From Swamp to Centenary






Compiled and Produced
HASTINGS, N.Z., 1961

(Copyright Reserved)


The Maoris   5
The Swamp Vanishes   9
A Town Appears   18
Busy Market Town   23
The Growth of Industry   33
The Plains Produce   40
Moving About   49
Fire and Flood   64
February, 1931   73
Church and School   80
Recreation and Resorts   83
The Town Becomes a City   88
Year by Year   95
These Men Have Guided Hastings   101
The Streets of Hastings   107

Compiled and produced by: –
Robyn Brown, Alison Coles, Susan Corke, Janice Gray, Jillian Harrison, Helen Jackson, Margaret Jackson, Robyn Millet, Margaret Payne, Noeline Pinkham, Robyn Ritchie, Glynis Snell, Patricia Stanley, Jacqueline Taylor, Jane Tustin, Francis Walker, Carol Whittington, Marian Wilms.

James Archibald, James Berkett, Graeme Crawley, Barry Davis, Peter Dean, Martin Doole, Garry Fowles, Ron Graham, Weston Hazelwood, Peter Home, Hugh Killip, Philip Matthews, Gary Macklow, Graham Pepper, Dennis Potts, Kevin Richardson, Robert Robertson, Kevin Simpson, Ian Strachan, Malcolm Sweetman, Barry Wise.

Edited by R. Ammundsen.

Photographs by courtesy of Russell Orr.

First Printed by Hart Printing House, Hastings, 1961

Second Printing by Cliff Press Printers, Hastings, 1986


In July, 1961, Room 22 – a Form II class at Heretaunga Intermediate School – decided to give their City a past, by writing a book of Hastings from the early days to the present year.

When it was discovered that many facts about Hastings had been destroyed in the 1931 earthquake, plans to cover the early life of the town, once called Hicksvillle, began to take shape.

The lack of recorded information made it difficult to check all the details, but the interested help of many visitors and out siders has made the work of compiling so much easier.

The class is most grateful to those who have helped and hope that the book will give much enjoyment in return.

A large amount of reading was involved and about three hundred exercise book pages of notes were taken before the task of selecting and sorting could take place.

The book itself contains many exciting and interesting stories and if it doesn’t tell the whole story it will be a start towards some future record of our history.

It has been truly a team effort. Thirty-nine children collected, sifted and compiled all the information. They also did the proof reading. Editing was done by a teacher who took his instructions from the class who themselves laid down the policy.

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The Maoris

On the banks of the Ngaruroro River, on the Hastings side of Whakatu, there was (in the 1860’s) a Maori Pa called Pakiaka, where the Chief Hapuku lived. The old cemetery called Wahitapu, by the pa, can still be easily seen. Moananui lived at Matahiwi and one of Hapuku’s wives was his sister. Hapuku and Moananui had quarrelled, separated, and started fighting with fire-arms.

It was said that Moananui’s sister died. Coffins were becoming fashionable and one was sent from Napier. On arrival, it was found to be too small, so Hapuku cut her feet off with a tomahawk. Te Moananui did not like this show of disrespect so the war went on and, in the end, Moananui won.

One incident occurred during this war, when a Mr. A. T. Danvers walked between the two enemy parties and never knew there was a war on.

Hapuku was forced to leave the Pa at Pakiaka. He founded the Pa which exists today, at Te Hauke.

A second battle occurred when Hapuku and Te Moananui fought each other for possession of the Heretaunga Plains. The centre of the battle was near where the railway station at Whakatu now stands.

This battle lasted for six weeks, but there was really more peace than war. Each side had some old flintlock rifles and the shooting was far from accurate. It took a full week before anyone was hit and the victim was a chief named Pohera. He was struck by a stray bullet. There were many days on which no shots were fired. The height of the battle was an exchange of a few shots only. When people thought the fighting wouldn’t stop, the Government took a hand and called on the tribes to cease fire.

A meeting between the two chiefs followed the “pipe of peace” was smoked—Hapuku retired to Te Hauke and Te Moananui remained in possession of his land minus one chief Pohera, who was the only casualty.

Hapuku lies buried in the cemetery at Te Hauke. The head stone, which cost about £500 and was sent from Wellington, represented a fabulous sum in those days.

If we look at Te Mata Peak from a distance it looks rather like a huge giant lying on his back. The Peak is the point between the giant’s head and shoulders.

The Maoris tell that the Giant, Te Mata, was the trouble maker of the Heretaunga Plains. The old Chiefs decided to rid the district of the giant so the services of a beautiful maiden were enlisted. The giant fell in love with the girl, but before she would marry him she sent him on several seemingly impossible tasks. These, however, the giant completed, so he was set the task of eating his way through the mountains behind Havelock North. Te

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Mata took one bite and dropped dead. People today can still see Te Mata lying dead, and the gap is the point where he took the mouthful.

On the Main South Highway there is a large white rock, standing on the roadside just past “The Kennels”, and near the cutting which is about half a mile further on. It is on the right-hand side of the road as we make our way South.

The legend tells that in the olden days, whenever a Maori Chief of the Ngatikahungungu tribe died South of Hastings, he was laid to rest at Paki Paki or at the Omahu (Fernhill). With no other transport available, the body had to be carried to the burial ground; but it was fatal to allow the casket to touch the ground during the journey lest the soil Spirits be angered and cast evil into the casket.

The Carriers chose the rock as a place on which to rest the casket, and while they rested, the casket did not touch the ground. Because of this the rock was, and to many of the older Maoris still is, Tapu. It is worth recalling that when the road-cutting was put through several years ago, care was taken to preserve the rock. It was moved out of the line of the roadway to its present position.

Before Hastings was ever thought of, there was endless trouble throughout Hawke’s Bay over the ownership of Native land; The Maoris objected to the wandering of the Pakehas’ cattle on their Preserves and “grass money” or a fee for trespassing was an early cause of trouble.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi, leasing of land from the Maori was forbidden; but it was difficult for the Settlers to gain a foothold, without so obtaining it. So many had become involved in these illegal methods that the abuses were difficult to stamp out, although some sales were later repudiated by the Native Land Court.

Purchase of the Heretaunga Block adds a most interesting page to the History of the young Colony and opens the history of Hastings.

By 1873 the native land difficulty had reached such a stage that a Royal Commission was appointed to investigate several claims. After a long sitting in Napier, they decided to confirm the illegal purchases of the Heretaunga Block. This decision was not liked by those with claims which had been repudiated, or those who steadfastly refused to adopt the illegal tactics. Nor was it liked by the Maoris who felt cheated of their own claims.

Such were the feelings that Mr. Sheehan raised the matter in Parliament, where he caused some embarrassment to both Mr. Ormond and Mr. Donald McLean, who had been Superintendants of the Province. He also complained that Maoris had been forced to sell in order to be released from debt.

The loyal Chief, Henare Tomoana, had undertaken the pursuit of Te Kooti and had made heavy liabilities. He had been persuaded to sell his land so as to cancel his obligations. Karaitiana

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Tokomoana, half-brother and co-owner with him strenuously resisted the sale. Tokomoana, who was a member of Parliament, told the House that he would keep trying to give the Maoris equal rights over land purchase. He gradually succeeded.

The mid-plains, where Hastings nestles today, did not greatly attract the Maoris, but a small pa did exist on the bank of the Makirikiri stream, near where the Regent Theatre is today. Mr. A. I. Rainbow recalls that during the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the Maoris had a Hangi. A whole bullock, stuffed with poultry, was cooked – a sight to make any small boy’s mouth water. They also cooked sausages which would hang festooned from nearby trees awaiting their turn for cooking. This pa became the meeting place of Maoris when they came to town.

Other pas were at Putuheri, Manuhiwi, Bridge Pa and Fernhill. There was a large Pa near the present Pakowhai Bridge. The Paki Paki Pa used to be situated nearer the Karamu bridge than it is today. The Pa at Waipatu was not built until after the arrival of the Pakeha.

The origin of the name Heretaunga seems to be lost in the mists of time. The more generally accepted legend refers to the arrival of canoes from afar. They were moored in the swamps (Here – to fasten) and newcomers became friendly, settling among the existing Hapus. (Taunga – to become intimate).

Another legend refers to Heretaunga as a place of heavy dews, where the land is fertile, and many things grow – a meeting place (or crossroads) where many people gather.

On the hills near Paki Paki, there was a temple where the traditional secrets of a powerful Tohunga were kept. The name Heretaunga was given to the district where this temple was.

The Makirikiri Stream was quite big and had it been preserved, it might have added to the beauty of the City.

The source of the stream was in the Ormond property at Karamu, opposite Olsen’s Maraekakaho Road factory today. From there it entered the Borough through the Stortford Lodge Saleyards, across Gordon Road and past Raureka School. Then through Ebbett Park and back across Gordon Road to the Racecourse and out to the railway line through the Y.M.C.A. property. From there it passed behind the Central School and alongside Hastings Street to the Fire Station where it turned and made its way across Heretaunga Street to the Regent Theatre. Finally it meandered through to Windsor Park and out of the Borough to the river.

Today, the Maori lives alongside the Pakeha and works with him in the City. The tradition of his race still lives and Europeans are quick to applaud displays of the Arts of the Maori at Blossom Festivals and such other times as they appear.

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Local Maori Names and Their Meanings:

Makirikiri – Ma (stream) kirikiri (gravelly).
Pakowhai – Pake (to gleam) whai (search for). To look for remains of crop after harvest.
Paki Paki – Decoy. (Legend of Paki Paki).
Mangateretere – Spreading stream.
Whakatu – To erect.
Omahu – The place of healing.
Haumoana – The sea breeze.
Karamu – A Native shrub (Coprosma) which was common.
Raureka – Sweet leaves.
Mahora – Spread out.

It has been difficult to check these names, but meanings given seem to be correct.

Our reconstruction of the site of Hastings in the days when the Maori roamed: –

Note: – This was compiled from information received from early settlers, from reading and with the help of a contour map. Position of the Clock Tower is shown.

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The Swamp Vanishes

Situated on the Heretaunga Plain about twelve miles south of Napier, Hastings is one of the most thriving inland towns in the North Island. The early history of Hastings is fraught with interest. In 1864 or 1865 the Heretaunga block, a portion of which now constitutes our City of Hastings was first leased from the natives by Messrs. Thomas Tanner and William Rich. This block comprised the part of the plains between the Ngaruroro river and what was then known as the Waitia creek but which has now be come the ordinary bead of the Ngaruroro owing to the great floods of 1867 causing the river to alter its course from one side of the block to the other. After the lease had been in force for some years the lessees formed a group of eight persons (who became commonly known in Hawke’s Bay as the “Twelve Apostles”) and purchased the land freehold from the natives. Among those admitted into this partnership were Messrs. Gordon Hill, J. N. Williams, J. P. Ormond, A. H. Russell, W. R. Russell and the Rev. Samuel (afterwards Archdeacon) Williams. It has been said that those early settlers acquired their property for the proverbial song and if the thirty shillings an acre they paid for it is compared with present value of land in Hastings, the statement would seem to have some foundation, until however it is remembered that the greater portion of Hastings situated below the racecourse and the old Ngaruroro river was then a swamp. The site of the present Carlton Club Hotel and other portions of the main street were in similar condition.

The entire population of the province was scanty and scattered. It will be seen that the price was not so meagre as it seems now.

It had been agreed that Mr. Tanner should have first choice of location for his share and the remainder were determined by lot. Tanner took the most easterly portion and called it Riverslea. J.N. Williams got the next and called it Frimley. The boundary between the two was approximately along the Karamu Road from Collinge Road to St. Aubyn Street along that street to Nelson Street, along that to Heretaunga Street along that street to some where about Lovedale Road, then south to Longlands and it terminated at the old Ngaruroro River.

The present borough of Hastings stands on portions of those two shares. J. D. Ormond took the next and called it “Karamu”. Captain William Russell the next, and called it “Flaxmere”, Purvis Russell the next and called it “Raupare”, Captains Gordon and Hill the next and called it “Fernhill” and James Watt (who came in later) and took the southern portion and called it “Longlands”.

It was agreed that none should sell his share until he had offered it to the others, but Captain Russell was allowed to acquire the share of Purvis Russell because he could not find enough dry land on his own to build a house. Subsequently, Captain Hamilton

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Russell came in on Purvis Russell’s share. The Russells were then developing Tunanui, where General Sir Andrew Russell used to live.

The demand for land in the district did not really increase. About six or seven years later Mr. Thomas Tanner offered an acre of the best land in the present Borough for every three acres ploughed. Calculating on labour at the time, he was offering land in Hastings for three pounds an acre and accepting payment in labour. Yet he could find very few to take advantage of these liberal terms. Among those who availed themselves of the offer were – Messrs. James Boyle, Francis Hicks, Guy Hamilton and Samuel Lowe.

In 1871 Mr. Tanner endeavoured to dispose of his land at five pounds an acre, and even at less, for he offered a block of 640 acres (in its entirety) extending on one side from the corner on which the old Union Banks stood to the Havelock bridge, and on the other side along the Karamu Road. At four pounds an acre he could not get a buyer.

Shortly after this, the idea of carrying the railway through the district was mooted, and in the year 1873 Mr. F. Hicks cut up a hundred acres into four lots.

To him the New Zealand Government and the Railways department have much to be thankful. In fact it can almost be said that Mr. Hicks was the founder of Hastings, which incidentally was often referred to as “Hicksville”. No other City in New Zealand, owes its origin to the vision of one man.

When he secured his land Mr. Hicks built his general store, but customers were few so when it was mooted that the railway from Napier would come through Hastings and not Havelock North, he made a gift to the Government of the land on which the station at present stands. This gift has become one of the Railway Department’s most valuable assets.

With a great deal of foresight and with the railway in view, Mr. Hicks’ next move in the march of progress was to subdivide for town lots, an area of about 100 acres in the vicinity of his gift block to the Railway Department, and this was the start of the most central block in Hastings today – that bounded by Heretaunga Street, Karamu Road, St. Aubyn and Nelson Streets.

There were 144 sections offered, and at this stage it was realised that Hastings possessed a great future. The average price per acre was £56. In this way was Hastings really born – and the year was 1873.

With this sale and the railway “Just around the corner”, the erection of houses in quantity started. A hotel was erected by Mr. F. Sutton and became known as the Railway Hotel. It was on the site of the present Grand Hotel, its first licensee being a Mr. Goodwin from Waipukurau.

Until destroyed by fire, this kauri-built hotel of 22 rooms was a great asset to the quickly-growing community.

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While the coming of the railway was the first big step forward for the miniature city another impetus was the establishment by the late Mr. William Nelson of a small boiling down factory at Tomoana in 1880.

Three years later this factory was absorbed into the Tomoana freezing works and marked the start of the freezing industry in the district. The first recognition of the growth of Hastings came in 1883 when it was granted the status of a Town District, with Captain W. P. Russell as its first chairman. Such was its progress hat three years later it became a Borough, with Mr. Robert Wellwood as its first Mayor.

The first business place was started in a small two-roomed building on the present A. & N.Z. (formerly Union) Bank corner, in which Mr. Hicks opened a store and Post Office.

In the 17th April 1897, the Ngaruroro river burst the embankments that had stood for twenty years, near Roy’s Hill, and caused the loss of several lives with a great loss in stock and property to the settlers in the low-lying district.

The Rivers Board, subsidised by the Hastings Borough Council, erected new protective works on the Hastings side of the river. Under the boost given to the district by the advent of the Railways the town gradually grew and prospered. The swamps were drained, population increased, places of business sprang up and Hastings grew from its unpromising beginning into a busy borough, centre of a flourishing agricultural, pastoral, fruit and vine growing country.

Hastings was formerly included in the Heretaunga Riding of the Hawke’s Bay County and was governed by the Road Board responsible to the County Council. This body existed by several years, until, towards the end of 1883, Hastings was constituted a town district, and the first meeting of the Town Board was held on the 4th February 1884. The town further progressed and was formed into a Borough in 1886.

The first school was established in the old Masonic Hall which has now been replaced by a modern building. The building was erected and the school maintained by private subscriptions supplemented by a government subsidy. This was continued until the present system of education came into operation. When Mr. Thomas Tanner sold that portion of his property known as East Hastings, he reserved a site which he presented for the erection of a school house and residence but research has been unable to locate the site.

Hastings also included a daily evening newspaper “The Hastings Standard”, three Banks (namely the Bank of N.Z., Union Bank of Australia Ltd., and the Bank of New South Wales), several public buildings, a drill hall, a theatre, a Masonic Hall, Public Library, a large number of fine business premises and several handsome private residences. There were four churches – Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian.

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Hastings industries included a sash and door factory, coach factory, an agricultural implement factory, wool scouring works, a bacon curing establishment, a brewery and a butter factory.

HASTINGS – 1873.

1. F. Hicks Store.
2. School Reserve.
3. Rail Reserve.
4. Market Reserve.

There were also extensive freezing works near the town. Accommodation was provided in Hastings by six hotels and some private boarding houses.

The racecourse of the Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club was situated near the centre of the town on its present site and was one of the best in the colony. Even in those days it possessed a covered stand as well as an artificial lake, walks and avenues of trees. It was also used as a public park and recreation ground.

Fruit growing became an important industry in the district and hops were also cultivated. Vineyards were established at Te Mata. The Hawke’s Bay Fruit Growers’ Company, which dealt largely in the products of orchard and vineyard had its headquarters in Hastings.

In 1882, The Albert Hotel was built by Mr. W. T. Dennett and this was followed by the Carlton Club and Hastings Hotel. The Railway Hotel (now the Grand) had been built earlier. At that time the Pacific Hotel was sited at Havelock North, but with better prospects in Hastings it was moved to its present site – the building being moved in three sections. This was quite a big event in the life of the young town.

1879 saw the erection of the Police Station.

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How many know that the busy corner of Heretaunga Street and Karamu Road, where the traffic is controlled by lights, was once a swamp, and that the only solid piece of land in the present business area was the location of the town’s first building – a three-roomed cottage at the rear of the Embassy Theatre? This house was occupied by a shepherd employed by Thomas Tanner and his sheep roamed the outskirts of the swamps of Hastings.

In those days, progress was slow, and contrary to what might have been expected, the next houses were not built on the main business area of today. They were two houses erected in Karamu Road between the present City boundary at Collinge Road and the road to Havelock. There was not a single house on the road all the way to Havelock North although Havelock itself was thriving. It was not until the railway arrived in 1874 that today’s City could be said to have been born.

Hastings, though it has a name which fits into the pattern of naming drawn from British-Indian history, which was used for all other Hawke’s Bay communities and places, did not acquire its name as others did. Napier, Clive, Havelock, Meannee [Meeanee], Scinde Island and other names were given to the places that bear them, about the time when British rule in India had overcome the challenge of the Indian Mutiny in 1857; the names chosen were those of British soldier heroes or of places renowned in that period.

The community now named Hastings was established on land owned by Mr. Francis Hicks, and originally was known as “Hicksville”. The search for a more desirable alternative led the authorities of the day, to a name famous in Indian history which had not been put to use – the name of the great figure Warren Hastings, the man who may be said to have strengthened British rule in India after Clive’s initial victories.

Warren Hastings was born at Churchill, Oxfordshire, in 1732, of the old but poor family of Hastings at Daylesford. His parents died soon after his birth. Hastings passed his earlier years with his grandfather who was Rector of Daylesford.

In 1904, a Borough Councillor offered the whole of the block across Heretaunga Street from the Council Chambers for £1700. This block, in which the Regent stands today, comprised two private schools at that time, but the Council decided against the deal.

No doubt the centre of Hastings was fixed by the location of the railway which was finalised in 1873, but not opened until 1874. The first sale of town sections took place in 1873, and naturally the first four main roads to come into existence from the centre were to Napier, Havelock, Central Hawke’s Bay and one towards Fernhill. In the course of time others have been developed from these four.

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Of the Maori owners of the Heretaunga Block with whom Mr. Tanner had to deal, probably the four most prominent were Karaitiana, Meihana, Tomoana and Te Ua Mairangi. Karaitiana and Meihana were full brothers, as were Te Ua Mairangi and Tomoana – all with the same father, but two different mothers. Karaitiana lived at Pakowhai and is buried there. His grave can be observed on the right, a short distance down the Farndon highway. Paramena was another chief. His grandfather was one of three Hawke’s Bay chiefs who signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

Mr. Tanner was the first European occupier (for a time) of the whole of the land which now comprises the Hastings City.

Francis Hicks received his block of land from Mr. Tanner in lieu of wages for ploughing. Mr. Tanner had previously offered one acre for every three that were so ploughed and Mr. Hicks, always a “tiger” for work, was quick to take up the offer.

He subdivided his land for building and gave a large portion of what is now the Post Office block. He, it was who gave the Government the railway reserve extending from the Grand Hotel to Russell Street, along to Queen Street and to Kelly and McNeil’s Building. Given as the site for a railway station, this might have been one of the reasons for the shifting of the railway from Havelock.

In the deed of transfer to this site, the area was described as being in Hicksville, but it appears that this name did not remain for long. In the 1870’s, Hicks opened his store (the first) which was

Photo caption – St. Matthews Church, built 1877, burnt down 1897 – First Church.
On corner of King and Heretaunga Streets.

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also a Post Office. A store at that time was like any store in the country districts today. You could buy groceries and drapery, boots and hardware, tinware, crockery, saddlery, seeds and stationery.

Mr. Hicks could not have remained there for many years because, in 1880, the business was carried on by a family named Warman. A fair-sized drain ran round the corner and you crossed it on a wooden plank to get to the store. This open drain must have carried the sewerage, because it was overgrown with blue periwinkles, and there were many rats in it.

The next store was opened by Robert Somerville on the corner opposite the Bank of New South Wales. The next opened in the l880’s by Thomas Hayes, was on the corner now occupied by Roaches.

The first butcher’s shop was opened by Thomas Foreman near the present position of Hallenstein Brothers. He also owned a home behind the shop, facing Market Street. The next butcher’s shop was opened by Michael Baldwin, who came from Clive. This was in a building further west.

In the 1880’s, Hammond opened a shop where the Rialto tea rooms are now and Thompson Bros., commenced near the Carlton Club Hotel.

The first baker was R. Thayer in premises near the South British Insurance Company in Market Street. Soon Richard Green Vaughan commenced in Omahu Road. John Cullen built at the corner of Heretaunga and Hastings Streets and conducted a bakery there.

The first blacksmiths were Doney Bros., in a shed about fifteen feet by twenty. It was next to the Hastings Hotel, where Shoe Fashions are today. It stood back about twenty feet from the footpath, with a big heap of worn horseshoes and other junk displayed in front. In the 1880’s, a blacksmith’s shop was established

Photo caption – First State School and Master’s Residence in St. Aubyn Street.

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between the Pacific Hotel and Roaches, and ten years later another was opened on the site of the Bon Marche today. Charles Apperley had one where Westerman’s No. 2 shop now stands and one was opened over the road.

The first saddler was a man named Brown, who had premises on the site of King’s Groceries. In the 1880s Frank Bethell moved in from Havelock North and opened for business near where Miller and Giorgi are now.

The first tailor was a man named McDonald, in a small wooden building on the Bank of New South Wales’ corner. Jack Niblett was another early tailor. Following the trend of the time a Havelock North tailor moved into Hastings and opened a shop on part of the land now occupied by the Carlton Club Hotel.

Reminiscences of an early citizen – MR. TED KIRK: –

“When Hastings started off, there was one little store; it stood on the Bank corner, opposite the Carlton Club Hotel. A man called Francis Hicks had it. This man got 40 acres of land from Mr. Tanner, and he worked it out and put all the boundary fences up.

“James Boyle cut up some. He got one acre for ploughing two.

“Colonel Whitmore put a big store up in Hastings; the first big store. Mr. Teddy Kirk lived in the first house that was put up in Hastings Township, it was on a section in Market Street near Powdrells’ (close to Gough, Gough and Hamers’). There had been a white pine bush at Mangateretere (the only bush on the plain) and Mr. Foreman was the manager of the farm. There was an old white pine, four-roomed house there and Mr. Foreman moved it from Mangateretere to the new section in Market Street.

“There was a big lagoon between Avenue Road and Queen Street, just past Powdrells’ and where the Carlton Club is, was all swamp with raupo growing ten feet high. There was a little clear water in the middle of it and people went duck shooting there.

“They had to get the timber for the first hotel from Auckland.”

Mr. Foreman had a friend at Taranaki, at butcher named McDonald. McDonald put up a shed alongside the white pine house

Photo caption –
Heretaunga Street 1883.
The earliest known photograph.

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and became the first butcher in Hastings. Another butcher moved from Havelock when more houses were built. He used to send a boy around to sell his meat on horseback.

“A quarter acre section changed hands for ten pounds.”

“There was a creek near where the Methodist Church stands and Mr. Tanner’s shepherd lived just over the creek – Watty Church was his name.

“After Hastings started, there were a dozen men including old George Lyons and myself who worked for Mr. Tanner for five years – making plantations. He put up the first house in Queen Street where Mr. Adamson lived. Mr. Adamson bought the place off George Lyons and started a bee farm. He later shifted to Dannevirke.

“The first storekeeper there had a little shop near Donovan’s today. There was only one policeman and he lived at Havelock. At this time there were four flour mills – at Clive, Havelock, Omahu and Te Aute – all driven by water-power.”

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A Town Appears

The young township of Hastings proved to be a very go-ahead sort of place – a mood which expresses itself today in the life of the city.

Men of the foresight and fortitude of Thomas Tanner, F. Hicks, J. N. Williams, and several others too numerous to mention here have influenced the growth of Hastings in a way, which must surely be the envy of other provincial towns.

When Francis Hicks obtained land from Thomas Tanner, nobody thought any more of it than they did of any other land transfer at the time, but his boldness in offering his property in the form of town sections on a hitherto little-wanted block of land, was the turning point in the history of Havelock North – a thriving township nearby.

The offer of land for a railway station was too good for the young government to refuse so the proposed new line was planned for the new course.

First known as “Hicksville”, then Heretaunga, the new village acquired the name of Hastings in honour of Warren Hastings. The first few years saw the town controlled by a Roads Board (as part of the Hawke’s Bay County), but little seems to be recorded of the activities of this young body. It wasn’t until 1884 that the Town Board was formed with Mr. W. R. Russell as Chairman, assisted by four Commissioners and by Mr. John Collinge as clerk on a salary of £50 per annum. He was also required to find his own office.

About this time, local settlers had some difficulties in settling on a name for their main street. At first it was simply known as Main street and later as Heretaunga Road. They changed the latter to Victoria Street, but in this they made an error. There must have been some red faces when John Rochfort pointed out that they already had such a street – and it is still there today – extending from Karamu Road in the West to Park Road in the East. After two months it regained its previous title of Heretaunga Street, by which it is known today.

In 1884, the Board prepared a plan of levels for the district, and a successful tender for road metalling was obtained – nine-pence a yard would raise several eyebrows today. Subsequently a drainage (sewage) plan was prepared and John Rochfort was appointed to carry it out.

On the 22nd October in the same year, the Council forwarded a strong letter to the Railways Department, protesting at the manner in which shunting operations were interfering with Heretaunga Street traffic – a sentiment that was to be re-echoed for very many years, until relief finally came in 1961.

In 1885, John Rochfort finally reported on his Drainage scheme, which he estimated to cost £20,000. His report was circulated among the 617 ratepayers who immediately voted their

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approval at a Loan Poll. An additional rate of one shilling in the pound was necessary to cover this development.

The diagram below shows the main changes in the boundaries of Hastings. (Note the chart below.)

At its largest Hastings extended from Oak Avenue to St. Andrews Road – from Collinge Road to Tollemache Road.

The town grew from Hicksville in the way that towns normally spread out. It was not until 1957 that the area known as Frimley was finally included.

That year the Board purchased a manual fire-engine, including appliances, for a princely £60. The new addition was the pride and joy of the first brigade.

The Napier Gas Company was interested in establishing Gas Works in the new town and approached Parliament for authority, which they duly received; but the Hastings Town Board adopted a neutral attitude, leaving representation entirely to the company.

1885 saw the establishment of the town’s first Public telephone bureau, but we were unable to locate it.

South of Heretaunga Street in the Albert Hotel block there were no buildings before 1879. In the 1880’s, S. Chalmers occupied a building as an ironworker. Mr. W. M. Dennett built the Albert Hotel, and next to it was Hammond’s Butcher Show. In the nineties, Bennett and Bone built and occupied a shop on the present site of Bone and Son. In the Municipal Theatre block, Thomas Tanner erected the first building occupied by the Borough Council,

Plan caption –
Hicksville – First Borough Boundary
After 1957 After 1909

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next to the Power Board building we know today. The Council bought the building for £600 and apparently Mr. Tanner donated the site. The adjoining corner was purchased by the Council from one of the Williams family for £5000, and the present buildings were erected in 1916.

In the Carlton Hotel block, the first building was on part of the hotel site, but not on the corner. It was a two-storeyed building of two shops and was pulled across the corner when Harry Thompson built the hotel. From the hotel westwards, the next were Charles Apperley (Blacksmith), Frank Bethell (Saddlers), Hoadly and Lyon (Stock Agents), and then Knights’ Timber Yard.

Hastings became a Borough in 1886. Although it was only applied for in that year, it was granted, elections were held, and the first Council met on the 18th October, 1886 at the Oddfellows Hall, where meetings continued to be held until the Municipal Buildings were completed.

With Mr. Wellwood as Mayor, Councillors comprised Messrs. George Ellis, Fitzroy, Luckie, Tanner, Williams, Long, McLeod, Morris and Foreman.

Borough boundaries at that time, would be the envy of Councillors today. At that time the area comprised 5760 acres, stretching from Havelock Bridge to beyond Oak Avenue; St. George’s Road in the North to a point much farther South than that of Murdoch Road today. The population was only 1504 then, yet Hastings boasted about being the largest Borough in New Zealand, possibly in the world.

Property-owners on the outskirts, saw themselves paying rates for a sewer, from which it appeared obvious they would never get any direct benefit in their lives. They petitioned – with the result that large areas towards Havelock and towards Fernhill, were cut off in 1909. By this time the Borough area was reduced to 2061 acres.

In the late 1880’s, Mr. Tanner owned or occupied a large area of farm land. In addition to Riverslea, he had Endsleigh, and he occupied 10,000 acres at Petane, under a long lease. However, droughts, bad seasons, and low prices, brought difficulties which could not be overcome, and the remander [remainder]of Riverslea passed into the hands of a syndicate comprising G. E. G. Richardson, G. H. Brown, and John Beatson. It was they who sub-divided and laid out hundreds of residential sites, and numerous others of larger area between Havelock Road and Karamu Road – and extending as far back as St. George’s Road.

A further loan of £5000 was floated for drainage, making a total of £25,000 to date. The town clerk was authorised to consult designs for sealings. A memorable year was concluded when Thomas Tanner offered the Board two sections for the Municipal Offices in return for filling in the Makirikiri stream where it crossed six of his own sections. The Councillors politely declined. Such an offer reflects the enthusiasm of the founders of the Borough, who soon

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developed ability to stand on their own feet in the early days of their community. Later Mr. Tanner repeated his offer in return for filling in three sections. This was accepted.

Hackney Cab licences were first issued in 1887. There were four of them, and several unlicensed operators who caused feelings to become a little strained, but in this year we had the beginnings of the cab service of today.

Water flushing was instituted in 1888, but the Council struck legal difficulties when they tried to enforce citizens to provide their own water supply. This unexpected problem was overcome by sinking artesian bores in each block of the town.

The first footpaths were sealed in 1897 with completion of the Heretaunga Street business area, but the roads remained in their metalled state for some time to come.

The first disastrous fire struck the town in 1893, when two blocks in Heretaunga Street were destroyed. Greater mention will be made of this topic elsewhere, but the valiant effort of the local volunteer brigade was supplemented by the arrival of Napier’s steam-powered fire engine. This engine arrived on the back of a rail truck, but its performance was so impressive that a decision made down on the street resulted in the Councillors ordering a similar vehicle for their own brigade.

In 1885 the Napier Gas Company asked if the Town Board would take gas for street lights and if so, how many lamps? A decision was made to take gas and buy six lantern street lamps at a cost of £4/10/- each, including cast iron posts.

The growing town was soon to learn of the problems which seem to go with draining and sewerage. In fact, the Council was served with a writ and statement for a claim of £2982 by Mr. W. Scott in connection with his contract for sewer laying. It had been terminated by the Council some time previously. They were also advised that the contractors for supply of bricks for the sewer works were not satisfied with the manner in which payments were handled. His solicitor wished to peruse all documents dealing with the contract and payments with a view to submitting the matter to arbitration. This was agreed to subject to the approval of the Council’s Solicitor. Thus the Council faced its first legal problem.

By the beginning of 1897 the cost of sewer works totalled £13,853 and the estimated cost to complete the programme was £6147. The sewer main at that time was taken down Nelson Street and continued to discharge into the Ngaruroro River until 1936. At that time it was diverted to the present outlet at East Clive.

In 1892, owners of low-lying property were to be prosecuted, if they did not remove the nuisance of stagnant water lying on their land. A drain was authorised from Norton Road to the Makirikiri Creek along Selwood Road. The Makirikiri was to be cleared of obstructions from the washpool at Parkvale to the Karamu Stream. Extensive widening and deepening of the Southland Drain through its entire length in the Borough was authorised at the same time.

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History does not tell when the drain was first dug, but before 1890 the Council had made a contract for cleaning at elevenpence a chain.

A Mr. A. C. Lean was given permission to yard quiet cattle for sale at his new yards in Queen Street. At this time, considerable progress was taking place. The sewer mains were being extended in the main streets of Karamu Road, Eastbourne, Queen and Market Streets, etc.; and also in the more residential streets. More and more roads were being formed and metalled. Concrete channelling and curbing was extending rapidly, more tar-sealed footpaths were being laid and money was being spent on the main surface water drains – particularly did this apply to the Southland Drain. The Makirikiri Creek was still meandering through Hastings but it was being piped and culverted in many places, and footbridges were being erected over it.

“Knowles’ Folly” is well-known in Hastings as the only diagonal intersection in the town. If residents grumble about it today, they were certainly complaining at the time of the subdivision. A Mr. Blackburn and several others asked the Council to compel Mr Knowles to make the roads laid out by him, of the proper form and width as provided by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1876. It was decided that Mr. Knowles be called upon to form and metal Beech Road or make it the full width of 66 feet. Then the Council would take it over. Oak and Elm Streets would be proclaimed Public Streets when properly formed with the approval of the Roads Committee.

In the days of the horse, Saturday night was the late shopping night (Wednesday was only a half day), and of course shops would be open on Saturday mornings.

Picture theatres as we know them, did not exist, and little in the way of organised entertainment was available. The young people would make their own fun. They would ride to town and then join their mates in gallops up and down the main street. Opportunities for practical jokes were quickly taken up.

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Busy Market Town

Hastings, the market centre for the rich Heretaunga Plains, which are the source of its wealth, grew from a swamp into a bustling City in the space of eighty-three years. Indeed, it was Francis Hicks who set the pattern for the town’s future. Having obtained land from Thomas Tanner, he set up a store on part of it – where the A.N.Z. Bank now stands on Karamu Road Corner – and then proceeded to import customers by dividing it into sections which he sold. The new town became the shop window for local produce, and the supplier of many of the district’s needs.

All the first shops were really small, built of wood, with small doorways and doorsteps. Following F. Hicks’ General Store and Post Office, the first trader was really a blacksmith, but Miss Sharp’s Fancy Goods Shop became a well-known landmark.

By 1905 the shopping centre of the town comprised of business premises from Karamu Road corner to Roach’s on King Street corner – all facing the sun. On the other side of the street the shops were not so numerous and were spaced further apart. The shops did a big trade on Wednesday, which was the half day, and also on Saturday which was the late night.

Some of the business firms we see in Heretaunga Street today, were founded before the new century and are being carried on into the third generation of the name. Thompson’s butchery was established in 1887. Roach’s is another firm into its third generation.

The late Mr. A. A. George established a printing business in 1886. The business is being carried on by P. J. S. George and Son – son and grandson of the founder.

F. L. Bone’s Hardware business is also into the third generation of the name – carried on over seventy years. Other old established firms are Bon Marche Drapers, Thorp’s Footwear, Kershaws Furnishers, and Westerman’s Drapery – to mention only a few.

Photo caption – Heretaunga School in 1883. Now Nelson Park.

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The old pioneer businessmen came through trials and tribulations. Many were burned out more than once. The second generation came through war, depression, earthquake and fire. The third generation are now carrying on the traditions of their grandfathers and building growing business on the foundations which were laid for them fifty, sixty, or seventy years ago.

Many of the old shops of the past, being entered by one or two steps, provided some useful resting places. Old tattooed Maori women sat on the steps smoking. This was a common sight at the time, but it is hard to visualize today. Shopkeepers were a little concerned as they felt that they lost customers in this way.

Hotels at the time closed at ten o’clock.

In the first years of the town, numbers of Maoris traded their goods in the shops, where they were able to exchange them for manufactured goods from the storekeeper. The farm people would trade their fowls, butter, etc. There was no market of the kind well-known to the settlers from the other side of the world. In fact, the market reserve ceased to exist as such, after very few years.

The first hotels in Hastings were the Station, which was later rebuilt as the Grand; Albert, Hastings and Carlton Club. The Stortford Lodge hotel was established down Maraekakaho Road near de Pelichet, McLeod’s new building and the Pacific was moved in from Havelock North. This move was quite spectacular and attracted a large number of spectators to watch the building move in three parts for the two mile journey. A new hotel, which is rapidly gaining a place in the life of the present day city, is the Mayfair.

Firms were of course, much smaller forty years ago – a timberyard occupied the land where Westerman’s are now. It gave an adequate service in a small space. The Bank of New Zealand is at present occupying a site which was at one time the local headquarters of Williams and Kettle.

Maddison and Co. were drapers and carried on where Woolworths are today. Behind Thompson’s butchery was a saddler’s shop. There was plenty of business for saddler, coach-builder and farrier, and several businesses sprang up throughout the town.

Among the quaint characters who were in Hastings, was John Bee the second-hand dealer, who used to sit outside his shop in a chair which his opulent figure filled abundantly. George Fowler, John’s handyman, was just the opposite – a small thin man with white hair and beard. George could be hired for two and sixpence to do a half day’s digging.

John Bee was famous for his “Two Bob Sales”, when he would sell anything in the shop for two shillings. Customers would bring their selection to him at the chair, pay their ‘two bob’ and move on their way. Some good bargains could be picked up.

Another colourful character was the pieman, Joe de Voscous, a small dark-haired Spaniard, who walked the town at night ringing a bell and carrying a basket of pies on his arm. He lived in a small shop on the corner of King and Heretaunga Streets. The

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windows of the shop and living quarters were kept boarded up and no one ever saw inside until Joe died. Then it was discovered that he had a wife whom he had kept locked in for years. When she discovered he was dead she did not know where to go to find a doctor.

After Joe’s death, the pie business began to look up and the pie-cart made its appearance. For a while, Elijah Luke followed in Joe’s footsteps. Later the bread and pastry shops sold pies. This ended the day of the pieman who trundled his wares.

Stock firms were not long in recognising the value of the new town. Dalgety’s and the Loan and Mercantile Company were among the first to be established, but four firms were operating by the time sales started.

Horse sales used to take place on the corner of Karamu Road and Queen Street which is now occupied by the Public Trust Office. These saleyards and a rostrum were built by Williams and Kettle round about the beginning of the century.

Horses would be rounded up on the plains near Taupo and driven down to Hastings where a sturdy, unbroken steed could be bought for anything from thirty shillings upwards. As several of these horses would be seven or eight years old, we can imagine the fun they would have given their new owners who faced the task of breaking them in to saddle and bridle. These sales became a regular feature of life in the town. Early stock sales were not quite so regular, but were held when sufficient stock was available.

Mr. Robert Wellwood opened a grain and seed and a mercantile business in Queen Street. In 1880, he built the first saleyards in Hastings, approximately where the fire station is now. Horses, dairy cows and pigs, were auctioned.

The Stock Auctioneers’ Association establised [established] the existing stock saleyard at Stortford Lodge about 1886. They rank today

Photo caption –
1897 – Maoris celebrating Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
(Site of present Regent Theatre).

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among the most important in the North Island. The extensions to the saleyards which have been recently completed, have been necessitated by the increasing demand on the facilities of the yards to cope with the vast business in stock which is concluded every week. The importance of the saleyards to the city, cannot be over stressed, nor can the part which they have played in the development of the city. More livestock is sold at the Stortford Lodge Saleyards in a year than at any other livestock centre in New Zealand. It is many years since the late Sir William Russell opened the Yards. In those days the arrangement of the yards was totally different from that of today.

Mr. Alexander Horne, who was senior partner, was born locally on the 3rd October, 1878, and – after passing through the school course was apprenticed to the saddlery trade. For thirteen years continuously he was employed by Mr. Bethell of Hastings, and then started in business on his own account.

At that time cattle and sheep were not the only stock on auction. The sale of horses was a regular feature and the pigs were bought and sold where the loading-out pens are now. As at Robert Wellwood’s Yards, sales remained a casual occurrence when sufficient stock was available for sale.

Home and Elliott were saddlers and harness-makers in Heretaunga Street. Their business was established in June, 1905. Their buildings contained a showroom with a fine plate glass window – something of a rarity then. The workshop was fitted with the best and most up-to-date appliances. A considerable stock of manufactured and also imported materials were always kept on hand and the workshop was kept constantly busy in manufacturing and repairing. The firm was able to develop a good reputation for sound and reliable workmanship.

Alfred Weaver established the well-known Riverslea woolscouring works at Hastings. It was a well-known business, having been established by Mr. Weaver in 1889, at Clive; but owing to the

Photo caption – The Circus comes to town – crossing railway into Russell Street.

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disastrous floods of 1897, whichdestroyed the whole of the plant and buildings, it was removed to Hastings, where all necessary buildings for an extensive trade were erected. The main building was of wood and iron, eighty feet by sixty-four feet, and contained scouring rooms, a wool sorting and baling department, a boiling room, and an engine house containing a twelve horsepower engine.

An early reference to a shoe shop is worth quoting. It gives us some idea of the place these businesses held in the life of the community. “Mr. S. H. Knight is a boot and shoe importer in Heretaunga Street. His business was established in the year 1904, by its owner who carried on the large business with a heavy stock of imported and colonial-made boots and shoes. Five persons were constantly employed.”

Robert Holt had timber, coal, firewood and a sawmilling business in Hastings, but headquarters have always been in Napier. The Hastings branch of this business was established by Mr. Holt in October, 1897 with a view to providing a more convenient centre for his increasing trade on the Heretaunga Plains. He appears to have bought out premises previously occupied by Knight’s. The yard faced the railway line, where buses wait today, and extended from Heretaunga Street to Eastbourne Street. His plant in cluded planing and sawing machinery which was kept constantly at work. Large supplies of timber, firewood. New Zealand and even Australian coal were kept on hand. This firm, which is the oldest surviving such firm in Hastings today, did at that time, employ a considerable number of men.

The first painter and paper-hanger was George Hastings, who put up a two storey building about where Garland (Jeweller) is now. He also built four small residences behind the shop and fronting Queen Street.

The first plumber appears to have been a man named Nuttall, who had no business premises but lived at the corner of Ellison Road and Karamu Road. In the 1880’s W. L. Dhanley was a plumber whose headquarters were where the Embassy Theatre now stands.

The first sawmill and timber yard was Knight Bros. Their yard extended at the beginning, in Heretaunga Street from about Hannah’s Boot Shop to the railway line to Eastbourne Street and along to the Sample Rooms. A small building used as an office was close to the railway and when the Heretaunga Street frontage was built on, a vehicle passage was left between the nearest building and the offices. About 1888 they had one delivery dray and horse driven by Michael Barry. In the early 1890’s, Donald McLeod had a mill and timber yard on the corner of Warren and Heretaunga Streets, extending through half the block. This business later be came known as McLeod and Gardner’s and was moved to the site of the market Reserve. Only recently, the firm was purchased by the Tawa Timber Company of Napier. A further merger of

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industry has resulted in the closing down of this timber yard shortly when another link with the past will disappear.

Another timber yard with a close association with the Warren Street firm, was Manson and Company of Market Street. Among the directors were the brothers J. T. and R. S. Tuck. They were also sawmillers with mills at Tikokino. Their business was established in 1899. Their yards were in a good position, being nearly opposite the railway station and comprising a large storage house and an office. A large stock of seasoned timber was always on hand and the firm built up an extensive trade from their depot. Several persons were employed. After a merger it became known as McLeod and Gardner’s, but finally was doomed to disappear from the local scene.

Watchmakers were an important link in the life of the growing township but Allan McCorkingdale was exceptional. He set up business as a watchmaker and jeweller in Station Street (now known as Russell Street) in a building with a plate glass front and a workroom behind. These plate glass windows were gaining in popularity so it was a sign of a flourishing and progressive business if a plate-glass window was installed.

Allan was able to keep well stocked with watches, jewellery, and silverplate. His was the first business to extend from Hastings to other centres when he set up a branch in Feilding under his eldest son.

The business established by Messrs. F. W. Williams and N. Kettle was established at Napier with branches at the Port, Hastings, Waipawa, Dannevirke and Gisborne. It was known simply as Williams and Kettle Ltd., and carried on business as General Merchants, Importers, Stock and Station Agents, etc. Now a long established firm it includes such Directors as Sir W. R. Russell, Messrs. J. H. Coleman, L. H. McHardy, William Nelson, A. S. G. Carlyon, J. B. Chambers and the partners as managing directors.

The firm began one of the most popular trading associations in the colony. The nature of the operations was varied and the field of operations became world-wide. The first Hastings Branch was established on the present Bank of New Zealand corner, but later they moved to their present site. The firm has plans for further building shortly.

Specimen of HUIA TANGATA KOTAHI, printed and published by Hastings Standard on Saturday, December 9th, 1893.

This paper features several notices and advertisements. Several letters to the Editor, appear. A news-item covers the recovery from the flood of that year. A comprehensive Official notice gives regulations for electing a Maori Member of Parliament.

This Maori edition was a regular feature at the time.

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NAMA 52.   HATAREI, TIHEMA 9, 1893.


Kia mahara nga hoa ki tenei kia tohu tohu ki nga Pohi Mahita, mo a koutou Pepa. Kei tukua noatia W te He maha nga reta whaka atu mote ngaro o nga Pepa, kua tae mai. He nui te raru aru i pamai kia ahau mo tenei ahua. Heoi taku he Pohi atu inga Pepa e runga i te Rarangi ingoa. E takoto nei I toku riunga.
Nate Etita.

Kote utu mote pepa nei ite tau, kotahi pauna, kite tukir mai te tangata i tana pauna, ite Posi, me Rehita rawa, ka tuku mai; kote tuhi me penei.
Kia Ihaia Hutana, Etita o Huia,
Hehitingi Nepia.


Kupu whakamarama ki nga hoa kl te tuku moni mai koutou, motu Pepa nei, me tuku mai i nga moni ota o nga Poutapeta, kaua i nga ane Kuini, he mea ua ua te homai moni mo nga Pane kuini i konei.

Huia Tangata Kotahi.



EHOA ma e nga Kai Hautu i te hunga e takaretia nei e te ngakau kia maringi mai ki roto i te tikanga whakakotahi. Nga tahi ano me te hunga kei te tuohu noa iho, I waimahuru mhaka te tinana tangata, Haunga ia a waimahuru kainga i te Pepeha e mau i te Nama 24 o to tatou manu. Tenei tikanga e te iwi he mea whakaoho e nga mamae tanga maha e pehi nei i te iwi. No reira nei te whakaro I hoki whakamuri ai, Eino he taonga i rukea roto o nga wa kua hori, I runga ra i te torere tanga o te ngakau, ki nga uiratanga me nga kanapa tanga I mua i te aroaro o nga wa i muri mai o te Tiriti o Waitangi, a taea noatia mai nei a konei. No reira e patata ana ten i ahua tanga e te iwi ki to te Tamaiti maumau taonga, e mau i roto i nga whakaaturanga, I haere atu ra ki nga whenua tawhiti, a, whiwhi ana ki te Pouri me nga taimahatanga 0 tona tinana, ia ia e rawakore ana e pehia ana e te hiakai, I ahu mai i tenei ahua nana i whakatitiro o ona whakaro ki muri, ara ki tona matua, a puta rawa ona kupu whakaiti, kia waiho a ia i te ruuma o nga kai mahi a tona matua. No reira ka oho te matua i te aroha hoatu ana he Mohiti Kaura, he Hu mona waewae, a Ratua iho te kuaomomona ate kau ma ana, I rimga i tenei ka rongo te Tamaiti Matamua, kaoho te riri i roto ia ia, ka whaka he ki te matua mo te whakanuinga te tamaiti o muri, Heoi e peratia ana ano hoki tatou i naia, ei, Otira e toru nga wahi i roto i tenei Putake. (1) Tuatahi ko te tama iti Maumau taonga, E rite ana rno tatou. (2). Tuarua ko te tamaiti Matamua, E rite ana ki o tatou hoa Pakeha i Nui Tireni, E peehi nei, e whakakorekore nei i nga manaki tanga mo tatou. (3) Tua toru ko te Matua, E rite ana kia te Kuini, me a ana kupu manaki hoki o muri mai o nga taonga o te tau 1840 kua maumautia ra, ara, nga manaki tanga e riria nei e whaka- »»te Tikanga o te iwi, Ano me

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The business began in 1880 under Mr. Williams – only three or four years later was it joined by Mr. Kettle.

Another Hawke’s Bay firm which came to Hastings was the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Co-operative Association. The story behind this firm’s association with Hastings is particularly remarkable. The Association was founded at Ahuriri just over 70 years ago. but later shifted headquarters to the centre of Napier. In 1905 a branch was opened in Hastings when a building on the present corner was purchased. From a small beginning, with a very small staff the business grew. In 1912 their motor garage was opened next door, but the inevitable happened. Fire destroyed their building in the late 1920’s, so business continued in a restricted way in their premises over the road. The present building was completed in 1930. It was the first built in Hawke’s Bay on a new type of foundation (floating foundation) which is now an essential part of local building. Its success was proved in the earth quake when the new building was unharmed.

The headquarters in Napier were less fortunate so Hastings became the new H.Q. Today, both Directorate and Branch share the same building.

The Heretaunga Co-operative Butter Factory had its depot on the north-west corner of St. George’s and Havelock Roads. It was established in 1893 under John Twigg as manager. It was a modern factory in its day, with all the latest appliances for butter-making. The yearly output was then about forty tons. The two separators were driven by steam power.

As we speed past in our modern cars we cannot recollect the scene as each morning farmers would arrive in their drays with the milk for separation. While they waited their milk would be separated and tested and they would return home with the skim milk for their pigs.

The Heretaunga Co-operative Dairy Company was not the same firm. They were established in 1891 with Mr. Timms as first manager. At one time they had a factory at Waipukurau, but this was not continued. The company opened their own cool store in 1959 and since that date all grading has been done there. Now registered as a dairy products grading store, they receive butter from other companies for packing and storage. They have become the suppliers of the butter for Hastings bread.

For several years the company has faced a declining production, but a glance at the figures for early 1961 shows that an increase is expected for the first time.

A modern enterprise in its day was the Burton Brewery of Hastings. It was established in 1881 and included a trading department for wines and spirits, aerated waters and cordials. Like all good breweries it was serviced by its own water supply from a bore 271 feet deep. A fine three storey building was used and only six men were employed.

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Brewing was done on the gravitation principle and bottling was completed in a fine brick building which ensured an even temperature. Such was the standard of their products that several prizes were awarded and the leading hotels purchased their supplies.

About fifteen years after brewing commenced, Mr. Newbigin purchased the entire business on his own account and carried on the established service.

Eventually trading and brewing parted. Mr. Newbigin carried on the trading department on different premises and a new company carried on the brewery under the trade name of “Leopard”. Both businesses though separated, now flourish. In 1956 the brewery was purchased by a larger company and rebuilding commenced until we have today, an industry equal to the best in New Zealand.

Every growing town needs its drapers, and among the early firms in Hastings were two well-known businesses.

Mr. J. W. White opened a business in 1905 which provided a combination of drapery and tailoring. His shop was in the central area of Heretaunga Street and boasted two tailoring departments as well as a general shop. He was able to boast a plate glass window and being well stocked he employed five men, who included a tailor.

Matthew Johnson had a business nearby and he too was able to carry large stocks of ready-made clothing and became so popular that in no time he was able to employ ten persons.

Robert Warren was everything he could be. He was a baker, confectioner, pastrycook and caterer, near the corner of Heretaunga Street and Karamu Road. He commenced business in 1898 and soon gained a reputation for his work. He had a large bakery and smallgoods shop, and being handy to the Carlton Club hotel he was able to build up a good trade. Ten men were employed and most of the bread of the town was baked there. Goods were delivered through out the town and near districts.

The name of Roach has been a well-known one in the life of Hastings – in fact the name has been on the shop fronts for 77 years.

Founder of the family business was Mr. G. H. Roach, who was described as a draper, clothier, grocer and provision merchant of Hastings. He established his business in 1884 and it became one of the largest and longest established concerns in Hastings. The drapery business was carried on in a handsome building situated in the busiest part of the township known as Central Block today. The windows were effective, being also very attractive with a display of the latest goods imported from Great Britain. The interior of the shop was tastefully fitted up, special attention being paid to lighting. The stock was divided into fancy, dress, Manchester, Gent’s Mercery and clothing departments. The grocery and general store was situated farther up the street and included

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cookery and ironmongery departments. This shop was managed by Mr. Roach’s eldest son. Two delivery carts were in use. The departments in these stores must have been considerably smaller than those in our shops today. Only six employees were engaged.

Although Mr. Roach did not come to Hastings until 1884, his wife had arrived in 1878. The present manager of the firm is a grandson whose mother came from England, but his father was born in New Zealand. Originally Roach Brothers were bakers.

The grocery and hardware shop was at the west end of the shopping centre and in 1915 all shops combined on this one location. The first shop was a two-storeyed building on the present site, but like many others it had been tragically destroyed in the earth quake of 1931.

A temporary shop was built immediately after the disaster, until 1934 when the present building was erected.

Today the motor garage and the petrol bowser replace the saddler, the stables and the blacksmith, but in many other ways trading is still the same. The old wooden shops with their door steps have almost vanished – one remains at the corner of Hastings and Heretaunga Streets. Todays’ shops are built of sturdy concrete with large plate glass windows allowing the passer-by to see everything inside the shop.

Gas lamps and ugly electric lamp bulbs are replaced by long fluorescent tubes and other effectively arranged lighting. Dust does not worry shopkeepers as much as it used to – streets are washed and swept to keep them clean today. Neither do we have to put up with the runaway horse or occasional stock. There would be many red faces if one or two bullocks made their way down Heretaunga Street today.

Frequent stock sales at the large saleyards and the year-round work of the two meat freezing companies are proof of the place Hastings has gained in Hawke’s Bay.

The large Apple and Pear Board Store, the busy fruit marts and the ever-growing food processing firms are also testimony of the City s growth, nor is the story complete without reference to the vintners, who have been producing wines from vineyards on the plains and nearby hills for many years.

The City has grown beyond all imagination and seems likely to continue until it could quite easily become – not only the “Fruit Bowl’, but also “the Cannery” of New Zealand.

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The Growth of Industry

The story of our industry could fill a book on its own. So interesting is the growth of meat-freezing, food processing, aerial-mapping and engineering, that space does not really permit us to tell the whole story.

The earthquake of 1931 brought many changes – some tragic and some prosperous. Some of the industries such as Borthwicks’, Lowes, and the Hawke’s Bay Herald died in that disaster. Others changed, while still others have sprung into existence since then.

This chapter tells the story of some important industries which have died, others which have changed, those which have survived, and those which are of modern beginnings.

It is not surprising, that in a town situated as Hastings is, in the centre of the broad expanse of rich fertile land known as the Heretaunga Plains, the motor car industry should spring up. Within a few short years, it grew into a highly important and far-reaching undertaking. During those years, the firm of Davis and Boyd commenced business in 1910. Like many others which began at that time, they were instrumental in fostering the rapid popularity of the use of the motor car in the province.

Davis and Boyd commenced business in premises owned by Mr. A. Jones and Sons Ltd., but later their building was purchased by the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Co-operative Association Ltd.

Both Mr. Davis and Mr. Boyd proved extremely good businessmen, with plenty of initiative for trying something new. The business continued to grow at a rapid rate. It soon became apparent that, although the lease had some years to run, the acquisition of a larger building was a very urgent matter and that led to the erection of a substantial building in Russell Street (Station Street at that time).

Photo caption – A Central view of Hastings looking south.


1. Drill Hall.
2. School
3. Gas Works

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Approaching the main entrance from the station we would have seen the Post Office on our right, with the garage’s offices on the right of a large showroom. This must have been a very modern building, where cars and parts were seen to advantage, public inspection being provided by several plate-glass windows of large proportions.

The garage proper was an extremely spacious and well-lighted building capable of accommodating up to 40 cars in a hive of feverish activity. All makes of cars could be found there at some time and a feature of the building was a large turntable in the centre of the floor. Cars were rapidly handled in this way and placed in the most convenient position, with a minimum of expense, time and labour. At the rear of the building – and stretching right across it – were the machine and engineering departments. Such facilities required a large staff of skilled mechanics and engineers and a large staff was available. Electric power (a very new thing) was used to drive all machinery, which included lathes and special tools for motor repairs. It was the boast of the firm that almost any part could be made at short notice. However, like the motor firms of today, a large range of spare parts was always held in stock.

The firm had always had a preference for British cars and prior to the First World War their agencies included such famous makes as Wolsely, Darracq, Rover and Singer cars – Denis and Leyland were well-known commercial vehicles. During the war, the firm was forced to keep the business going with American makes but immediately after the war the English models were imported again – in preference to the American makes.

Later agencies were obtained for some of the really popular cars, such as Hupmobile, Dodge and Saxon.

Photo caption – Another view of Heretaunga Street looking East from beyond King St.
(Princess Theatre on right).

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A notable example of the firm’s desire to try new ideas was the introduction of a novel machine. It was to prove a great service to motorists and continues in use today. It was the “bowser”. By means of this all petrol could he sold to the motorist free from grit and all the things which give trouble to the carburettor.

Today popular English cars are still a feature of those premises. Anderson and Hansen Ltd., have now fitted their own name over the door and continue the industry in buildings which have changed very little.

At one time a brewery was just as important a part of the town as very many other institutions and the Burton Brewery of Hastings was no exception. It was established in 1881 and had all the latest equipment required by the industry. They were fortunate in obtaining good artesian water which came from a 271 foot well through a four inch pipe. Six men were employed at that time and a fine, three storeyed building was used. Mr. Newbigin purchased the brewery after being himself a brewer at Napier for seven or eight years.

In later years, the expansion of larger breweries together with “tied Houses” which were usually owned by these same breweries, made the going very difficult for smaller concerns such as the Hastings Brewery. Eventually it was sold to Frazer and Neave and Malayan Breweries in 1956. Both these firms had headquarters in Singapore, but immediately set about reconstruction and improvement. New refrigerated storage and engine rooms were built and the company expanded at a fast rate. Today, the brewery is becoming well-known throughout the North Island.

Immediate plans include the canning of beer, which is a new process likely to carry the name of Hastings to other parts of the Pacific.

Another industry which has changed considerably with the passage of time is the news industry.

On the fourth of September, 1890, a modest little production, called the Hastings Standard, found its birthplace on a site where now stands a portion of the Carlton Club Hotel. Its founders were Mr. W. D. Arndt as Editor and Mr. A. Cushion as Manager.

The little paper was beset with problems. A small circulation caused financial problems which were almost enough to make the ink run dry. Changes in the proprietorship were frequent and varied. So were the homes of the unwanted waif which saw many.

When Mr. Whitlock and Mr. Cairncross purchased it from Mr. W. Hart it found shelter in premises which were at one time a barber’s shop. Like the paper, the circulation was very modest and the new proprietors soon discovered that if the Standard was to justify its existence it meant new plant and hard work.

Accordingly one was purchased and the other applied so things began to assume a rosier hue. But the troubles were not at an end for it was soon found that to make substantial progress, the old system of hand-setting had to be discarded and linotypes

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take its place. This proved an expensive proposition and in 1910 Mr. Cairncross retired from the partnership and the Standard was merged into the Tribune.

The gallant and successful fight the little Standard put up in support of the Inner Harbour Scheme at Napier, when its two Napier contemporaries were supporting a big loan proposal for the extension of the Breakwater, attracted the attention of Mr. W. Nelson. He invited the editor to Waikoko and suggested the formation of a small limited liability company so that the necessary linotype plant, press, and buildings could be obtained; and a newspaper in advance of the requirements of the district be published for circulation throughout the whole of Hawke’s Bay. It was also his suggestion that the newspaper be styled “The Hawke’s Bay Tribune”, the “Hastings Standard”, he considered to be too parochial a name for a big provincial publication.

As the result of this meeting, although Mr. Nelson did not personally become a shareholder, the company known as “The Tribune Ltd.,” was formed and within two months the first number appeared.

While awaiting the arrival of the new Press from England and the erection of the new buildings. The Tribune was printed on the old Standard Press as a twelve page paper, and published at the Standard buildings in Queen Street. The work of erecting the new buildings on the corner of Karamu Road and Queen Street proceeded apace and on August 28th, 1911, the company moved into their new home.

The Hawke’s Bay Herald was born in 1857, in a very modest little building at Ahuriri. It was only a weekly journal and printed on a tiny press. Early issues were distributed by horsemen, by coach, by post, and in some cases by canoe. Today, the Herald as part of the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune, is among New Zealand’s leading provincial dailies. It is printed on a modern press capable

Photo caption – Heretaunga Street looking West from Railway.

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of turning out 24,000 copies an hour and has a circulation in excess of 13,000 copies daily.

In 1861, the Herald became a bi-weekly and ten years later it became a daily.

The paper had its ups and downs – being burned out twice, so when the 1931 earthquake smashed the building and plant to rubble it was the beginning of the end.

After the ‘quake, the proprietors accepted the offer of the Tribune Directors to print the paper at their plant in Hastings. Subsequently the Herald interests were acquired by the Tribune and its production was continued under the one management.

The 1931 earthquake laid the offices of the Tribune in ruins in the same way as many other buildings suffered. The first subsequent newspapers appeared as small daily bulletins, while the rubble was being cleared and machines repaired.

Three weeks after the earthquake the Tribune appeared again with normal issues. A week later it was also producing the Herald from the same plant, until the two papers finally appeared as the one “Herald-Tribune”.

Today, the proprietors of the Herald-Tribune use a fine modern office – the highest office block in Hawke’s Bay.

Electric power is taken for granted today, but 60 years back it was very much a novelty. It was in 1912 that the Borough Council began operating the town’s first public power supply – one of the first civic ventures in New Zealand.

The operating plant then comprised two diesels, each coupled to 150 volts generated by a D.C. Generator. Two more diesels and generators were installed in 1914 ‘and 1917 respectively. Demand for power continued so a 200kw generator was installed. This was closely followed by a 320kw plant which was completed in 1925. Both of these were alternators. The 320kw plant remains the sole survivor today as the remainder have been broken up and sold for scrap.

On March 13th, 1923, a provisional committee sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay County, was set up to investigate and form a Power Board for the purchase and distribution of electricity throughout the county area. Both Napier and Hastings, who had for ten years been generating power for their own needs, indicated their readiness to purchase bulk power. The Havelock North Town Board was generating enough power for their own needs. Taradale agreed to join and so did the two freezing works. A substantial load seemed assured and from these beginnings emerged the Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board in June, 1924.

The new Board acted quickly and decided to engage consulting engineers for preparing plans and estimates for reticulating the district. The Board received their report in December of their first year.

The report covered such matters as the main feeder lines, switch and transformer gear, sub-stations, distribution lines and

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all the necessary materials. A loan of £300,000 was required for the work planned. The Board embarked on a policy of supplying the heavier populated areas first.

On August 6th, 1934, a committee consisting of representatives of the Power Board and the Hastings Borough Council recommended that both bodies approve of an agreement for the purchase of the electrical undertaking owned by the Borough Council.

Possession was taken on October 1st, 1934, at a price of £128,500 and another Hastings industry died.

The local power had originally been D.C. but with the gradual change to A.C. different consumers required their power in the different form. The Board agreed to supply D.C. to those who still required it. It was almost 20 years later that the Board lost its last D.C. consumer.

In 1938 the Board received another report concerning development of the supply and among other things was a decision to relieve the overloaded Hastings supply with an underground cable and by increasing the size of the overhead lines.

At that time the Hastings Borough was still in the throes of a changeover from D.C. to A.C. The existing system had many disadvantages – supply in the centre of town was poor; certain areas were fed from a system designed primarily for rural areas. The result was a decentralisation of control and the difficulty of operating and maintaining supply led to the inevitable reorganisation.

In the last year or two the Board has had a third point of supply. This source is from the recently-built fertiliser works at Awatoto. Surplus heat generated by the burning of sulphur for the manufacture of acid, is used for steam-raising and subsequently, the operation of a turbo-alternator. When the acid plant is in full production, the expected feed back into the system will reach a maximum of 800 kv at certain times.

Over recent years several sub-stations of the kiosk type have been built. These have been confined to the residential areas where low-tension power is supplied, though a most recent addition is the sub-station at the corner of Tomoana Road and Williams St.

Hastings is the birthplace of one or New Zealand’s most essential industries in this modern, scientific world. In 1936, Aerial Mapping Ltd. was formed on a very small scale for the purpose suggested in its title. The outside team consists of a pilot, navigator and photographer, who operate an aircraft from Bridge Pa aerodrome.

A large processing works on the corner of Warren Street and Avenue Road is kept busy processing the newly exposed film, photographs and building mosaic maps of areas in a way that makes jig-saw puzzles seem like child’s play. This is an industry which can really boast of having covered New Zealand.

To move from shed to engineering shop, to major factory sums up the progress of another achievement of Hastings enterprise.

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The Morrison Motor Mower in its original form was the brain-child of a Hastings engineer – Mr. Syd. Morrison, who had an agency for imported power mowers before the war. Import restrictions cut off his supply, and so the engineer who had previously made himself a motorised mower using parts from an old Model ‘A’ Ford, began experimenting with his own designs for a powered mower.

His first model had many virtues. It was light but sturdy, easily handled, simple in operation and not excessively expensive. So Morrison Mowers Ltd. was born and the company went into production.

Soon the company turned to power cultivators and when war came these replaced mowers on the production chain as the Dominion market-gardening system was expanded to meet the demand for foodstuffs.

Immediately after the war, production went ahead by leaps and bounds. Expansion was necessary and Mr. Morrison sold his interests in the company. Since then the company has almost trebled its space. Additional land has been acquired in other parts of Hastings and property near the present factory may some day be used for further expansion.

Today the company makes several lines of products and with the addition of a further new factory at Frimley, greater numbers of products can still be expected.

Like many similar companies, it began with an idea to produce a sturdy precision manufactured mower to give a long and satisfactory service. Since that day more than fifty thousand mowers have been sold throughout New Zealand from a factory covering about an acre and a half with a staff of more than 120.

Densified Woods (N.Z.) Ltd., opened a factory near Hastings in 1947. They set out to manufacture products from laminated plywoods – radio cabinets, tool handles, decorative panels and other fancy wooden products. Later the company was reformed as “Wood Plastics Ltd.” There was a further change after 1948 when a decision was made to concentrate exclusively on plastic fabrication. The firm then changed its name again to “Plix Plastics”.

If this industry has not made Hastings, it can be said to have strengthened the growing town, but it is the land of the Heretaunga Plains which has really placed Hastings to the forefront as an inland city today.

In 1897 the Daily Telegraph successfully tendered for Borough advertising at a price of 2d an inch.

Heretaunga Street was first formed at a cost of £12 for formation and 10-1/2d per cubic yard for metalling.

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The Plains Produce

Industrious settlers cleared and cropped the land. It did not take them long and flocks of sheep were grazing with the inevitable result that a surplus had to be disposed of. Raising for wool was easy, as was the shearing and shipping of that wool to markets back home, but disposal of surplus meat was a problem in Hawke’s Bay just as it was throughout the entire country.

In Hastings an answer was found, and in 1880, William Nelson started the Tomoana Works in a very small way, for the manufacture of meat extract in connection with the boiling down of sheep. In the following year meat preserving was added to the industry.

In 1882 the colony was electrified by the arrival in London on the 14th of May, of the “Dunedin” with the first cargo of frozen meat from New Zealand (consisting of 4460 carcases of lamb) and the sale of it at fabulous prices – a fact which resulted in freezing works being demanded all over the country.

Thus in the early part of 1883, the present company of Nelson Brothers Ltd., (now Vesty’s), was hatched in London with a large capital. Freezing buildings were commenced at Tomoana in the middle of that year, to deal with four hundred sheep a day, but capable of being increased to eight hundred.

As showing how little the community realised at that time the big things looming, the manager (Mr. W. Nelson) was subjected to a good deal of quiet chaffing for supposing that even a regular supply of 400 sheep would be forthcoming, much less 800. The combined daily killings of the four Hawke’s Bay works during the thirties were eight to nine thousand.

Photo caption – Early Tomoana Machinery still in use today.

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In February 1884, freezing was commenced at Tomoana and on the following 31st March the first shipment consisting of nine thousand sheep averaging 751/2 lbs., was made by the sailing ship “Turakina”. In a very short time the freezing capacity was doubled and in 1891 the machinery department was entirely remodelled. Every shillings worth of the original machines was scrapped. The freezing building was also remodelled and increased to six times its original capacity. At fairly regular intervals further additions have been made until today the capacity is more than ten times the original.

In 1884 the works shipped during the whole season, 41,000 sheep and ten bullocks. In 1914 the shipment comprised 232,560 sheep, 217,908 lambs and 5250 bullocks. The company now preserves or boils down more than a million sheep in a season and many thousand casks of tallow.

It has been said that Tomoana Works made Hastings, and, whether we agree or not, it is an undeniable fact that the presence of these works in the town has contributed a lot to its history.

If Mr. Nelson showed vision in establishing the works at Tomoana, similar credit must go to Mr. J. N. Williams for his foresight in establishing the first orchard in the district. He had arranged for the planting of a large orchard extending westward from the cemetery and bordering Orchard Road – hence its name. It was intended that these trees were to be available to men who would take up orchard work. Whether sixty or ninety rows of trees were planted we cannot be sure – four good authorities differ on this point, however an orchard of 60 or 90 rows of trees each one mile long was established.

An extensive pear orchard and sixty acres of peas were planted on the other side of Omahu Road.

An important part of the venture was the establishment of a cannery which commenced in 1904. It was in an old woolshed on the Frimley estate and during the busy season gave employment to eighty women and girls as well as many men and boys.

For a number of years the factory flourished and expanded. Three large sheds were added to the original buildings. A production gas power plant was installed together with equipment for the manufacture of tin cans. The main canning operations took place as the fruit matured but fruit pulp was also prepared, ready for jam-making in the winter months.

When the factory opened it proved a great boon to Hastings, providing employment for an increasing number of men and women. However, the population at that time was barely a quarter of that of the present day. As the industry grew more labour was needed than could be secured locally so seasonal workers had to be brought in from other districts. Two boarding houses and a manager’s home were built to accommodate these folk and until a few years ago these houses together with a part of the orchard were all that remained of the original venture.

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A new school (Heretaunga Intermediate) and the preparation of a large new housing area further west have finally obliterated all last traces. A storage pit built for holding fruit was filled in 1960 by earth-moving contractors.

All this is before the days of motor cars and motor trucks. Horse-drawn transport was slow and costly. Carrying labour and goods one and a half miles from factory to rail, together with the difficulty of recruiting sufficient labour during the busy season, were factors which eventually led to the closing down of the factory in 1913.

Workers in the canning factories of today will be interested – probably horrified – to know about the conditions of work in those days. Girls started at 12/6 per week rising by annual increases to 17/6 per week. Twenty shillings a week was considered to be a good wage and overtime was worked at 9d per hour.

Normally a twelve-hour day was worked in the season of about six weeks and many of the girls came from Napier. They left their homes (no buses) to catch the train leaving Napier at 7 – some walking from as far as Taradale bridge and returning on a train leaving Hastings at 9.20 p.m.

There were no cafeterias in those days. Staff quarters consisted of a cloak room with lockers, long tables and stools. Hot water for making tea was the only other facility provided. The girls had no hot meal until they reached home about 10 p.m. However they were a happy, jolly crowd and sang all day long at their work. On the way home to town or the railway station, in the big horse-drawn drays, their voices rang clear in the popular songs of that time, a favourite being a parody on the “Old Bull and Bush” – “Down at the Old Stortford Lodge”.

Photo caption – The 1907 Fire.

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In 1932, during the great depression, a correspondent to the Daily Telegraph in Napier advocated the establishment of a fruit canning factory similar to the original Frimley venture, but built close to a railway siding. It was pointed out that the scarcity of labour which crippled the industry in the past did not now apply, and that instead of importing tinned fruit from California, it was logical to use the plentiful crop of fruit grown in sunny Hawke’s Bay.

At various times prior to the establishment of the Frimley cannery, several small attempts had been made to can fruit, but all had died in infancy. For 20 years after 1913 nothing was done to can fruit in Hawke’s Bay.

In 1934, J. Wattie Canneries were opened. They have installed the latest machinery available from overseas and the factory has become one of the most up-to-date in the Southern Hemisphere. During the Royal Tour the canneries had the honour of a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.

In complete contrast with the cannery at Frimley, an up-to-date cafeteria caters for the staff, a hot meal is served at midnight for shift workers and cooked breakfast is available. Every two hours there is a break for tea and light refreshments. The permanent staff have organised their own social club. During the winter months dances are held, while indoor bowls and other games provide additional fun. Occasional picture evenings have been given by Mr. Wattie with films of his travels abroad and other interesting items.

A branch factory specialising in the canning of sweet corn, was opened in Gisborne in 1952. During the war years the company made it possible to ship large quantities of canned foods to the troops overseas. The factory was greatly expanded to cope with the requirements of the war.

A range of more than 76 lines is sold throughout New Zealand and forty percent of the production is exported to such countries as Australia, Britain and Malaya.

Watties were the first company to introduce mobile pea viners into New Zealand and today they operate the largest fleet of mobile pea harvesters and viners in the world, along with the most modern corn-harvesters in the world. With such modern machinery, Watties have become the largest fruit-canners in New Zealand and in the quick-frozen field they now enjoy a large share of the market.

A modern can-making plant has been installed, capable of producing three hundred cans a minute on each of two machines. The firm has recently embarked in a new field – providing cans for the product of the local brewery.

The factory occupies about 8 acres of land and today there are 800 regular employees, increasing to 1200 during the processing season. Eight hundred more, employed by the growers, supply the canneries – a total of 2000 people. In that same year there were only 28 shareholders and the firm had to compete against the importation of 80 percent of New Zealand’s canned

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foods. Today, more than 40-million cans or frozen packs of foods have helped to make New Zealand self-supporting in most goods.

Although the finest farmland could be bought for £85 an acre, today it costs up to £600 per acre. The story of Watties’ is one of New Zealand’s true success stories. After formation of the company, the first productions were confined to the pulping of fruit for jam-making, the first order being for a modest 81 tons of fruit pulp. In that first year there were only 25 on the payroll.

By 1937 the company possessed as up-to-date a plant as any in Australasia, with a capacity of 26,000 cans per eight hour day. Today the canneries can put out more than 33-million cans a year.

The cool stores we see at Stortford Lodge today provide us with an interesting story. Built with the true enterprise of the pioneers they were the forerunner of our modern freezing and cool store practices.

Quite a new departure among the industries of Hastings was made when the flourishing business of butchering, ice making, and cool-storage of fruit and meat was inaugurated at the Stortford Lodge. The suburb (as it was then) of Stortford Lodge proved a convenient place for such a business and it grew rapidly during its first few years.

Established early in 1910 as a butchering delivery business only, by Archie Lowe, it soon became apparent that the venture was to be favoured with rapid growth with the result that Mr. Geo. S. Lowe soon became a partner in the concern when the new premises were occupied thus enabling a large volume of business in the butchering and smallgoods trades to be dealt with.

Realising that there was a genuine desire in the district, for a cool store in which meat could be held, and quite as urgent a

Photo caption – Stortford Lodge Saleyards as they are today.

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necessity to make arrangement for the cool storage of fruit, Mr. Lowe felt that the time had arrived for these wants to be fulfilled. In 1913 the firm was formed into a limited liability company known as Lowes Ltd. The erection of a spacious cool store with a capacity of 7000 bushels was rapidly completed and in the front of this at the corner, a spacious butcher’s shop was built in brick. It was probably the finest building of its kind in Hawke’s Bay.

The importance of this step to the district cannot be too greatly emphasised for whereas previously the fruitgrower had to rely solely upon the rapid marketing of fruit and to bear the losses caused by periods of glut, he was soon able to maintain a regular supply for the market with advantage to customer and to himself.

People who approached the building from Heretaunga Street could not help but be impressed. A sturdy oak tree dominated the doorway as something of an emblem of strength and vigour. It was pressed into useful service as a support for the outer end of the meat rails, by means of which goods for the coolstore were run right through the shop from the motor lorry to the store.

The ventilation system was cause for much comment at the time – a beautifully formed dome in the ceiling provided the main outlet. It was the idea of Geo. S. Lowe. It was the policy of the firm to eliminate waste completely so all available cool-storage space was used to keep materials in perfect condition.

The smallgoods room must have come very near to complete elimination of waste – among equipment were a sausage-filling machine, a cutter, a steam heater and cooker powered by a six horse-power marine boiler, and a mincing machine turning out one and a quarter tons per hour, giving the impression that the firm could not be better equipped.

For maintaining cool storage the air was drawn from the chambers by means of fans and then passed over freezing coils maintained at a low temperature. In this way the air lost all its surplus moisture and heat and then was returned to the chambers to replace other air being drawn out. In this way goods were kept at a temperature equal to that of a cool dry, winter’s day.

The manufacture of ice naturally followed the installation of freezing machinery, and with an easy means of obtaining it so near at hand, its use to the public was rapidly growing to a large section of the business. Scientific research was continually contributing to the efficiency in the home and elsewhere and the use of ice in retarding injurious bacteria in milk and other foods was receiving growing attention. The housewife was able to install an ice chest and had no doubts or fears as to the setting of jellies on the hottest of days. The making of butter became much easier too. Thus the ready supply of ice made the domestic ice-chest more readily available.

Storage chambers capable of holding ten thousand bushels of fruit would have caused several problems of freezing in those days, but the necessary power was provided by a thirty-five

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horse-power gas engine. With the responsibility for so much fruit in the store, a complete duplicate set of machinery was provided.

Although at the time of its installation by Lowes Ltd., the cool storage of fruit was scarcely beyond the experimental stage, the plant was ordered, fixed and got into running order but there were drawbacks to be eliminated before the system could be called perfect.

Lowes provided not only storage of fruit and meat, but also storage for milk and cream which was brought for the nearby Dairy Company. In common with many other brick buildings, Lowes’ Butchery ceased to exist at the time of the earthquake in 1931. A pioneer industry became history.

In their time, the Riverslea Hop Gardens were of far greater importance to the then infant town and its district than Watties huge canning factory today.

The hop garden was established by Thomas Tanner in 1882 as one of his ventures for popularizing the plains. The original garden extended from the Hastings boundary to St. George’s Road along the north side of the road to Havelock. Later it was reduced to eight acres of what is now part of the orchard owned by Mr. A. D. Masters.

The hop garden gave considerable employment to girls and men, who enjoyed all the customs associated with hop picking, but lack of sufficient labour caused their early reduction.

Hops do not like too much water around the roots and it was this water which brought the industry to an untimely end. The Borough Council had built a drain at Selwood Road which unfortunately ended at the boundary. The County Council did not continue the drain to an outlet so the town’s storm water was emptied into the hops. The vines could not survive such treatment.

The double-kilned oast house was reputed to be the largest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere. It was the scene of a wedding in 1929 when it belonged to the Anglican church. Previously it had been used as a school. During the earthquake, the tall brick towers at each end of the building containing the drying floors and kilns were completely destroyed. The remaining portion was destroyed by fire in 1950.

Who would ever have though of chartering a ship to take a cargo of fruit trees? It actually happpened, when Thomas Horton shipped several thousand apple trees to Nelson in the early days of this century.

In the year 1896, on a two acre plot near the railway station at Pahiatua, Mr. Thomas Horton laid the foundation of a nursery business which gained a dominion-wide reputation. The district was known as the “Forty Mile Bush”, one of those heavily timbered areas from which the bush has been cleared and replaced by dairy farms. Mr. Horton worked day and night to improve his holdings and plant a few small things for immediate returns. He also planted fruit and shelter trees to form a basis for his nursery.

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During 1897 his first nursery sales were made, amounting to a few hundred trees and shrubs.

After the next year or two, further land was taken and cultivated, bringing up the area to five acres. The business was growing rapidly owing mainly to careful advertising and the use of travellers to advise people in the planting and to receive their orders.

In 1903 Mr. Horton visited England in the interest of his business, getting in touch with the raisers and providers of nursery stock, arranging for supplies of labels, catalogue matter, and other necessary items for successful nursery business. He also made inquiries into the possibility of the export fruit trade as far as distribution in England was concerned.

In 1905 the commencement of planting large orchard areas showed the possibility in the nursery trade and made further land necessary so that stock, particularly apples for commercial purposes, could be increased. In this year 20 acres of the famous Frimley Estate were bought, and a nursery opened under the management of Mr. A. Tomlinson, who had been with Mr. Horton at Pahiatua for some years. The following year an additional fifteen acres were purchased to cope with the increasing demand for stock. The Hastings branch appears to have been established in Evendon [Evenden] Road.

At the beginning of 1908 the business became a private limited liability company under the name of “Thomas Horton Ltd.” The first directors were Messrs. J. N. Williams, W. H. Hartgill, T. Horton, and E. J. Watt. The headquarters were established at Hastings, but the Pahiatua nurseries were kept going. In 1913 and 1914 Mr. Horton made two visits to Argentina. The first was undertaken with the intention of establishing a connection for trade in fruit trees and enquiring into the possibilities of an export fruit trade.

Exhaustive enquiries were made and Mr. Horton was convinced that a very large trade in fruit could he built up, so he furnished a comprehensive report to the New Zealand Department of Agriculture on the result of his investigations. As the result of the first visit a very large shipment of fruit trees was sent over in 1914. At the same time Mr. Horton took over a big display of New Zealand apples for exhibition at Buenos Aires, which was the centre of attraction for about a month.

As an example of the possibilities of the fruit trade with that country, Mr. Horton was approached by one firm who offered to take all the fruit they could send, and by another firm who wanted to place an order for 20,000 cases per year for 5 years.

In 1897 Mr. Horton employed one man and disposed of some two or three thousand trees of all kinds. In 1916 the firm employed 63 hands and sold upwards of a million trees of all kinds. The nursery business was recognised as being one of the largest of its kind in the Dominion.

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Fate of the business is unknown, but it was belived [believed] to have fallen on hard times and finally abandoned in favour of market gardening.

A little-known enterprise (today) was one which proved most valuable during the first world war. Importation of rennet became difficult so local effort came to the rescue. The Vello Company Limited commenced making rennet and orders came in quickly, until many of New Zealand’s cheese factories were obtaining their supplies from here. An up-to-date plant was installed and production went ahead.

The factory was situated on the banks of the Karamu Stream at Mangateretere, an outlying district of Hastings, where they were assured of a plentiful supply of water for the working of the plant, whilst proximity to the railway was also useful.

Margarine was becoming increasingly used by the bakery trade as well as for household. Pastry-making was another important line manufactured by the firm, and large quantities were despatched to various places all over New Zealand. So great was the demand for margarine that the company had to extend that department of their factory on more than one occasion.

The abundant growth of the Heretaunga Plains has provided much industry for the growing Borough, while at the same time, prosperity has demanded the manufacture of several other commodities.

Space does not permit a coverage of all the industries which have made Hastings, but an endeavour has been made to revive memories of some of the more colourful or those which have influenced the future of the town.

A search for the story of flour-milling in Hastings was made without success. Flour-milling was the first industry in the town and being so far from our imagination today, would have made most interesting reading.

Industries grow like mushrooms today – some small, some large, some spectacular, some not, but all in all they contribute to a growing City and revive the spirit of those pioneers who did so much.

The manual fire engine was purchased from a Wellington firm for a price of £60.

In 1898 the Council decided to issue Bicycle licences but they had no success.

At that time they recorded concern at the delinquents who spent their time in shop doorways, smoking, swearing and spitting.

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“Moving About”

It is difficult to decide whether a town makes transport or transport makes a town, but whatever happens the progress of a town’s transport tells the tale of progress and development generally.

In 88 short years Hastings has grown from the horse and pedestrian era to the age of diesel and high speed motorway. The present consideration of a motorway across the plains demonstrates the vitality of the district

Today it is difficult to imagine the appearance of the Penny Farthing in Heretaunga Street, nor is it easy to visualise the horsedrawn bus or the Maoris having informal horse races on the Havelock North Road.

It would have been just as difficult for citizens of 60 years ago (at the turn of the century) to imagine the streets – most of them now sealed, with large lorries, buses and comfortable motor cars travelling to and fro.

Would they have expected the parking problems we have in town today or the swift railcars which have replaced the long passenger expresses?

The Albert Stables in Karamu Road were established in the year 1901 by the proprietor, Mr. B. C. McCormick. They occupied a large section and were well arranged and efficient. A large amount of money had been spent in thoroughly stocking the establishment with a variety of horse-drawn vehicles; waggonettes, drays, bradleys, and dog-carts and a large number of well-trained horses were always kept for hire.

Photo caption – Comforts for the troops 1914-18 war.

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The travelling public could always rely on getting an up-to-date and reliable turn-out at the Albert Stables. The conveyance of passengers to race meetings, show grounds etc., was also undertaken. Mr. McCormick personally superintended the management of the stables and was assisted by experienced stablemen.

Graham Brothers of Premier Stables, Heretaunga Street was reputed to be among the best stables in the province. They were established by the senior partner (Mr. S. Graham) in March 1902, and at first they were attached to the Pacific Hotel. The business prospered so rapidly that it was soon necessary to purchase another site and build new stables. A section was bought in Heretaunga Street (next Thompson Butcher’s site) and the stables were specially built of brick with an iron roof. The building which had a fine frontage which extended from the road to the back boundary of the section. It was particiularly [particularly] well-appointed – containing 23 stalls and four loose boxes. Fourteen horses were constantly on hand and the vehicles comprised two large drays, two waggonettes, one single brake, three buggies, four gigs, one dog-cart, one landau and one hearse. The Premier Stables were largely patronised by people from all walks of life as the public had the utmost confidence in the management methods. Throughout the season a coach service was maintained between the town and Frimley orchards.

Later Mr. Graham and Mr. Gebbie formed a partnership and Tattersalls livery and bait stables in Market Street was purchased. For a time the two businesses were run by Graham and Gebbie until the one in Heretaunga Street was given up because of the rapid growth of the shopping area.

Mr. D. T. Murfitt had his stables behind the Hastings Hotel in Railway Road. When the stables were burnt out he shifted to new premises known as Tattersalls which is actually the building occupied by Williams and Creagh in Market Street. Horse sales were conducted in a large ring erected on adjoining land.

Mr. Charles Hart subsequently took over Tattersall’s Stables. Previously he had operated the Napier-Hastings Coach Service for six years. Mr Hart was born at Southbridge, Canterbury in July 1873 where he was educated at a public school and afterwards in Hawke s Bay where he later took up farming. In 1897 he became driver of the Napier-Hastings coach which he subsequently bought and ran on his own account for about six years before acquiring Tattersall’s. Mr. Hart conducted a weekly coach service with Mangawhare, 33 miles distant from Hastings, which he was the first to institute.

In those days of the horse every shop had a hitching post to tie the horse to. Today the only hitching post left is on the verandah post of Westerman’s old shop. Stabling a pony cost 6d. but it cost 1/- to stable a horse and gig. This was a form of parking meter payment. During this time the bulls were taken to the show in a cart drawn by about six horses. Riders were very lucky if they could leave their ponies in town without having to pay. Boys were every

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where to look after horses, a service for which they would receive a small sum of money.

Newrick Brothers were traction engine and steam threshing mill plant proprietors of Karamu Road. This first was established in 1906. The plant included a first class powerful traction engine, a large chaff-cutter, an up-to-date woodsawing machine and a complete grain threshing plant. Messrs. Newrick Bros., were noted as good reliable workers who conducted a successful business. About six persons were employed. Newricks’ also owned taxis – 20 cars – 40 years ago. Newricks’ taxis were the first in Hastings. They had the honour of driving Lord and Lady Jellicoe when they visited Hastings. Mr. Newrick himself drove a big 6 Studebaker and helped many motorists out of big holes on country roads. Their stand was in Railway Road near where the Hastings Hotel is. There was no shelter at the stand at all. There are now 26 Hastings taxis, 2 taxis in Havelock North, 1 in Clive and 26 in Napier.

An ironmonger and cycle importer’s business was founded in 1885 by Mr. W. F. Burnett. Five years later it was taken over by Messrs. Bennett and Bone. In 1896 Mr. Bennett retired and Mr. Bone was joined by Mr. W. C. Holroyd – the firm then being known as “Bone and Holroyd.” The partnership was resolved [dissolved] and Mr. Bone has since conducted the business on his own account. During recent years the business has rapidly gone ahead and extensive additions have been made to the premises, including a fine paper hanging department.

The Hawke’s Bay Special Cycle Works were acquired in the year 1903. The premises in Queen Street were of brick and contained a general shop and showroom, and the workshop. Both apartments were well appointed and had a complete stock of fittings,

Photo caption – The Fire Brigade – an early photograph at Market Street Corner

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machinery and implements. A special cycle and motor-cycle known as “The H.B. Special” were manufactured on the premises and were well-built, light and easy running. Repairs of all kinds were neatly, cheaply and quickly made.

The Hastings Coach Factory was established by the late Mr. G, Faulkner in the year 1877 and was acquired by Mr. Pothan in 1899.

The premises were situated in Market Street and consisted of a two-storeyed wooden building which had been enlarged from time to time as the growth of the business required it. At the rear of the main building was a large showroom (20ft. by 32ft.) and considerable yard accommodation. The manufacturing plant was modern and up to date in every respect and was driven by a powerful gas engine. The workshop contained five forges and anvils. In addition to coach-building a large amount of implement making, horseshoeing and general blacksmith work was carried out. Wagons, drays, lorries, dog-carts, buggies, sulkies and bradleys were turned out in large numbers. Coaches and brakes were also built.

The first cab proprietor was Mr. Harvey Rawden who was also a carrier. His first premises were in Market Street but later he moved to the corner where the Tourist Motor Company now is.! He had two horse cabs which could be hired and he catered for weddings and similar functions. Other early carriers were Chas. Waters, Jas. O’Neill, James Gibbs, J. Fritchley and John Stack. Mr. W. A. Beecroft established the first real livery and bait stables and he owned the first hearse. He provided stabling, stable horses and vehicles for hire. Dave Pilmer also conducted livery and bait stables behind the Hastings hotel. In the early 1900’s Graham and Gebbie were in the same business on the same site in Market St., first occupied by Mr. D. T. Murfitt and later by Mr. Charles Hart. Mr. John Carter was the first owner of the only hansom cab in Hastings which was for hire.


The first car in Hawke’s Bay was owned by Mr. Bernard Chambers of Te Mata, Havelock North and was a 1902 Oldsmobile. The first garage in Hawke’s Bay was operated by Mr. W. B. Jones of Hastings. One of the first lady drivers in the area was Mrs. E. S. King of Waipawa who bought her first car in 1906.

Road work was commenced in about 1857 and it is reported that the first roading equipment was a shipment of 12 spades which arrived in that year with the advice that 3 picks and 1 wheelbarrow would follow at an early date. The first sections of road constructed were from Napier south, and one wonders how fast the work proceeded with the equipment they had. Compare that with the modern day equipment.

A.A. Hawke’s Bay was formed in 1911 with 84 members – it being the 5th Automobile Association formed in the world. As an indication of growth in motor transport there are now approximately 17,000 motor vehicles registered in Hastings. The early

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motorist of Hawke’s Bay played an important part in motoring affairs. At that time the president of the A.A. Hawke’s Bay, Mr. P. S. McLean was the first president of the New Zealand Motor Union.

Tourist Motors Ltd.

In 1908 when Tourist Motors first started the business was in Queen Street, Hastings . . . next to the building now occupied by the Hart Printing House. The horse was still supreme and provided the chief means of transport and haulage. The selling of a motor car or a motor cycle was a very difficult thing because they were not the reliable vehicle they are today and in the beginning it was not easy to convert people from the horse to the car or motor cycle, as the case may be . . . From Queen Street the Company moved to Russell Street and Avenue Road corner (now New man’s Ltd.) and in 1912 the company established the present premises in Market Street, and were pioneers in the introduction of what were then the most modern machine tools. Two years later saw the approach of our “testing time”; the first world war, a depression in 1921 and 10 years later the 1931 depression, earthquake and fire, and later World War Two. The machine shop under took exacting and arduous work for munitions and under the direction of D.S.I.R. turned out amongst other work, gauges that at times were limited to a very fine tolerance of three ten thousandths of an inch or l/5th the thickness of a ZigZag cigarette paper. In 1941 the company purchased “Totara Hills” Station at Tikokino where they have endeavoured to implement the same policy of advancement in quality and production as they have in their motor business.

Photo caption – Marching down Heretaunga Street – R. J. Seddon’s Memorial Parade.

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The company sold Minervas until 1912; Studebakers until 1937; Hillmans until now (1961); Dodges until now (1961). The name “Tourist” was used by Tourist Motors because the motorists of that time who toured, perhaps to Taupo or Wellington, were mostly spoken of as “tourists”. Distances seemed much greater and preparations for a motor tour were extensive and as a result, people going on trips in their motor cars were said to tour and spoken of as tourists. Hence the name is “Tourist Motors.”

Passengers for a tour would be equipped with dust coats, gauntlets, gloves, rugs and even goggles as well. It was only later that as standard equipment, such accessories, as lights, windscreens and hoods were fitted to cars.

The 1912 premises on their present site in Market Street had a floor space of 9000 sq. ft. After the earthquake the replacement building had an area of 18,400 sq. ft. Tourist Motors, who commenced business in 1908 are mindful of having the oldest established motor connection in Hawke’s Bay.

The first motor coach over the Taupo road (in 1913) was a Cadillac which could carry nine people. It took one day and the price for the trip was £5. Today the price of a seat on the 33 seater is £1/15/- and it takes only 4 hours. To travel to Wellington on the eight seater Hudson cost £1/8/6 and it took 8 hours. The new 33 seater takes 7 hours and it costs £1/11/-. The AARD Motor

Service ran between Napier and Wellington prior to Newmans starting in 1935. At that date they had 10 buses; they now have 30. It works like this . . . they have one service to one road. The Hastings to Napier Company was originally called the “Checkers” Service. The coaches are blue, as they were originally. They operate in the lower half of the North Island and in the upper half of the South Island still.


Mr. Nimon took over from Mr. Beecroft in 1900. Mr. Nimon had two and four horse buses until 1911. From early 1912 on he had motor buses. In the early horse days the mail coaches from Hastings to Waimarama and other places were run by Graham and Gebbie and Mrs. W. Cook. A few passengers and supplies were carried once or twice weekly. During the winter months on the road from Hastings to Havelock the road was so muddy and wet it would take three or four horses to pull the buses. Buses were the first public transport to be used in Hastings. There are now mail runs up the Taihape Road and in the Maraekakaho, Raukawa areas. In the early part of the century Graham and Gebbie took the mail from Hastings in horse coaches. Now mail goes by Herald-Tribune paper car to outlying districts, by N.Z.R. buses to Napier and by Nimon’s buses (as in the past) to Havelock North. The cost of a 25 seater bus in 1926 was £1200. Today a 33 seater costs £6000. The first car Nimons bought was a Studebaker which was bought in 1912. In 1926 Nimons used all Studebakers for their buses. A Dennis solid tyre bus was used in Hastings in 1911, and it was run by the transport company. Until 1923 Nimons had all

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solid tyre buses. Nimons supply transport for 200 pupils including and teachers, for private colleges. Nimons also carry 700 children every day including a High School bus. The company extended their service to the Hospital about 20 years ago. They started with two horse buses and in those days to get to Waimarama they had to cross the Tuki Tuki River without the use of a bridge. They travelled over the old zig zag Tuki Tuki road then to Ocean Beach and on to Waimarama along the beach when the tides were right.

The present bus service around the town was begun by the late Mr. G. G. Freathey. This was later taken over by the N.Z.R. bus service.

Nimons now have 2 Bedfords, 2 Fords and 2 Morrisses. There are two diesel and four petrol buses. In 1939 they had two Studebakers and two Morrisses. Bodies were built by Ross, Dysart and McLean and the chassis by Stewart Greer Motors and Tourist Motors. The air pressure in the first of the air tyres was llOlbs. per sq. inch and today they have a pressure of 8Olbs per sq. inch.

Bullock wagons used to go to Waimarama carrying food stores. Nimons ran the bullock mail wagons, using 10 bullocks to a waggon.


(This article was published in the Herald-Tribune by Mrs. Tennent)

“When Mr. W. A. Beecroft established his horse omnibus transport and milk link between Hastings and Havelock North he was obviously influenced by the local tendency to commemorate the part played by the regiments from India, sent to New Zealand after the Indian Mutiny to help quell the Maori uprisings. Surrounded by names of famous soldiers, Napier, Olive, Hastings and Havelock North, he added his quota by naming his residence and stables in Havelock North “Lucknow Lodge” and his omnibuses “Advance” and “Relief”.

The head office, “Beecroft’s Repository,” was in Hastings. The business premises fronted on to Queen Street, and, next to Thomas Morgan’s Wine and Spirit Store, an imposing archway spanned the entrance from Heretaunga Street to the stable yards behind the Post Office.

Drawn thither by his love for horses Mr. J. G. Nimon joined Mr. Beecroft’s staff in 1895. Born in Ballarat, Victoria, he had come to New Zealand at the age of 25 and after three years in the South Island came north in 1890 and eventually settled in Hastings. In 1897 the bing [spring] flood which inundated the entire district from Olive to Roy’s Hill decided Mr. Nimon to move his family to the comparative safety of the hills at Havelock North; a move that was to prove more permanent than he could ever have guessed.

In 1900 Mr. Nimon arranged to buy the business from his employer a deal involving 20 horses, two horse omnibuses, one gig, one four wheeler buggy all harness and saddles, chaff, oats etc., and “Lucknow Lodge”. He also rented the facilities for stabling buses and horses at the repository, and used this as his Hastings depot for several years.

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There was very little palaver, and no legal aid required to clinch the deal. All items were listed and two fair copies made. Mr. Nimon and Mr. Beecroft inspected each item, and when they had agreed upon the price they each signed both lists; a two penny stamp was affixed to each and Mr. Nimon paid his deposit with a bag of sovereigns and without further ado the business was his lock stock and barrel.

For hauling the buses Mr. Beecroft had used quarter-bred draught horses which he usually purchased from Mr. G. P. Donnelly or Mr. Gillies of Waimarama, or from Tommy Newton on the Waimarama Road. These horses possessed great stamina, and Mr. Nimon continued buying from the same sources for many years. He increased the number of his own hacks for hire, and gradually built up a fairly extensive side-line in horse rearing. His services were sought by horsemen from all over Hawke’s Bay who wanted a knowledgable person to choose hacks or harness horses for themselves, or ponies for their children.

A recognised authority on every aspect of handling horses, he was much in demand as “doctor” for all the local horses and ponies. His son Mr. Joe Nimon has vivid memories of many occasions “when I had to hold the horses while father drew their teeth, or treated them for various ailments.” An exciting and often risky, undertaking.

During the big strike, early in this century, the control of the crowds in Wellington streets was largely maintained by the Mounted Police, and the Government commissioned Mr. Nimon to inspect and purchase some of the necessary horses in the district. From this contract grew the regular buying of remounts for the Cavalry in World War 1.

Two of their own horses Rangi and Major, provided a memorable bit of excitement when Wirth’s Circus visited Hastings. “As

Photo caption – Cab and a bus (Nimon’s) and a carrier about 1895 – outside P.O

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soon as they saw the elephants,” Joe recalls, “they were completely haywire and literally bolted out of town.” From then on they had to be left at home whenever a Circus visited Hastings as even the smell of the elephants was enough to upset them completely.

Most of the chaff for Mr. Nimon’s horses was grown by Jolly Bros., and Messrs. Talbot of Ngatarawa. From there it was towed in by traction engines, forty tons at a time, and stacked in huge lofts above the stables.

For many years the Havelock North Road had a plantation, on the northern side, for nearly the full length from Selwood Road to the bridge. Thus deprived of sun until later afternoon the metalled surface became very heavy and sloppy in wet weather. Although only two horses were needed for the buses in summer, the number varied in the winter according to the condition of the road. Frequently the bus needed four horses to haul it through the deeply rutted shingle, but under all circumstances the bus had to run as it carried all the mails to and from Havelock North.

Until 1912 the village Post Office was a room in a small cottage next to the blacksmith’s yard. Today the only indication of the part this little house played in the life of the community is a doorway opening directly onto the street, but now, apparently, permanently closed. However, Nimon’s buses still carry the mail three times each way per day.

When Woodford House girls’ school moved from Hastings to Havelock North the first pupils were met at the train and transported to the school in horse omnibuses, since when Nimons have undertaken all local transport for Woodford House, lona and Hereworth (formerly Heretaunga). They have carried all public school post primary pupils from Havelock North – firstly the boys who caught the train in Hastings to attend Napier High School, and latterly all the children attending secondary schools in Hastings and hold the remarkable record of never having had an accident or trouble involving the children under their care.

On one notable occasion Mr. Nimon took two horse-omnibus loads of Woodford Girls on an outing to Cape Kidnappers. They picnicked at Clifton, from where the girls walked along the beach to see the gannets. When it became obvious that they had been cut off by the tide Mr. Nimon wisely returned to the school collected blankets, coats and food and drove back to Clifton to meet his weary and footsore crowd of passengers. The girls had to climb the craggy bank and hike back to the buses over the hills, and were more than thankful to find unexpected food and warm clothing awaiting them.

Vehicles of all sizes were available as “specials”, from horse omnibuses for large crowds to buggys and gigs for family picnics. For £1 per day one could hire a gig which seated two – or for double the price a buggy and pair with room for four – as “drive yourself”vehicles. Saddle horses cost approximately 10/- for a day’s outing and were in great demand. Mr. Nimon kept exceptionally good hacks and many a young gallant would a-wooing ride astride one of

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them, or hire a gig to take his fair lady riding, and later return to order the landau and four grey horses kept especially for weddings.

Mr. Nimon was a fluent Maori linguist and made many real friends among the local tribes. He was constantly called upon to act as interpreter and when, about 1903 The Hon. Richard Seddon had occasion to visit the Maori Chief at Waimarama he engaged Mr. Nimon to provide the transport.

The journey must have been quite an experience for the Prime Minister and his entourage. The bus was drawn by four horses, and the trip took four or five hours, each way and had to be perfectly timed to coincide with the tides. The bus had to ford the Tuki Tuki River a little below the site of the present bridge, then came the steep climb over “Zig Zag Hill” and a jolting ride over the rough road to Ocean Beach. From there they travelled along the beach at low tide, and were, no doubt, glad to arrive at the Chieftain’s home, where Mr. Nimon exchanged his role of bus driver for that of interpreter.

Nimons bus was no uncommon sight on the Waimarama route, as they transported literally hundreds of Maoris back and forth to Tangis in all parts of Hawke’s Bay. The season and the state of the road determined the number of horses used, and unless the Coachman’s timing was perfect his passengers could be held up at Ocean Beach for several hours, waiting for the tide to ebb.

About 1909 Mr. Symonds, a coach builder of Hastings, visited England and, on Mr. Nimon’s behalf, investigated the possibilities of motor buses. On the strength of his report, and because of the capital cost and lack of facilities, Mr Nimon decided against the change over.

Mr. Joe Nimon, the present owner of the bus service, has driven the buses ever since leaving school, starting with the horse buses. In 1911 Mr. Ben Hyslop, of the Tourist Motor Company

Photo caption – The first cars in Hawke’s Bay, 1905.

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taught him to drive a car, and he was the first of his family to get a public carriage licence from the Hawke’s Bay County Council – “to operate a carriage licensed to ply for hire.”

In 1911 the Hastings Transport Company imported a Dennis bus from England and started in opposition to Nimon’s horse buses, but lack of patronage soon forced them to give up.

Mr. Nimons first car was a seven-seater Studebaker purchased in 1912. It was the first car in the North Island to have electric lights and a self-starter. Before long another was bought and the service was run with those two cars, and occasional trips with the horse-buses, until 1913 when, regretfully he allowed the horses to be withdrawn forever.

For many years only one registration fee was required for any car, and the number assigned to a motor vehicle remained the same until the car was consigned to the rubbish dump. The drivers of public conveyances had to have a “carriage licence,” and the certificates granted for Nimon’s bus drivers are still in Mr. Joe Nimon’s possession.

The first Studebakers were soon followed by two more, this time ten-seaters with entrance doors at the rear and the seating arranged round the outer wall. In 1915 “J. Nimon and Sons,” acquired a really modern bus – a 25-seater horse-bus type body mounted on a solid tyred Garford motor chassis. This was nick named “the toast-rack” as the steps from the full length of the bus, on either side, and the seats stretched right across with no centre aisle.

Shortly afterwards they commissioned Bate and Bell, coach builders of Napier, to build another 30-seater, still on solid tyres and in these two buses the Havelock North residents bumped cheerily over the Hastings-Havelock road for many years.

On his father’s death in 1916 Joe took over the running of the business, and within a year went off to serve with the armed forces in World War 1 where he was joined by his younger brother, Bill. This meant that the third son Cecil had to leave school to run the business a heavy responsibility for a teen-age schoolboy. Never-the-less he ran it successfully until his brothers returned from overseas and, between them, took over the reins again.

In 1922 Nimons ordered their first big pneumatic tyred bus a Thornycroft chassis fitted with 40 x 8 single tyres inflated to 110 lbs per sq. inch. The bus seated approximately 35 inside and a ladder leading up to the roof to which a seat was a built to accommodate the Napier High School boys who travelled by train from Hastings.

The early buses were fitted with canvas side curtains which were rolled up in fine weather allowing the passengers to enjoy the sunshine. However, if the rain came down so did the curtains, imprisoning everybody in the dim and stuffy interior, and making it it very difficult for the driver. After 1926 the new buses were built with glass windows and were so much easier to drive that the Nimon brothers had windows put in all their existing buses.

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A photograph of the 1920 bus fleet lined up outside Lucknow Lodge looks like the start of a veteran coach rally, but it represents some of the steps taken by Nimon and Sons to keep up with the modern trends – a policy still followed by Mr. J. J. Nimon.

No longer do the passengers bump along on four high pressure tyres. Today’s buses have duel rear wheels each side fitted with special low-pressure tyres (45 to 501bs per sq. inch) to give the passengers a comfortable ride, but it is doubtful that any of them have a clue what it costs to provide public transport.

Twenty-five to 30 years ago the price of a 23-seater body was from £500 to £600 and the chassis approximately £800 to £900. By 1948 this had risen to £2000 for a 33 seater body plus another £1000 for the chassis. Today’s bus travellers bowl along in comfort which costs £6000 in initial outlay, and on which the maintenance costs rise annually, but this has not deterred “Nimons” from providing a fleet of modern streamlined buses.

Some years ago Cecil decided to leave the business to take a position with a motor company in Auckland. Bill remained an active partner until his death in 1942 while serving with the National Reserve, since when Joe has had sole charge.

The two Nimon Bros., still residing in Havelock North have given very generously of their time and energies for the advancement of the district. Both have served as councillors and Mr. J. J. Nimon as Mayor of Havelock North for many years, and also as the local representative on the Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board. They have seen the village develop into a busy shopping centre with ever expanding residential areas, and the bus service has been extended to meet the growing needs.

Throughout Nimon’s 60 years of service there has never been a day when the buses have not run to schedule. Carrying everything from urgently needs goods and mail to hustling humanity, and changing with the years from “horse-omnibuses to the two-tone

Photo caption – Coach leaving for Kereru.

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green luxury buses of today, they have served the ever-growing community of Havelock North faithfully and safely every since Mr. J. G. Nimon parted with his bag of sovereigns in exchange for the business he bequeathed to his family.”

An interesting relic of Hawkes Bay’s past seems to be without a future. It is lying rotting at Havelock North.

The relic is a horse bus, built in 1882, which used to ply between Havelock North and Hastings. It is falling to pieces in the yard of J. J. Nimon and Sons.

When interviewed Mr. Nimon said. “It was running on these roads even before my father took over the Hastings-Havelock North service”, he said. “My father later sold it to a contractor, and it went round the country in the shovel-and-scoop days.”

“It was resurrected from a ditch at Te Awanga, covered with blackberries in October 1960. It appeared in the Blossom parade and my son bought it afterwards.”

“It’s in a parlous condition now. We sent it to town on a truck to a function, and it nearly disintegrated.”

Checkers buses started in 1926 with 13 buses. They now have 21 buses and have become the N.Z. Road Services. They carry 1500 school children in Napier, Hastings, Fernhill, Haumoana and Paki Paki. Fares on the suburban buses used to be 5d to 7d, but they have now been reduced to 6d for adults and 3d for children. The company used to be opposite the post office but they shifted in 1946 to their present site. The (Government took over from the Checker Bus Company in 1926. They now carry 150,000 people in 9 months on the suburban buses.

The first railway station was a small shed which lasted only a few months until a freak wind blew the roof down Queen Street. The replacement building stands today and when first opened included a Post Office. A new station is at present being built just over St. Aubyn Street.

When Francis Hicks visited Hastings in 1923 he expressed disgust at the state of the building then and was determined to take the matter further. However, the buildings remain. He considered that the railways had a free gift of the most valuable land in the borough and the least they could do was to provide pleasing buildings.

An engine, two passenger carriages, two trucks and a brake van made up the first train, but the 100 odd passengers from Napier filled not only the carriages but also the rolling stock. The engine and its freight were gaily decorated with fernery and bunting. The train was accompanied by the Napier Town Band and, in spite of a 2 minute stop at Farndon and a 1 minute stop at Whakatu, the train covered the 12 mile journey in 36 minutes.

To mark the arrival in Hastings a huge marquee had been erected on a nearby section by Mr. Goodwin who was the licensee of the Railway Hotel.

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Modern tourist offices look after the travellers and a business owned by Mr. C. D. Cox was taken over by Letts in 1947. The main Hastings travel agencies are: – Dalgetys, Letts and Union Steamship Company.

The H.B. Motor Company handle the transport between Hastings and Beacons, the H.B. Aerodrome. The company (through K. G. Lett Ltd.) can arrange for air, bus, rail or ferry transport anywhere in New Zealand. They also arrange Hotel accommodation and overseas air and sea reservations. If you wish, Letts can book you for 2326 air schedules operated by nearly 500 different lines.

There are 20 shipping lines between New Zealand, Australia and England, which carry freight. In these ways Hastings moves closer to the rest of the world.

The 5th of November is a day to remember in more ways than one, for it was November 5th that the H.B. East Coast Aero Club, with its headquarters at Bridge Pa, Hastings, was born to be the first Aero Club in the H.B. province. The year was 1928. The birth of the club followed the Tasman flight and the landing in Hastings of the famous “Southern Cross” with Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.

But this event was really only the incentive, which spurred enthusiasts on to the fulfilment of their objective. Long before this, planes used the Bridge Pa ground as a landing ground and the actual aero club had been formed under the guidance of that well known and capable airman Group Captain T. V. (Tiny) White, who subsequently had the amazing flying records of 21 years of crash free flying for which he was awarded the Air Efficiency Medal. By 1937 he logged 5000 hours flying without mishap and that represents 9 months of continuous flying. The first secretary of the Aero Club was Mr. R. D, Brown.

In the industrial progress of Hawke’s Bay, and indeed New Zealand, Hastings can claim a unique distinction. It is the headquarters of the New Zealand Aerial Mapping Company – an organisation which has played an important part in plotting not only Hawke’s Bay, but also New Zealand . . . for this reason the industry is playing an important part in the economy of the country as a whole.

Aviation is playing its part and aerial farming is playing an increasingly important part.

Mrs. Mary Upton recalls that the first cabs were entered from the back by one or two steps. The local youngsters would run and jump onto the steps for a free ride. Those who could not make it then yell “Whip behind.” The driver would then lash out with his whip and quickly dispose of his surreptitious passengers.

There was something really regal about weddings in those far away cabbie days. Graham and Gebbie’s livery stables ran a beautiful landau drawn by two lovely white horses. The driver, looking very smart wore top hat and tails, white gloves, a white rosette in his buttonhole and sported white ribbons on his whip. Many of the older generation of brides will remember the thrill of being

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driven to church on their wedding day in a truly Royal turn out – the landau drawn by white horses.

Other familiar figures of the horse drawn vehicle days were the butcher, baker and fisherman. Once the cry of “Fish-oh” could he heard blocks away when the long bearded Westshore fisherman, Mr. Legget, drove his fish cart to Hastings. At one time the baker delivered the bread to the hack door free of delivery charge. The butchers’ cart went from street to street. The housewife, carrying a plate and followed by the family cat, chose her dinner from the cart.

The days of the horse means of transport were also pedestrian days. Children walked miles to school, barefooted both summer and winter. One Hasting’s lady thought nothing of walking to Napier and back along the metal covered roads. Parties of young people pushed bicycles for miles over rough roads. A few streets were tar-sealed but bitumen was at that time an unknown quality.

One of the most exciting spectacles of by-gone days was bolting horses. A bolting, unattended horse with cart attached, tearing madly along Heretaunga Street, brought people running out of the shops to watch the proceedings.

Sometimes, these runaways came to tragic endings. On one occasion a Hastings man was driving a grocery cart loaded with empty butter boxes. He was sitting on the shaft of the vehicle when some of the boxes fell and struck the horse. The animal gave a sudden jump throwing the driver off the cart, which then passed over him causing his death.

At the time some daring saves were accomplishd as when a horse bolted with a small child seated in a high cart. The reins had come loose and were dangling, frightening the animal which started off at a quickening pace. A young man, seeing the cart approaching and realising the situation was dangerous to the child, ran to the roadway, hauled himself over the tailboard, and leaping on to the horse’s back managed to reach the reins and bring the animal to a halt. Quite a spectacular achievement.

Simple as life was at that time, without the hazards of motor traffic, danger and death could still be met in the streets.

Looking at the busy Hasting’s streets today it seems a far cry to the horse and buggy days – the days when horse troughs and hitching posts were side street necessities. Today they are replaced by petrol pumps and parking meters. Hastings transport has indeed progressed a long way since folk took their pack horses via Frimley and Havelock North to avoid the swamp – when Ormond’s red-wheeled buggy was the “last word”.

Transport has changed greatly in the last 88 years. Today they are considering building a new motorway to connect Hastings to her sister city, Napier. The latest cars are sprung for comfort – not just to get along like the old type.

Future cars in Hastings may not be on wheels hut may possibly float on a cushion of air, like the latest American cars.

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Fire and Flood

“The Town of Blazes” and a “Flame Beridden Town” – such were the phrases used to describe Hastings in the early days. Frequent fires raged in the business area and residents surveyed the ashes and wondered how much of the town was left to burn. A few did more than wonder.

On January 4th, 1886, sixteen men met in a room at the Hastings Hotel and formed the Hastings Volunteer Fire Brigade, with Mr. S. T. Tong as Superintendent and Mr. A. J. Falconer as deputy. With 400 feet of horse and a borrowed bell the brigade was able to begin operations just over 75 years ago.

On January 4th, 1960, the brigade met in the same room at the Hastings Hotel. The minutes of the initial meeting were read and an addition to this effect was inserted in the Minute book. At a Jubilee dinner fire-fighters, old and modern had a chance to trade their memories. Relived once again were the brave days when fighting fires in a timber-built country town was a mixture of romance and hazard; when the clamour of the alarm bell set the fire horses rearing in their stalls and small boys agog with excitement. The split-second drill of harnessing horses was recalled, and the merits of the Shining Shand Steamer, in its day the most powerful fire-fighting appliance in the country, were discussed.

Today the Hastings Fire Brigade has a complement of 70 men, all but 8 of them volunteers, seven major fire appliances, a salvage van, three trailer pumps, six portable pumps, and six flats for residents at the fire headquarters. Training facilities include a smoke chamber and a structure representing five floors of a building. The staff are fortunate in having a swimming pool.

Photo caption – The Old Post Office – moving day.
(When it was moved from comer to present site)

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The Brigade has always been fortunate in its leadership. Superintendents were S. T. Tong, W. Beck, C. Z. Brausch (for 29 years), W. Keith and R. Henderson. The present Chief Fire Officer, L. R. G. (“Tiger”) Harlen, has brought the brigade up to a remarkable pitch of efficiency. He has been held in high regard by senior Fire Service Officers throughout New Zealand.

In June 1889, two fires occurred – one in Mr. N. M. Neil’s House, which was destroyed, another at Doctor Faulkner’s Stables. During the latter fire, one well was found to be dry and there was not sufficient hose to bring water from the next well. It is reported that the fire brigade and the public of Hastings worked with buckets and got the fire out without much damage being done.

In February 1893, a serious fire started in Mr. Evan’s shop. The fire involved both sides of Heretaunga Street from the railway line to Market Street. The only appliance that the brigade had was a manual fire engine. A steam fire engine was sent from Napier by railway truck and was used part of the time to subdue flames.

During the time the fire raged, the Council and several citizens met in the street and decided to purchase a steam fire engine which was to be cabled for immediately.

The cost of the Steamer was £1100 and after a short time a Shand Mason Fire Engine was delivered in Hastings. At that time, the Hon. John Ballance offered financial assistance from the Government, which was refused firmly.

The next big fire took place in P. Home’s bootshop, which was in the block between the railway and Karamu Road. It spread quickly and the following places were surrounded by flames: F. Beshal (Saddler), Blythe (Draper), S. Ridgway (Draper), Eicles (Chemist) and Lys (Tailor). The brigade had a hard fight to subdue the flames as apparently the places were on fire almost simultaneously, and the townspeople were so well satisfied with their performance that a subscription list was started, and before the fire men had left the fire a sum of £23/6/6 was handed to them for their efficient services.

About this period fires were very frequent in Hastings and it was often described (as noted before) as the Town of Blazes, and on February 8th, 1897, it was described as a flame-beridden town. Last words in parting from friends each day were quite often, “See you at the fire tonight!”

During the latter part of 1901, a fire occurred on the S.S. Waimate in the Napier Harbour, and the company asked for the Hastings Shand Mason Fire Engine to be sent there to quench the fire which was burning fiercely. The next fire of importance was at the Tomoana Freezing Works which occurred at the time of a demonstration at Napier. The Hastings fire brigade was called and made a good save.

On May 14th, 1907, a disastrous fire occurred in Heretaunga Street, starting in Williams and Kettle’s building and the steam engine was quickly on the scene. After pumping for 55 minutes a

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large tank holding gallons of water was emptied and the engine had to be shifted across the railway line to a manhole in the sewer where it worked at this spot for 20 hours.

Just as it was thought that the fire was under control a southbound train was due to leave and it was thought that railway officials would delay the departure in order to allow the brigade time to get the fire under control to such a degree that, in stopping for a few minutes, the risk of allowing the fire to spread would be minimised; but the authorities announced that if the hose was not removed from the track, the train would go over it. The brigade had no alternative but to disconnect the hose and allow the train to continue on its journey, with the result that the Bank of New Zealand was a seething mass of flames before the last of the train, which consisted of 35 trucks had passed over the crossing. Never did any one of the bystanders see a train move at such a slow pace before – nearly 15 minutes had elapsed from disconnecting till the water was being pumped on as fierce a fire as before.

This enabled the fire to become a huge outbreak with the result that not only Williams and Kettle’s but also Maddison’s store, the Bank of New Zealand and Bones Cafe were destroyed. A humorous incident occurred at the latter cafe as some of the people who were watching the fire entered the building, which was two-storeyed, the dining room being upstairs. They opened the windows and carefully gathered the crockery into the table-clothes, dropping it on to the footpath below.

Some stirring comment was made in the local newspapers at the time, on the act of the railway officials but nothing further was done in the matter. Again there was a large congregation of

Photo caption – The opening of the Post Office before the earthquake.

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the public present and so pleased were they at the manner in which the brigade worked that again a subscription list was taken up during the progress of the fire and the sum of £112 was handed to the men for the services they had rendered.

A few months later, a serious fire broke out in Queen Street – in Symond’s Coach factory – and after starting in the paint shop it quickly spread. The water had to be pumped from Heretaunga Street, and consequently the brigade was seriously handicapped, with the result that several buildings were destroyed.

The next serious fire that took place was Phillips and Wrights sash and door factory and during the progress of the fire the steamer broke down and they had no option but to bring out the old manual engine.

About six months after the above fire, Garnett’s Sash and Door factory was also burnt and only the timbers in the yard were saved.

On April 3rd, 1910 a serious fire broke out in Station Street, now called Russell Street, where five shops were badly damaged.

Several fires have occurred since the high-pressure water supply has been established, but none of them has been so disastrous as they have been in the past. One of the worst fires there has been, was in the cool stores situated in King Street, which were packed full of fruit. The firemen were on duty for over 30 hours. During this fire a serious accident was narrowly escaped when one of the ammonia cylinders burst and smashed through a shed, landing within a few feet of several firemen.

February 1931, was a disastrous month in which the earth quake occurred. The Fire Station was completely wrecked and it was some time before the motors could be got out from under the debris. Eventually these were removed and the fires which had started were soon well under control. The men were attending to places that had been on fire and watching for further outbreaks when another shock came at 8.45 p.m. and the whole water system was put out of action. A fire immediately started where the Grand Hotel once stood and the brigade was powerless to stop the big fire; the only equipment they had was the first aid plant and this was kept working all night, keeping the buildings on the other side of the street cool. In this way they were successful after a strenuous night’s work. Next day the water supply was restored and any further outbreaks were quickly dealt with.

A flood of 1897 left a mark on Hastings. Easter was not quickly forgotten. On Good Friday of that year the Ngaruroro River, in a sudden and terrible flood, broke through its right bank, both below and above Roy’s Hill, and engulfed two thirds of the Heretaunga Plains and Hastings (a growing township) stood in the path of the flood. The Tuki Tuki and Tutaekuri river were also in flood, and altogether the disaster claimed the lives of eight Hawke’s Bay settlers.

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The floodwater raced unchecked over farmland and across low lying areas of Hastings, demolishing houses and drowning live stock.

The Raureka area took the first impact. There the father of the late Mr. Geo. Ebbett, saw the water rising rapidly and with out warning. He placed his wife and children in a loft over a barn and hurried away to give the alarm. On his return he had to swim home.

Rescuers and rescued were at times in great danger. The bridge at Omahu, where the river was 14 feet above its normal level, disappeared within an hour. Many houses were ruined at Pukahu, and relief parties from Havelock North, rowed over what was left of gates and fences. Then the flood receded, leaving dead animals and debris in great piles on silt-covered ground.

As well as the terror and heartbreak that the flood brought to home owners, it caused severe financial loss to both individuals and the district. And the young town of Hastings – for a time – reeled under the blow. Mr. A. I. Rainbow recalls that if anyone would dare, they could have rowed a boat from Mayfair to Napier.

Five years later, in June 1902, settlers watched anxiously as the Ngaruroro once more threatened the Heretaunga Plains. This time the district was better prepared. An embankment erected at Roy’s Hill danger point managed to contained the flood waters.

In 1938 thousands of acres lay beneath swirling flood waters between Hastings and Napier in the Whakatu and Karamu settlement areas. The level of the water fell a few inches in most localities after Monday, 24th April, but farmlands continued to be swept by yellow tide. The rain – though less steady – did not cease.

A visit by reporters of “The Daily Mail” to Clive and to the two rivers, the Ngaruroro and the Tutaekuri showed that the

Photo caption – The mail goes out. District mailmen leaving.

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flooding following the breaking of some 15 chains of the old stop-banks of the Ngaruroro on the Monday had caused the washing out of the railway line. Near the Tutaekuri River, two chains of line with sleepers attached were clinging over water where the embankment had been washed away. At this point the main Napier-Hastings Road was still under two feet of water and impassable to cars.

The extent of the area beneath water in the district could not be easily estimated, but stretches of two and three miles were covered with heavy, discoloured water. A small and isolated section of the waters was reeking of sewage from the Hastings pipes which tipped into the Ngaruroro not far from Whakatu at that time.

Stretches of the road remained submerged beneath silt and water. Flood debris – melons, pumpkins, carcasses and logs – lined the fences of the main highways and subsidiary roads. In a sense the plight of settlers and house occupiers in those regions was more serious as the duration of the flood was thought to have caused unusually heavy damage to property.

High paddocks – to which stock had been removed – had become mere bogs from the trampling of hooves and large transportations of stock were made necessary. A common sight through the districts north and east of Hastings was that thousands of sheep, hundreds of cattle, and even a number of pigs, were herded together in one field.

The floodwaters rushing across the roads between Clive and Whakatu were an impressive sight. On Anzac day the level of water had gone down sufficiently to allow cars to travel slowly and carefully between Clive and Havelock North and thence to Hastings.

An eye-witness account gives us this story – “A vivid picture of Havelock North, Clive, Pakowhai, and the Napier inner harbour area as what appeared to be one gigantic lake was gained by passengers and pilot on an aeroplane flight of the flood stricken districts near Hastings and Napier.

“Silt could be seen covering hundreds of acres of farm in the Esk Valley. Thousands of landslides and small slips, scoured countryside from Okawa to Eskdale and from Clifton to Maraetotara. Cars could be seen marooned in numerous districts and stock could be seen dotting the watery background of the fields.

“The crumpled concrete bridge on the road to Wairoa was clearly visible and at the head of the valley, the road bridge beside the rail bridge appeared to have a dangerous list. Some of the farm buildings were half covered with silt and others appeared to have been moved, as they occupied irregular positions. There was no sign of one railway station.

“It was easy to account for the tons of silt covering the entire floor of the valley. Flying in the directions of Rissington, it was noted that thousands of slips had come down. Apparently each slip had gone down into the stream below and had been carried downstream in floodwater to be disposed of on the flats.

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We in Hastings, can take heart from the fact that since our town began, these major floods have had less direct effect on life in the town, than they have in the surrounding plains. Damage within the town has been comparatively slight. It is really fortunate that Hastings has grown on a slightly higher area of swamp land.

Perhaps it is just as well that Hastings had not been born before 1867 when the Ngaruroro changed its course. The swamp which became a city would have been a tragic sight.

In 1950, there was a big hail storm which did not melt until 35 hours later. The hail came down so heavily that it caused flat bungalow roofs to cave in. A great lot of damage was down to the town. Glasshouses were smashed, fruit trees severely damaged and crops were set back, causing a severe loss to the farmer and also to the town generally.

It is a well-known fact that the Heretaunga Plains have been built up by flood after flood, by the same token Hastings can be said to have grown from ashes. Despite several major fires, businesses have reappeared and the town has continued to grow, which itself indicates the vitality of the City.

1867: A great flood ruined thousands of acres. The Ngaruroro changed its course.
1889: Two fires – Mr. Neil’s House destroyed. Dr. Falkener’s stables saved by bucket brigade.
1893: Part of Heretaunga Street was destroyed by fire. Both sides from railway line to Market Street were devastated. People decided (while fire burned) to purchase a new engine which the Government offered to pay for.
1897: Great flood at Eastertime. It was caused by the Ngaruroro, Tutaekuri and Tukituki rivers bursting their banks.
1902: Ngaruroro threatened to flood.

Photo caption – Railway Station Yards where a new road is going through.

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1907: The first of May 14th, was one of the most disastrous. It destroyed the heart of the town and burned for a while unchecked, because the hoses were uncoupled to allow a train to pass.
1910: On April 3rd, five shops were demolished by fire in Station Road. A fire in the cool stores. Queen Street, was one of the worst.
1931: The earthquake. The fire station was wrecked and it was some time before the engines could be removed from the debris. Eventually they were, and fires were soon under control.
1938: Major flood devastated entire Heretaunga Plains.
1950: A big hail storm caused great damage.
1951: A freak snow storm hit the town.

Not all fires have been listed – they were too numerous. Residents used to part after work with the comment – “See you at the fire tonight!” so common were these blazes. Probably the last mjor [major] fire was the destruction of the H.B. Farmers’ building, in the late twenties.

Hastings nightman, with a contract and authority to charge 2/6d per bucket, complained when residents closed their own privies and used their neighbours.

The Carlton Club hotel was, at one time, the tallest building. It was surmounted by a tower which is now used as an avery [aviary] in a Hastings garden.

Hastings Borough Council originally employed an “Inspector of Nuisances”.

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Looking East from Karamu Road (1905).

Heretaunga Street looking East from Karamu Road (today).

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February, 1931


Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle, replied
That maybe it couldn’t but he would be one,
Who wouldn’t say so till he tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face: if he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done; AND HE DID IT.

H.B. Tribune.

On Tuesday morning, February 3rd, 1931, Hastings opened up to its usual business. But long before the earthquake many people were convinced that something was brewing. The atmosphere was hot and oppressive and there was a strange stillness in the air. Little did anyone realise that such a calamity was coming to this bright and sunny district. At 12 minutes to 11 p.m. the main crash came. The first impact was terrific but it eased off slightly, then again it came and with it the realisation that this was not just an ordinary earthquake but a disaster of the greatest possible magnitude.

Giant buildings collapsed like houses of cards under the impact – bricks hurtled through the air in all directions – women and children screamed – men rushed to reach their loved ones fire raged. It was no wonder that people thought the end of the world had come, in fact it took many a long time to realise it was an earthquake. Their minds were semi-blank, one half automatically thinking about the business they were doing at the time and the other half sensing that something big and weird had happened and that the town’s blood had been severed.

There was an earthquake following earthquake. Fire raged and all the fire brigade could do was watch and evacuate people in the path of the fires because the main water supply had been broken. Night came and with it another shock almost as severe as the first, and it was this shock that finished the damage that the previous ‘quakes had started. Again fire broke out and destroyed one of the finest and most valued business blocks in town and in this fire

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all the wooden, buildings which had stood up to the strain so well the previous day, were all lapped up by the flames. Now the disaster was complete.

The clearest evidence of the suddenness of the shakes is the fact that the greatest proportion of deaths occurred from among those on the pavements, these being unable to reach the centre of the roadway where they would have been safe from the falling debri [debris] and masonry. One young woman tells that the convulsion threw her prone on the footpath and as she was bumped up and down she saw others trying to keep their feet while all the way up the main street parapets were falling and buildings were collapsing upon pedestrians and parked cars. Another witness says he saw the Post Office clock sway three times like a giant pendulum and then crash on those beneath it.

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The whole facade of the Grand Hotel fell with a roar and a thick cloud of dust rose above the shattered building All along Heretaunga Street (main street) buildings were crashing in quick succession. Soon all the inmates of the shops not yet harmed poured on to the street. In less time than it takes to tell, the slow upbuilding of the years was utterly cast down, as though the structures had been cardboard.

Such stresses on the buildings by the upheavals had not been provided for, for it is a problem for structural engineers to determine whether it is possible at an economic cost to provide immunity from ruin in the future with ‘quakes of such intensity. Two large two-storied buildings of ferro-concrete, facing Russell Street East with a passageway in between, were bumping together at the top with such force as to break off pieces of the strongest concrete! A visit to the wharf at the Napier breakwater to see the heavy struts pulled out of the concrete setting, even though built to withstand tremendous strain would have enabled all to clearly realise the severity of the greatest quake.

It is a marvel that so many escaped. In most schools the children were in the playground and the heaviest toll was in the business section of the town. Those who escaped immediately and quietly set out to assist those less fortunate. Such was the absence of out cry that some men rode out of town never realising that men and women were still entombed.

The flow of injured found doctors, nurses and volunteer helpers quick to foresee the greatness of the task and active with preparations to cope with it. While immediate relief work was provided for the suffering, involving work at the highest pressure that pressure continued for days and nights.

Fire broke out; the two-storied fire station was in ruins, and the engines could not be extracted for nearly half an hour. By skilful driving, the engines climbed over the wreckage without capsizing. The water mains were broken by the collapse of the Havelock Bridge and only a partial pressure of water was available to fight the fires which were raging at Webber and Shattkey’s premises in Russell Street and at Roach’s Department Store in Heretaunga St. West and on both sides of the block below. Despite the difficulties, the firemen completely checked the western fires and brought about what was regarded as effective control over the fire in the Grand Hotel block.

While the work of rescue and fire-fighting proceeded, a meeting of citizens was held at the Bank of New South Wales corner at 2 p.m. and a start was made with the oraganisation [organisation]that through the succeeding weeks co-ordinated with the Mayor and Council and established a control that won praise for efficiency. The immediate task was the establishing of patrols. They were enrolled and posted throughout the town as darkness fell.

All the time quakes were continuing. About 9 p.m. a heavy jolt increased damage, reducing more buildings to heaps of rubble. A severe jolt put. the power house out of commission for some hours

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thus blocking the pumping of water necessary to maintain the dominance over the smouldering of the Grand Hotel block. Fanned by the wind this fire began to spread. All the water available was carried from Tong’s artesian well. The firemen fought under the worst conditions imaginable unable to check the consuming on ward swirl of fire, until the staff of the power house, by a maximum effort enabled the plant to resume functioning and thus give more water to the town. Threequarters of the most valuable block in Hastings had been destroyed before the fire was suppressed.

Because of the intense heat and the fact that the wind was carrying showers of sparks with it, fires broke out in neighbouring blocks. The Brigade’s First Aid Plant, supplemented by a private supply of fire extinguishers handled by men prepared to take the risk of entering the ruined, smouldering buildings. In doing this they were successful in putting out the small fires.

After the earthquake many homes were found to be intact. Some chimneys had broken off at the roof and dropped through the ceiling doing much damage. Crockery and preserves lay smashed against the overturned furniture, so consequently many homes had to be abandoned. Fortunately the weather was fine and remained so throughout the weeks that followed thus enabling the men to get on to the job of clearing the rubble from the streets.

The day after the earthquake the strenuous work continued. The problems were abnormal and expansive. Gangs of townsmen, augmented by teams of Maoris, and for a day or two by a Naval contingent, set to work to recover the bodies from the ruins. It was not until five weeks afterwards that the last remains were discovered. “Ninety-two lost their lives in Hastings” – so stated the official record, but there were others (not included in the official list) who died as a result of the shock. Despite the haste and the stress and the strain, full reverence was paid to every casket. In our well-kept cemetery are rows of crosses in memory of those who lost their lives at that time.

Visitors to the devastated area shortly after the fateful 3rd of February, were amazed at the extent of the damage. The spokesmen of the large party of Parliamentarians who came to Hawke’s Bay, stated that they had read everything they could, had seen the pictures of the catastrophe and yet had formed no adequate conception of what they called “New Zealand’s greatest national calamity”. The desolation that they saw was after much had been cleaned up.

It was almost six months before building permits for permanent new structures on the former building line of Hastings main street could be issued and even though the complex adjustments required to secure the widening of some of the streets in the business area were not finalised a very good job of rebuilding took place.

Most of the people of the province were, and still are cheerful under affliction. The bereaved and the injured bore their loss quietly. The men whose assets had vanished and whose liabilities

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remained felt the strain of the weary months of waiting. But the evidence of good cheer, and the vigour of rebuilding and the business of replacing what was destroyed was foremost.

The Minutes of the first meeting of the Borough Council quoted in full tell a story. The quick recovery of Hastings from the shock of the disaster is in no small way due to the superb organisation prepared by the Council as readers will be able to draw from their own conclusion. This meeting followed an emergency meeting held during the afternoon to deal with the most urgent matters.

Meeting Minutes.

“Report of emergency meeting of the Council held on Tuesday, 3rd February, 1931 at 7 p.m. in front of the Municipal Buildings. PRESENT: Councillors Henderson, McCormick, Simmons, Cohn, Loach, Baker and Slater.

This meeting was called by the deputy-Mayor (Cr. Henderson) in the absence from the district of his Worship the Mayor (Mr. Roach) for the purpose of considering matters requiring immediate attention in consequence of the severe earthquake which occurred about 10.50 this morning.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: The Electrical Engineer was authorised and instructed to carry out the necessary work and to engage men for that purpose, to renew the street lighting etc. . .. as soon as possible.

GRAVES – ENGINEER: In view of the large number of fatal casualties that have occurred, the Borough Engineer was authorised to employ 40 men for the purpose of digging graves the following afternoon.

WATER MAINS: The Engineer was also instructed to engage any necessary additional labour for the purpose of re-establishing the water services as soon as possible.

WATER SUPPLY TO EMERGENCY HOSPITAL: Cr. Simmons was authorised to arrange for the taking of water to the emergency hospital at the race course.

REMOVING DEBRI [DEBRIS] FROM THE STREETS: Cr. Cohn was authorised to take charge of the men removing debris from the streets in the meantime.

EARTHQUAKE’S LOSS OF LIFE: The deputy Mayor referred to the considerable loss of life sustained as a result of the earthquake which took place about 11 o’clock February 3rd, 1931 and also referred to the large number of persons who met with accidents at the same time and moved: –

“That the profound sympathy and great regret of the members of the Borough Council be extended to relatives of all those who lost their lives as a result of the earthquake, and also to those who were injured”.

FREE BENZINE FOR MAORIS: It was reported that a number of Maoris had come into town and were doing useful work and required free benzine for their lorries. It was resolved that this be supplied on Cr. Slater’s order only.

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FIRE: Mr. Gardener reported that fire had been started behind the Tourist Motors buildings by the Maoris. This was dangerous as a large fire might eventuate. This matter was referred to Cr. Henderson, Superintendant [Superintendent] of the Fire Brigade.

BROADCASTING STATION: A proposal by Major Abel to erect a Broadcasting Station was left in the hands of the Mayor.

FOOD SUPPLIES: Cr. Slater reported that the position regarding food supplies was becoming more serious owing to the fact that so many people were applying for food without having money to pay for it. He suggested that all food supplies in the town should be requisitioned and distributed by a committee to the people, and that no free food should be granted except by an order from this committee.

BROKEN SERVICE PIPES: The Borough Engineer said that there were fewer fractures in the water and sewerage pipes than he had anticipated, and that the sewerage system was working satisfactorily.

The electrical engineer reported that a large quantity of oil had leaked into the sewerage system.

CONTAMINATION OF ARTESIAN WATER: Mr. Holderness said that under instructions from the Health Deppartment [Department] he had issued in a pamphlet that there was a danger of contamination of the artesian water from the sewer and that all water must be boiled. Also that the sewer must not be used. Mr. Evans the Borough Engineer, considered it would have been better if he had been consulted before the pamphlet had been issued. Mr. Holderness said that they were acting under the instructions of the Health Department which, it was understood, would shortly take over control. It was not desired to cancel the order to boil the water.

TELEGRAPH SERVICES: It was reported that the telegraph services were open continually between here and Wellington, Auckland, Palmerston North etc.

DOORS – KINGS THEATRE: It was decided that these doors be attended to and the locks be fixed.

FIREWOOD: It was resolved that a man be appointed to grant certificates for firewood to men employed on relief work and that he be stationed at the Borough yard.

EGGS: It was reported that a man in Pakowhai Road had given a quantity of eggs in exchange for food for himself and his family-

RE-OPENING OF HOTELS: It was resolved that the Civil Police be asked to endeavour to keep the Hotels closed until Monday next and that the Inspector of Police be asked to attend the meeting or the Committee tomorrow to discuss this subject.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Verbally reported that cables and wires had been broken by the earthquake and as quickly as possible he had re-established the street lighting services and was coping with the provision of electric current for essential industries with the

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help of the extra labour previously referred to. He said that the house lighting would be attended to as soon as possible. He proposed dealing with this matter street by street, the preference to be given by placing the names of the streets in a hat and drawing for same. The matter of selecting the streets was left to the committee. After the wires were livened up the whole of the services will have to be inspected before supply can be given to private premises and in this connection Cr. Henderson and Mr. George Ebbett were acting with him as a committee. This was left in the hands of the committee to deal with.

Moved by Cr. McCormick.
Seconded by Cr. Loach.


That the local bricklayers be organised into gangs and supplied with necessary material at cost of Relief Committee Funds for the purpose of making usable the kitchen chimney in every occupied residence. Mr. Gow to be authorised to carry this out if he will do so. Mr. Cohn to be asked to expediate the covering of roofs and to call for labour at the Registration Bureau.

RECONSTRUCTION WORKS: Mr. Baird said that all contractors should be organised for the carrying out of an essential works. The Mayor stated that the covering of chimney openings as previously referred to was, in his opinion the most essential matter requiring attention at the moment.

FOOD CERTIFICATES: It was resolved that a man be appointed to grant certificates for food to men employed on Relief Work and that he be stationed at the Borough yards.

POWER STATION: Cr. Henderson stated that the Power Station was out of order and stays were being put up to keep the roof from falling in. The trestle bridge carrying the water mains over the river at Havelock has been broken.

The intensity of the earthquakes that started at 12 minutes to 11 on the morning of February the 3rd, 1931 may be evidenced by the fact that some 12 inch pipes in a well laid line, were later found to be telescoped one into the other. Ferro-concrete buildings, separated by a passageway bumped at the top with such violence as to break off pieces of matured concrete. Though scores were killed and thousands injured, the wonder is that the loss was not 10 times greater.

Will 1931 pass into the limbo of forgotten things? If such forgetfulness should shroud the memory of a great testing time in the life of this young Dominion, then will the heritage of the future be the poorer.

Since the fateful 3rd of February, 1931 when earthquakes wrecked and fires consumed the business centres of Napier and Hastings and brought wide havoc throughout the province, there has been revealed in epic measure the help and sympathy, courage and resilience of our people.

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Church and School

Hastings has had many schools, both Public and Private. The first was the orginal [original] Public School which was built in 1874 on a site in St. Aubyn Street where the N.Z. Loan and Mercantile Agency now stands. Mr. McLeod, the first Headmaster, opened the school with an attendance of 11 pupils of whom four were his own.

The growth of the school was steady, and by the end of the first month the school had increased its attendance by 13 pupils and a new room had to be added to the building. Finally, in 1879, the school had grown so much that a block of land was purchased and a new building costing £709 was erected – the present Central School.

During this time one or two small private schools were established – generally for the education of “Young Ladies”.

In 1883 Mr. McLeod resigned from his position as headmaster; there was then a roll of 80 and a staff of three. Mr. J. A. Smith was appointed to succeed him as headmaster.

In that same year the pupils were allowed sewing lessons for the first time, and they held their first annual school concert. This particular concert was for the purpose of raising money for their new school.

By 1920 the school had grown to a roll of 900 pupils and up to the present day 9 headmasters have been appointed.

Meanwhile on the 24th August, 1903, a new school was established in Hastings (Mahora School) because many children had to travel three or four miles to the Central School. As there were only a few settlers around Mahora way, the school was expected to enrol about 30 pupils on the opening morning, but Mr. Chaplin (the first teacher) was surprised to find there were 62 pupils waiting – Mr. Chaplin was appointed the first headmaster and Miss Gray, the infant mistress.

The schoolhouse was a wooden building, well ventilated and lit in the beginning with kerosene lamps which caused many an accident. One nearly caused the school to be burnt down.

To keep the grass short and the gardens tidy, the pupils had to mow the lawns and attend the gardens themselves. The school playgrounds were three acres in extent.

In the 1931 earthquake, both Mahora and Central School suffered much damage. Mahora had one casualty – a girl died.

In 1882 a Heretaunga Boarding and Day School was established and opened by Mr. W. Rainbow. It was a two-storied building with a main block 60 feet by 20 feet. The grounds comprised about 6 acres in all, including tennis courts, cricket and football grounds and physical recreation areas. There was also a workshop where the boys were given a fairly good technical training.

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The staff (in 1908) comprised Mr. W. Gray (principal), Mr. S. Harvey (first assistant master), Mr. R. R. Carr, and several visiting teachers. The school was situated in Karamu Road and its grounds eventually became Nelson Park. In passing, it is interesting to note that Heretaunga combined with a similar school in Wanganui which was known as Herworth [Hurworth]. They combined the names to form Hereworth and reopened at Havelock North, where they are found today. The name of Heretaunga School is now perpetuated in the name of the new Intermediate School.

Hastings West School, known as Raureka today, was opened in 1919 and the first master was Mr. G. K. Sinclair.

Parkvale School was opened in 1908. Miss Annie Anderson was the first headmistress with Miss May Castles as her assistant. The first schooling took place in the old Oast House.

The first Roman Catholic School was built in 1888 behind the church.

The first school inspector was believed to be Rev. William Colenso, but some sources of information believe the distinction was due to Mr. Henry Hill.

The first Hawke’s Bay Education Board was called together in 1878 and consisted of Mr. J. D. Ormond as chairman, G. E. Kenrick, Captain Russell, Rev. D. Sidney, and Miss Herbert.

In 1956 Hastings had a total of 13 schools – 9 public and four private. A total of 5674 pupils were being educated in them at that time.

Hastings could be regarded as an Educational Centre, with five secondary schools and another shortly to be opened, while at nearby Havelock there are two more private secondary schools.

In the town which originally boasted one school, there are now 13 primary schools of which 3 are privately owned.

Kindergartens are now established in many parts of town where five are already open.

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church was the first one to be built in Hastings. It was situated where Thompson’s butchery is now, but is now on a new site of two acres further down King Street. At first it was a wooden building with seating for 250 persons. It was an imposing building with twin towers. The first service was conducted by the Rev. Green of Taradale, with the help of Mr. Williams of Frimley. For about five years, services were held more or less regularly, and then in 1874 the old or rather first, school building in St. Aubyn Street became vacant. The first public service was held there.

After some time it became evident that the first Church was far too small so a section of two acres was purchased and a building costing £1500 was erected. The old building was used as a Sunday School and church hall until it was burned down in 1898.

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The church suffered great damage in the earthquake when £1500 worth of damage was done.

The Mormon Church was really the first district church but it was established about six miles away at a place called Toienake round about 1869. It was later built in Hastings.

In common with other churches in Hastings, they have been growing and in 1960 they were split into two branches called simply Hastings East and West and separated by the railway lines. Later in the year, the Districts were renamed Wards and the city was called a Stake. Leaders of the Mormon Church are Mr W. Wilson, Mr J Southern, Mr P. Randell, Mr D. Williams, Mr J Archibald and Mr G. Randell. Mr Archibald and Mr G. Randell were in charge of each Ward.

The Sacred Heart is the oldest standing church building in Hastings and the third established Church. It was erected in 1895 by Dean Smyth and is a beautiful building with a magnificent spire Built at a cost of £3300, it is of Gothic architecture with peal of bells equal to any. The artistic interior has accommodation for about 600 persons.

Adjoining the church is the convent, erected by Dean Smyth in 1901 at the cost of about £2000; and the school St. Joseph with about 250 pupils at that time, who received instruction in all branches of education, including music, painting and art crafts. The church and its presbytery were surrounded by spacious grounds.

The Presbyterian Church is situated at the corner of Market Street and Lyndon Road. The first church was replaced by the present building in 1906, the foundation stone being laid by the Rt Hon. R. J. Seddon, Prime Minister at that time. Although the building is of wood, it sits in a concrete foundation and is capped with a tiled roof. The large square tower which at first supported a tall spire now supports an illuminated cross. The old church which on a section next to the manse, was used as a Sunday School for several years, but has been replaced today with a modern hall.

The Methodist Church which is situated on the corner opposite the Municipal buildings replaces an earlier building of wood. Originally the land was the site of the first rugby ground used in Hastings.

Many churches have been springing up throughout the years each with a story to tell. Now several churches are being built in the newer suburbs of Frimley, Raureka etc., so the process of growing goes on.

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Recreation and Resorts

Hastings is generously provided with parks and recreation grounds and their total acreage amounts to 187 acres 1 rood 26.24 perches.

The most beautiful of all of Hastings parks is Cornwall Park which is 21 acres in extent. In it the formal and the informal are blended with rare discrimination and together make as fine a park as could be found anywhere. Avenues of cabbage trees, palms, firs and a score of different kinds of trees encircle pergolas, flower beds and bowers. Cornwall Park has a fine zoo it originally started with a collection of animals housed in pens near where the tool sheds now stand on the Cornwall Road frontage.

The lakes and waterways are one of the features of Cornwall Rark. Ruahapia creek was orginally [originally] about 3ft. wide, in fact little more than a dirty trickle running through the horse paddock, but in the late 1920’s this creek was widened and the lake near the children’s playground formed. The lake in front of the superintendents house was constructed on the top of the concrete culvert through which the old creek flows into the park. The lakes and waterways are fed by four 3 inch and two 2 inch artesian wells, and this water flows into, and supplements the stormwater in the creek.

Sport is played in Cornwall Park and in 1935 the opportunity was taken to level the banked cycle track that previously ran around the ground. The ground was levelled and resown in grass in the autumn of 1936 and opened again for sport in 1937. Four cricket wickets are provided during the summer, and two hockey grounds were once used in the winter.

Windsor Park has many things that Cornwall Park has not. This Park has an area of 40 acres 3 roods 10.84 perches and was purchased in 1912 from the late Mr. J. Beatson. When purchased all the triangular area bounded by the present boating lake was covered with large trees of Pinus Radiata. These trees formed one of the many plantations planted on the Riverslea Estate by Mr. Thomas Tanner in the late 70’s or early 80’s. The pines were cut between 1916 and 1920 and the firewood sold for the sum of £697.

The park was orginally called Beatsons Park but the name was changed to Windsor Park.

The Parkvale Golf Club was granted playing rights on the park in the early 20’s and one of their first tasks was to remove the pine stumps. Early members of the club still speak of the hazards these stumps created before they were all finally removed.

There is an open air skating rink and swimming pool.

The Highland Games and the Blossom Festival are both held at Windsor Park.

In 1928 the first year the camp opened, the sum of £43 was received in fees, whereas in 1946 camp fees amounted to £426 and this sum will be exceeded in the years to come.

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The stone bridges and walls were erected with the other stonework in the 1930’s.

Another park of different beauty is Frimley Park with magnificent trees all through it.

Frimley Park was the home property of one of the Province greatest sheep-grazing stations.

It was owned by Mr. J. N. Williams, and the Western Suburbs of the city too, takes it’s name from the same station.

Following the destruction of the historical old homestead in 1950 Miss Williams and Mr. Williams on behalf of the children of the founder of the station, the late Mr. Williams gifted almost 50 acres of garden and park to the city in memory of his parents.

Few parks in New Zealand offer such an array of trees as does Frimley.

The total area of Frimley Park is 30 acres 3 roods 5.8 perches

Another park is Akina Park which has been used for a sport ground since 1938. Before that it was a vegetable garden and before than it was a horse paddock. Its total area is 6 acres and it was acquired in 1912.

The ground was taken over by the Municipal Cropping Committee in September 1940 and used for cropping until 1945 when it was. handed back to the council and immediately sown in grass

It was open again for Winter sport in the Autumn of 1946.

There are many other parks used for sport and Nelson Park is one of them.

In 1879 the Heretaunga School was on the site of Nelson Park. The school was moved from the Park and Mr. Nelson took over the area and it was later known as the Nelson Cricket ground. Up until about 1920 the Trust looked after the club, then they disposed of their interests to Mr. Nelson. On the 4th March, 192[?] the name was changed from the Nelson Cricket ground to Park. Nelson Park became the headquarters of local rugby in 1922.

This park is the only enclosed ground in Hastings where sport bodies are able to collect “Gate Money”.

The area of Nelson Park is 10 acres 2 roods 23.13 perches.

St. Leonards Park is another Sports Ground, and it was named after the satellite suburb of the sister town of Hastings, in Sussex England. It was purchased in 1889 and served for three decades as a quarry and later on as the Joll Road rubbish dump.

Then in 1945 it’s development and transformation into a sports and playground started and today it is a well turfed area with a terraced bank on one side. It is the headquarters of the Hastings Association Soccer in the Winter. The total area is 1[?] acres 1 rood 27.2 perches.

Duke Street Reserve and St. Aubyn Street Reserve are playing areas for children.

The smaller of the two reserves is Duke Street and it’s total area is 3 acres 6 perches.

It was not developed into an open park until about 1949 and though it is still an open children’s playing ground it is mainly

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associated with Scouting, for it accommodates the district’s main Scout Hut.

St. Aubyn Street Reserve is 3 acres 33 perches and is an open children’s playground.

The last sports ground is Ebbett park. The land for Ebbett Park was given to the people of Hastings by the late Mr. G. Ebbett. Ebbett Park was an area of 6 acres at the end of Charles Street. One of the main features of this park, which was opened in 1927, is its magnificent collection of Maori carvings on the gates.

Sport is played at Ebbett Park. There are 5 basketball courts and 2 tennis courts.[proved]

The area of Ebbett Park now is 8 acres 24.71 perches.

There are also the other parks and two of them are Victoria Square and Civic Spare. Victoria Square was the first site set aside as a public park. This area of 2 acres 2 roods was transferred to the Borough by Messrs. Richardson, Beatson and Hunter-Brown in 1897 and was originally called Victoria Square but was renamed Queen Square on the occasion of the jubilee of the late Queen Victoria. An oak tree was planted to commemorate the Jubilee. A bronze plaque at the base of this oak today reads, “This oak was planted on the 22nd day of June 1897 in commemoration of the anniversary of the reign of Her Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria. C. A. Fitzroy, Mayor”. This tree is now 60-70 feet high and has a spread of 70 feet in diameter.

Civic Square has an area of 1 acre 3 roods. On the site of the Civic Square the first house was on the South East Corner owned and occupied by John S. Symons, railway ganger. In the 80’s of the last century, the Civic Square Block was part of an all the year[proved]

Photo caption – Waikoko Gardens. Home of W. Nelson.

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swamp, with usually two feet or more of water in it. Early residents still speak of the time they shot wild ducks there. The swamp was drained, the depression partly filled with any materials available, and later, business premises, the largest to be a timber yard occupied the area. In 1920 the council purchased 3 roods 30 perches, on the railway frontage of the present square to allow Russell St. to be extended from Eastbourne Street to Lyndon Road and to provide land for the erection of a Women’s Rest and Cenotaph.

About 1924 garden plots were formed between the rest room and the cenotaph and a belt of Ribbonwoods was planted as a screen at the back of the area. A fence was formed right round the area. By February 1937 the whole of the block bounded by the four streets was at last acquired by the Council. Later that year the whole of this Reserve was levelled after all rough material and general rubbish used in filling the original swamp had been removed to a depth of two to four feet and replaced with good soil.

In 1939 a Burkner water system was installed and lawns established.

In 1906 women’s hockey was played free of charge at Victoria Square and rugby was banned from that same place.

Sport is a very interesting part of life to anyone.

The first sports played in Hastings were Cricket and Rugby Football. They were brought out from England by the early settlers

What is now Farndon Park was the main sports ground for Napier and Hastings. The 1st tennis champion games were played at Farndon Park. Queen’s Square was one of the first playgrounds. It was founded in 1897.

Cornwall Park was founded about 1901. The Municipal Buildings now stand where a man was nearly drowned in a pond.

Until about 1890 there were no organised sports clubs and sports grounds in Hastings.

The first football club was called “The County”. The matches were played in a paddock on the eastern corner of Heretaunga Street and Hastings Street.

The first golf club was called “The Hastings”, and the first course was immediately over the Karamu Bridge, on the left and the next was at the end of Southland Road. The first Cricket Club was also called “The County”. They mostly used the playground at the Heretaunga School. The first Bowling Club was “The Hastings” on the ground where it is now. The first tennis club was called The Hastings”, its first courts being part of the Heretaunga school grounds.

Racing also takes a great part in some people’s lives.

Racing started in Hastings in 1877 and the first race meeting was held in Hastings in 1878.

The first trotting course was on the corner of Gordon Road, the ground is now being used for holding paddocks for stock firms while the Hastings West School was on part of it.

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The next was on the Stortford Lodge Road, and Maraekakaho road extending to the back of the saleyards.

Prior to 1880 horse racing had been held at Petane, Pakowhai and Havelock, but about that year, by arrangement with the A. and P. Society which owned the course, the Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club became established at Hastings.

Until about 1885, the area south of the racecourse, between Railway Road and Southland and back to Murdoch Road was practically all grazing and cropping land. W. A. Beercroft [Beecroft] occupied about half of the land next to the railway, his horses being driven loose between it and the stables in Queen Street every morning and evening. There was one house on the land facing Southland Road near Murdoch Road but no road.

Until 1884 all Steeplechases run by the Jockey Club were not confined to the course. Th[proved]e horses left the course not far from Southland Road and jumped a limestone wall, about where Gascoigne Street is, there was a double jump and the next was a water jump about three chains from Murdoch Road, coming back to the course they jumped rails and then another limestone wall, which put them back on a new course.

The Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase was then three and a half miles, and they went round this course twice. When this course was no longer available, a windmill to pump water was erected opposite the grandstand. The horses left the course proper at the railway bend and raced inside the present ploughed track, cleared a water jump at the windmill, and again went out on to the course proper at the caretaker’s house.

Photo caption – Show Day.

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[proved]The Town Becomes a City

A great deal has happened during the past 88 years. Previously chapters have told the story of many of those things, but there is none so exciting as the proclamation of the city in 1956.

After the rapid growth of the Borough during its earlier years things began to settle down. In fact, after the introduction of the motor car on the streets of the town little has happened until the earthquake in 1931. From that date things began to liven up once more.

The “Town of Blazes” appears to have lost its reputation. No longer are buildings in the centre of the town made of wood – concrete and stone now graces the fronts of our buildings. The local fire brigade has always enjoyed a good reputation and the community has been quick to show its appreciation.

The first fire station was established in Beecroft’s stables, near where the Grand Hotel now stands; but this was only a temporary site for later the brigade was able to secure a more suitable place from the Borough Council for a rental of sixpence per month. Voluntary labour erected a shed to house the reel which was purchased from Wanganui in 1888. This station is said to have been built on the Canon Drake Hall corner.

At this stage, however, the brigade began to experience trouble. There was a dispute between the Council and the brigade as to who should be in control. The dispute was amicably settled

Photo caption – Aerial view of Hastings today.

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but by then Mr. Tong had resigned to be succeeded as superintendant by Mr. Beck, who later gave way to Mr. C. Brausch.

The first big fire the brigade had to fight was the fire in 1893 when almost the whole business area was reduced to ashes, but as a result of the brigade’s efforts on this occasion full public support was quickly forthcoming and a new station was erected in 1898. When the Borough was constituted a fire district in 1908, under the control of the fire board, another move to new premises resulted. A very up-to-date station was built near Graham and Gebbies’ Stables, at the Corner of Market Street and Lyndon Road. The present concrete area in front of the Canon Darke Hall was the station floor.

This building was destroyed by the earthquake, after which the stables were used as a fire station until the new present premises were occupied. This building was considered to meet the needs of the town for many years to come, and in its spacious interior the two engines had plenty of room to spare.

Today accommodation at the station is as tight as it could be. The old engines have gone the way of the original reel and the Stanley Steamer, which was “the last word” in fire-fighting equipment, in its day. The floor space is now occupied by four modern sedan fire engines, trailer pump, water carrier, and other equipment. Permanent firemen are on the station and others live in adjoining cottages and flats, which enables a full brigade to be on duty in a matter of seconds.

As a matter of interest, when an alarm is given, the number one fire engine is off the mark in 17 seconds. The other engines soon follow, the swift deployment of these machines, together with the ability which has earned championship honours for the Hastings Brigade in recent years, leaves little likelihood of a repetition of the fire of 1893.

There must be something about fire brigade work which appeals, for the Gold Star Board (representing 25 or more years of service) in the station recreation hall reveals an amazing array of Gold Star winners. Mr. C. Brausch carried on as Superintendent for 29 years. He was followed by Mr. Keith, who was with the brigade for 40 years and was 15 years its chief. Next on the list of superintendents was Mr. R. Henderson, who finished with the grand record of 47 years of service, until he was succeeded by the present fire chief, Mr. L. R. G. Harlen.

The record for service is held by Mr. H. Price who completed 48 years, but one of the most remarkable service records was that of the Keith family. Mr. W. Keith completed 40 years, his brother Tom completed 30, and his son William, 36 – a total of 106 years.

At a time when the movie picture and the radio were still unknown, the live theatre played a greater part than it does today. At the western end of the business area, near the King Street corner, stood the town’s first theatre. The Princess Theatre as it was known, was the first such place until another appeared on Karamu

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Road, near the Public Library today. A local company headed by Sir William Russell (with W. R. Ireland as Secretary) built the Princess theatre where travelling and local shows appeared for many years. The King’s Theatre in Karamu Road, was situated opposite the present library and it was here that the first picture shows were produced – the old magic lantern.

Today the King’s Theatre is still in use, but this time it is the Assembly Hall at the Boys’ High School. Three modern motion-picture theatres provide the entertainment once given at the King’s Theatre, while a large Municipal Theatre replaces the old Princess.

People of Hastings are particularly proud of their Municipal Theatre which was built by the Borough Council in 1915. The magnificent building, although built 46 years ago, is still adequate for the needs of a thriving city. Its structure has withstood the earthquake and its very existence is a monument to the foresight of our pioneer citizens.

The stage arrangements are second to none in New Zealand and the appointments are generous. These things combined with a large stage and good dressing-rooms always appeal to visiting companies. Over 1300 people can be seated in the auditorium.

The foundation stone was laid on March 21st, 1915 and the whole of the building and furnishings cost £17,000.

The exterior design is a fine example of Spanish Mission architecture, and it does the highest credit, not only to its designer, but also to those townspeople who authorised its construction, and thus gave to Hastings a building and a theatre of which many a city would justifiably feel great pride.

Twelve months later, the Borough Council built the Municipal Offices which are still in use today. These buildings which adjoin the theatre are just as noteworthy. The interior and exterior are of “Modern Renaissance” design and comprise an administration block and Assembly Hall.

The foundation stone was laid on February 9th, 1916, and the whole building cost £15,500. The whole block is under one roof and occupies the corner of Heretaunga Street and Hastings Street as the Eastern end of the shopping centre.

The Hall is a popular rallying place for larger meetings and is frequently used for dances or concerts. Nine hundred people can be seated at one time. The offices and Council Chamber are very well appointed and today they are still adequately serving the needs of administration.

The Hastings Public Library was at one time, a handsome red brick building situated in Market Street South. It was established by the Carnegie Foundation with a £2000 grant and was both a reference and a lending library. The terms of the establishment required the library to be free to the townspeople.

A children’s library was situated on the top floor with a special assistant in charge. Just as today, the library was administered by

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a committee of the Borough Council who bought books for all departments, month by month.

There was also a reading room provided with a large stock of newspapers and periodicals.

Loss of the library in a heap of rubble is one of the tragedies which hit the town in 1931. A temporary library was soon established in the Municipal buildings and new stocks of books were sought. Conditions were far from ideal and overcrowding resulted, but in 1959 a new Municipal Library was opened in the form of a War Memorial to those who fell in the war of 1939-45.

Today subscribers can change their books in spacious surroundings, where books are readily displayed in a building which must rank among the outstanding buildings of the City today.

In September, 1921, the Borough Council showed further enterprise and pioneering, by building the first Women’s Rest in Australasia. It prove a wonderful innovation and other municipalities were quick to follow the idea. A grant of £2500 from Borough funds was used to provide the building and further help came from private subscriptions.

An early report states – “Its purpose is to serve as a retiring place where young business women may spend their Lunch hour and of a place of rest to mothers or women visitors to Hastings.

Here they might obtain light refreshments, mothers may attend to their children, warm their babies’ bottles, leave their parcels, write letters, read journals or magazines.”

During the first 7 years of operation a quarter of a million women used the Rooms and the Council was sufficiently impressed to provide for extensions to the building. A nursery for children was added and today part of the premises are used for Plunket Rooms.

The Women’s Rest was built on a corner of the Civic Square facing Russell Street, which despite its central position was one of the last streets in the business area to be formed. The area was purchased by the Council from the timber yards and storekeepers who occupied the land. The method of construction used is worth quoting to give a comparison with road-making today.

The street was constructed on a nine-inch limestone foundation, with three inches of broken metal from the Council’s quarry at Bridge Pa, to a parabolical crown of three inches above the concrete kerb. The broken metal is rolled dry with a 12 ton road roller, then cross-rolled by hand. It was then sealed by grouting with asphalt bitumen. The surface was then dressed with stone grit and re-rolled.

History is repeating itself today, with preparation of Railway Road extension to a Queen Street railway crossing, but methods of road-making vary. A new railway station is in the process of construction, just 38 years after Francis Hicks expressed disgust at the standard of those at present in use. The railway yards have been shifted north of St. Aubyn Street and the crossing delays are reduced to a minimum.

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Development of the suburbs is proceeding apace – concrete footpaths grace our roadsides and each year more roads are widened by the removal of the grass flanks. Telephone wires are disappearing underground. The day of the horse is now just a memory.

The sewer outfall was diverted from the Ngaruroro River to the sea at East Clive, in 1936, while today the system is being duplicated – further evidence of the growth from Swamp to City.

A new concrete Post Office was built in 1909, to replace the earlier wooden building which is still in use in Queen Street. As was the fashion at the time, the post office was surmounted by a clock tower which proved a worthy asset until 1931. The tower came down in the great earthquake and with it was a decision to remove all post office clock towers throughout New Zealand.

In 1935, a new clock tower was erected beside the railway line in Railway Road. The tower which was built at a cost of £1700, was fitted with the mechanism of the old Post Office clock – a fitting memorial of the disaster of 1931.

At first Hastings was represented in Parliament by the Member for Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay, but eventually a separation took place and Hastings was included in the Hawke’s Bay electorate.

A further change took place in 1946 when Hastings was granted its own member. The Hon. E. L. Cullen, Minister of Agriculture and Marketing, was the first member until his defeat in 1949 when Mr. S. I. Jones was elected. In 1954 it was Hon. Mr. Jones’ turn for defeat – this time when Mr. E. J. Keating won the election. At the last election, in 1960, Mr. MacIntyre was successful.

The townspeople have always been interested in their music and the history of local bands goes back many years. We could not learn when the first Pipe Band was formed, but Sir R. D. D. McLean was responsible for the formation of the first Hastings Pipe Band. Later it became known as the Hastings Caledonian Pipe Band. A further change took place when they were amalgamated with the Hastings Scots Society Band and became known as the “Hastings Scottish Highland Pipe Band”. More recently they adopted the title of “City of Hastings”.

Another pipe band is of more recent origin – the H.B. Scottish was founded in 1948 as an unsponsored band.

The Hastings Town Band was formed in 1886, when only 1500 people lived here. Mr. A. A. George was the man who worked so hard for its establishment. During the 75 years of its existence the band has performed on numerous occasions for all sorts of purposes until today the band has been renamed “The Hastings Citizens’ Band” – a title which has been bestowed after the prolamation [proclamation] of the city.

For a very long time Hastings was without a hospital, but with the aid of public subscriptions and some official backing a hospital was opened in 1928. Built as a war memorial to the dead

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of the first world war at a cost of about £28,000 it occupied the land which had been formerly known as “The Ridge”. Eighteen acres of land were reserved for hospital development.

Mr. George Ebbett, who was Mayor at that time, had been a hard worker for the hospital and he was particularly pleased to be present at its opening. The park-like grounds and attractive buildings have earned much favourable comment.

The nurses home has only just been extended with a further block and the new five storeyed hospital wing brings the hospital right up to the standard of other hospitals throughout New Zealand. No longer is it so necessary to travel to Napier.

Private hospitals have played their part and the part played by Royston Hospital after the earthquake was very worthy. The earthquake had ruined the Royston Hospital, in its Avenue Road premises, but the entire organisation was able to serve in the temporary hospital at the racecourse. A fact well-remembered by residents of the time.

Royston, named after a small village in Kent, was founded in the early 1920’s or perhaps earlier, but after the earthquake, new buildings were required so the hospital was reopened in Southland Road. Expansion followed until the buildings were changed beyond recognition. Today this well-equipped hospital continues to serve the city.

So the town grew, progress was steady, but unspectacular for many years and little was known about the town in the outside world, until 1950. A group of 12 businessmen formed the well known Greater Hastings organization. Their first task was to appoint a full-time secretary, known now as a Public Relations Officer.

Their first activity was the Hastings Blossom Festival in 1950 and this was held on a Friday afternoon. It was so successful that subsequent festivals have been held on Saturdays. First carnivals were held on Nelson Park, but space was so limited that it became necessary to move this part of the programme to Windsor Park. Only since 1957 has the election of a Blossom Queen been included with the celebrations.

An event which has grown tremendously is the Easter Highland Games attraction. The first games were held on Nelson Park in 1951 and although the weather was not very good a successful meeting seemed assured. Today the games are second to none in New Zealand.

Hastings gained a notable thrill when the Queen visited the Borough in 1954. This was the occasion of the Royal Tour by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh when a welcome was extended in Civic Square. A highlight of the occasion was the Queen’s visit to the Canneries.

In 1956 the town grew up. It became at city. In September of that year the citizens were advised of their new status and celebrations in keeping with the event were held. It was the time of the Blossom Festival so the two events combined into the one great function. The population had just passed the 20,000 mark – 83

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years after Francis Hicks sold his first sections. The new city quickly adopted its new role and a Civic Coat of Arms was adopted. Ties with Hastings in England were further strengthened by the inclusion of part of the Arms of that town in our own Emblem, which graces the Civic Offices today.

The city still grows and in 1957 a major boundary change took place with the inclusion of a large area of Frimley. Other extensions have taken place but they have been much smaller and today few sections remain where homes may be built. Thoughts are turning once again towards extension of the town boundaries much further.

Traffic lights now control the traffic in our business area, modern roads are planned, air services are extended, railcars speed in place of the old steam expresses. Factories are built and others extended. Motels provide accommodation and Parks increase.

If that lone horseman who surveyed the swampy, uninteresting Heretaunga Plains, was to return today what a surprise he would have.

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Year by Year

(A Chronology)

1855: Samuel Bevans elected to represent Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay in Parliament.
1858: (Jan. 30th) Meeting at Royal Hotel, Napier, to form Hawke’s Bay Agricultural Society. (Sept. 4th) Hawke’s Bay Provincial Government inaugurated.
1859: Diocese of Waiapu constituted.
1863: H.B. Agricultural Society held first show in Danver’s paddock: Havelock North. There were 73 exhibits.
1864: Thomas Tanner leased land from Maoris.
1868: First telegraph linking Napier and Wellington.
1869: The Mormon Church established near Hastings.
1873: Town established with sale of first sections. Francis Hicks opened the first store.
1874: Railway came to Hastings – from Napier. Hawke’s Bay A. and P. Society holds show at Hastings for first time. First public school built – in St. Aubyn Street.
1875: Railway extended to Paki Paki and declared open. First Post Office opened in Hastings.
1876: Railway opened through to Waipawa.
1877: Hastings coach factory established. St. Matthew’s Church opened for Public worship. (A wooden building with two towers.)
1878: Hawke’s Bay A. and P. Society bought 80 acres at Hastings for showground – later taken over by Hawke’s Bay Jockey’s Association. Freemasonary introduced in Hastings by formation of Lodge Heretaunga. First race meeting in Hastings.

Photo caption – A typical day at the Hastings Racecourse.

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1879: Big sale of residential properties in Hastings. Police station was erected. The first school had grown to such an extent that extensions were erected for £709.
1880: Tomoana meat works opened. First race meeting held on Hastings Race course. Third store opened. Robert Wellwood opened the first saleyards on the site of the present fire station. First plumber (W. I. Dhanley) arrived. Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club became established at Hastings.
1881: Cemetery at Stortford Lodge was established. H.B. Licensing (Liquor) Committee formed. Burton Brewery established. Roman Catholic Church opened on present site.
1882: Riverslea Hop Gardens established. Albert Hotel built. Heretaunga Boarding and Day School opened.
1883: Mr. Newbigin purchased brewery. Hastings constituted a Town Board District.
1884: Town Board formed – population of 607. First road shingle laid. Council first complained to Railways Department, that shunting in Heretaunga Street delayed traffic. Tomoana commenced freezing meat. First shipment of mutton left Napier on 31st March. Roaches were established. F. L. Bone commenced business. First meeting of town board. Racecourse founded on present site.
1885: Ironmongers and Cycle importers opened. John Rochfort reported on sewerage plans. Manual fire engine purchased. First public telephone bureau. Council authorised purchase of 6 gas street lamps. Four acres of Riverslea Block reserved for parks – Queen Victoria Square.
1885: Hastings became a Borough – largest in New Zealand with a population of 1504. Mr. John Collinge appointed Town Clerk. Hastings Fire Brigade was founded. Stortford Saleyards established. Mr. Wellwood elected first Mayor.
1887: First Hackney Cab licences issued. Gas supplied to first 40 consumers. Hastings Rifles founded under Captain Sir W. Russell.
1888: Water flushing instituted. First school concert was held. Roman Catholic school opened.
1889: Two big fires. Watch and Jewellery Trade established. Hastings Quarry opened – now St. Leonard’s Park.
1890: Graham and Gebbie opened their stables. The Standard commenced publishing. Rugby commenced on the site of the Methodist Church in Hastings Street. First organized sports clubs and sports grounds.
1891: Population now 2303. Courthouse opened. Heretaunga Plains Dairy Company began.
1892: Major drainage plans included improvements to Southland Drain. Hastings Polo Club formed – played at “The Ridge”.

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1893: Fire destroyed two blocks of Heretaunga Street. Damage cost £30,000. Heretaunga Butter Factory opened at St. George’s Road.
1894: First Licensing Local Option Poll taken. H.B. Highland Society Established. Hastings Bowling Club founded. C. A. Fitzroy elected Mayor.
1895: Mr. Nimon joined Mr. Beecroft’s Stables. Woodford House established at Havelock North. £1242 donated for new Sunday School at St. Matthews. H. H. Campbell commenced his timber business.
1896: Bennett and Bone took over “Ironmongers and Cycle Importers”. Population now 3190. Hastings telephone exchange opened. Sturdy new wooden Post Office erected.
1897: Great Easter Flood of all rivers. Mr. C. Hart became driver of Napier-Hastings coach. Daily Telegraph successfully tendered for official advertising at 2d an inch. First foot paths sealed. Victoria Square taken over by Borough. Holts opened their Hastings branch. Riverslea woolscouring works set up in Hastings.
1898: Council tried to issue bicycle licences. Concern over juvenile delinquents. Robert Warren, baker, pastrycook, etc., opened. The wooden church of St. Matthews burnt down.
1899: Hastings coach-builders taken over by Mr. Pothan. Timber Yard established on Market Reserve. W. Y. Dennett elected Mayor.
1900: Population now 3650.
1901: Visit of Duke and Duchess of York. Hastings Public Library taken over by Council. Captain Russell knighted. H.B. Employers Association established. Cornwall Park donated by Archdeacon Samuel Williams.

Photo caption – Windsor Park – Paddling Pool.

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1902: Premier Stables opened. Rugby banned from Victoria Square.
1903: H.B. Special cycle works commenced business. Hastings Municipal Abattoirs established. Mahora school opened. First saleyards at Stortford Lodge.
1904: Frimley Cannery opened. Trocadero Dining Rooms established. Mr. W. Lane elected Mayor. £1700 would have purchased Regent Theatre block.
1905: H.B. Farmers came to Hastings. W. Y. Dennet [Dennett] elected Mayor for second term. Horton’s Nurseries were opened. Hastings Cricket Club formed. Hastings D.H.S. Secondary Department commenced. Saddlers and Harness trade now well established.
1906: Mr. J. J. Nimon took over Beecroft’s Stables. Traction Engine and steam threshing mill appeared. First car purchased by a lady driver. Thomas Borthwicks’ Freezing Works opened.
Women’s Hockey commenced at Victoria Square – free of rental. Mr. T. J. Thomas elected as Mayor.
1907: Heart of town destroyed by fire.
1908: Tourist Motors commenced – in Station Street. Parkvale School opened.
1909: Mr. Simmonds visited England to enquire about motor buses for Mr. Nimon. Borough boundaries reduced on West, South and East sides. New Post Office (with Clock Tower) opened by Sir Joseph Ward. Population now 5000. Mr. John A. Miller elected Mayor.
1910: Five shops in Russell Street destroyed by fire. Queen Street Cool Stores destroyed by fire. Lowes Ltd., opened a cool store at Stortford. Lord Kitchener visits Hawke’s Bay.
1911: Solid tyre bus used by Hastings Transport Company. H.B. Automobile Association formed. Mr. J. Garnett elected Mayor.
1912: Nimon’s used buses this year (motor). Nimon’s bought their first car – a Studebaker. H.B. Farmers’ Garage opened. Tourist Motors opened present premises. First Public Electricity supply. Windsor (Beatson’s) Park purchased. Population now 6286.
1913: First Motor Coach over Taupo Road. Mr. P. R. Purser appointed Town Clerk. Mr. W. M. Hart elected Mayor.
1914: Municipal Theatre (present building) erected.
1915: Population now 7085.
1916: Present Municipal Offices erected. All pines cut down from Windsor Park.
1917: Death of Hon. J. D. Ormond, ex Superintendent of H.B. Mr. H. Ian Simson elected Mayor.
1918: Armistice after First World War.
1919: Hastings West School (Raureka) opened. Earliest known Hastings Soccer with four clubs playing at the “Ridge”. Mr George Ebbett elected Mayor.
1920: Population now 8543. Civic Square purchased by Council.

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1921: Central H.B. Power Board formed (provisionally). Foundation stone of Hastings Women’s Rest laid. Mr. W. M. Hart re-elected Mayor.
1922: Mr. George Maddison appointed Mayor.
1923: H.B. Electric Power Board Constituted. Hastings Golden Jubliee Year. Diamond Jubilee of H.B. Agricultural and Pastoral Society.
1925: Tragic rail smash at Te Aute – 12 killed, 20 injured). A. and P. Society open new showgrounds at Tomoana. Population now 10,465.
1926: Cornwall Park formed.
1927: Duke and Duchess of York arrive in New Zealand. Ebbett Park donated by Mr. George Ebbett.
1928: H.B. Aero Club started.
1929: Population now 10,660. Tea Kiosk erected in Cornwall Park. Mr. G. F. Roach elected Mayor.
1930: Suburban bus service operated by Mr. G. G. Freathy. H.B. Farmers’ new building opened – first floating foundation in Hastings.
1931: Great Earthquake – February 3rd. St. Matthew’s Church badly damaged. Schools also suffered. Grand Hotel – a landmark – destroyed.
1932: Herald Tribune merged. Population now 12,000.
1933: Mr. Geo. Maddison re-elected Mayor.
1934: Mr. N. C. Harding appointed Town Clerk. Wattle Canneries commenced.
1935: Hasting clock-tower built to hold P.O. Clock. Diamond Jubilee of Central School.
1936: N.Z. Aerial Mapping Ltd., founded. Civic Square developed. Population now 12,600.
1937: Mr. T. W. White received “Air Efficiency Medal” for 5000 hours flying without mishap. Morrison Industries had their beginnings. Borough celebrated Coronation of King George VI.
1938: Further flood of Heretaunga Plains. H.B. Electric Power Board moved Head Office to Hastings. Area at Akina Park levelled for a sports ground.
1939: Nimons now had four buses. N.Z. declared war.
1940: Population now 13,550.
1941: Mr. Rainbow elected Mayor.
1945: St. Leonard’s converted to a park. Armistice signed.
1946: Population 14,623. Mr. E. L. Cullen elected first Member of Parliament for Hastings Electorate.

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1947: Plix Products had their beginnings. Mr. R. D. Brown elected Mayor.
1949: Mr. S. I. Jones elected second M.P. for Hastings.
1950: Hailstorm caused much damage to crops and homes. Greater Hastings (Inc.) Founded. First Blossom Festival on a Friday. Duke Street Reserve developed into a park.
1951: Snow fell in Hastings. Traffic volume now 7500 vehicles daily. First Hastings Highland Games held. Blossom Festival now held on a Saturday. Population now 17,238.
1953: Mr. W. E. Bate elected Mayor.
1954: Royal Visit of H.B. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. Mr. E. J. Keating elected 3rd Member of Parliament.
1955: Girls’ High School opened. Population now 19,150:
1956: City status attained. Leopard Brewery Changed hands. “Birds Eye Frozen Foods” opened in Hastings. Now 13 schools with 5674 pupils.
1957: Rotunda at Victoria Square removed.
1959: Memorial Public Library completed. Traffic lights installed. Population now 21,300. Mr. R. V. Giorgi elected Mayor.
1960: Mr. D. Maclntyre elected fourth M.P. for Hastings.
1961: Traffic volume of 15,000 vehicles per day reached. Mr. G. C. Cross appointed Town
Clerk. Population now reached 23,371.

Photo caption – Hastings first Park – Queen’s Square.

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These Men Have Guided Hastings

Mr. W. A. Beecroft was at one time a member of the Hastings Borough Council. He was born in England and came to New Zealand in 1865, by the ship “Liverpool”. He landed in Auckland and for a short while, was engaged in gum digging. In 1866 he went to Napier, and then visited Thames in the early days of the goldfield. Two years later Mr. Beecroft returned to Napier and was employed by the merchants, Kinross and Company where he remained for 8 years.

In 1877, he moved to Hastings and purchased the Railway Hotel. Later he established for many years, one of the largest and best-equipped livery and bait stables in Hawke’s Bay. During a vice regal visit to Hastings, the Governor specially complimented Mr. Beecroft on the style of his landaus and general turnout on that occasion.

He also took first prize at the Palmerston North A. and P. Show for four years in succession with the best pair of carriage

Photo caption – The Clock Tower – a recent photograph.

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horses. Mr. Beecroft owned the Lucknow estate at Havelock. He was a successful breeder of Shropshire sheep, winning first and champion prizes at the local shows.

Mr. Beecroft took part in all matters associated with the advancement of Hastings, was a member of the Heretaunga Road Board until the district was taken over by the County Council, and was a member of the Hastings Borough Council in 1894.  Perhaps his greatest contribution to the history of Hastings was his establishment of the Havelock to Hastings passenger service.

Mr. R. D. Brown was Mayor of Hastings until 1954. In addition to his duties as Mayor he has served Hastings well. For many years he was the Hastings representative on the Napier Harbour Board. Mr. Brown took a leading part in promoting the Hawke’s Bay and East Coast Aero Club, with which he was associated until earlier this year.

Mr. W. T. Chaplin was appointed in charge of the Mahora District School at its inception in 1903. He was born at Bristol, England, in 1876 and came to New Zealand with his parents at 4 years of age. He was educated at Christchurch, where he completed training as a teacher before his appointment to Le Bons Bay School. In 1903 he took his appointment at Mahora where he remained until his retirement.

Mr. Chaplin always took a keen interest in cricket and he was captain of the Saturday Senior 11 of the Hastings Club.

He now enjoys his retirement at Havelock North.

Mr. John Collinge was the first of the four Town Clerks who attended to Council business. He was Clerk of the Town Board from 1883 and became clerk of the Borough in 1886. His first salary was £40 and he had to find his own office.

Photo caption – Heretaunga Street at Blossom Time.

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Mr. William Young Dennett first entered the Borough Council in 1898. In the following year he was elected Mayor, and had five time since held the Mayoral Chair.

He was born in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1845 and spent some years on the Victorian goldfields. He took part in the rush to the Otago diggings during the “sixties” and later joined “A” Troop of the Colonial Defence Force, and proceeded to Hawke’s Bay where he was stationed at various military posts. He saw service at Omarunui and later did survey work on the coast towards Gisborne.

After commencing a cab service between Napier and the Spit he entered the hotel-keeping business and on coming to Hastings he built the Albert Hotel, and then conducted the Carlton Club Hotel.

Finally he established himself as an auctioneer, insurance, land, and general agent and was Registrar of Electors.

He was a life Governor of the Napier Hospital, had been for many years a member of the Hawke’s Bay United Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and a staunch supporter of the Church of the Sacred Heart.

Mr. George Ebbett was another Mayor of Hastings, from 1919 to 1921. He was one of Hawke’s Bay’s most well-known public figures. He was born in Hastings when the population was less than a hundred and became a leader in many spheres. As a farmer he was a prominent member of the Farmers’ Union and later

Photo caption – Te Mata Peak, Havelock Nth., near Hastings.

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Federated Farmers – for half a century. As a sportsman he was a champion tennis player an owner of trotting horses, and President of the H.B. Jockey Club. As a collecter he had a fine collection of Maori curios which he presented to the City. The Maori relics at Ebbett park were donated by him.

Mr. George Ellis was elected second Mayor of Hastings. Little is known of his career, but he held office as Mayor during a time of rapid growth for the young town.

Mr. C. A. Fitzroy succeeded Mr. Ellis as Mayor, and had been connected with the Council from its inception. During his term of office a system of surface drainage was undertaken. He was born in England and received his education at Eton and Cambridge. On coming to New Zealand he at first settled in Canterbury for 12 years before coming to Hawke’s Bay.

For some years he represented Selwyn in Parliament, and took a prominent part in local politics in Hastings. He was a member of the H.B. Education Board and the local A. and P. Associatson [Association]. He was only opposed once when campaigning for the Mayoral Chair.

He campaigned against Hon. J. Carroll in one general election, but was defeated.

Mr. A. A. George was not a Mayor, but he was a Councillor. He was born in England where his family had been printers for four generations. His grandfather was the inventor of the present day style of envelopes.

Mr. George emigrated to Otago with his parents. During 20 years he extended experience with his trade and visited the golddiggings. He was the first printer in Tapanui (Central Otago) where he printed a paper for several years.

Early in the “eighties” Mr. George went to Gisborne, thence to Napier and finally to Hastings in 1885. In 1887 he issued the first paper in the township, a “daily” known as the “Hastings Star” which ran for some years.

Mr. George was a founder and one of the members of the Hastings Band, of which he was the first conductor. He also helped to form the Hastings Fire Brigade and was for fourteen years its secretary.

William Gray was Principal of the Heretaunga Boarding and Day School. He was born in London and graduated with Mathematical Honours from St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1887.

After coming to New Zealand in 1893, he settled in Napier and was associated in establishing the Napier Grammar School of which he was later Principal. He later took over the Heretaunga School from Mr. W. Rainbow its founder, and although he cannot be credited with the opening of the school, it was during his time that the school grew rapidly.

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Mr. G. A. Maddison was twice Mayor of Hastings – from 1922 to 1929 and from 1933 to 1941 and had a long record of public service. In his first term, he was New Zealand’s youngest Mayor. He represented Hastings on the Education Board for 24 years, and was Chairman for 18 years. For his work in restoring educational facilities after the earthquake, he was accorded special mention by Parliament.

One of Hawke’s Bay’s most farsighted pioneers was Mr. William Nelson, a man who did much to lay the foundations and structure of prosperity for the province. He is chiefly remembered for his part in the establishment of the freezing industry.

In England, his birthplace, Mr. Nelson gained experience in industrial concerns that stood him well when he began to establish similar undertakings in New Zealand. Working at a big cement works and later at a gelatine factory, he learned the best methods of directing the energies of men and machines. He bought these skills, together with a talent for organisation and a will to achieve.

With his brother, he took up land in Hawke’s Bay in the 1860’s. He picked a broken tract at the back of Kereru, and later at Arlington, Tuki Tuki and Mangateretere. After the company of Nelson Bros., had been formed he had virtual control of 500 acres of flats and 300,000 acres including Pakowhai, Dartmoor, Apley, Omatua, Esk and Glengarry.

Mr. Nelson was only in his early twenties when he started the first flax mill in the Mangateretere district. Later he turned to sawmilling and by his support, the engineering firm of Niven and Company gained a footing.

An important off-shoot to his meat-freezing industry was the Tyser Shipping Line which provided the extra cargo ships demanded by the export of frozen mutton. The Tyser Line brought about a substantial reduction in freight charges and eventually expanded to the Port Line.

Dean Smyth was born in Ireland and completed his theological studies in France. He was ordained in Ireland during 1878 and immediately went to America as a professor in the Jefferson College, New Orleans. He returned home and in 1885 left for New Zealand, where he was immediately placed in charge of the Roman Catholic Church at Hastings.

Through his efforts the sum of £3300 was raised to build the church of the Sacred Heart. He also procured a church for Clive.

Mr. Thomas Tanner was also born in England where he began to study medicine, but disliking the study he set out for New Zealand. He arrived in 1850 and went to Wanganui to learn sheep-farming from Mr. John Cameron.

In the beginning of 1853 he moved to Hawke’s Bay and took up land on the Ruataniwha Plains. Some years later he took up land on the Heretaunga Plains and later on he acquired Endsleigh and Petane Runs.

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He was member of Parliament for Waipawa from 1887 to 1890 – a keen politician and supporter of the Atkinson Government.

As a member of the Hastings Borough Council he assisted a great deal in the town’s development.

Samuel T. Tong was also a member of the Borough Council and connected with local politics for many years. He was also a member of the committee of the first school, for 15 years. In 1876 he decided to join his parents in New Zealand. For some time he was in business in the Auckland Province but he moved to Hastings in 1878 and established his undertaking business. He promoted the local fire brigade in 1882 and was captain and fire inspector for 12 years.

Robert Wellwood was Chairman of the Town Board and first Mayor of the Borough. He had been a vigorous supporter of all the town’s progress, such as drainage, streets, and footpaths.

He was born in Ireland and arrived in Wellington in 1859. He visited the Otago gold fields and subsequently came to Hawke’s Bay where he managed the J. N. Williams Estate for two years, before acquiring his own land.

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The Streets of Hastings

ADA STREET: Named after Mr. Hoagey’s daughter.
AKINA STREET: Motto of High School – “Strive Harder”.
ALBERT STREET: Prince Albert, Consort of Queen Victoria.
ALEXANDRA STREET: Prince of England.
ALLENBY STREET: Field Marshall Sir Edmund Allenby of First World War.
ANSON STREET: Admiral Anson, 1st Lord of Admiralty.
AVENUE ROAD: A commonly adopted name.
AWATEA STREET: Flagship of U.S.S. Co., from 1936.

BARDEN STREET: An early family.
BEATTY PLACE: Earl Beatty, Commander of Home Fleet during
BEATTY STREET: First World War.
BEECH STREET: English tree – part of Knowles subdivision.
BERESFORD STREET: Lord Charles Beresford – great sailor.
BLEDISLOE STREET: Governor General from 1930-35.
BRUNSWICK STREET: Royal House of Brunswick.
BULLER STREET: General Sir Henry Redvers Buller (1839-1908).
BURNETT STREET: An early identity.

CAMBRIDGE STREET: Named by Council.
CAMPBELL STREET: Founder of a Hastings business.
CANNING ROAD: Davis Canning, a settler and military officer.
CAROLINE PLACE: Queen Caroline, wife of George IV.
CHARLES STREET: Professor Charles was one of first aeronauts.
CHURCHILL STREET: Winston Spencer Churchill, wartime P.M.
CLIVE STREET: Sir Robert Clive of India.
COLLINGE PLACE: First Town Clerk of Hastings.
COOK STREET: Mr. F. Cook, overseer to Borough Council.
COPELAND ROAD: Probably the first settler on road.
CUNNINGHAM CRESCENT: Naval Commander during 1939-45 war.
COBHAM PLACE: Governor General of New Zealand.
CORNWALL ROAD: Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, later became King George V.

DALCROSS STREET: Subdivider’s choice.
DAVIS STREET: Early settler – Deputy-Mayor.
DENNETT STREET: Councillor and Mayor
DUCHESS CRESCENT: Highest title for nobility.
DUFFERIN STREET: Bridge over River Ganges.
DUKE STREET: Highest title for nobility.

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EASTBOURNE STREET: English sea-side village.
ELLIS STREET: A first Borough Councillor.
ELLISON ROAD: An early Mayor of Hastings.
ELM ROAD: An English tree – part of “Knowles’ Folly”.
EATON ROAD: Early property owners.

FERGUSON STREET: Member of Parliament for Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay – worked hard for separation.
FITZROY AVENUE: An early councillor and Mayor.
FLORENCE PLACE: Subdivider’s choice.
FRENCH STREET: Subdivider’s choice.
FREYBERG STREET: Sir Bernard Freyberg was G.O.C. 2nd N.Z. E.F. during World War II, also Governor General of N.Z.
FRIMLEY AVENUE: From Williams Estate.

GALLIEN STREET: Early Hawke’s Bay family.
GARNETT STREET: Held office as Mayor of Hastings.
GARRY STREET: Owner of the adjacent land.
GASCOIGNE STREET: Major F. W. Gascoigne of India and N.Z service.
GLENHOPE STREET: Subdivider’s choice.
GORDON ROAD: General Gordon, British Military hero.
GRAYS ROAD: The Gray family were the first settlers.
GROVE ROAD: Road to pine plantation – now Windsor Park.

HAIG STREET: 1st Earl Douglas Haig (1861-1928) British soldier of distinction.
HAPUKA ROAD: Maori Chief – part owner of Heretaunga Block.
HASTINGS STREET: After Warren Hastings.
HAVELOCK ROAD: Sir Henry Havelock, hero of Indian Mutiny.
HERETAUNGA STREET: First named Main Street, later Victoria Street, finally as above.
HINAU STREET: A native tree.
HOOD STREET: Chosen for naval association.
HOOPER STREET: A subdivider’s choice.
HART DRIVE: A former Mayor.
HART PLACE: ditto.

IKANUI ROAD: Name means big fish of the sea. Used as part of Chief Hapuka’s title.

JELLICOE STREET: Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa, one-time Governor General of New Zealand.
JERVOIS STREET: Lieutenant General Sir W. F. D. Jervois, Governor of New Zealand from 1883-89.
JOLL ROAD: Owner of adjacent land.

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KARAITIANA ROAD: Maori Chief – part-owner of Heretaunga Block.
KARAMU ROAD: Named after Karamu scrub through which led.
KAURI PLACE: A native tree.
KENNEDY ROAD: Name provided by Mr. Agnew, land owner.
KING STREET: Original street, royal designation.
KITCHENER STREET: Lord Kitchener, hero of Africa.
KNIGHT STREET: Bandmaster of town band.
KONINI STREET: A native tree.
KOWHAI STREET: A native tree.

LANE STREET: A former mayor.
LASCELLES STREET: Land previously owned by Smith and Lascelles.
LAWRENCE STREET: Col. T. E. Lawrence successfully fought against Turks in 1st Word [World] War.
LOVEDALE ROAD: Love family used to live at road’s end.
LYNDHURST ROAD: Gardens in Southborough District of Tunbridge Wells, England.
LOWE CRESCENT: Named after pioneer orchardist.

McLEAN STREET: Sir Donald McLean, land purchase officer.
McLEOD STREET: A first borough councillor.
MADDISON STREET: A former mayor and councillor.
MANUKA STREET: A native shrub.
MAIRANGI STREET: A Maori chief of Heretaunga.
MAITLAND CRESCENT: Subdivider’s choice.
MARAEKAKAHO ROAD: Named for destination.
MARKET STREET: Original street to market reserve.
MASSEY STREET: A New Zealand Prime Minister.
MATAI STREET: A native tree.
MAXVILLE DRIVE: Subdivision of Maxville Stud.
MAYFAIR AVENUE: English Associations.
METHUEN STREET: A subdivider’s choice?
MILLER STREET: A former mayor of Hastings.
MIRO STREET: A native tree.
MONTGOMERY PLACE: General Montgomery, 8th Army Commander, 1939-45 war.
MURDOCH ROAD: Owner of land of road.

NELSON STREET: An original street, probably named after British hero.
NGAIO STREET: A native tree.
NIGEL STREET: Subdivider’s choice.
NIKAU STREET: A native palm.
NORFOLK CRESCENT: Warship with proud record.
NORRIE STREET: Governor General from 1952-57.

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NOTTINGLY [NOTTINGLEY] ROAD: Name given by Mr. J. N. Williams of Frimley.
OAK STREET: English tree, Subdivision known as “Knowle’s Folly”.
OMAHU ROAD: Road leads to Maori pa.
ORCHARD ROAD: Road to original Frimley orchard.
OUTRAM ROAD: Sir James Outram, Bayard of India.
OXFORD STREET: Name chosen by Council.

PAKOWHAI ROAD: Site of original track over plains.
PARK ROAD: Road to local park.
PATTISON ROAD: An early identity.
PEPPER STREET: An early identity.
PLUNKET STREET: Lord Plunket was Governor General of N.Z.
PRINCESS STREET: Name from Royal title.
PROSPECT ROAD: Adjacent to racecourse, sufficient meaning.
PUKATEA STREET: A native tree.
PURIRI STREET: A native tree.

QUEEN STREET: An original street named after Royal title.

RAILWAY ROAD: Adjacent to railway.
RANGIORA STREET: A native tree.
RATA STREET: A native tree.
RIMU STREET: A native tree.
RIVERSLEA ROAD: After Thos. Tanner’s farm block.
ROBERTS STREET: Earl Roberts of Indian Mutiny.
RODNEY STREET: British Admiral and warship.
RUSSELL STREET: Sir Andrew Russell, G.O.C. N.Z. Forces in 1914-18. Previously named Station Street.
RAINBOW AVENUE: A former mayor. Mrs. Rainbow’s father formerly owned Beatson’s Park.

ST. AUBYN STREET: An original street; from Hastings, England.
ST. LEONARD’S AVENUE: From Hastings, England.
SEDDON STREET: Richard J. Seddon was Prime Minister of N.Z.
SOUTHLAND ROAD: Geographical direction.
STIRLING STREET: A wartime general of 2nd Word War.
STORTFORD STREET: With English Associations, also named from locality.
SUSSEX STREET: Naval ship of renown.
SYLVAN ROAD: A road to the plantation – Windsor Park.

TAINUI STREET: A native tree.
TAMATEA STREET: A native tree.
TAWA PLACE: A native tree.

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TERRACE ROAD: Road leads to park. Ground falls away to East.
TITOKI STREET: A native tree.
TOMOANA ROAD: After Henare Tomoana – part owner of Maori lands on plains.
TOTARA STREET: A native tree.
TOWNSHEND STREET: Originally known as Quarry Road.
TUDOR AVENUE: English Royal House.

VICTORIA STREET: Queen of England.

WAIPUNA STREET: Name means springing water.
WALL ROAD: A local settler.
WARREN STREET: H. G. Warren was N.Z. Secretary of Nelson Bros.
WARWICK ROAD: An English County.
WAVELL STREET: Field Marshall – 2nd World War.
WELLWOOD ROAD: First Mayor of Hastings.
WHITEHEAD ROAD: An early identity.
WILLIAMS STREET: After J. N. Williams of Frimley.
WOLSELEY STREET: Name with English associations.
WOODSTOCK AVENUE: Probably a subdivider’s choice.

YORK STREET: An English county.

Buildings of Note

Buildings are fascinating, and the story behind some of the buildings in our City is well worth recording.

The oldest building of note is the Carlton Club Hotel. The passer-by would scarcely believe that it was once the tallest building in the town, yet that was so. At that time it was surmounted by a striking wooden look-out tower which gave people a good view of the surrounding township. After some years the tower was removed, but it still exists today – as the house for an aviary further down Karamu Road.

When the old Station Hotel was pulled down and rebuilt it was replaced by a building of four stories. Brick and masonry were used throughout and a striking building became something of a landmark to people approaching the town from afar. The Grand Hotel stood prominently above all other buildings until the fateful 1931 earthquake and fire reduced the once proud hotel to a charred heap of rubble.

It is a far cry from the H.B. Herald’s little wooden office at Ahuriri, but today the headquarters of the H.B. Herald-Tribune may be found in the first four-storeyed building to be constructed for 30 years. A spacious administrative building designed on modern lines dominates the sky-line and bright and airy surroundings for those who work there. The Herald-Tribune building was the first in Hastings with an all-glass facade.

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A new Hospital Block now has the honour of the City’s highest – of five storeys and of contemporary hospital design it somewhat dwarfs the earlier hospital buildings. It accommodates 122 beds on the four lower floors, while the top floor provides theatres and other such rooms. The offices are also included in this new building.

Hasting’s largest residential building was opened earlier this year. The “Holy Family Home” was an enterprise sponsored by the Little Sisters of the Poor and cost £250,000 to build.

Being of 33,000 square feet it is the second largest of all buildings in Hastings and gives a home to 100 elderly people. Interior fittings are of a very high standard – the whole project satisfies a long-felt need in the City.

Earlier reference was made to the Hastings building of the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Co-op. Association, but it is worth recalling here. One of the first buildings erected on the “floating” foundation, it survived the earthquake and despite the rapid progress with industrial building can still be regarded as substantial. Before completion of the Herald-Tribune building the “Farmers’ ” was the highest in the city.


Members of the class wish to acknowledge the sympathetic and generous assistance given by the following—

Mr. W. T. Chaplin, Mrs. Fortnan, Mr. A. A. George, Mr. N.C Harding, Mr. K. G. Lett, Mr. E. C. McDermott, Hon. D. Maclntyre, Mr. J. G. C. McKenzie, Mr. J. R. Murtagh, Mr. J Newbigin, Mr. Newrick, Snr.; Mr. J. J. Nimon, Mrs. C. R. Peak, Mr. H. E. Phillips, Mr. H. Poppelwell, Mr. A. I. Rainbow, Mr. G. H. Roach, Mr. K. Startup, Mrs. H. B. Upton, Mr. R. Orr.

H.B. Automobile Association, N.Z. Aerial Mapping Ltd., H.B. Electric Power Board, Messrs. Sawyer and Son, H.B. Motor Company, Tourist Motors Ltd., Central School, Heretaunga Co-op. Dairy Company, City Engineer’s Office, General Assembly Library, Hastings Public Library.

Reference List:

Newspapers of – The Daily Telegraph, H.B. Herald-Tribune, Hastings Standard, The Daily Mail, The Weekly News, N.Z. Free Lance, Fire Brigade Jubilee Handbook, The Weekender, N.Z. Cyclopedia (1908), Handbook of Hastings, 1929, The Hastings Story, Before and After, Story of Hawkes Bay (Reed), Shattered Hastings, Ten Months After, Progressive Hastings, 1923.


Page 1


Compiled and Produced



HASTINGS, N.Z., 1984

Page 2


Centennial   5
Suburbs   8
City Centre  18
Industry  31
Fire and Flood   42
Recreation   47
Transport and Communications   59
Timeline   66
Civic Amenities   71
Prominent People   74

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Compiled and produced by: –

Nathan Rarere, Sarah Townsend, Joanna Dickson, Emma Aikten [Aitken], Katrina Grainger, *Megan Collins, Grant MacDonald, Mark de Frere, Hayley MacDonald, *Joanne McGaveston, *Mathew Fieldes, *Matthew Walsh, *Caroline Herbert, *Sharee McNab, Katherine Hansen, Celia Berkahn, Karl Te Ariki, James Harris, Paula Morris, Juliet Jones, Tania Doran, Louise Hutchinson, Genevieve Blackman, Jackie Nairn, *Jane Ormond, Jenny Curtis, *James Ellis, Nicola Dillon, Rebecca Harris, *Roman Greening, Darren Hawkes, Vicki Coombes, Richard Gilbert, Caroline Kiwara, Catherine Thompson, Genevieve Walker, *Teressa Betty, Simon Sievert, Sarah-Maree Fairweather, Douglas Marriot.

Edited by Barbara Turvey.

* Denotes action group Member.

Printed by Cliff Press Printers

Page 4


In February, 1984, a group of teachers from Heretaunga Intermediate School were discussing the forthcoming year and the sorts of things which could be done to commemorate the Hastings City Centennial celebrations. Among other things, it was recalled that Heretaunga pupils, including some of the foundation pupils, had previously documented the city’s past and published the book, “From Swamp to City.” What an ideal project it would be to up-date that book.

The project was commenced in March, 1984, the Centennial year, and the year preceding the Heretaunga Intermediate’s 25th Jubilee. Ten “action-group” FII pupils looked at “From Swamp to City” as it was and decided how they should approach the up-date. These, in turn, took under their wings 3-5 other pupils and directed their workloads in consultation with me. The children arranged and followed up all their interviews and travel arrangements and were largely independent reporters. They found their own tape recorders, tapes and resources and by the end of term two they had drafts to hand in. These were checked for accuracy by me with the children as, once the year ended, contacting the person from whom the information was obtained could be fairly difficult.

The pupils were a blend of FI and FII, variously selected from around the school. Help was obtained from Mrs Ball, Mr Gillespie, Mrs Ahern, and Mrs Heaton for factual help, photographic advice, and technical assistance, so it was truly a school-wide effort.

Although the major task was to document major changes since 1961, an apparently simple task when compared with the original project, one or two problems were encountered. They found that some places destroy their records after 5 or ten years, or do not regard what happened even five years ago as history. Nevertheless, the pupils were given a great deal of help by many people in the city and this has enabled the task to be completed.

The book and its format are the result of consensus decisions made by the children themselves, who took the job of giving the original copy new life quite seriously.

Barbara Turvey

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Hastings was founded when the Town Board had its first meeting in 1884. Its population began a further 20 years before, when the first settlers came to the Heretaunga Plains.

Thomas Tanner and William Rich, two settlers, in 1864 leased land from the surrounding Maoris. Francis Hicks, a later settler, had his property subdivided into town lots and founded the first store.

Hastings was originally named Heretaunga, but was finally named Hastings, after Warren Hastings, who strengthened British Rule in India.

Hastings is sited on very fertile river flats. If Hastings was re-built today, it would be situated where Flaxmere is, because the land that it is situated on would have been used for farming and orcharding.

Hastings has a Mediterranean type climate, which makes it a big tourist attraction. Hastings was proclaimed a city in 1956.

Photo caption – Heretaunga St – looking towards Havelock North – 1984

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The Agenda for the meeting held to prepare for the Centennial celebrations.

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The purpose of Hastings Centennial Day on 4th February 1984, was to celebrate the 100th year of town board meetings, the first of which was held in 1884. The Centennial Day started at 9.30am with a huge parade named ‘Cavalcade of a Century’.

It began around the Nottingly [Nottingley] Road area and then through Heretaunga Street to Railway Road, to Queen Street, into Russell Street and back into Heretaunga Street, From there through to Willowpark Road North to Collinge Road, to Karamu Road and into the Showgrounds.

There was a ‘Grand Gala’ in the Showgrounds, where hundreds of clubs and organisations presented fun-filled activities for the public. Some of the activities were: Archery, Orienteering, Fly casting, Jazzercise and Aerobics, Floral arrangements, Wargaming, Pottery, Model aircraft, Photography and Vintage cars.

This display was backed up by an arena programme, involving such things as a salute by the New Zealand Army WAI/WEC squadron. A maze march was presented by the Marching Association. The Hastings Pipe and Citizens Band performed along with ballet, modem jazz, country folk, highland and Irish dance groups. Skydiving, Judo and a demonstration by a drug detection squad were also included in the action-packed day.

The only formal activity was an introduction of invited VIP’s and a short address by his worship the Mayor of Hastings, Mr J.J. O’Connor; followed by an address by the Prime Minister.

The Hastings Centennial Day celebrations lived up to the promise of being a ‘memorable day of total community involvement.’

Photo caption – Entrants in the Centennial parade

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The suburb of Camberley was included in the city of Hastings in 1957 on 1st of April. When the suburb was first included it was bare land – orchards and paddocks – no people. In the first years in which Heretaunga Intermediate was opened, livestock being driven past the school to the sale yards, was a regular occurrence. One foundation teacher, Mrs Ngaire Shand (nee Usher), remembers “the herd that got away.” Apparently during lessons pupils were treated to the sight of cattle making their way through the school grounds – upsetting lessons and teachers alike.

Most of the land was bought by the Ministry of Works from the owners of the orchards and farms.

The name Camberley, was given by the Council in 1966, and is associated with the district of Camberley in Surrey near London, England.

The streets of Camberley are unique in Hastings for two reasons. The first is that, at the time of construction, the grid pattern of streets which was so characteristic in Hastings, was abandoned and curves and cul-de-sacs were used. Secondly the naming of the streets broke with tradition. Formerly the streets of Hastings were named mainly after significant events or people in the City’s history. Some of the streets around Mahora were named after native trees. The streets of Camberley, however, were named after native birds – and so we have Kiwi St, Kea Place, Hula St and so on.

The layout of the streets was done by the Hastings City Council on behalf of the Ministry of Works.

Camberley shopping centre – Note the centennial motif on verandah fronts.

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Camberley’s population figures, taken from the 1971 census was 2,701 people. By 1976, the population had risen to 2,826 and by 1981 the number of people living in the suburb had dropped to 2,504.

The new suburb faced several problems, initially. At the height of the problem phase, it was noted that about half the population were under 20 years of age, and about one third were under 10 years.

Projects were started to help the young people become involved in more constructive pursuits than they had been.

As the younger families have grown up there are not the problems occurring in the proportion they once did.

Camberley is served by a small shopping centre behind Camberley School, and the Camberley Foodmarket in Canning Road.


For 24 years, Flaxmere has been a part of the residential area of Hastings. However, its written history is older than 100 years.

Because Flaxmere had been part of a stony river-bed, the infertile soil made it poor farmland and a perfect area for the expansion of Hastings to take place. It is also an important part of the city’s future as it will eventually provide housing for 18,000 people. The Hastings City Council started to buy land for the suburb in 1964 from the following people;

In Wilson Road: L. J. Commin, Mrs L. M. Anderson, A. A. McLean, W. B. Hill, and T. Ryan.
In Henderson Road: H. G. & M. C. McPherson, G. A. Gregory, R. D. McLay,
E. Palmer, Mrs U. C. Ormond, and the estate of A. G. Williams.
In Portsmouth Road: Watson and Lang Holdings, and the estate of J. T. Wellwood.
In Chatham Road: Lochain Farms, R. S. Nowell-Usticke, and A. H. Burn and sons.

In 1962 the Hastings Chamber of Commerce influenced the Council to go ahead with a plan for the “orderly expansion of Hastings in the next 25 years.” The Chamber realised that the growth of Hastings could be halted, as the farmland surrounding the city boundaries constricted development of the city. Flaxmere, advertised as “Hastings newest suburb” was the result – a full community on an old stony river-bed.

Early Development

The areas which are now known as Frimley, Twyford, and Flaxmere, were in the early days of Hastings’ history, blocks of land owned by three families.

Frimley was owned and named by James Nelson Williams. The name of Frimley was taken from a town in Surrey, England. Frimley quickly became known as a larger orcharding area, and at one time the Frimley Orchards covered the land approximately from Maraekakeho [Maraekakaho] Road to what is now Oak Avenue. Later, J. N. Williams subdivided the Mahora section of Frimley and either leased or sold the land to families who wanted to operate small farms.

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Built in the 1870’s the Williams homestead of 22 rooms, was situated in what is now Frimley Park. The home stood on its original site until fire destroyed it in 1960. A year later the beautiful grounds and gardens were given to the people of Hastings in memory of the “founders of Frimley.” The rose gardens, playground, and sunken garden and the sundial mark the site of the old Frimley Estate gardens. The large oak which used to stand on the comer of Pakowhai Rd and St Aubyn St was given to the City also, on the condition that it was never to be cut down, but it finally was cut after it was discovered the tree was diseased.

Karamu was owned and named by John Davies Ormond. It adjoined Frimley, and became famous as a horse breeding area. In 1897 the Karamu Stud was established. The driveway leading to the old stables can be seen today as Oak Avenue, known also as Ormond Road. The history of the avenue is told on a plaque which was erected in 1974 by the Hastings County Council, as follows:

‘Under the direction of the Honourable J. D. Ormond of Karamu, George Williams his estate steward, planted the acorns for this avenue of Oaks in the spring of the year 1874. The acorns came from the Ormond Estate in Wallingford on the River Thames, England. No trees are to be cut down in the following years, they are all to remain where they are.”

The original Karamu homestead which still stands at the far end of Oak Avenue has not been occupied in the traditional sense for approximately 60 years. It is being held in trust at present while it is being restored.

Flaxmere and Twyford were originally owned by one family – the Russells. The Flaxmere land was part of the “Heretaunga Block” leased from the Maoris by a group of people in the 1860’s. It comprised two main shares and was very swampy, so to counteract the persistent flooding, flax was planted – from which Flaxmere got its name. Of the two main shares, 2,300 acres belonged jointly to Capt. William Russell Russell and his brother Andrew Hamilton Russell. The other 1,231 acres belonged to A. H. Russell. The area of Twyford was named after the English preparatory school of “Ham’s” son, Guy. “Little Flaxmere” was the name of the Twyford Homestead. It is still functioning as a home, currently owned by Douglas Walker, and stands on its original site across the road from the Henderson Road entrance to Flaxmere Village.

William Russell Russell maintained the remainder of the property and it was he who named it Flaxmere. W. R. Russell was bom in 1838 at Sandhurst, Berkshire, England, and was educated at the Royal Military College. In 1857 he joined the 58th Regiment’s H.Q. in New Zealand, returning to England in 1859. He married in 1867, Harriette Julia Hodgskin of Cawley Priory, Sussex.

A person who had an active and extensive political career, W. R. Russell was created a Knight Bachelor in 1902.

By 1912 Sir William’s horse-breeding stud was becoming well-known for producing performers in the nation’s major races.

Sir William died in 1913. The property was then purchased by W. G. Stead who was the son of the man who was responsible for the totalisator being introduced to New Zealand.

The large homestead was demolished as a result of damage incurred by the 1931 earthquake, and in that year W. G. Stead sold the property, and died the following year.

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The original “Flaxmere” Homestead with members of the Russell family. The house was demolished in the 1931 Earthquake.

An early homestead.

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George Patrick Donnelly is the present owner, whose father purchased the land on his son’s behalf, and managed it until 1945 when G. P. Donnelly came from Waipukurau to take it over.

G. P. Donnelly’s daughter, Hannah.

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G. P. Donnelly’s wife, Airini (nee Karauria) who was related to all the leading chiefs in Hawke’s Bay.

Page 14

Initial Development

In 1960 the Hawke’s Bay Land Utilisation Committee and Hastings City Council got together and decided that more land was needed for Hastings industrial and housing development; because more people were coming to Hastings than any other city in New Zealand.

The new suburb, later named Flaxmere after the Russell brothers’ homestead, was begun. It steadily grew out to Highway 50, but growth was halted when opinions were expressed, that continued development could corrupt the hygiene of the water aquifer beneath the ground’s surface. The Hastings City Council spent $l-million towards the purchase of farmland to the south-western side of the suburb. Nowadays the growth of Western Flaxmere is much slower than that of the 1970’s. In 1983 the Council announced that the start of a subdivision would be made and would provide 300 people with homes in Flaxmere. The sections in Flaxmere have been described by many people as among the most reasonably priced in New Zealand.

Parade of Homes

When the suburb of Flaxmere was started, members of the Master Builder’s Association were asked to construct a “Parade of Homes.” The advertising brochure issued jointly by the Hastings City Council and the Master Builder’s Association, concerning these homes states the reason why they were built: “To provide for a new concept in residential planning as well as industrial zones separated from the housing area by reserves and orchards.”

The builders constructed 11 houses in all, ranging in price from £4,054 16s 6d ($8,108.00) to £6,940 ($13,800.00) for the houses, and from £875 ($1,750.00) to £1,500 ($3,000) for the sections. Some of the houses had either a carport, a garage, a drive, a shed or a path which was not included in the price of the house or section.

These homes were open to the public from Saturday, 18 March, 1967, until Sunday, 2 April, 1967. Sundays and weekdays saw them open from 2.00pm until 5.30pm. On Saturdays they were open from 10.00am until 12 noon, and in the afternoons from 2.00pm until 5.30pm.

Flaxmere Today

In the early 1960s residents of the farming properties around Wilson Rd, Henderson Road and Chatham Road (then Irongate Rd) could see the gradual wave of construction creeping towards them. In those days it was an orderly jumble of house shells, concrete pipes, earth moving machinery, and of course a growing number of residents.

Today the suburb is a pleasantly laid out community which is still in the process of growth and development. The residents enjoy an easy pace of life without the problems of heavy traffic as in town.

A growing number of clubs, sporting and service organisations cater for the people of Flaxmere. Children can choose from Girl Guides and Boy Scout groups which are always popular in areas with many children; or BMX, Rugby, Soccer, Tennis, Table Tennis and many other sporting groups.

The adults of the community are catered for in Golf, Hockey, Rugby Clubs and other sports; and in service and Welfare Organisations like Flaxmere’s Community Network’s Action Group, Zach’s Place, League of Mothers, and the various religious groups.

Page 15

Shopping in Flaxmere is central with a whole Village and parking area set out in Swansea Road. The dairy, garden centre, Post Office, wool shop, home supplies, toy shop, bank and other groups, all save residents the trip into town.

Street names included in the city since 1960 (including Flaxmere). –

AMUNDSEN AVENUE: Named after Roald Amundsen (seaman and explorer).
ARBROATH AVENUE: Tayside region north of Dundee on the east coast of Scotland – small fishing town.
ARDROSSAN AVENUE: Strathclyde region north of Ayr on the west coast of Scotland – seaside holiday resort.
AYR STREET: Main city of Ayshire [Ayrshire] on west coast of Scotland.

BAFFIN PLACE: Named after an explorer.
BAKER STREET: Named after an explorer.
BALTA STREET: Named after an explorer.
BALLANTYNE PLACE: Named after Mrs Ballantyne who was the first woman to be a Hastings City Councillor.
BANGOR STREET: Named after an explorer.
BERWICK STREET: Berwick on Tweed – most northerly town on East coast of England – almost on Scotland border.
BIRKENHEAD CRESCENT: In Cheshire near mouth of Mersey River on west coast of England just north of Wales. Also northern suburb of Auckland.
BLYTH STREET: Named after an explorer.
BRISTOL CRESCENT & PLACE: West of Bath on the River Avon and separates Wales from south England.
BURTON CRESCENT & PLACE: Named after an explorer.

CABOT PLACE: Named after an explorer.
CAERNAVON [CAERNARVON] DRIVE: Caernavon [Caernarvon] in north west Wales.
CARDIFF PLACE: In south Glamorgan (county) in South Wales.
CARTIER CRESCENT: Named after an explorer.
CHATHAM ROAD: South East of London.
COLUMBUS CRESCENT: Named after an explorer.
CORTES CRESCENT: Named after an explorer.
COVENTRY ROAD: Coastal town east of Birmingham.
CRAIL AVE: Coastal town possibly in Crailsheim south west of Nurnberg.

DIAZ PLACE & DRIVE: Named after an explorer.
DOVER ROAD: Coastal town in south coast of Kent.
DUNDEE DRIVE: Coastal town in Tayside Scotland.

EBBETT STREET: George Ebbett – former Mayor of Hastings.

Page 16

FLAXMERE AVENUE: Main street through Flaxmere.
FLEETWOOD CRESCENT: Coastal town in Lancashire just north of Blackpool.
FOLKESTONE DRIVE: Coastal town in Kent just west along coast from Dover.
FRANCIS STREET: Originally in county.
FRANCIS HICKS AVENUE: One of the founders of Hastings whose position was equivalent to an early land agent.

GALWAY PLACE: Lord Galway.

HARDING ROAD: Early family. Street used to be in county.
HAZELWOOD STREET: Family who still own land down Chatham Road.
HOLT PLACE: After Robert Holt – Holt’s Timber.
HUIA PLACE & STREET: New Zealand native bird.

IRONGATE ROAD: There used to be an iron gate across the road.

JARVIS ROAD: Is in the county.
JUBILEE STREET: Originally in county. Named after Queen’s Jubilee in 1977.

KAKA STREET: New Zealand native bird.
KAIAPO ROAD: Part in the city, part in the county.
KEA PLACE: New Zealand native bird.
KELFIELD PLACE: Name originating from England and is associated with previous land owner.
KENILWORTH ROAD: ? (Half in city and half in county).
KINGLSEY DRIVE & PLACE: Named after an explorer.
KIRKCALDY CRESCENT & PLACE: Coastal town on east coast of Scotland.
KIWI LANE, PLACE & STREET: New Zealand native bird.
KOTUKU STREET: New Zealand native bird.

LANDER PLACE & STREET: Named after an explorer.
LEO STREET: Originally in county.
LIVERPOOL CRESCENT: Coastal town in Merseyside west coast of England.
LIVINGSTON ROAD: Named after an explorer.
LORNE CRESCENT & PLACE: Coastal town in Firth of Lorne Oban.
LUMSDEN PLACE & ROAD: Possibly a personal name from South Island, N.Z.

MARGATE AVENUE & PLACE: Coastal town in Kent, south of England on east coast just north of Dover.
MEIHANA STREET & PLACE: Means ‘stone work’.
MOA PLACE: New Zealand native bird.

Page 17

MONTROSE PLACE & STREET: Coastal town in Scotland.

NICHOLSON STREET: Included in city in 1976.

OBAN STREET: Explorer.

PETERHEAD AVENUE & PLACE: Coastal town north east of Scotland.
PLYMOUTH ROAD: Coastal town in Devon south of England.
POOLE STREET: Coastal town in Dorset south of England.
PORTSMOUTH ROAD: Coastal town in Hants south of England.
PURSER PLACE; Previous Town Clerk.

RALEIGH PLACE & STREET: Named after an explorer.
RAMSEY CRESCENT & PLACE: Named after an explorer.
REKA STREET: Included in city in 1976.
RURU PLACE: New Zealand native bird.

SCARBOROUGH ROAD: Coastal town in north Yorkshire.
SCOTT DRIVE: Named after an explorer.

WALTON PLACE & WAY: Possibly a personal name from south east England.
WEDELL [WEDDELL] PLACE & STREET: Named after an explorer.
WELLWOOD STREET: Well known early Hastings family.
WENTWORTH STREET: Name from England.
WHITBY CRESCENT & PLACE: Coastal town in north Yorkshire.
WILSON ROAD: Party city, part county. Previous land owner.
WINDSOR AVENUE: Used to be Selwood Road.


Page 18

City Centre

Clock Tower – 1984.

Page 19


The inner city of Hastings has seen many changes since 1960; with the most significant of these being the construction and implementation of the Ring Road traffic flow system. Gardens and trees have been planted, and the whole inner city area has a welcoming, cared for look. The buildings in town have also changed, with banks, offices and administration buildings springing up around the central city. Some old family businesses like F. L. Bone and Bon Marche are still going strong with a high profile in the advertising media, and the shop layouts remaining basically unchanged which proves that good old fashioned service can keep a business afloat. Others like Roachs and Hunts Drapers, have made way for larger concerns, with major interior reconstruction changing the shops almost beyond recognition.

The 1970s saw the introduction of the “Arcade” and the “Plaza” into Hastings, with several small specialist shops occupying the space formerly used by one business. With the greater influence of overseas trends, the “Space Invaders” amusement parlours began to make their presence felt by the mid to late 70s; and more recently the video hire agencies have capitalised on an ever popular market in Hastings and Flaxmere.

The trend appears to be the growth and development of the Western end of town, including continual changes at Stortford Lodge, and the recent Westend Shopping Plaza on the comer of Heretaunga and Charles Streets. The site was formerly occupied by three private properties and Odlins Hardware and mill. On that site also was Burfields Bootmakers who shifted to their present premises in 1961.

Another trend is towards the establishment of fast food restaurants. A major “event” in Hastings history was the opening of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Stortford Lodge on 3rd April, 1974. On the days following their opening, large queues of people were seen for quite a distance down Heretaunga Street waiting to try the food to which Americans and Aucklanders had access. Since then Tommos’ Restaurant with its family atmosphere, has replaced Mr Lynch’s store on the comer of Omahu and Pakowhai Roads, with Pizza Hutt and MacDonalds capturing the same market as Kentucky Fried Chicken.


The site on the corner of Heretaunga and Warren Streets was formerly occupied by Lands for Bags.” The building which is there today is the new Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board building.

The cost of the 3,500 square metre building was approximately $5 million, with $1 million of that being spent on the control room which made up the first stage of construction. The second stage was the main office which cost $3.2 million. The final stage was the servicing department which runs out along under the control room. Not only are the buildings up to date, but the machinery in the control rooms is also. For example, one of the computers has got room to record the Bible 10 times and still have space left over.

The old Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board building was also built in stages over the years. The front block of offices was built in 1944, with the back office being built in 1962, and the old control room went into operation in 1956.

Staff expansion and the increase in consumer numbers meant the old buildings were too small to house the Board’s operations. This brought about the need for the new building; to be used in conjunction with the old. The staff employed by the board in 1984 was 325 people which grows each year, as the number of consumers increases.

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Lands For Bags – the site is now occupied by The Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board on the corner of Heretaunga St and Warren St.

The Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board.

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In 1926 there were 68 consumers; in 1960 there were 20,834, and in 1984 there were 41,680 people who were provided with the Board’s services.

In 1926 only two electric ranges were sold – by 1960 the number had risen to 15,208 and in 1984 the Board had sold 35,347 electric ranges. Also in 1926 there were no sales of water heaters – but by 1960 the number of sales had risen to 14,524 and in 1984 38,030 water heaters were sold.

With the new subdivisions being built (Omega Place, James Cook St. Hastings and Collinge Road) new underground work had to be completed, along with the replacement of established overhead lines in other areas.

Since the completion of the new glass-roofed Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board building, there has been a good deal of debate about the glare which shines from the roof. It has been labelled a shopper’s and motorist’s nightmare, and attempts have been made to lessen the glare using running water, and a light surface paint.


There have been big changes in warehousing since Smith & Brown started. Before 1960, the Smith & Brown store in Symonds Street, Auckland, and the mail order department served the whole of New Zealand. They also distributed goods throughout the Pacific Islands.

Early items for sale from Smith and Brown. 1939.

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In the 1930’s and 1940’s, the farming community and people living in the country did not have access to the city stores. Purchases of furniture could have been a problem if it was not for a pamphlet of detailed illustrations published by Smith & Brown showing their goods.

In 1939, the price of a strong seagrass chair was only £1/14/-. In 1939, a three piece lounge suite cost between £21/10/- and £28/10/-. The price has gone up considerably since, and in 1984 a three piece lounge suite cost between $800 and $2,300.

The Hastings King Street branch of Smith & Browns closed down at 12.30pm, 4th August, 1984. The staff of the Hastings store, moved hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock from the old store to the new at 9am on Monday, 6th August, 1984. It took 32 ½ hours for the shift to be completed. The staff also handled six freighter loads of new stock which was needed to fill extra retail space in the new building. The store covers 2368.9 square metres of land of which 2090 square metres is retail space and 278.7 square metres is occupied by offices and storage compartments.

Smith & Brown at that time had the largest retail space in Hastings. The past 20 years from 1964 to 1984 had been spent at the King Street branch until a decision was made to shift to Heretaunga Street. The change was advantageous to the customer. The carpark at the rear of the shop provides space for approximately 70 cars. The entrance to the carpark is situated on Queen Street. If an item wanted by a customer is not available, the customer will be informed of any Smith & Brown branch which has the item in stock owing to the store’s visual display unit (V.D.U.). The visual display unit is linked with 45 stores, and all the company’s warehouses through New Zealand. This is an enormous improvement over the telephone and letter link between branches.

The year 1984 was Miss Sue Mustchin’s 16th working at Smith & Brown which made her the longest serving staff member. She started as a junior in the baby wear department and more recently was named Head of the dining furniture department which features a wide range of dining suites.

The Head of the manchester department, Mrs Sue Allen, travelled half way around the world before finding the job at Smith & Brown where she went straight to the top of the Manchester Department.

Mr John Russell, the Head of the Carpet Department, was originally from Pahiatua. He spent six years in a furniture shop in Dannevirke before working in Smith & Browns where he sells carpets, vinyls, and mats.

Mr Ross Plant who is in charge of the bedroom department has had 12 years of experience in the trade. Before working at Smith & Brown, he sold Home Appliances. The whole complex, when finished, cost approximately $1,000,000.


In 1960 the Hastings City Council called a meeting to find a way of easing the traffic congestion in the city centre. One idea was to make it an all-pedestrian precinct. Another idea was to have an overhead railway under which cars could drive, but the Council could not see a way of financing such a venture. The end result of that meeting was an agreement to build a Ring Road.

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On Saturday morning, 15 June, 1972, a convoy of trucks drove into town to different areas of the city. Each truck was equipped with traffic signs and all the necessary tools to erect them. A local electrician did all the wiring involved in the traffic signals, which were manufactured by Harding Signals Ltd. Osborne Roadmarkings Ltd painted the road signs and the traffic signs were printed by different factories around the district. The master traffic controller for the signals is located in the Public Library. The signals are designed to run on Independent Vehicle Actuation (I.V.A.) at night.

The costs involved in constructing the Ring Road are as follows:

Construction of signs $13,727
Traffic Lights – Karamu Road $14,772
– Other Roads $13,457
Non-subsidisable Works (Planting beds, etc.) $69,553
* Approximate overall cost $111,489

* This total did not include the roadmarking.

It took the Council Staff approximately two hours to complete the work. They started between 6.00 am and 7.00am and most of the work was completed before the weekend traffic came into town that morning. The public was ask to keep out of town as far as possible to enable the Council staff to continue their work undisturbed. To every household in the Hastings district a small city map was sent, in which appeared the new directions of the traffic flow. The city drivers adapted fairly well to the change, although there were a few confused drivers seen reversing back up One Way streets for sometime afterwards. Fortunately for them, the Traffic Department helped out with friendly directions for the first few weeks. Over the last few years the central city accident rate has decreased owing to the Ring Road system. Traffic is far more sedate in the inner city area than it used to be. There was a time when a young mother with a baby in the pram and toddler in tow took her life in her hands crossing Heretaunga Street. Fortunately, those days seem to have gone.

While there have been many advantages in the new system, there has not only been praise. An article appeared in the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune on Tuesday, 25 September, 1984, stating that, at a Hastings Chamber of Commerce Council meeting, the Ring Road was blamed for keeping shoppers away from the city centre. It goes on to say: “Mr Garry Mulvanah, a member of the Chamber, and President of the Hawke’s Bay Branch of the New Zealand Retailer’s Federation, said the Ring Road was frightening potential shoppers from the area. ‘Several Napier people had said they never went to Hastings to shop as they couldn’t understand the ring road system , said Mr Mulvanah. Instead they shopped in other areas around the district.”

Future developments around the streets of Hastings include new ideas to help stop intersection accidents which occur in the area outside the main centre.


The Cultural Centre was built in 1975. A group of artists from Karamu High School suggested the idea, because they thought Hastings needed a place to display their Arts and Crafts. They took their idea to Mr Ron Giorgi, the mayor at the time, who called a meeting of the Council. They then decided to run a design competition for the building. The first part built was the Maori Artifacts Museum, Te Whare O Nga Tipuna, which

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was joined on to the Public Library so it was available to the public. Mrs Burr, a citizen of Hastings, decided to house the Maori Artifacts. In total, the cost was $400,000 when it was built in 1975.

The official opening ceremony of the Cultural Centre was held on Saturday, 31st May, 1975. A variety of performances by local groups and soloists made the opening a grand event. The Cultural Centre is a ten-and-a-half thousand square foot building. Four thousand square feet is used for a performing-cum-exhibition area. The publicity handout for the Cultural Centre states that ‘there is a large, well-lit workroom for Tutorials, classes or a dressing room, or it can be used for get-togethers by clubs or societies. Another large room adjacent to the workroom, is an ideal meeting place for groups of up to 50 people, and is air conditioned. An unusual feature of the North end of the main hall, is the flip-away back projection screen, behind which is the specially constructed home for a projector, which will be available for use by schools and other groups.” Incorporated in the Cultural Centre is the well equipped kitchen, workshop and darkroom.

The Cultural Centre involves schools in as many displays as they can. Some of these displays are: The Annual HE Science Fair, Dominion Schools Art Exhibition, Fusion Dance group, and many other travelling displays which are relevant to schools.


Stephenson Trading first opened its doors to the public on 22nd August, 1984. The cost of renovating the building was $1.2 million. This task was done by J.C. Mackersey. The warehouse is situated in Pakowhai Road, Stortford Lodge, and was previously occupied by Tourist Kelt Motors, which moved to the city centre. The contrast between the Karamu Road warehouse and the Pakowhai Road warehouse is great. The Karamu Road warehouse was cold, cramped and gloomy while the Pakowhai Road warehouse is heated by gas and has wide aisles with very good lighting. The building is on a 7,007 square metre site and the complex takes up a total of 2,748 sq. metres. Out of the 2,748 sq. metres, 1,226 sq. metres is occupied by a self-service warehouse, adjacent to a bulkstore of 550 sq. metres. Office and staff amenities take up the remaining space. The showroom is the largest of its kind in Hawke’s Bay. Out the front, along the sides and around the back, there is room provided for 65 vehicles. Also provided is a play pen with toys supplied so that parents can do shopping without having to worry about their children’s supervision.

Mr Richard Hollis was the General Manager and Mr Russell Hannah is the Hastings Branch Manager. Mr Hollis was the Manager of the Hastings Branch from 1972 to 1979. In 1979 he was named Assistant Manager. The showroom is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm during the week and 8.30am to noon on Saturdays.


On Thursday, 27 September, 1984, the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune announced to Hastings that one of its landmarks was to “get the axe.” The historic Albert Hotel which has served customers for over 100 years is about to be pulled down to make way for four or five retail sbops, and perhaps an upstairs Tavern.

The Hotel was built by W. T. Dennett in approximately 1882. (Dennett Street is named after him). The only significant change since then has been the addition of a block of toilets in Karamu Road. Apart from fresh exterior painting, the Albert looks

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much the same as it did when it was first built.

The new complex, which was intended to replace the Albert Hotel should have been finished by March or April, 1985. The project is being mounted by Dominion Breweries and the Wellington based firm of City Realties Ltd. Word from D.B.’s liquor division manager is that final plans have not yet been decided upon.

The manager of the hotel at present is Mr Eddie Watts, chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union.

The following table is a summary of the major buildings which have appeared in town over the last few years.


Bank of New South Wales
Heretaunga/Market Streets
W. M. Angus   3.5.35   £12.929

D.B. Heretaunga
Omahu Road
J. C. Mackersey   24.7.70   $700,000

Photo caption – Albert Hotel 1984.

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National Bank
Queen Street
J. C. Mackersey   17.12.71   $241,980

Angus Inn
Railway Road
W. M. Angus   26.1.72   $450,000

Bank of New Zealand
Heretaunga Street
J. C. Mackersey   21.12.76   $962,000

Eastern & Central Bank
Heretaunga Street
J. C. Mackersey   3.5.78   $1,074,040

Tommo’s Restaurant
Cnr Pakowhai & Omahu Roads
Wrightson Const. (now Hopkins)   12.2.79   $133,700

New Orient Restaurant
Heretaunga Street
J. C. Mackersey   22.1.82   $126,600

Photo caption – Eastern and Central Bank.

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ANZ Bank – opposite Caferama in Karamu Rd – 1984.

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Stephensons Trading
Pakowhai Road
J. C. Mackersey   14.2.84   $514,000

Pizza Hut
Heretaunga Street
Linnell Builders   24.4.84   $228,000

Smith & Brown
Heretaunga Street
J. C. Mackersey   22.3.84   $515,000

Civic Administration Building
Opened by Governor General Sir Denis Blundell   13.4.77

Government Departmental Buildings
Opened by P.M. Sir Robert Muldoon   August, 1983


In Hastings today there are many family businesses which have long been part of Hastings’ history. Kershaws Furnishers Ltd was established by William Kershaw in 1879. He was an indentured tradesman and came from Ponsonby, Auckland; eventually setting up business in Hawke’s Bay as a cabinetmaker, on the present site, in 1890. Prior to that, it was situated opposite where the Hastings Building Society is, in Market St North. Full details are not recorded, but there are records to show that Kershaws had an advertisement placed in the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune on Tuesday, 5 May, 1896.

Succeeding Mr William Kershaw, Mr George Herbert Kershaw took over the business in 1934, and in the mid to late 70s Gordon Trindall Kershaw assumed responsibility. His son, William Gordon Kershaw is now the assistant manager of the store, having joined the business in 1980. William is a carpenter by trade, as have been other members of the family.


One shop familiar to any who need shoe repairs is the small shoe shop and shoe repairers of Burfield and Sons at the western end of Heretaunga St. The store was originally established in 1926 by Harry Burfield. The first shop was a boot repair and was sited near the Westend Shopping Centre facing Heretaunga St. The shop passed over to Francis Albert (Bert) Burfield in 1944 and then to Roy and Allan Burfield in 1956. The retail side of the business was added in 1958. Burfield and Sons then moved to the present side in 1961. The shop is now being managed by David Burfield who represents the fourth generation in the business.

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Foster Brook is a name associated with theatre bookings and the prospect of entertainment, just as much as it is connected with books. The store was established in 1906 by Mr Foster Brook. In 1933 his son Cyril took over the shop. Before moving to its present site in the old Whitcoulls (former Whitcombe and Tombs) building, Foster Brook’s could be found next to Lewis’ (former Hunt’s Drapers). In 1965 Mr Byron Brook took over, and it is he who runs it at the present day.


The shop that was J. A. Greenfield’s ‘Eclipse Drapery and Cutting Shop’ was sold in 1911 to Mr E. A. Westerman who was born in Timaru. Prior to buying this shop he had worked in Christchurch, Wellington and London. In 1912 he bought the Napier shop. When his younger brother Victor came into the business new premises were built on the Russell St comer in 1921, and sample rooms at the rear in 1925. That store still stands at the same site today, and although people of Hastings still refer to it as ‘Westermans’ it comes under the umbrella of the D.I.C. Fortunately the facade of the shop has been retained to link it with its past; but no more is heard the gulp of air as sales assistants send cash to the office via the network of suction pipes. Gone too are the high oak chairs on which tired Mums could put a peering toddler . . . Although staff have come and gone Mr Suitor, one of the longer serving members is still at the store.


Bon Marche was formerly known as ‘Johnson’s’ when it was established in 1895 by Matthew Johnson. He was a former deputy mayor and a grandfather of the ‘Jones Boys’ who run the store today. The original shop was situated almost opposite where the State Theatre is today, and was moved to its present site in 1936.

Celebrating the 82nd birthday of Mrs Manu Jones are past staff members of Bon Marche. Mrs Jones, mother of the ‘Jones Boys’ is in the second row, fifth from left. Her son Bryce is in the front row.

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When Matthew Johnson died in 1929 the management of the shop was taken over by James F. Jones. When he died in 1960, his four sons Ross, Stuart, Bryce and Richard assumed control and have run the business together now for 30 years.

By many standards, Bon Marche must surely be a unique family business, having had four brothers in its management at the same time.


Giorgi’s Apparel Ltd began when Arthur Giorgi started a branch of men’s and boys’ outfitters in 1903 in Palmerston North; upon retirement from the Boer War. A partnership was then established between Giorgi and Maurice Millar and they established ‘Millar and Giorgi’s’ in 1906 in Hastings, with Millar’s brother, Lou in charge. Giorgi took over the management in 1918 until his death in 1940. His son Ron (later, mayor of Hastings) then assumed responsibility for management, and the former partnership dissolved. The shop was re-named ‘Millar and Giorgi’s (HBN) Ltd. In 1979 R. V. Giorgi retired and his son, Bruce became Managing Director in the same year.

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In the book “From Swamp To City,” information about Industry was as follows: The Napier Earthquake of 1931 brought many changes. Many industries closed because of the disaster. For example – Borthwicks, Lowes, and the Hawke’s Bay Herald.

This chapter goes on to give information on new companies and the improvement of the old.

A new industrial area has developed in the Omahu Road area, as a result of in creased expansion of Hastings. Many new established companies are developing there, with their products being sent all over New Zealand and the world.


As was mentioned on page 40 of “From Swamp to City,” operations commenced at Tomoana Freezing Works in 1880, thanks to William Nelson who helped to pioneer the meat processing industry in Hawke’s Bay.

Tomoana now employs at least 1700 workers during the busier period of the killing season and about 500 fewer during the off-season. At present there are six mutton chains in operation with each having the capacity to process more than 3400 carcases per day. During the whole 1884 season Tomoana managed to process 41,000 sheep and ten bullocks. The production figures for a season in these times is something like:

2.1-2.2 million lambs for export, plus
40,000 sheep for export, plus
100,000 sheep and lambs for the local market, plus
80,000-100,000 cattle.

Export quality meat is sent to Iran, Japan, U.K., America and other European countries.

The story of such a large enterprise is almost incomplete without at least one tale of disaster. Tomoana Freezing Works is no exception. On Monday, 17 September, 1979, the complex was struck by fire. The top storey was entirely wiped out. Fortunately, an immediate rebuilding programme was able to be implemented. A new boning room and a new beef house were functioning again by July and October, 1980. The cost of the fire damage was estimated at $15 million. More details about the Tomoana Fire can be found in the chapter about Fires and Floods elsewhere in this book.


Harris Machinery was started by Mr W. V. Harris in 1931. The original site was where Stortford Lodge Stantons now stands. The company was carried on by Mr Harris’s two sons. Cliff and his older brother Martin. In 1974 the present site in Omahu Road was opened. Harris Machinery sell mainly water pumps and machinery parts.

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The Odlins business is actually divided into three separate businesses in Hastings – Odlins Hardware, Glass & Timber.

Odlins Hardware began in 1933 in Avenue Road. They moved to Heretaunga Street in 1942 because of a disastrous fire which entirely wiped out the Avenue Road building. Odlins original name was Charlie and Arthur Odlins Timber and Hardware Ltd. In 1974 Odlins moved to their present site in Omahu Road. There are 11 people including a Manager currently employed in the hardware department.

Odlins Glass was first situated in Heretaunga Street. The Company began in 1950 with the name Hastings Glass Company. At the moment there are 19 people on their staff. Odlins make aluminium joinery mostly, they also supply glass for repairs. Their present address is Orchard Road.

Odlins Timber Department started 50 years ago in Heretaunga Street. The present, in Omahu Road has been there 10 or 12 years. There are 18 people on the staff as well as office staff. In 1983 Odlins produced 211,000 Kiwifruit trays. In 1984 Odlins were aiming for half a million trays just for Kiwifruit alone. Odlins export to Australia, America and Japan, but all exporting is done through Odlins at Waipawa.

Odlins import some of their materials and specialise in Philippine Mahogany and western red cedar from the United States of America.


J. Wattie Canneries was begun in 1934 by Mr James Wattie who was knighted in 1966. When Sir James Wattie retired in 1972, his sons, Ray and Gordon took over management of the Company. Gordon first ran the Gisborne Plant then came to Hastings, while Ray ran the Hastings Plant but retired in September, 1984.

In February, 1962, at the height of the season, the Watties complex was struck by a massive fire. It began at approximately 4pm and burnt right through the production line. The boiler room was the only part that the fire did not destroy.

Photo caption – Wattie’s 1984.

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The Growth of Industry

In 1968 the Watties Industry merged with the General Foods Corporation.

At the present date, there are Watties Plants in Gisborne, Hastings, Feilding, Christchurch, Timaru, Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Levin, Nelson, Gore and Invercargill.

The number of staff varies according to the time of year. At the height of the season approximately 1,600 people are employed at the Hastings Watties Plant but this can drop to as few as 1,000.

The Hastings Plant cans mainly vegetables and fruit but they also prepare incidental things like spaghetti, baked beans, baby foods, soups and beverages. The plant also manufacture their own cans for the produce. A large percentage of these cans are used by Watties themselves but a few are sold to outside users.

Products are exported to about 47 overseas countries, Japan being the biggest market. Per year about $50,000,000 worth is exported. The Hastings plant produces nearly a third of this amount.

During 1983-84 a large number of improvements have been made to Watties. A new distribution centre was opened over the road from the factory worth $3,000,000.

Since 1962, machine harvesting has been invented. Until then, all picking was done by hand. All waste outflow from Watties now goes to feed dairy cattle if suitable and only clear liquid goes into the sea. Before this improvement was made, all disposal was deposited into the sea.

Since Natural Gas was introduced in the area, Watties have been a major consumer.

Photo caption – Wattie’s Industries Administration Block – 1984.

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The history of the Apple & Pear Board dates back to the late 1940’s when growers decided to form a Board which would “give future security and stability to a rapidly expanding industry.”

Today the Board has 30 coolstores, and in 1984 exports of fresh apples totalled 6.9 million cartons, which represented 37% of the total crop handled by the Board that year.

Until 1962 the Board used wooden bushell cases in which to pack the fruit. After 1962 the now familiar cartons came into use. There were also changes made in the stacking techniques when they moved away from handstacking into box wagons for distribution to local New Zealand markets from Hastings.

In 1965 pallets came into use; the cardboard cartons were packed in lots of 50 and sent out in wagons.

Around 1968 the Apple & Pear Board was working with “Controlled Atmosphere” (CA) conditions for storing fruit. This method involves controlling the amount of oxygen which goes into the coolstore; inside of which are large plastic tents.

In 1971 the Apple & Pear Board ceased using the conference lines for shipping export fruit from N.Z. (These are the main shipping lines which the Meat & Wool Boards use). Instead the Apple & Pear Board tender to get the cheapest rate available.

The first juice factory was built in 1971 in Hastings. This development enabled growers to receive half payments for undersize or inferior quality fruit which would normally have been thrown away. This fruit is processed into concentrate and exported to Australia and America. The Coca-Cola firm uses it to sweeten their drinks. In 1982 another step was added to the process, called “deionization” which enables Just Juice to be made.

As part of a proposed 29 hectare development at Whakatu, the Alison Dinsdale Store was opened on 21 April, 1983, by the Right Honourable Duncan McIntyre [MacIntyre]. It is the largest coolstore in the Southern Hemisphere and is named after Alison Dinsdale who has been a Government Appointed Board Member since 1976 and who has contributed greatly to the Board policy in her time with the board.

Now that the Board has the Alison Dinsdale Store, the coolstores in the region number eight, which represents capacity to store almost two million cartons of Hawke’s Bay fruit.

The development of the industry is shown in the following tables:

Crops Handled –
1960   69,000 tonnes
1970   119,000 tonnes
1980   180,000 tonnes
1983   199,000 tonnes

Export Fresh Fruit Sales –
1970   65,000 tonnes ($17.0 million)
1980   97,000 tonnes ($99.0 million)
1983   94,400 tonnes ($123.0 million)

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Processed Food Sales –
1970   $1.8 million
1980   $11.2 million
1983   $35.0 million

Export Crop Distribution (in tonnes)
1970   %   1983   %
EEC Countries   49,000   75   47,300   50
Scandi/Other Europe   5,500   9   8,600   9
Nth America/Caribb.   6,500   10    19,300   21
Asia/Pacific    4,000   6   12,500   13
Middle East   6,700   7
65,000   100   94,400   100


The New Zealand Federation Ltd was established in Nelson in 1916. The Federation was established by well known organisation such as – the Apple and Pear Board and other not so well known organisation like the Fruit Industry Plant Improvement Agency Improvement Agency (F I .P .I. A.).

The Federation was formed to represent the grower, and ensure all their needs are met.  The Fruitgrowers Federation provides the growers with many diverse goods such as tractors, packaging crates, spades, sprinklers, glue and many other products necessary for production.  The Federation also provides services both technical and advisory.  The “Fruitfed” representatives visit growers to advise when necessary and to ensure their needs are met.  Any profits from the sales go back to the growers in the form of research and development.

Photo caption – The New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation in King St North.

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The New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation in Hastings, started in 1929 is only the second “Fruitfed” building to be established.

In 1982 an arsonist entered the Fruit Federation’s building and set fire to it in several places.  The reason the arsonist set fire to the building is unknown.  It is presumed that he did it as an act of true vandalism.  The Fruit Federation has now got a new building situated in King Street North.

The New Zealand Fruit Federation started from a tiny place in Nelson in 1916 but now is expanding rapidly and in 1983 its turnover was $40 million with a staff of 244.  In 1973 their turnover was only $64 million and a staff of 86 people.


As was mentioned in “From Swamp To City” Plix Plastics, as it was known then, began production in 1947 as “Densified Woods (N.Z.) Ltd.

Plix Products, as it is known today is situated four miles south of Hastings in Paki Paki.  After a name change to Wood Plastics, the firm sold under the name of Plix Products Ltd.  In the mid-1950’s Plix began making sanitary ware – baths, basins and showers.

Early in 1974 two disastrous fires struck the company causing damage to the value of $350,000.  It took a full year for things to be restored.

Over the last 10 years or so there has been an interset [interest] on the part of home-owners and concerned companies to pay more attention to the beautification of bathrooms in new houses.  With the advent of the wider ownership of spa pools and sauna pools, there has also been an increase in the variety of bath and basin designs available. A new bath-shower concept over the last few years has been the “shub,” or shower-cum-tub. The shub has become one of Plix’s biggest sellers.

As well as bathroom ware, Plix also produce household and packaging items. In its factory today are employed 70 people, who keep the production going.

Plix Products are possibly more well known as a firm in New Zealand than they were in 1961, when the firm was mentioned in “From Swamp To City.”  It is certainly a name which is associated with the growth of industry in Hastings.


Unicast started around 1954 in Coventry Road by Mr Harry Romanes, the Mayor of Havelock North. In 1971 they moved to Omahu Road which is where they are now. They make architectural products and concreting.

Photo caption – Unicast – part of the industrial area in Omahu Rd. The managing director, Mr Harry Romanes, is the present mayor of Havelock North.

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Morrison Industries began in a small shed owned by Mr Syd Morrison. The business moved from the shed in Karamu Road to Omahu Road in 1961 because of the necessity  to expand.  The factory site, which was purchased in 1969, covers an area of 240 hectares. Morrison’s started assembling bicycles in 1962 under an agreement with Monarch in Sweden and Raleigh in England. In 1979 Morrison’s were the first New Zealand company to manufacture the B.M.X. bike. Their range of bicycles has diversified in recent years due to the changing trends in recreation and fitness awareness.

Morrison’s began to produce the Exercycle, Sidewinder, Ten Speeds and a variety of multi-geared cycles to cater for those folk wanting to regain their fitness.  There has also been a demand for bicycles from those who have considered motoring costs too expensive, and who therefore leave their cars at home on days of pleasant weather, to enjoy the benefits of cycling to work. The B.M.X. bike has grown in popularity in recent years. There is world wide competition in the sport and racing is extremely popular in New Zealand. Morrison’s produce about 39,000 bicycles and 21,000 motor-mowers each year. They export to Australia, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, United States, Singapore, Malaysia and to the Pacific Basin. There are 173 people currently employed on Morrison’s staff. Morrison Industries is part of the Fletcher Challenge Group, which is the largest company in New Zealand.


Treeways is a company which manufactures fruit grading equipment for orchard packing sheds. They began in a small shed owned by Mr Keith Fourneau on his orchard at Pakowhai.  Mr Fourneau sold his orchard to expand and move to much larger premises in Manchester Street in the new industrial area of Hastings. In later years, Mr Fourneau died. The business was then sold to Mr Doug Clark, the present owner.

Photo caption – Morrison Industries – one of the first major industries in the Omahu Rd area.

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Because the business grew so rapidly, Mr Clark moved into a much larger factory situated in Barnes Place, Hastings. Treeways also manufacture electronic parts which are designed for computer operated graders. Graders are exported by Treeways to America, Australia, China and Indonesia. They produce 60 graders annually, with about five being exported each year. There are 56 manufacturing staff and 10 employees who work in the office. Treeways’ future is dependent at the moment on continuation of orchard development. They intend to expand their business as long as fruit trees are planted. There should be more job opportunities as the company expands.


In 1962, Price McLaren, a new Industrial Company started.  In 1980 Hawke’s Bay Machinery amalgamated with them to operate under the name of Price McLaren.  There are 16 people currently employed on Price McLaren’s staff, compared with two who were employed in 1962.

They manufacture the Hawk and P.M. Pruning rake used in orchards, and also make stainless steel & aluminium for Watties, the Freezing Works and Panpack [Panpac].  The Hawk is used principally for pruning and picking and is capable of doing other orchard jobs.  It has helped revolutionise orcharding by eliminating the need to move ladders.

Price McLaren has won three Design Awards; the Designmark in 1966, the Design Award in 1981 and the Prince Philip Award in 1983 which is the highest industrial honour obtainable.

In the future Price McLaren intend exporting to other countries.


The Cottage Bakery was opened at Christmas time in 1970 by Mr Percy Hughes and his son. The Bakery was opened because there was no major bread business in Hastings.

They started in the Lilac Cake Kitchen but moved into a site at St Aubyn Street to expand. The bakery soon outgrew this site and they moved to Omahu Road in 1976.

In the late 1970’s Cottage Bakery was re-named Windmill Bakery, and is identified by the large Windmill on the roof of the premises in Omahu Road.

The Bakery was running smoothly and successfully until disaster struck. In January, 1984, the building was struck by fire and completely destroyed. Inspectors and Police presume that the blaze was caused by vandals.

At the time of writing, approximately 30 people are employed at the bakery. These include office staff, bakers, delivery and executive staff. The bakery make mainly bread but rolls and fancy loaves are also produced. Windmill Bakery is the only Bakery that slice and package bread in Hastings at the present time.


Hastings Tannery began production in 1972. It was established by the Gomshall family from England. The tannery is located in Coventry Road near the Tomoana Showgrounds. There are 52 peopled currently employed on Hastings Tannery’s staff. Forty-six people work in the factory and the remainder in the office.

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The tannery tans three different types of skin; Lamb, pickle pelt (which is a pelt that has not been cured) and cow skins, which they obtain from Tomoana Freezing Works. They currently process 7400 dozen cow hides weekly. Two thousand dozen of them are sent to Timaru to be made into suede and napper. The remaining 5400 dozen which are left are exported to the U.K. napper tannery. Hastings Tannery are planning to put in another tanning bar, in the near future.


Litlite Electronics began in 1975 in a garage owned by Mr Colin Little and his wife. On the first of June, 1984, the name was changed to Advanced Lighting. It was thought that Advanced Lighting told more about the company which manufactures light fittings. Some of these are the Miniature Fluorescent Strip, Mini and Incandescent Lights. Advanced Lighting exports about 30,000 Mini and 50,0(X) Incandescent Lights to Australia a year. For New Zealand’s market they make about 10,000 Mini and 8000 to 8500 Incandescent Lights a year. Twenty-one people are employed on the staff. The company uses one computer and two terminals. At the moment a new building is going up for Advanced Lighting just next to the site on Hastings Street. The company  is also looking at exporting to countries like Canada and North America.


Hydralada was opened in 1978 by Mr Andrew Smith. They shifted to new premises in Omahu Road in October, 1984. Hydralada export to Australia and France. The Company get their products from Sowersby Engineering.

Photo caption – The hydralada – an example of orchard machinery being manufactured in Hastings.

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Over the last 10 to 15 years, a great interest has been rekindled in cottage industries, which is the making of utilitarian goods, in the home.  This is the result of new interest in crafts of the pioneering days.  Art and craft work is done all over the country in these industries.

The Keirunga Gardens help support those involved in small industries.  The history of Keirunga began in the early 1850’s when a portion of land around the area where Havelock North now stands, was bought by a man called John Chambers.  When he died it was inherited by his family and most of it came eventually into the hands of Mr Mason Chambers.  In 1906 the property was sold to two brothers named Reginald and Allen Gardiner.  At this time the house was built on its present site at a cost of approximately 500 pounds by Robert Holt.  A small cottage, which is known as the chalet, was also built alongside the house.

In 1910 Mr Charles Ord Tanner bought the land.  He named the area “Keirunga” which means a place on high or a hillsite.  The Gardiner brothers had originally called it “Stadacona” which is a North American Indian name.  In 1928 the property was sold to Mr George Nelson who owned it until he died in 1964.  It was through him that the area came into the hands of the Havelock North Borough Council.  In 1967 the Keirunga Society took over the gardens and they completed renovations of the house and grounds after the area had previously fallen into disrepair.

The Society now has approximately 800 people who belong to it.  Of these about 600 actually come to work at Keirunga while others just pay to be members of the Society. The President of the Society for 1984 is Mr M. J. Harris. The Keirunga Gardens cover an area of 17 or 18 acres. Ten or more art and craft groups meet there during the week. The wide variety of activities include; painting, canecraft, spinning and weaving, pottery, drama, patchwork, floral art, films and toastmasters.

As Keirunga encourages cottage industries, people work together in a social atmosphere and continue activities in their own homes.  Around Hawke’s Bay, the Keirunga Gardens are quite unique, but other centres have had similar industries opened. In 1976 a new block was opened at Keirunga to be used by the pottery group who had been previously using the wheelroom which used to be a fowlhouse.  The final block was completed in August, 1984, at a cost of $200,000 and the Society is thrilled at the development.

Photo caption – Keirunga Gardens.  The house was constructed in 1906.

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Hawke’s Bay

Year   No. of Establishments   Persons Engaged   Value of Output
M.   W.   T.

1960-1961   397   5,331   1,211   6,542   32,333
1961-1962   382   5,673   1,315   7,978   34,647
1962-1963   377   5,744   1,334   7,078   35,571
1963-1964   405   5,960   1,490   7,450   44,560
1964-1965   411   6,175   1,605   7,780   47,289
1965-1966   412   6,457   1,779   8,236   108,760
1966-1967   435   6,703   1,907   8,610   111,021
1967-1968   424   7,036   2,080   9,115   122,362
1968-1969   434   7,319   1,839   9,150   138,721
1969-1970   434   7,866   2,016   9,882   159,662
1970-1971   412   8,174   2,303   10,407   180,696


1972-1973   87   1,986   938   3,020   47,465
1973-1974   89   3,542   1,157   4,699   91,024
1974-1977   95   4,458   1,747   6,205   (not known)
1978-1979   111   4,290   1,743   6,033   (not known)

Photo caption – Another view of the Omahu Industrial area – 1984.

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Fire & Flood


The new Fire Station was built at Stortford Lodge in 1981 because there was not enough space for the number of men employed in the old fire station. Prior to that it was located in Hastings Street.

The Stortford Lodge site was chosen because Omahu Road became an Industrial area and Flaxmere a Housing area. It was quickly realised that the west side of Hastings was going to be the major side of the City. It had to be in a central location to allow fire engines access to any part of the city in five minutes.

The Southampton Street extension which is undergoing construction at the moment, will enable the fire engines to get promptly to the southwestern side of Hastings. The new Fire Station cost approximately $1,200,000 in 1981 and it covers 4.5 hectares.

Photo captions – The old fire station in Hastings Street.  The ‘art deco’ architecture dates it at around about 1930-1935 or so.

The new fire station built in 1981 at Stortford Lodge.

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There are 36 Firemen and 4 Executive Officers. They work an eight day week, 4 shifts of nine hours and two day shifts with four days off.

The Fire Station attends about 21-25 fires a week.

From the time a fireman joins, he has 5 years of hard training. Every man (there are no firewomen working yet) can do every other man’s job. To join, recruits must be 18, the normal retirement age is 60.

The nature of fires over the years has not really changed, as fires are usually started by peoples’ mistakes.

The new Fire Station has many advantages from the old one. One of these is the climbing tower. It gives trainees a chance to increase their experience in a simulated situation.


On 19 February, 1962, Hastings witnessed one of the most devastating fires of recent history. The community’s largest industry, in a mere six hours was totally destroyed. A blaze which could be seen 50 miles away spread quickly and was fought by six fire engines. People rushed to the scene offering help, but little could be done. One man tried his very best to save Watties Industries Plant – Mr James Wattie. His efforts were of no avail. He believed that the people of a company were just as, or more important than the money that went into it. He kept reminding people that they were trying to save everyone’s company, not just that of one man.

When the fire was finally out everyone heaved a sigh of relief. In just a few hours J. Wattie and his staff had organised a huge moving operation, transporting the valuable stock of beans, tomatoes and pears to the Gisborne factory, before the produce could spoil. Somehow, although two thirds of the Hastings factory had been made into debris, three days later they swung into action. At three o’clock in the afternoon the boilers had been lit. People waited. Then at 5.20pm the sound of victory reached their ears. The blasts from the factory’s whistle signalled that J. Wattie’s Canneries was back in action.

Photo caption – The view from the tower at the new fire station, looking towards Havelock North.  The arrow shows the ‘giant’, Te Mata.  Background to this story is detailed on page 5 of ‘From Swamp To City’.

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The fire at Roaches Store, on January 31, 1966, was noticed at 2.55pm.  Inspectors believe it started from a cigar box.  Ten firemen fought the blaze for 3½ hours.


The fire at Tomoana Freezing Works on 17th September, 1979, was the biggest fire in Hastings since February 19th, 1962, when J. Wattie Canneries caught alight.

The fire is thought to have begun between the old slaughter house and the freezer block at about 12 noon.

At this time of day, most of the staff were at lunch. Some of the people in the canteen ignored the alarm, until they left the area, when they saw smoke in corridors. The whole of the Tomoana building was well alight by the time the 40 firemen arrived. There was every possible emergency service helping.  They were from Napier, Hastings and Havelock North.  The firemen worked while smoke filled the corridors.

Sheep carcases covered the floors and were charred in the heat. The dense smoke climbed to a great height, bringing many spectators to the Works, who blocked the roads, making the job of fighting it more difficult.

There were approximately 1,100 employees thought to be working at the Works but nobody was reported missing.

Tiny flames still remained until 4 hours later.

The cost of damage was estimated at $15 million, $10 million of which was building damage and $5 million worth of meat which was being stored there when the fire started.

Photo caption – A scene showing the clean-up operation following the Tomoana Fire in 1979.

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On the 25th July, 1981, a devastating fire gutted the old two-storey building of J. A. Townsend Ltd.

At the time, a great deal of customers’ property and the Townsend’s personal property was being stored in the factory’s storerooms.  These were all burnt beyond repair.  The total cost of damage to the factory and its interior was estimated at $200,000.


Windmill Products Bakery, Omahu Road, opened in 1970.  The original owners were Mr P. Hughes and his son Mr Dereck Hughes.

Thirty people work at Windmill Products. That comprises office staff, bakers and delivery personnel.

On the morning of 9th January, 1983, the bakery was running successfully. Suddenly, disaster struck. Mr P. Hughes recalls. “No one knows for sure how the fire started, but the Fire Inspectors and Police suspect it was probably vandals.”

There is not much evidence to prove this, although in the area in which the fire started it was difficult to imagine a fire getting going by itself.

At 1am the whole bakery was totally burnt out so that none of the machinery or anything was salvageable.

During the rebuilding of the bakery, Windmill Products baked with two bakeries from Hamilton and Wellington.

The fire had been going for quite a while before it was noticed by the bakers as they were at the back of the bakery and the fire started in the front. Unfortunately the telephones were burnt first so it was impossible to contact the fire brigade. The time of the fire made it difficult to use private phones, so one of the staff had to drive into Hastings to alert the fire station.

The total cost to rebuild the bakery was just a little under $3 million. Fortunately the bakery was insured, and the money the bakery didn’t have, they were able to raise.

From the time of the fire to the time the bakery was producing bread again, was just under five months.


Obviously we cannot list all the fires that have occurred in Hastings over the 25 year period of this book.

We think the following fire should be mentioned as it was one of the worst house fires in 1984.

Mrs Kerry Smith was not in her Nelson Street North house when it caught alight on Friday, 12th October.  A neighbour, Mrs Vera Lowe was told of the fire by another person on the street.  She quickly rang the Fire Station.  Two fire engines rushed to the scene.  Thirteen firemen fought the blaze for half an hour before it was brought under control.

Nelson Street residents could see flames flying 10 metres into the air at the rear of the house where most of the damage was found.

Mr Graham Woolhouse who is the Fire Safety Officer for Napier, said the house was badly burnt but the cause of the fire is unknown.

Some 50 people watched the blaze from the road.

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The Twyford flood occurred on Sunday, 27th December, 1980, at approximately 8am.

At the time of the flood Mr and Mrs Rory Smith, who are elder citizens of Hastings, were just getting up to have a cup of tea.  As they were about to have the cup of tea, the telephone rang.  Mr and Mrs Smith recall: “Our neighbours, the Griffiths, rang to say the Ngaruroro River had burst its banks.”

On hearing this, the Smiths quickly got dressed.  There was no time for the cup of tea!

Twenty minutes later, water was coming in under their back door.  The water rose to 3½ feet up the walls.  Mr and Mrs Smith escaped the water by climbing out a window on to their patio.  Mrs Smith told us – “our garden furniture went floating past.  On top of a chair was a tiny wee mouse.  It was running backwards and forwards trying to keep dry.  We had no time to save it but I imagine it got away safely.”

The Smiths tried to save their sheep.  Mr Smith recalls: “This was virtually impossible.  There were 5 orphan lambs in a pen which we were feeding ourselves.  I opened the gate of the pen and they swam out on to my tractor, which was nearby. Only four made it though.  My favourite one,  Fluffy, was drowned.”

As a result of the flood, all flooring was damaged and had to be removed. Upholstered items were not affected by the water.  Every door in the Smith’s house had to be replaced.

Damage to the carpet, drapes, and personal belongings amounted to $22,000. Damage to vehicles, which included farm machinery, totalled $12,000 and damage to the farm, which included fences and ploughed paddocks equalled $2,000. Half of the Smith’s sheep stock of 500 perished.

The walls of the house took three weeks to dry as these were made of Gib Board. They had to be cut to a height of four and a half feet so the insides of the walls could dry.

During the rebuilding of their house, the Smiths lived in a caravan for four months. Mrs Smith remembers: “I had always wanted to stay in a caravan, but now that I have, lived in one for so long, I never want to see one again!”

The Twyford Flood caused much damage to fruit trees, stock, crops and fences. A newspaper cutting mentions the flood as a million dollar disaster, although this figure could not be verified.

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The largest development in modem Hastings, in terms of park improvement, must surely be at Windsor Park with the growth of Fantasyland.  Cornwall Park remains largely unchanged over the last 25 years although the former glory of the running streams and glistening ponds is now no longer a constant attraction of the park.

The Hawke’s Bay A & P Show and the Hastings Highland Games are still very definitely events which contribute to Hastings’ growth; but the once popular Blossom Festival no longer exists. A revival of the procession was held in 1984 to mark Hastings’ Centennial Year.

New and well-established sports still abound in Hastings.  We have seen the meteoric rise of BMX racing with the construction of a track at Flaxmere;  the not so enduring sport of skate-boarding, and the growth of sports like Drag-Racing.

Also in Hastings, as in other centres there has been a growing concern over health and fitness, and with this, an increase in popularity of jogging, ten-speed biking and indoor fitness centres such as the Total Health & Fitness Centre in Eastbourne Street.


Flaxmere Park measuring 16.2739ha, is the largest of the updated parks. The smallest is Hugh Little Park, measuring 1.7732ha. leaving a difference between the two of 15.5007 hectares. The parks inherited their names from the suburb in which they are situated, or a former councillor, or from the names of prominent people.  Lochain Park, originally Lochain farm, kept the family name and Chatham was named after Chatham Road.

The newest is Chatham Park in Flaxmere which was registered in 1976, and the oldest, Akina Park in Hastings which in 1902 had its first section of land registered.

Photo caption – A young park by comparison to Windsor, Cornwall and Frimley parks, but the beginning of a beautiful one.

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Akina Park has eight sections of land registered, the first in 1902 and the last in 1978.  Akina mainly a sports park, and Lochain Park featuring many young trees, differ  from most, which feature playground equipment.

Ron Giorgi, in Flaxmere, unlike others, consists of three separate parks. Ron Giorgi 1 features a popular skateboard rink, Ron Giorgi 2, sports fields and changing rooms, and the largest of the three, features playground equipment, which includes the ever popular flying fox.

There are four main reserves in Hastings which are Queen Square, Tamatea St. Reserve, Duke St. Reserve and St. Aubyn St. Reserve. A reserve is a piece of land set aside by a local authority as an open space for different types of recreational use.

The reserves were named after their nearest main road, with the exception of Queen Square, which was changed from Victoria Square on the jubilee of the late Queen Victoria. The largest of the reserves is St. Aubyn Street reserve, measuring 1.2975 hectares.   The smallest is Tamatea Street reserve, with an area of .6990ha.

In the Winter the four reserves are used for junior soccer.  In the summer,  Queen Square is used for junior cricket, and has a playground.

Scouts, cubs, and a dog obedience club the the advantage of using Duke Street reserve.  Marching teams practice at Tamatea St. and St. Aubyn Street Reserves.


On the 4th August, 1952, the Parks & Recreation Department of Hastings, purchased 12.37 hectares of land on which to build a public swimming centre.  The money for the land and construction costs was taken from rates, although some public fund-raising was involved.

Photo –

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Work began, and on the 28th of November, 1967, the centre opened to the public for the first time.

Four pools were built, the Olympic, the diving, the learners and the toddler’s pool.

As well as this a grandstand, toilets, an office, changing rooms, barbeques and trampolines were added.

Eight staff are employed to maintain and supervise the pools, and about $15,000 is spend each year on oil, chemicals, fuel and electricity to clean and heat the centre.

Attendance averages from 800 people to 16,000 people on a hot day, and the largest attendance is 3,599 people, which was during 1973.  Later the numbers decreased owing to a water temperature drop which was due to an oil price-rise.  This rise prevented the four pools being heated to the previous temperature.

Selected foods can be purchased from a dairy which has an entrance from the Aquatic Centre.  Although it is not actually a part of the Centre, it leases the right to sell the foods to the swimmers and spectators.

The Aquatic Centre is also used by various schools and swimming clubs, for practises, sports days, and tournaments.  International clubs such as the Japanese and West German teams have also visited the Aquatic Centre.  Hisashi Inomata, a Japanese swimming coach, ran a coaching course for swimmers at the Aquatic Centre, and remained coach for another three or four years.


Swimming Centres were also constructed at Flaxmere and in Windsor Park.

The Windsor Park Centre was built in 1967 and consisted of two pools, toilets, changing rooms, an office and later in 1983, a hydro-slide and small pool was added.

Photo caption – Inside the filtration room at the Aquatic Centre.

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Five people are employed to upkeep the pools and the other facilities at Windsor and over $6,000 is budgeted each year to purchase chemicals, electricity and various other necessities.

Flaxmere’s swimming centre was built much later in 1978, and is situated near the Flaxmere Shopping Centre.  Three pools, toilets, changing rooms and an office were built at the centre.

One major future development will he to complete the cover, for which the large concrete posts were constructed.


Records of a Hastings Central Croquet club exist which are dated 1911.  It is not known definitely when that Club was first established, but it was combined with the Hastings Bowling Club and both were situated about where the Police Station is today. It was one of several clubs in Hastings and Havelock North at the time. That club closed down and the present one was established, where is still stands, in 1927.

The pavilion was firstly located along the Omahu Road frontage.  In the early 1950’s Kia Toa Club members joined the Hastings Club as theirs closed down.  A highlight of the club’s history was the hosting of one round of the 1978 test between England, Australia and N.Z.  A “claim to fame” is that one Hastings member has been included in every overseas team.  The late Arthur Ross played for 60 years and won all titles available in New Zealand and many in England.

During the early 1970’s plans were afoot to widen Omahu Road to cope with increased traffic flow to and from Flaxmere.

Considerable work was done to re-site the lawns.  The City Council gave the club their new pavilion which was originally, three six-berth cabins from Windsor Park. The late Mr C. F. Bennett, a club member, led a group of workers in completing this work.

In 1977 the Hastings Croquet Club celebrated its 50th Jubilee.  Present at that were two foundation members, 94 year old Mrs B. E. Pickering and Mrs Lillian Kessall.

Photo caption – Celebrating the club’s 50th Jubilee are members of the Hastings croquet club. Seated are Mrs B. E. Pickering and Mrs Lillian Kessall.

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Early in the year 1950, Mr Harry Poppelwell decided Hastings needed a major attraction.  He gathered together twelve well known businessmen to form the organization “Greater Hastings”.  They met in the Hastings City Council Chambers, with the six other people who had been asked to assist, to launch Greater Hastings.  The Blossom Festival, which started in 1953, was one of the major promotions.

The “Blossom Festival” was the given title, partly because of the beginning of spring, and also because of the many orchards surrounding Hastings.

The crowning of the “Blossom Queen” was a highlight of the festival.  For the four weeks prior to the crowning, the twelve to fifteen contestants would attend a contest each week.  Six judges would attend these contests and judge the girls on such things as personality, knowledge of Hastings, and the ability to speak.  Two “Blossom Princesses” were also chosen. The younger competition was for the title of “Flower Girl”.  The girls had their photos put up in major shops, where people could pay to vote.  The money went to a good cause, such as the Hospital.  The contestants went on public outings for publicity.

The floats were also a highlight of the festival.  They were made from wire netting,  plaster, papier mache and covered with Crepe paper flowers. Sometimes real flowers were used. Pernel Orchard often won prizes for using real flowers. Most of the floats were mounted on trucks, but different firms which entered, adapted trucks for carrying the floats. The floats were judged in different categories.

The route they followed during the procession, went along Southland Road to the Race Course, turned right into Heretaunga St., went through the town, turned into Sylvan Rd, and ended up at Windsor park. About 80,000 people lined the streets to watch. The parade also helped shopkeepers to have more business because of the crowds. Three free trains from Wellington to Hawke’s Bay helped bring more people to the festival.

The Blossom Festival ceased in the early 1970’s because of the cost, hooliganism, and the drop in attendance and support.


The idea of Fantasyland first started in 1965 when Mr H.B. Poppelwell and his wife went on a vacation to America.  In America he visited Disneyland and was so enthralled with what he saw, that when he came back to New Zealand, he decided to make a minor reproduction of what he saw.

When he arrived back in New Zealand he was granted 5 to 6 hectares from the Hastings City Council and he then set out to make plans for the castle.  The original name for the castle was Camelot Castle.

After he had the plans and designs drawn up, he set about raising funds to build.

The actual cost for the castle was fifteen thousand, four hundred and three dollars. The Crest and Birds Eye Social Club raised $8,000 of this.

Camelot Castle is based on the design of Fantasyland Castle in Disneyland.

It first opened in 1969.

The other attractions in Fantasyland in order they appeared, are:

The train: The train’s engine was converted from a Ferguson 18 horsepower tractor by Mr Cyril Barclay.  The labour costs and all the monkey cages and carriages were

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Photo caption – Fantasyland Castle.

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donated by various people.  The train was later planned and modified to its present state by the Hastings City Council Parks and Reserves Staff.

The railway track on which the train runs, is approximately 633 metres long and originally swooped through Fantasyland; but later its course was extended to the boundaries  of Fantasyland and to give visitors a better view for their money, this was done by members of the Hastings Lions Club.

The next development to come was the PICNIC AREA, which is situated where the railway station used to be, just out from the subway.

The initial cost was $1,058 which was donated by the Hastings Rotary Club. The design was made by Mr L. J. J. Hoogerbrug a member of the Rotary Club.  The area was opened in 1968.

The next two additions to the collection were the “LITTLE OLD LADY’S SHOE” and THE TREE HOUSE.

The shoe is made up of a mixture of steel rods for the structure and wire netting draped over this, with finally a plaster solution and a paint job to finish it off.

The Hastings Lions Club donated $600 of the $700 cost.

It opened in 1969. The Tree House too, opened in 1969.

Photo caption – Fantasyland – showing the ship, and in the foreground, the Railway track.

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1968   Camelot Castle   Crest & Birds Eye Social Club (d)    Mainly out of concrete  blocks but with stairs and other wooden accessories.

1968   The Train   Mr Cyril Barclay (d)   Hastings City Council Parks & Reserves Staff (d & b)   Engine converted from a Fergusson 18h.p. tractor. The carriages were donated. The track is 633m long.

1968   Picnic Area   Hastings Rotary Club (d)   L. J. J. Hoogergrug [Hoogerbrug]   Concrete slabs with metal accessories.

1969   “Little Old Lady’s Shoe”   Hastings Lions Club (d)   Constructed out of plaster over a frame  of steel rods and wire netting.

1969   Tree House   Hastings C. C. Parks Dept. (d & b)   Out of tanalized fence posts with metal accessories.

1969-1970   Boats   Legal Fraternity of Hastings (d)   Fibreglass & wood
Seats   Accountants Society (d)   Wooden planks & accessories
Embankments   J. Fraser & Sons. Contractors (b)   Earth and concrete

1970   Water supply for lake   Mr V. F. Boag (d)   Hastings C. C. Parks & Reserves Staff   Eastern & Central Savings Bank   Artesian wells.   Concrete

1970   Pumpkin   Hastings C. C. Parks & Reserves Staff (d & b) Parks Pipe frame with wire netting and concrete

Aug. 1971 Noddytown   Hastings Jaycees (d)   Parks & Reserves Staff (b)   Pipe and wire frames with concrete

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1974   Putting Green 1   Parks & Reserves Staff (b)   Fletcher Steel (d)   Brick course with felt

1975   Rocket   Watties Indust. (d)   Parks & Recreation Staff (b)   Bay Brite (d)   Rocks & Metal rods and sheet metal

1976   Merry-go-round   Hastings Moteliers Assn.   Metal with accessories

1977-1978   Pirate Ship   Mr & Mrs J. J. O’Connor (d)   Parks & Reserves Staff (b)   Timber with Hardie panel tanalised wood masts. Fibreglass power poles length, 19.5m X 6m wide

1976- 1977  Scented Garden   Hastings Social Club for the Blind (d)   Hastings C. C. Parks & Reserves (b)   Plants donated by local organisations and individuals   Built out of concrete with soil and flowers, herbs and other plants

Dec. 1976   Overhead Bridge   Linnell Builders (b) Local firm (d) Metal with a bright paint job

1978-1979   Toilet Facilities & entrance   Hastings C. C. Parks & Reserves Staff (b)   Concrete with metal accessories

1979   Railway Station   Hastings C. C. (d) Local contractor (b)   Concrete, wood and  metal accessories

1981   Waterfall   Parks & Reserves Staff (b & d)   Rock foundation, and an electric pump system

1981   Delta Wing Slide   Parks & Reserves Staff (d & b)   Rock foundation, and electric pump system

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1982   Flying Fox   Stortford Lions Club (d)   Parks & Reserves   Vic & Ida Boag donated ropes & other assorted materials   Built of wire ropes tanalized fence posts concrete with metal accessories

1982   Kiddi Karts  Hastings C. C. Parks & Reserves Staff (b & d)   Concrete track   Carts made of steel frame with accessories

1983   Radio Boats   Hastings C.C. (d)   Parks & Reserves Staff (b)   Concrete and wire fencing. Plastic boats

1984   Maze   Hastings Rotary Club (d) Work Skill Development trainees, (b) organised by the Parks Dept. staff   Constructed out of tanalized fence posts with sheets of plywood


On 27th July, 1969, approximately $100,000 was spent on altering and modernising the Westend Theatre.  The Westend was originally known as the “Regent” and was one of three in Hastings.  The other two were the State and the Embassy, (which became the Embassy Court Arcade).  As “The Regent,” the Westend was opened on 11 July, 1934, and the first film shown was “Paddy The Next Best Thing” and was followed by “Queen Christina.”

By the late 1950’s T. V. was beginning to have an impact on Cinema patronage and it was felt no longer viable to operate three picture theatres at that time in a town of Hastings’ size.  The total number of theatres in New Zealand was reduced from 600 to 300 or fewer.  The Westend belongs to the Kerridge-Odeon group of theatres, which was built up by Sir Robert Kerridge.

In the early to mid 1970’s the highest admission charges were $1 a ticket, whereas today the cost can be up to $3.50.

As part of the expansion and development of the Kerridge-Odeon theatres in New Zealand, Spaceworld was opened next to the theatre in May, 1982, after the shop next door became vacant.  The capital to expand was raised internally by the corporation which was currently operating Spaceworlds around the country.  They provide enter tainment next to the theatre in the form of Space Invaders Machines which return profits back to the Corporation.  These are supplied by Advance Automatics of Wellington on a share basis.

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The 1981 Scout Jamboree was held at the Tomoana Showgrounds, Hastings.  The 10,000 boys who attended were divided between Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers. The area of the camp covered approximately 20 acres. The camp lasted from the second to the tenth of January.

The Jamboree had its own Radio Station, “Scout City Radio.” It was situated in a single garage in front of the Grandstand at Tomoana Showgrounds. The one Kilowatt Station could be found at the 1566 frequency.

Mr Alan Tydeman, the supervisor of the food supplies, had a big job as 6,000 bottles of milk, 2,500 loaves of bread, and 5,000 bread rolls were consumed each day.

Over all, there were 700 toilets, and 350 ablution blocks.

The Jamboree was well equipped with a fire service, a dentist, and a hospital. Mr Doug Moller from Dunedin was the camp’s dentist.  Doctor John Kerr ran the hospital in Mayfair School.

One attendant at the Jamboree said it was “a tremendous success over-all.  It had the biggest attendance in New Zealand up to that time.  The 20 acres was a huge place.”


Thunderpark was constructed to cater for the growing sport of Drag Racing.  The strip makes no profit – gross takings were approximately $50,000 for the year ending June, 1984.  Takings go towards paying off loans for ashphalt [asphalt] and land improvements, prize money for competitions, and travelling expenses for competitors. Thunderpark leases unproductive land from Graeme Burns.

Photo caption – Members of the 1981 Scout Jamboree.

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The drag strip was built in 1973 and the cost was $112,000 which was solely on the ashphalt.  Thunderpark is described as “one of the best drag strips outside U.S.A.”

Before a timing tower had been properly constructed, the staff improvised with a caravan, and later Thunderpark’s poor toilet facilities were improved.  The club suffered major damage when the security fence was blown down in gale-force winds in 1984.  The fence was finally finished in August, 1984.  The club also suffered severe damage from vandals who broke in damaging valuable lighting and timing gear.  The damage totalled  $5,000.  Anybody who complies with the governing body’s rules, (New Zealand Hot Rod Association), may race on the strip.  Thunderpark is hired out to such clubs as Go Karts, Capri, Fiat, Mustang and M.G. Clubs who use it for showing and for racing cars.  Membership would total about 50 people, many of whom (about half) come from out of Hawke’s Bay.

Photo caption – A ‘street rod’ in the staging area at Thunderpark.

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Transport & Communications


The greatest changes in transport in Hawke’s Bay occurred during the time when the horse and cart had to make way for diesel power and high speed motorways.

Since the 1960’s the changes in transport have not been as dramatic as they have been in the past, but they have been significant, nonetheless.

New fuels are making an appearance and many people have converted to CNG and LPG to lessen running costs.

One thing which hasn’t changed, is that Nimons still run the Hastings/Havelock North bus route just as they did in the early 1900’s.

The number of taxis has remained at a constant level.  At present there are 24 operating in Hastings compared to 26 in 1961; two in Clive, compared to one, and 30 in Napier compared to 26 in 1961.  The two taxis which used to operate from Havelock North, have been taken over by Hastings Taxis.


Prior to 1962, all trains were hauled by steam locomotives.  Since then diesel has come into Hawke’s Bay.  Diesel was preferred to steam, because the diesel engines were far more efficient, and could carry more tonnage.

Steam locomotives were dirtier to clean, and they took too long to prepare for a journey.  Today there are no steam engines left except for the ones that are being restored at Museums.

Before 1962, the main Railway Station and shunting yards were between St. Aubyn Street and Heretaunga Street.  Early in 1962 they shifted to Caroline Road because it was quieter there, where before, in their old site they were too close to the main centre of town and there were too many traffic holdups resulting from cars waiting for trains.

Today there are fewer people using the passenger trains because use of road transport has increased.  When Railways first opened, more people used the trains because it was cheaper than buying a car.

There has been an increase in the number of staff working at Railways, mainly because of the heavier tonnage which is being carried on trains, and also freight figures have risen because more produce is coming from the areas around Hastings.  Today there are 58 staff at Railways compared to the early days when there was anything up to 40.


The Transport Department is made up of 3 sections: Enforcement, education and automotive engineering.

In the 1960’s there were six or seven traffic officers in the enforcement section, only one traffic instructor on the education side of the department and two automotive surveyors in the engineering section.  Today in enforcement, there are twelve motorcyclists,  two Sergeants and a Senior Traffic Instructor and three Traffic Instructors,

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and in the automotive engineering section, there is a Senior and now two automotive surveyors, who are responsible for checking any public transport and heavy traffic vehicles.

Until 1968, the Department was known as the Transport Department.  During that year the Government reorganised the Transport Department and it became known as the Ministry of Transport – responsible for road, air, and sea transport.

One of the biggest changes affecting transportation in Hastings was the implementation of the Ring Road.  Another big change is the main roundabout in Havelock North. Other changes like traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and alterations of roads were all necessitated by heavy traffic.  In the next few years many roads will be closed off so the traffic flow will be more balanced.  On some intersections, gardens will be put on diagonal comers at the ends of street to slow down traffic in busy areas. Another change is that Maraekakaho Road and Pakowhai Road will soon be designated as a State Highway.  A Motorway that had been planned to come through from Napier to Hastings, has been wiped so that now all heavy traffic will travel along Maraekakaho Road and Pakowhai Road.  The Transport Department was originally in Eastbourne Street, but in July, 1983, it, along with other Government Departments, moved from Eastbourne Street to the Government Buildings in Warren St, even though the building was not quite complete, as finishing touches were being made.


This information was given to us by Mrs Fields who was formerly Miss Powdrell

Powdrell Transport was opened in 1920 and was situated on the corner of Eastbourne and Market Streets. The premises included a paint shop, a coach shop and a a garage.

In those days they made all the batteries and wound armatures.  (The part of an electric motor generator that rotates.  An armature consists of hundreds of metres of enamelled insulated copper wire wound around its axis).

During the great depression, Powdrells were selling Thornycroft trucks which were small trucks with solid tyres.  They were selling these trucks but people couldn’t afford to run them so the Powdrells were having to repurchase many of their trucks back.

In order to organise finance, Mrs Field’s father decided to start carting wood, posts and other general goods to farmers and clients.

In the 1920’s Mr William (Bill) Richmond, a stock agent, suggested to the Powdrells that since they owned a coach shop, they could put more than one crate on the trucks. This they did, firstly putting on three levels.  However, Mr Powdrell discovered that they were a little top heavy so he lengthened the chassis and made other alterations and that is how the first three tiered stock carrying venture in New Zealand was begun.

During the 1931 earthquake, the Powdrells’ premises was completely destroyed so they bought a property on the comer of Nelson & Eastbourne Streets to house the trucks. When they moved they decided to leave the coach shop and concentrate on stock moving. Powdrell Transport sold its business to Nationwide Transport in 1974, which operates the business today.

Mrs Fields’ impressions of stock transport from the past were as follows:- Who remembers the Thornycroft Trucks that were used by Mr Powdrell?  They were 300 cwt trucks with solid tyres.

These trucks were used in the great depression because they were smaller.  After Thornycroft trucks, articulated vehicles came into use; and after articulators they used

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the type of trucks in use today.

Mrs Fields believes that the future of trucking will continue as long as New Zealand can export butter, meat and wool, although, she thinks it could become a little more difficult because of higher costs and bigger trucks costing more to run.

Mrs Fields as well as being the daughter of Mr Powdrell, who was the owner of “Powdrell Transport,” was the first woman Pilot in Hawke’s Bay.  The Hawke’s Bay and East Coast Aeroclub was formed in 1928.  The Flying instructor was Squadron Leader Trevor (Tiny) White.  He was a first World War pilot.  Mrs Fields who was interested in adventure, thought she would like to try flying.  She had been watching all the men going up in Hawke’s Bay’s De Havilland Moth which was the first in New Zealand.  The Moth had a Cirrus motor which is a tiny motor but Mrs Fields said it was a great little plane.


When “Swamp to City” was written in 1961, Nimons only had six buses; currently they operate twenty eight.  Operation service has extended to Flaxmere, and an extension made in Havelock North.

Nimons moved from Middle Road to Martin Place, Havelock North, in 1976 because of the shortage of space at their former site.  The size of the main building is 208 ft X 55ft, which houses workshops and a body building room.  There is also a separate office building.

The number of people travelling in buses today has remained about the same, because although the population of Hastings has increased, use of private cars has altered accordingly.

In some cases the buses have been modified, but the way they are used is largely unchanged.  Nimons are contracted by the Education Board to take country children to and from Primary and Secondary Schools in Hastings on a daily basis.  This is paid for on the basis of the mileage run.  The other side to passenger transport that has shown considerable growth, is the Charter Business, which takes sports groups and interested

Photo caption – The three-tiered sheep truck of the 1920’s put together by the Powdrell’s.

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groups on outings.  Schools also take advantage of this service with trips to camps both around Hawke’s Bay and the North Island.  This is done on a quoted price and also attracts a time charge.  The buses used are Seddons, Laytons, Bedfords and Fords.

A modem bus is quite an interesting development.  It is designed so that it can carry the maximum number of people and do so with comfort.

One of the most interesting and cost-saving things that is happening in buses today is the radial tyre.  The tyre size Nimons use is 22.5 x 20, a 20 inch rim and 22.5cm span.  Each tyre usually lasts 70,000 to 80,000 kilometres and then they are retreaded. The cost of each new tyre is approximately $700.

A new 25 seater bus cost twelve hundred pounds in 1926, by 1961 a 33 seater was six thousand pounds, in 1984 a “cheaper” 38 seater can cost $140,000.  Nimons own a de luxe touring coach which costs $250,000.

The staff at Nimons consists of ten people and 19 part-time employees who come in to drive contract vehicles and operate the school service.


The business known as Hastings Motors Ford, at present in Heretaunga & Queen Streets, was originally known as J. E. Peach & Co., after which it was known as Monarch Motors, and was owned then by the present Managing Director’s father.  In 1967 the business was sold and became known as Hastings Motors Ford.

Ford cars have been here since the 1930’s.  When Hastings Motors first began there were 35 full time staff.  The staffing has ranged from 43 to 50 people in that time.

Originally Hastings Motors occupied the land at the same site.  Then in 1975, more land was purchased on the corner of Queen Street and Hastings Street, which was bought from Chase Bone the plumbers.  In the following year, 1976, further land was purchased which the used car display on the comer of Queen Street and Hastings Street now occupies.

Today in Hastings, the most popular car is the Ford, according to Mr Jones, the Managing Director.


CNG stands for Compressed Natural Gas, and is a raw, and now very popular fuel in New Zealand.  It is cheaper than petroleum so is quite popular in that respect. CNG is a recent innovation in New Zealand but has been proven successful in foreign countries for many years.

CNG is the same natural gas that is used domestically in New Zealand for cooking and heating.  It functions like compressed air used for filling tyres.  When released, CNG gives off harmless air.  However, it does have a readily identifiable smell.

The cost of CNG installation varies between $1,000 and $1,400, depending on the size of the car.

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There are now thirteen Post Offices in the Hastings district.  The main one is in Russell Street.  The newest is in Flaxmere which was constructed in 1979.  During the 1931 earthquake, the Hastings main Post Office was almost completely demolished. It was later rebuilt and the staff moved back in 1932.

The developments in communications in Flaxmere include the installation of a new telephone exchange. This includes pushbutton telephones and microwave link telephones, the installation of which began in 1984.  This enables subscribers to dial anywhere in the country at any time.

During 1984, Subscriber Toll Dialing or STD, was brought into Hastings and Napier along with International STD. This enables subscribers to dial anywhere in the country at any time and to call overseas countries without having to talk to an operator beforehand. Even so, operators will still be there to assist callers or give advice.

In the last 20 years, there has been a vast increase in telephones in use today compared with 1962 when there were 7,000 subscribers, and maybe in the next 20 years, there could be another 20,000 telephones in use.


In March of 1977, the Herald-Tribune made some changes to its machinery.  They bought a $350,000 web offset press and $150,000 worth of the latest machinery.  This technology enables the pictures to be printed more clearly, and the type more easily read.  The new printing press has made the paper much cleaner to look at and to handle.  There are several reasons for these changes.  The “hot-metal” technique of producing lead type and heavy plates for the rotary press has become obsolete as the process took a lot longer.

The linotype machines are not being made anymore.  The old method used up more time and labour than the new.

With all the new technology, the staff has had to be retrained and this allowed the staff to be instructed in using new skills.  The new press did not affect production.


The first Station to come on the air was an experimental one called 2BM Napier in 1924.

Most early Stations were low powered and amateur, or were experimental.  By November, 1931, there were two Stations in Napier, two in Hastings and one each in Wairoa and Dannevirke.  These Stations were not allowed to broadcast commercials and by 1935 most Stations were forced to close through lack of funds.

Only 2BM remained on the air.  It had changed its call name in 1927 to 2ZH in the hope of getting permission to broadcast commercials.  When this didn’t happen, the control of the Station was handed over to National Broadcasting Service.  On November 17th, 1938, the Station changed its call name again, this time to 2YH, and this Station became Hawke’s Bay’s first high powered and full time Station.  When N.B.S. was taken over by the N.Z.B.S. in 1948, 2YH became 2YZ, a call name it still holds. 2YZ is the National Programme Station in Hawke’s Bay and still does not broadcast commercials.

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The first Commercial Station in Hawke’s Bay started on October 1st, 1957.  It was only known by its call sign 2ZC when it began, but later it was known as Twin City Radio.

Twin City Radio was broadcast from both Hastings and Napier, with the main office remaining in Napier.

The name Twin City was changed in 1977 to Bay City so as to avoid confusion after Apple Radio came on the air in Hastings.

Apple Radio first opened in 1977 and there were only about twelve staff because it was a part time Station.  During the day it was a Commercial Station, and every night from 7 o’clock and on Sundays, it broadcast the Concert Programme.  Today there are sixteen staff working at the Station full time because there are about 48 more hours a week to transmit.

The name Apple Radio was changed to 772ZK because the Station started broadcasting full time and people took a long time to realise that fact.  Up until December 12th, 1983, Apple Radio broadcast the Concert Programme.  The Station retained its name Apple Radio for a few months, but after doing research found that many people still thought they were broadcasting the Concert Programme.  The staff of Apple Radio thought the best way of making people realise they were broadcasting full time, was to change the Station’s name.

772ZK is heard as far south as Dannevirke and as far north as Wairoa.

Mr Jim Stewart, the programme director of Bay City Radio, does not think there will be many more Radio Stations in Hawke’s Bay in the near future.  He said; “We already have more Stations per head of population than anywhere else in New Zealand, but in the next ten to fifteen years, it may be possible to receive up to six local stations, and four or five high powered distant stations.”  He then said: ”Certainly I think radio will be around for a long time yet.”

Now Hawke’s Bay has three Stations, radio has become more competitive.  Bay City is aiming for a listening audience of ages 25-59 years, 772ZK is aiming for 20-39 years and 93FM aims for 15-29 year olds.


93FM Radio Hawke’s Bay was opened on 12th December, 1983.

It broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It was decided to go on the FM frequency band because the New Zealand Broadcasting Tribunal wouldn’t allow another AM Station to broadcast in Hawke’s Bay, although it did allow for a FM Station to apply for a warrant.  The reason for this was that it would cater to a market not satisfied at that particular time.

93FM is in direct competition with two other local stations, and after nine months, lay in second place in the ratings, with a listening audience of 18% 10 years and over.

93FM attracts a younger listening audience with its music format.  They target at the 15-40 year old age group and are currently in first place in the 15-30 years of age group.

The Station uses a computer to programme the shifts for the announcers, whereas programming was once left to the announcers to work out for themselves.

Being on FM Station, 93FM is allowed a maximum of six minutes per hour advertising content, therefore they play more music to compensate and as it is stereo sound, it suits a music content.

93FM came to Hastings because research showed that Hawke’s Bay had the population  and interest to sustain a third station.  Also there was a need identified in Hawke’s

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Bay for an alternative station to the Radio New Zealand Stations, especially in the music side of radio.

93FM leases the third floor of the Bank of New Zealand building in Hastings from the Bank itself, and used their own partitioning to divide the floor into separate rooms. They installed their own equipment.  93FM employ 19 staff.  These include Graeme Parsonage, who is the Station Manager.  The announcers are, John Campbell, Don Raine, Kent Robertson, Sue McCabrey, Garry Close, Greg Wattem, Lorraine Hayde, and Peter Burke, Stu Williamson and Craig Body.  In the news room are Cathy Daltry, news editor and Rodney Joyce.  In copywriting and advertising is Callum Sanders and Georgina Langdale.  Sally Holland does the research, Mary-Clare Wilson is the Receptionist.  Malcolm Ballantine, Geraldine Cameron, Mike Brunei and Joe Dennehy are the Sales/Marketing staff.

Photo caption – Arrow shows where 93FM is housed.

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1961:   Traffic volume of 15,000 vehicles per day reached.
Mr G. C. Cross was appointed Town Clerk.
Population now reached 23,371.
De Pelichet & McLeod moved into their offices & showroom on the corner of Joll (now Francis Hicks Ave) and Maraekakaho Roads.
J. Wattie Canneries bought business premises on King St.

1962:   Mr Ronald Victor Giorgi was elected Mayor of Hastings.
Morrisons first started to assemble bicycles.
There was a widespread fire at Watties.  Smoke from the fire could be seen 50 miles away.
N.Z. Railways erected the present Hastings Railway Station and Goods Shed.

Photo caption – St James’ church in Duke St.

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1963:   Saint James Church was built in Duke Street.
Tomoana Freezing Works killed 773,988 lambs, 209,763 sheep, 33,954 cattle, 35,655 bobby calves, 2,964 pigs and 2,407 goats in the 1962/63 season.
The population in April was 25,400.
Mahora School had its 60th birthday.

1964:   A Lodge Hall was built on Market Street.
J. Wattie Canneries built a Zero Store in King St North.

1965:   The Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club added to the Grandstand in Southland Road.
N.Z. Railways removed their old Goods Sheds.
Hospital students no longer required to go to Napier for six weeks experience.

1966:   Mr James Wattie was Knighted.
The first sections in Flaxmere were sold.
There was an ankle deep flood in Heretaunga Street.
Fire broke out at Roaches.
Population reached 40,655.

1967:   Monarch Motors became Hastings Motors.
In March a parade of homes in Flaxmere was opened to prospective buyers.

1967:   The Psychiatric Unit at Hastings Memorial Hospital was opened.
The Hawke’s Bay County Council built a Sub-Office on Omahu Road. It was built on a section that had previously been farmland.
Windsor and Frimley Swimming Complexes opened.

1968:   Dawn Meat built business premises in Omahu Road.
In October, the Mayor announced that Flaxmere was “out of the red” by $80,000.

1969:   In Heretaunga St East, the Lion Tavern construction was started on behalf of N.Z. Breweries.
Morrison Industries purchased a factory site in Omahu Road.
The I/CC Units at the Hastings Memorial Hospital were enlarged.

1970:   In Flaxmere, building was started in Henderson Road, on the School that was to become Flaxmere School.
Kirkpatrick Villa and Campbell Villa at Lindisfarne Boys’ College were built.
Hawke’s Bay County Council built a Depot next to their sub-office on Omahu Road.

1971:   Hawke’s Bay School of Nursing established with the merging of Napier, Hastings and Wairoa Schools.
Hospital Obstetric Department was opened.

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1972:   On the 14th February, Leopard Brewery built a factory in St Aubyn Street.
On the 15th June, the ring road was completed.
Wrightson N.M.A. made alterations to their business premises on the corner of King & Queen Streets.
Hawke’s Bay Milk Corporation built new business premises.
In October, 1.7732 hectares of land was purchased for Hugh Little Park in Flaxmere.

1973:   Largest earthquake in Hastings since 1931. Millions of dollars worth of damage was done.
The last Blossom Festival in Hastings was held.
The Blossom Queen was Margaret Ross who was from Waipukurau.

1974:   Mr James Joseph O’Connor was elected Mayor of Hastings.
First Colour Television appeared in New Zealand.
F. L. Bone made alterations to their business premises in Heretaunga Street.

1975:   The Ron Giorgi Park in Flaxmere was established.
Building was begun on the Cultural Centre which is situated beside the Public Library.
Ellen Stevenson Kindergarten was started in Flaxmere.

1976:   Land was purchased by the Hastings Borough Council for Chatham Park in Flaxmere.
50,814 was Hastings’ population for this year.

1977:   The Administration Centre, along Lyndon Road, was built.
The Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune bought new printing presses.
A new Radio Station called Apple Radio was started this year.
Flaxmere Village Shopping Centre opened on 22nd November.

Photo caption – Library and Cultural Centre. A recent photograph.

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1978:   Hastings City Council rooms were built on Lyndon Rd.
Lindisfarne Boys’ College built Mitchell Villa, a dormitary [dormitory] block.
Construction began for the Hawke’s Bay Softball Club clubrooms.
Flaxmere Swimming complex opened.

1979:   Morrisons produced their first B.M.X. bike.
Tomoana Freezing Works fire caused $5 million worth of produce loss and $10 million worth of building damage.  The fire swept through the slaughter house.  One thousand one hundred workers were known to be on the plant but none were reported missing.  There were fears of a major ammonia leak.
Hastings Musical Comedy group began the year with the play “My Giddy Aunt.”
Softball rooms were opened at Akina Park.
Barry Vivian, a pro golfer, from Hastings, won the Australian Masters Golf Tournament.
Hastings’ Jill Maclnnes, was the first woman Registrar for a trial at Napier.
Lindisfarne Boys’ College erected a Medical Centre.

1980:   The Hastings branch of the Eastern & Central Savings Bank was opened.
Hawke’s Bay Machinery amalgamated with Price McLaren to operate under the latter name.
Keith Trask was selected for the 1980 Olympic Games rowing but did not participate because of the Afganastan [Afghanistan] crisis.
Last intake for three year General Training Programme undertaken by H.B. Hospital Board.

1981:   The new Fire Station was built on Maraekakaho Road.
In August, Winter & Pointon Fashions bought Roaches.  It has now been changed to The Westpoint Plaza, which opened in November.
New Potting sheds were erected at Cornwall Park.

Photo caption – Hastings Civic Administration Building – 1984.

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1982:  For the 1982/83 season, Tomoana Freezing Works killed 2,199,830 lambs, 362,738 bobby calves and no pigs or goats.
On the 31st of March, the Council purchased more land for the Cemetery in Orchard Road.
An extension was made on the Rose Gardens in Frimley Park.
On the 6th of June, four classrooms, the administration block and the staffrom [staffroom] of St Mary’s Roman Catholic School, were burnt down in a fire.  Repairs cost an estimated $600,000.
In August, the first meeting to decide on the Hastings Centennary [Centenary] celebrations, was held.
In December, the Ngaruroro River flooded, affecting people from Pakowhai to Twyford.

1983:   The Westend Shopping Centre was opened with 14 shops and a Write Price Supermarket.
The New Orient Restaurant was built and opened.
772ZK Radio renamed Radio Apple.
The population in the Hastings Urban area was 52,900.
Lindisfarne Boys’ College erected a Practical Arts Centre.
The old Family Business known as L. J. Harvey Ltd, (estd. 1912) sold the building to an Auckland businessman on November 14th.  The shop is now two different businesses, one belonging to Stirling Sports, and the other to Royden & Janet Walker, who still operate under the Harvey name, and sell China, Crystal & Kitchenware.

1984:   On the 4th of February, Hastings had its first Centennial.  Over 100 floats took part in a parade that started around nine o’clock.  The parade began at Stortford Lodge and continued down Heretaunga Street.
The Pizza Hut opened and is now one of Hastings, most popular restaurants.
As a result of Sir Robert Muldoon’s snap election, on the 14th of July, Hastings M.P. is now Mr David Butcher.
On Friday, 21st August, at 9.30, STD was brought into Hastings.  (Subscriber Toll Dialling).
The Frimley traffic lights were put in on the corners of St Aubyn Street, Pakowhai and Frimley roads.
It was announced that a Tavern & Shops were to replace the Albert Hotel on the corner of Karamu Rd & Heretaunga Street East, by the end of the year.
Possible construction date was March or April, 1985, but by May, 1985, the old Albert was still standing, after discussion about possible re-location.

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Civic Amenities


Since “Swamp To City” was written, more has come to light about Hastings’ first school.

In 1874 a small number of Hastings settlers paid five pounds to buy a small block of land in the main street.  Only the Provincial Council liked the idea.  Parents did not like it because labour was expensive and the parents could get a good day’s work out of their children if they kept them from school.

The Teachers also had trouble because the children were not used to being disciplined by anyone except their parents.

In July of 1875 the first Headmaster, Mr W. McLeod rang the bell in the small one roomed building.  There were seven pupils of which four were his own it seems.


On Monday, 24th August, 1903, Mahora School had its opening day, 52 pupils were present.

Since that day a lot of changes have been made.  In 1905 a second room was added because the roll had increased to 76.  By 1912, the school committee was successful in getting a fifth room for the school.  In April, 1923, the Honourable C. I. Parr, the Minister of Education, visited the school.  He had discussions with the school committee about remodelling the five classrooms.  Excavations of the school baths began on the 11th November, 1923.  On the 9th of December, Mr Stewart of Dunedin was engaged to sink the well for the baths.  The price was 175 pounds, the well had a flow of 400 gallons per minute.

Photo caption – Mahora School.

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By 1925 remodelling was well under way.  The cost was approximately 3,200 pounds.  On the 16th October, 1925, Sir James Parr, the Minister of Education, opened the baths.

On 24th of August, 1953, Mahora School had its Golden Jubilee, 24 of the 52 first day pupils were there.

In 1978 the school had its 75th Jubilee.  Fifty to sixty pupils attended.


Mayfair School opened its doors on February the 6th, 1950.  On the first day 264 pupils attended.  Most of the children came from Central, Mahora or Parkvale areas.

Mr Burke, the first Headmaster, made the first note in his logbook, it read – “This is a new school of six classrooms and library, built to relieve the congestion at Central, Mahora and Parkvale Schools.”

In July, 1965, the Assembly Hall was officially opened by Mr W. Smith, Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Education Board.

In 1980 one classroom was relocated and another two in 1983, due to a falling roll.


During the 1970’s Raureka School grew swiftly and had a total of sixteen rooms. Because of strong parent interest, Raureka was one of the first schools to have a classroom-sized library.  Its roll fell and now the school has twelve teachers.

At present, the Principal of the school is Mr J. S. Nelson, a former pupil.


St Mary s School was opened in 1957. Approximately 180 children attended the school.

On the 18th May, 1980, St Mary’s School was integrated into the State Educational system.  Catholic leaders decided to integrate the school because they were in financial difficulties and would not be able to remain open.

On the 6th June, 1982, at 6.25pm a fire struck the school.  It burnt and damaged 5 classrooms, including one that was being used as a staffroom and library.  It also damaged the administration block.  The fire caused over $600,000 worth of damage.

More about this can be found in the chapter “Fire and Flood.”


Fifty-six years ago in 1928, the Hastings Memorial Hospital was built.  However, its history dates back to 1906 when attempts were made to found a Cottage Hospital.

Today the hospital has a staff of 700 and it is still growing.  In 1983, 7,500 patients were admitted along with 1,200 maternity cases.

The hospital was officially opened on Anzac Day, April 25th, 1928, but it only started receiving patients in August of that year.  It was because of the 1931 earthquake that full general hospital services were established in the town.  Further additions were added over the years and it was well used.

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In 1961, a five storeyed wing was opened along with other various facilities.  A 52 bed maternity ward was built in 1971 and in 1978 a psychiatric unit was added. Three years later an intensive-care and coronary unit was opened.

In 1985 a new clinical block was opened but not fully operational at first because of a staffing problem.


The Hastings area Police Force began in 1884 as a one man station, and then grew until in 1969 it moved into a new three storeyed building in Railway Road.

The Force today, consists of fifty-eight uniformed men, eleven CID and ten back up civilians along with photographers, youth aid officers, a prosecutor and a special dog section.  There is also a law-related education programme, a small search and rescue squad and an armed offenders squad.

The main area of concern is “crimes against the person” such as assault and rape. Secondary concern is “crimes against property” such as burglaries and arson.

The Hastings Police Force has eleven vehicles, ten cars and a van.

Photo caption – Memorial Hospital, Maternity wing and (in background) new clinical services addition.

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Prominent People


One of Hastings’ modern “City Fathers” Harry Poppelwell, was born in 1899. He completed his education at St Joseph’s Primary School and began his career by going to work in an office.  Not long after having got that job, he worked at Roach Brothers Drapery Store.  Following this job, he worked at W. G. Jeager Menswear. In 1926 he left this position and established his own Menswear business which is still in operation today, both in the city and in three other stores in surrounding suburbs.

As a young man Mr Poppelwell was adventurous and was active in many activities throughout Hastings.  He was keen on musical and entertainment ventures, and, as a youth, participated in many concerts; one of which was organised to raise money for the soldiers of the 1914/18 war – World War I.

As part of his musical career, he joined a professional acting company and played one of the lead parts in a light opera which eventually toured New Zealand.  As well as having musical interests, Mr Poppelwell enjoyed significant sports involvement.  He was a member of the Foundation Executive to form the Heretaunga Swimming & Surf Life Saving Club and at various stages was Secretary, Club Captain, Vice-President & President.  He was Patron of the Club until 1978.  In 1950 he was awarded a service award as Nth Island Vice-President of the N.Z. Amateur Swimming Association.  His interests in water sports were not confined to swimming however, and he was also a Diving coach & Judge and a N.Z. Water Polo Referee.  He has also had extensive involvement in the Waimarama & Hawke’s Bay Surf Life Saving Clubs and has been Patron of both Clubs.

Rugby & Hockey have both been sports to benefit from Mr Poppelwell’s support. He is still Vice-President of the H.B. Hockey Association.

Mr Poppelwell was deeply involved in giving Hastings a better atmosphere.  The local Patriotic Society appointed Mr Poppelwell as Chairman in 1939 and was responsible for much fund-raising in Hastings around that time.

The organisation now known as Greater Hastings owed its establishment largely to Mr Poppelwell who saw the need to foster a sense of pride and togetherness in Hastings.  Together with 12 well-known businessmen and the assistance of others, a meeting was held in the City Council Chambers to launch what was to be an important group in Hastings.  As a result of Greater Hastings’ efforts, the Blossom Festival and Hastings Highland Games were begun.  Both attracted many out-of-towners and helped to publicise Hastings to the rest of New Zealand.

The most oustanding [outstanding] contribution to Hastings by Mr Poppelwell has been the now-famous park known as Fantasyland.  After returning from an overseas holiday, Mr Poppelwell had the idea of developing an area which would incorporate ideas from Disneyland and the Tivoli Gardens (in Copenhagen) into a children’s Playground.  The idea and initial supervision was due to Mr Poppelwell but like Topsy, the idea grew and now is under the supervision of the Hastings City Council.

Many of the seeds sown by Harry Poppelwell are still bearing fruit today, and the Queens Coronation Medal and the M.B.E. are recognition of the fact that he has played a very significant part in the development of Hastings’ past and future.

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Mr James Joseph O’Connor, the sitting mayor, was elected to office in 1974 in a three-way contest with two fellow councillors.  A plumber by trade, he had built his business into a major company with contracts throughout New Zealand.  Mr O’Connor had an extensive background in rugby administration through his chairmanship of the Hastings Rugby Sub-Union.

Mr O’Connor took over the mayoralty at a period when the city was facing massive stormwater, sewerage and drainage replacement programmes.  Many of the old steel pipes laid at the end of last century and in the early 1900s were frequently fracturing and small-diameter stormwater mains could not cope with the extensive runoffs from a growing city.

The most costly public work was the construction of a multi-million dollar third inland sewer line to East Clive.  The marked absence of surface flooding on Hastings streets during heavy rain is a direct result of the reticulation programme his councils have carried out.

Mr O’Connor also presided over the transfer of the council’s staff from the old municipal building in Hastings St to a modern multi-storeyed civic administration building in Lyndon Rd.  He has regarded the mayoralty as almost a full-time job and has been an outspoken “voice” for Hastings on local body issues such as regional government.

Taken from the 1984 Centenary Paper


Stuart Jones was born in Hastings in 1925. He attended Mahora School and Wellington College.  For 18 months after leaving school he worked at Glazebrook’s property as a shepherd, and following that he went into the Air Force.  Mr Jones was keen on sports and managed to get into the Servicemen’s North Island Football Trials.  Not only did he have a promising football career, but he also won a Hawke’s Bay Table Tennis Championship.  It could almost be said that Stuart Jones’ Golfing career started by accident.  While at Taupo he was burnt on the leg by a geyser.  This curtailed any prospect of an immediate future in rugby, so he turned to golf.  In three months he went from a 24 down to a 16 handicap and the following year won his first tournament. Since then he has won over 200 tournaments. During his career he won seven N.Z. Amateurs, one Australian amateur, and was runner-up at the Spanish Amateur Championship.  As a professional he won one Wattie’s and one Spalding Championship.  Stuart Jones first played for New Zealand in 1953 and has done so 19 times since then.  Looking back over the years Mr Jones says that some of his personal highlights have been meeting many people, both in the field of sports, and in his association with the many customers of the family business.

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Ronald Victor Giorgi was born in Palmerston North on 24 April 1907.  He was educated at Mahora Primary School in Hastings, “where,” he adds with a chuckle “I was captain of a football, cricket and hockey team!”  He attended Waitaki Boys High School and joined his father’s menswear store in 1926, after having served in Italy in World War Two.

In 1934 he married his wife Millicent, who came from Oamaru.  Mr Giorgi was associated with the Returned Serviceman’s Association and became president of the R.S.A. in 1951, an office he held for 25 years.  He was first elected mayor in 1959, by which time he had been head of Millar and Giorgi’s for 19 years.

During Mr Giorgi’s term of office as mayor, Frimley was further developed, the first stages of Camberley were begun and major construction at Flaxmere began.

Mr and Mrs Giorgi have long been associated with many organizations involving Hastings people.  Both have led full and active lives and still live in Hastings.


Gordon Cross: (1961 – 1963)
Had been town treasurer since 1954.
Now lives in retirement in Taradale.

Bruce Krebs: (1963 – 1967)
Appointed treasurer in 1961.
Secretary of Hastings Fire Board. (This position is now non-existant since the Government assumed responsibility for all Fire Boards in the mid 1970s )
Now secretary of the Hastings High Schools’ Board.

Ernie Oaks: (1967 – 1974)
Involved in the review of the Council’s district scheme, and the beginning of the multi-million dollar sewerage disposal scheme.
Resigned in 1974 to study for the Anglican ministry.

Eric Patten: (1974 – 1975)
From Upper Hutt and remained on the H.C.C. for 12 months.

Arnold Baker: (1975 -)
City Treasurer
Has served on Wellington, Lower Hutt and Invercargill Councils.
Official title is now ‘General Manager’, rather than ‘Town Clerk’ in line with Council policy introduced in 1985.
Has a small orchard and now lives in Havelock North.

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W. L. Davis: – Born in Hastings 15th December, 1942.

William Davis was educated at Parkvale, Hastings Intermediate and Hastings Boys High School.

Davis was selected for the N.Z. Rugby Team in the 1963-64 tour to Britain and France as a wing and scored seven tries in 15 matches.

Then he became a regular member of the Hawke’s Bay Ranfurly Shield team in the mid 60’s which was the hey-day of Hawke’s Bay Rugby.

Davis also represented New Zealand Softball in 1973-74 and he represented Hawke’s Bay in athletics in the sprint event.

William Davis is now a Salesman in Commercial Transport.

E. S. Jackson. – Born in Hastings 12th January 1914.
– Died in Hastings 20th August 1975.

Everard Jackson represented N.Z. Rugby Union in 1936-38 in the series against Australia.  Playing 11 matches, (6 International) Jackson scored one try.  He served in World War 2 as a Captain of the Maori Battalion and he was severely wounded, losing a leg.

He later worked as a labourer.

J. M. Blake. – Born in Hastings 21st June 1902.

John Muldoon Blake, represented New Zealand in 1925-26 playing 13 matches and scoring 15 points.  He played for Hawke’s Bay in 1921-28 and the North Island 1925-26. He also played for the N.Z. Maori team in Rugby Union. Usually he played at centre.

He was educated at Hastings Convent School and St. Patrick’s College in Wellington where he played in the first XV.  He was a Salesman and is now a Manager of a Bus Company.

B. A. Grenside. – Born in Hastings 9th April, 1899.

Bert Grenside represented New Zealand in 1928-29, playing 21 matches, six of these being International.  Bert Grenside appeared in 24 out of 27 Ranfurly Shield matches for Hawke’s Bay and was the top scorer with 30 tries, 3 penalties and 21 conversions in 1922-27.

He works as a farmer in Waipukurau.

Other names which feature in Hastings rugby are Joe Warbrick (1880’s) the Brownlie brothers, Lui Paewai, Alex Kirkpatrick, Tori Reid, Mick Duncan, Bruce Dunstan, John O’Connor and Richard Hunt.  The notable administrators have been : Joe Warbrick, Norman McKenzie, Kirkpatrick & J.J. O’Connor.

Page 78


Keith Trask – Keith represented N.Z. in the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Rowing teams.

He started rowing when he was a third former at Karamu High School when a teacher wanted to start a rowing team so she selected 8 boys, including Keith.

Keith represented Hawke’s Bay and the New Zealand Colts for rowing.

He was selected for the N.Z. Rowing team to go to the Olympic Games in Moscow, but N.Z. did not send a team owing to international controversy surrounding the Games.

His 3 months of training, at 6 hours a day, earned him a Gold Medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984 in the coxless four.

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Members of the class wish to thank the following people for the assistance given to them.

Mr J. J. O’Connor, Mr B. Webb, Mr M. Donnelly, Mr D. Walker, Staff at the Herald-Tribune, Retailers of Flaxmere Shopping Centre, Staff of the Hastings Civic Administration, Staff of the Hastings Public Relations Office, Mr H. Poppelwell, Mr R. Wattie, Mr R. V. Giorgi, Staff of Hastings Public Library, Mrs Fields, Mrs M. Ball, Mr P. Gillespie, Mrs R. Ahem, Mrs M. Crofskey, Mrs A. Heaton, and the many, many others who gave of their time and effort.

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