying to purchase the land since 1864. In 1870, twelve people, known as the "12 apostles", formed a syndicate to purchase the land for around £1 10s an acre (£371 per km²). Many local people firmly believe that Hastings was originally named Hicksville, after Francis Hicks, who bought a 100-acre (0.40 km2) block of land, which now contains the centre of Hastings, from Thomas Tanner. However, this story is apocryphal. The original name of the location which was to become the town centre was Karamu.

In 1871, the New Zealand Government decided to route the new railway south of Napier through a notional Karamu junction in the centre of the Heretaunga Plains. This location was on Francis Hicks's land. The decision on the railway route was based largely on two reports by Charles Weber, the provincial engineer and surveyor in charge of the railway. Karamu junction was renamed Hastings in 1873. (On 7 June 1873, the Hawke's Bay Herald reported: "The name of the new town is to be Hastings. We hear it now for the first time.") Exactly who chose the name has been disputed, although Thomas Tanner claimed that it was him (see Hawke's Bay Herald report 1 February 1884) and that the choice was inspired by his reading the trial of Warren Hastings. In any event, the name fitted well with other place names in the district (Napier, Havelock and Clive), which were also named after prominent figures in the history of British India.[2] In 1874, the first train took the twelve-mile (19 km) trip from Napier to Hastings, opening up Hastings as an export centre, through Port Ahuriri. A big jump in the local economy occurred when Edward Newbigin opened a brewery in 1881. By the next year, there were 195 freeholders of land in the town and with around six hundred people, the town was incorporated as a borough on 20 October 1886.

Hastings first received power in 1912,[3] followed by Napier in 1913.[4]

In 1918, nearly 300 people died of a flu epidemic that swept Hawke's Bay.

1931 earthquake

On 3 February 1931, at 10:47 am, most of Hastings (and nearby Napier) was levelled by an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale. The collapses of buildings and the ensuing fires killed 258 people (93 in Hastings). The centre of the town was destroyed by the earthquake, and was subsequently rebuilt in the Art Deco and Spanish Mission styles, both popular at that time. Although Hastings did not suffer the crippling fires that Napier did, most deaths were attributed to collapsing buildings, namely Roaches' Department Store in Heretaunga Street where 17 people perished.[5]

Modern history

During [2]

On 10 September 1960, the Hastings Blossom Parade (at the time a significant national event) was cancelled at 11 am for the first time in its history due to rain. Parade attendees drank in bars for several hours and when, subsequently, an 'impromptu' parade began at 2 pm, a riot started as police tried to arrest those intoxicated in public. This was a great social event in New Zealand with modern youth rebellion culture being labelled antisocial, and was subsequently much publicised with the national election later that year.

Hastings grew rapidly throughout the 1960s and 1970s (Hastings at this time was the fastest growing city in New Zealand), and there was a major issue dealing with encroachment of suburban expansion on highly productive land. Flaxmere was established as a satellite town to absorb rapid growth and was built upon the stony arid soils of the abandoned course of the Ngaruroro River. Although the land seemed worthless back then, it has subsequently proved highly valued for grape growing, and now is a prized region of red wine varietals in the world-famous Gimblett Gravels wine-growing region. Starting with economic decline nationally in the late 1970s, coupled with agricultural subsidy reforms in the early 1980s, Hastings went into deep recession with high unemployment and low economic growth. It wasn't until the late 1990s that the economy of Hastings began to turn around.

During the 1989 local government reforms Hastings City was amalgamated with Havelock North Borough and the Hawkes Bay County to form the modern Hastings District. The County Council offices in Napier were closed down and the new Hastings District Council offices were located in Hastings on two sites. Fortunately for the previously land-locked Napier, Napier City boundary was expanded to include Bay View and Meeanee. The Hastings District now entirely surrounds Napier City, and encompasses a much larger area than Napier. However, unlike the predominantly built-up Napier, much of the Hastings District is rural and sparsely populated, and the two local authorities serve a similar population; the Hastings District has approximately 75,700 (June 2013 estimate (June 2012 for urban areas))[1] residents. Because of their proximity to each other and their relatively small populations, Napier and Hastings are often seen as an obvious candidate for further amalgamation. This has already been attempted with the 1999 Amalgamation Referendum where 75% of Napier residents opposed, and 64% of Hastings residents approved. There has been a trend towards greater approval since however.

At 11.25 pm on 25 August 2008, the city was hit by an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale. The earthquake caused minor damage to shops, where stock was shaken off shelves. Minor power outages were also reported. This was the most powerful earthquake to hit the region since the 5.6 Napier/Taradale earthquake in 1980.

In 2010, the city, together with New Plymouth became one of the two walking and cycling "model communities", qualifying for further co-funding by the national government to improve its walking paths and cycleways, and encourage people to use active forms of transport.[6]

In 2011, Hastings hosted the Hawke's Bay Chatter Ring Reunion.[7]

Coat of Arms

The city has a Coat of Arms and the Heraldic Blazon is;


Per pale Vert and Argent, in dexter a cross-crosslet fitchy Or in sinister, on a cross carved with a Maori pattern Gules, a sun in splendour Or on a chief party per pale Argent and Vert, a lion passant guardant, armed and langued Gules within an orle of fern leaves all counterchanged. An inescutcheon Or charged with a manche Gules.


On a wreath of the colours, clouds Argent, rays Or, a sunburst supporting a toothed wheel, perforated of six, centred and rimmed Argent, Gules.


Dexter, a ram, tail couped, horned and hoofed Or, proper, supporting on a staff proper palewise flying to the dexter an ensign Sable, two bars Argent edged and charged with a hawk rising Or. Sinister, a bull, armed and hoofed Or, supporting a staff property palewise flying to the sinister, edged Or, a New Zealand Ensign; all supported by a profusion of apples, pears, peaches, grapes and miro berries with their leaves, surmounting a Maori style carved panel representing Rongomatane and Haumeitikeitikei, all proper.


Urbis Et Ruris Concordia (town and country in harmony)

Commerce and Industry

Hastings District, as one of the largest apple, pear and stone fruit producing areas in New Zealand, has an important relationship with the Napier Port. It has also become an important grape growing and wine production area with the fruit passing from the growers around Metropolitan Hastings and then to Napier for exporting. Napier is an important service centre for the agriculture and pastoral output of the predominantly rural Hastings District. Shopping is heavily weighted by large format retail in Hastings City, whereas in contrast, Havelock North, Taradale and central Napier retail areas have a more boutique flavour.


By the end of the twentieth century, Hastings was declining, suffering economic downturn with industries and freezing works closing due to the agricultural subsidy reforms in the early 1980s. However, after multi-million dollar regeneration projects and the employment of artists, Hastings has seen a change in its aesthetics. A CBD strategy was enforced to revitalise the central retail core, while promoting Havelock North as a 'luxury boutique' destination. The strategy was successful and Hastings vacancy rates ended up lower than Napier by 2005. The current goal of the council is to continue developing Hastings CBD to attract more recognised national chains, which have in the past completely neglected the city in favour of Napier. Attracting more cafes and entertainment venues is currently active in the Eastern blocks of Heretaunga St.

A controversial idea by the Hastings District Council is to relocate the Nelson Park sports ground to a new facility on the edge of the Hastings urban area to make way for a large megacentre, also known as 'Large Format Stores'. A comprehensive study was conducted before the sale concluding that retaining big box development within the CBD will help boutique stores prosper as opposed to locating the development on a greenfield site. Charter Hall, the developers behind 'Home HQ Hawkes Bay', have confirmed as of August 2010, the major anchors of the development will be Hawkes Bay's largest 'The Warehouse' and the relocation of the cities' Mitre 10 Mega. The new sports park is proposed as a regional facility and includes a velodrome, all-weather athletics track and sports grounds for most other sporting codes represented in NZ sport.


Hastings District is quite historic and is very welcoming of tourists, and features a tourism industry based on 'lifestyle' activities rather than attractions. The majority of tourists are domestic, usually 'weekenders' from Auckland or Wellington. Scheduled airline services to Hawke's Bay operate through Hawke's Bay Airport, though Hastings Aerodrome is available for private planes is nearby.

Hastings' largest draw card is the wine and food trail established around the productive hinterland. There are over 75 wineries in the surrounding area, including New Zealand's oldest winery restaurant (Vidal Estate). Boutique food industries are becoming popular with cheese, fine meats, and locally produced delicacies seen on display at the Hawkes Bay Farmer's Market (New Zealand's oldest and largest weekly farmer's market). Outdoor leisure activities dominate, with beaches, river, mountain biking, tramping, and golf, being popular. In summer, many large scale events attract domestic tourists including the Spring Racing Carnival, The Blossom Parade, Harvest Hawkes Bay Weekend, and various concerts and events usually held at wineries. The Blossom Festival was once a large national event in the mid 20th century, with charter trains from Wellington and Auckland coming for the event. This however has slowly declined in popularity.

Hastings' specialist attractions include: Hawke's Bay's largest amusement park, a water park called 'Splash Planet', which replaced 'Fantasyland' near the turn of the millennium, Cape Kidnappers (the world's largest mainland gannet colony), Te Mata Peak, and access to an abundance of nature reserves and mountain treks. Architecturally speaking, Hastings suffered similar to Napier in the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake. However, because of the lesser damage by fire, Hastings maintained more pre earthquake buildings. Both towns gained a legacy from the disaster by rebuilding in the then-fashionable and highly distinctive Art Deco style, similar to that of Miami, FL, USA. Hastings also pocesses a large percentage of Spanish Mission architecture (popular as with Art Deco in the early 1930s). Sadly, Hastings succumbed to rapid redevelopment in the 1960s–70s which saw many 1930s buildings replaced.

Horse of the Year show

Hawkes Bay A&P Showgrounds in Hastings is the home to the annual NZ Horse of the year show, held in March. It is one of the biggest sporting events in the southern hemisphere, and attracts 2500 horse and rider combinations competing in 19 disciplines including Dressage, Showhunter, Eventing, Showjumping and polocrosse and many breed classes to name a few. It has a budget of around $NZD3million, and attracts over 70,000 visitors from over NZ and internationally over the 5-day show.


Located on New Zealand's east coast, to the east of the Wellington.


Hastings has a Warm-Maritime climate (according to Köppen climate classification). It is a common misconception that it is a Mediterranean climate, mainly due to hot summers and low annual rainfall. However, the driest month, November, has more than one third of the rainfall of the wettest month hence it is not a true Mediterranean climate. Sunshine hours rank over 2200 annually while rainfall averages less than 800 mm (31.5 in). It is one of the country's warmest annually and the hottest urban area in summer with New Zealand's highest January maximum average of 26 °C (79 °F): Alexandra has 23.5 °C (74 °F) and Christchurch 22.5 °C (73 °F). Because of its location 15 km (9.3 mi) inland, the sea breeze does not tend to have the same effect on Hastings' climate as it does on Napier. It is not uncommon for the temperature to be over 30 °C (86 °F) on summer days, while in winter, maximum highs of 17 °C (59 °F) are frequent, and occasionally will exceed 20 °C (68 °F) with northwest winds.

Climate data for Hastings, New Zealand
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.8
Average high °C (°F) 25.5
Average low °C (°F) 13.7
Record low °C (°F) 5.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 66
Source: NIWA Climate Data[8]


Hastings District encompasses a larger area of population compared with Napier. The Urban Area of Hastings in 64,700 which includes the surrounding Heretaunga Plains from Clive to Bridge Pa. The central urban area however which is specifically the population centre of Hastings, Flaxmere, and Havelock North is around 58,758 (at the 2006 census). Due to restrictions on encroachment of land, satellite suburbs have absorbed the residential expansion of the city. Hastings has grown rapidly with the help of the gridiron city planning system, crisscrossed by the railway line running northeast-southwest and the main southeast-northwest artery, Heretaunga Street, which also links the city with its suburban centres of Havelock North and Flaxmere.

Many Hastings residents work in the city, and the area is populated by middle-to-upper income families in some suburbs and areas, and then middle-to-lower income families in other areas, especially towards Camberley and the north end of Flaxmere.

At the 2006 census, Hastings District had a population of 70,842, an increase of 3,414 people, or 5.1 percent, since the 2001 census. There were 25,557 occupied dwellings, 1,920 unoccupied dwellings, and 273 dwellings under construction.[9] Hastings's ethnicity was made up of (national figure in brackets): 67.0 percent European (67.6 percent), 23.8 percent Maori (14.7 percent), 2.85 percent Asian (9.2 percent), 5.1 percent Pacific Islanders (6.9 percent), 0.5 percent Middle Eastern/Latin American/African (0.9 percent), and 12.1 percent 'New Zealanders'.[9] Hastings had an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent of people 15 years and over, compared to 5.1 percent nationally. The average annual income of all people 15 years and over in Hastings was $22,600, compared to $24,400 nationally. Of those, 45.5 percent earned under $20,000 annually, compared to 43.2 percent nationally, while 14.4 percent earned over $50,000 annually, compared to 18.0 percent nationally.[9]


  • Akina
  • Bridge Pa
  • Camberley
  • Flaxmere
  • Frimley
  • Hastings CBD
  • Havelock North
  • Longlands
  • Mahora
  • Mayfair
  • Omahu
  • Parkvale
  • Paukawa
  • Raureka
  • Saint Leonards
  • Stortford Lodge
  • Tomoana
  • Waipatu
  • Woolwich


Sister cities

The Hastings' relationship with the Chinese city Guilin started in 1977, after a research scientist, Dr. Stuart Falconer identified a number of common areas of interest between the two cities, including horticulture and their rural-urban mix.

  • 1977 ChinaGuilin, Guangxi, China

Notable residents

Former and current notable residents in the Hastings Metro area:



  • Moss, Maryan. 1999. Historic Outline of the Hastings District.

External links

  • Hastings District Council
  • Hawke's Bay Tourism
  • Hastings on Hastings

Coordinates: 39°39′S 176°50′E / 39.650°S 176.833°E / -39.650; 176.833