Hastings and Hawke’s Bay NZ In Picture & Story




In Picture and Story

Compiled and Published by…

Photo text –
The Lych Gate   St Matthews

Hastings & the Heretaunga Plains from Te Mata Park

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Hastings of the Heretaunga Plains, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, has risen in the short span of fifty years from almost a treeless waste of tussock and raupo and swamp, into a flourishing town, the centre of a prosperous county.

Looking from “The Peak” of Te Mata, the high point of the Havelock Hills, across the plains to the curving sea line of Hawke’s Bay in the north-east, and to the snow-crowned peaks of the mountains in the west – with shining ribbons of river sparkling in the sun, Hastings lies in the foreground – embowered in trees and blossoming orchards.

Coming up the Poukawa Valley along the Great South Road, the traveller has the choice of two ways as his car

Photo text – Havelock Hills



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winds through the ancient Maori pa of Paki Paki, with its little stone church on the right, a direct road along the railway line bringing him to the Hastings Clock Tower and the Railway Crossing, or a more circuitous route may be taken along the Maraekakaho Road to the cross roads at the northern end of Heretaunga Street, the principal street of Hastings.

A mile drive down this busy street then brings the Hastings Clock and Railway Crossing in view, with the Post Office and the Railway Station on the right, and enough good hotels in the vicinity to satisfy the most jaded wayfarer.  If camping be the accepted way of holidaying the drive will continue, over the crossing, past the Municipal Buildings with its Assembly Hall and Municipal Theatre, cheek by jowl with the Methodist Church in its pretty little garden, and just further on the tall spire of the Roman Catholic Church standing sentinel over all, until Selwood Road is reached, where, after a turn to the left, is Windsor

Photo text – The Bridge at Windsor Park

Street Scenes



HERETAUNGA ST.   Looking North



Street Scenes Hastings

RUSSELL ST   Looking West




Windsor Park

Motor Camping Grounds

Kitchen Bathroom Etc. Etc.

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Park, surely the camping ground de luxe.  Under shady trees of limes, or mimosa, tents may be pitched and hot or cold water baths, gas rings, fireplaces, electric irons, and washing up contrivances, a dining room, and shelter for wet weather, a bathing pool with larger baths almost within a stone’s throw at Parkvale School, a miniature river with canoes and boats that ply for hire, tennis courts and a nine-hole golf links, are there, for and sundry, in Windsor Park. It is little wonder that it is the “Mecca” of many holidaymakers throughout the year.

For those, who from stress of circumstace, may only pass through Hastings, there is the Municipal Women’s Rest, supervised by a matron whose one delight is to aid and serve the weary, while for those women who belong to Federated Clubs, the Hastings Women’s Community Club, in Heretaunga Street West, is often a haven of rest.  Men folk, if they are of the elect, may stretch their weary limbs

Photo text –
Showing Municipal Women’s Rest & Cenotaph.

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in the Hastings Club or the County Club, while others may fraternise on the green of, at least, three Bowling Clubs.

A cool and shady retreat on the north-eastern side of town is Cornwall Park, a gift to the people from the Venerable Archdeacon Samuel Williams.

Approached from Heretaunga Street through the tree-lined streets of Nelson Street and Fitzroy Avenue, its handsome gates open on to an avenue of palms leading to lawns and gardens, a tiny streamlet on which swans sail up and

Photo text –
In Club Land
Womens Community

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down and a miniature zoo which is a joy to the many children who came to disport themselves in the playground which has been provided for their amusement by a fatherly Borough Council.  In the summer, tennis and cricket are played and grounds are also available for hockey.  There is a handsome band rotunda above a tea kiosk and for those who wish to truly picnic, hot water may be obtained for the ubiquitous “billy.”

Ebbett Park, a gift to the town of a former mayor, lies on the north-western side and is unique in having an entrance adorned with handsome Maori carvings, of almost priceless value.  In a little grove of trees, is a small hut representing a Maori whare.  A children’s playground and basketball courts are other features of this domain.

Many facets of religious thought are reflected in the town of Hastings, and the Anglican Church of St. Matthew’s,



Tea Kiosk

Entrance Drive

The Play Area

Part of the
Miniature Zoo
Cornwall Park

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in King Street, the Roman Catholic Church of the Scared Heart, in Heretaunga Street, the Presbyterian Church of St Andrew’s, in Lyndon Road, the Wesley Methodist Church, in Hastings Street, the Baptist Church in Karamu Road, and the Salvation Army Citadel, in Warren Street, are buildings which add grace and dignity of the town.  The newly-built St. Andrew’s Hall in Market Street, erected primarily for the use of younger Presbyterians of the district, is of a restrained beauty, that is a delight to the eye.

Scholastically, children are well served in Hastings, for there are four good primary schools, one in each quarter of the town.  The first established Central School will celebrate its jubilee this year, 1935, and the others are Mahora North, Hastings West, and the model school, Parkvale.  A Free Kindergarten and private kindergartens are also flourishing and the large private school, “Queenswood”, is an efficient preparatory school.

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church

Baptist Church

St. Matthews Anglican Church

Methodist Church

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Salvation Army Citadel




Hastings West


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Beyond the cross roads to the north-west, on the road that leads eventually to Taihape, over the mountains, is the Hastings Memorial Hospital, built in remembrance of soldiers who served and fell in the Great War.  It is now a general and maternity hospital of fifty beds, well equipped with modern appliances and standing in extensive grounds with buildings so arranged that the fullest degree of sunshine is obtained.  A nurses’ home conforming with the design of the main buildings is also provided.

Drives around the countryside reveal many beautiful homes and gardens which have been literally carved out of the wilderness.  “Horonui,” back from the Great South Road at Poukawa, is the homelike and comfortable residence of the present member of Parliament for Hawke’s Bay, set on a rise which gives a peep of Hastings on the Heretaunga plains, and in the further distance, the deep blue sea of Hawke’s Bay.

Another homestead of special interest, especially to women, is “Omatua,” Rissington, for it was within its confines

Photo text –
Pear Trees in Bloom

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that the great organisation of the Women’s Institute was formed.  A sister movement to the Institute – the Towns-women’s Guild – has also been originated, and with three flourishing organisations in Napier, Hastings, and Dannevirke, Hawke’s Bay has again the honour of sponsoring a movement which has the same objective as the Institute, the encouragement of women to make their best contribution towards the common good.

When spring has come in all her glory in Hawke’s Bay, the sheep, the cow, the pig, and the horse, have a “day out” as they parade in all their glory at the Agricultural and

Photo text – Memorial Hospital Hastings

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Pastoral Association’s Show.  As benefits a primary producing district, this Association is flourishing, and has reason to be proud of one of the finest, if not “the” finest showground in the Dominion.  Situated little more than a mile from the Hastings Post Office, the grounds are beautifully laid out with avenues of limes and groves of willows and poplars, and are well equipped with facilities for showing stock and produce, and was originally part of the late Mr. Wm. Nelson’s Waikoko estate.  A recent acquisition which appealed to the populace was the purchase of the old home and garden

Photo text –



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of Waikoko with its glorious specimen trees and tiny iris-fringed lakelet, adjoining the showgrounds.  It is largely owing to the foresight and vision of this great pioneer that the people of Hawke’s Bay are able to enjoy their shows in such idyllic surroundings.

Within a few minutes’ walk of the centre of the town, down the street with the plane trees – Market Street – the Hastings Racecourse may be found.  Here many historic races have been fought out between some of the most famous horses of the times, and the meetings are a popular rendezvous for the racing fraternity of the country.  An enthusiastic Hunt Club and Polo Club also functions in this part of the Hawke’s Bay.

Four miles from the town along the road which leads to the one time famous estate of Sir Donald McLean’s “Maraekakaho,” is the aerodrome belonging to the Hawke’s Bay and East Coast Aero Club.  Though only a few years old, a splendid flying reputation has been created by

Photo cation – TUKI TUKI RIVER.


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the air-minded, and sixty-nine pilots have already been trained, six of whom have entered the Royal Air Force.  The Club possesses three “Moths” and one “De Soutter,” and has a large and enthusiastic membership.  Sir Charles Kingsford Smith has been a visitor to the ‘drome in the famous “Southern Cross.”

The royal game of golf is well catered for with the Hastings Golf links at Ngatarawa, a nine hole course at Windsor Park and Havelock North, and the links at Waiohiki within easy reach of the town.

A three-mile drive along the bitumenised Havelock Road, across the bridge which spans the one-time bed of the River Ngaruroro, brings the visitor to the cross roads of the picturesque village of Havelock North, older in point of settlement than Hastings, but still looking as if it would prefer the “coach-and-four” to pull up at “ye olde inn,” rather than the luxurious limousine or buzzing aeroplane.

A Memorial Column to those of Havelock North who served in the Great War stands in the little garden opposite a tiny

Photo text – The Racecourse Hastings

Bridge Pah Aerodrome


An Historical Event

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Rest House, and a turn to the left brings St. Luke’s Church and the Village Hall into view on the right, with St. Columba Presbyterian Church on the left.  Continuing on past Hereworth, a preparatory school for boys, a turn to the right up Simla Avenue, winding around the hills, brings him to Te Mata Park.  Here in the spring will he hear the tuis sing and at all times he will feast his eyes on the beauty of the sea and sky and plain.  May blessings fall on that large-hearted pioneering family who have made this park the

Photo captions –

Golf Clubs


Bridge Pah

Havelock North

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heritage of posterity through the ages.  On the spurs below may be seen Woodford House and Iona College, two famous schools for girls, and many beautiful homes and gardens.  The rivers seen shining in the sun are the Tuki Tuki, Ngaruroro, and Tutaekuri, all of which provide great sport for anglers and on whose hospital banks, campers and town-dwellers make great holiday throughout the sunny days of summer.

A further drive along the foot of the hills through the valley of the Tuki Tuki, over the hills and along the Maraetotara stream where electricity for the village is generated, will bring the traveller to Waimarama, a sheltered little seaside resort with a wide sandy beach, some ten miles further on.

Another pleasant and interesting trip is along the glorious poplar avenue which guards the north-western approach to the town, through Pakowhai where the peaches grow, round the bends of the Tutaekuri River, and over the narrow swing bridge into the little village of Puketapu.  From the little churchyard on the hill the view of river and mountain

Photo caption – Crossroads   Havelock North

Schools of Learning

Hereworth School

Hastings High School

Woodford House

Iona College

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beyond is very beautiful and the picturesque little church with its tall belfry will celebrate a jubilee this year.

Puketapu has been called the “Gateway to the Inland Patea,” rich sheep country at the back-o-beyond, and residents who have grown grey in the little village tell of the times when all the wool that was grown on these great stations came by waggon through Puketapu on its way to the sea at Napier.  They can remember as school children seeing the Hau-Haus marching to the fray at “Oamaranui [Omarunui],” where the battle between the settlers and the friendly natives against the rebels took place.  So peaceful is the scene now one can scarcely imagine such things could be.  Now, at the meeting of the old roads, a little brown hut has been built by the Scouts of the Puketapu troop, and there the Scouts

Photo caption – Te Mata Park

Views of Puketapu

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with their leaders foregather and learn to profitably employ their leisure time thereby helping others to do the same.

Like the plums in the small boy’s cake, however, the possession “special” to Hawke’s Bay has been left to the last, and the summer visitor cannot afford to miss it, for nowhere else will he see gannets on the mainland.  An easy drive to the coast and along “the Bay” to Clifton is the first stage of the journey to the “Kidnappers,” where the gannets have their home, and from there horses or “Shank’s Pony” are the only recognised means of transport, though some hardy adventurers have managed to dodge the tides and safely run a car along the beach.

The walk is full of interest – the earthquake riven hills with peculiar strata formation, and the changing clouds and colours of the sea and sky making the journey oft-times full of romance and excitement.

The birds are to be see in all stages, from the wise old mother bird guarding her one and only egg and billing

Photo caption – Poplar Avenue

Gannet Sanctuary at
Cape Kidnappers
Hawke’s Bay

South Side of Cape Kidnappers

North Side of Cape Kidnappers

Gannets & their Chicks


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and cooing with father, to the baby chick, the downy fledging [fledgling], and the mottle-plumaged half-grown gannet.  Beginning to arrive in August, by November the nesting grounds on the plateau overlooking the open sea is alive with them.  Towards the end of March they have mostly flown, and until August comes round again the “Kidnappers” are deserted.

The sanctuary is under the control of an honorary board of trustees, and permission to visit it must be obtained from the ranger before the trip is undertaken.

If the return journey has been planned, as it should be, to catch the ebb tide in the afternoon, the walk along the hard sandy beach, with its distant views of mountain and plain, will be an added joy, and nothing will ever taste more refreshing than the cup of billy tea waiting for the tramper under the karaka trees of Clifton.

And so to the drive home – through such an air as poets dream, with the sun setting behind the far distant shining Ruahines, and evening shadows stealing over the plains, bringing to an end a perfect day, for the welcome guest of Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

– R.M.L.-S.

Photo caption –
Feeding Ensilage
Tuki Tuki Valley



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Reproductions of photos taken by HJ Lovell-Smith, with accompanying text by Ruth M Lovell-Smith

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