Happy Anniversary Hawke’s Bay
By Andrew Frame

You’ve seen a lot, haven’t you? You may remember when a young Lieutenant named James Cook sailed into your bay 240 years ago (on Monday 12th October to be precise) and named you after his boss, Edward Hawke, the First Lord of the Admiralty. It’s probably one of the reasons he became “Captain” Cook. That and discovering New Zealand, Australia and a few other bits and pieces.

You’ve seen the arrival of the Maori, Europeans and Aucklanders. You’ve done a bit of DIY geological landscaping with the odd shake-up. Your forests have turned into farmland, farmland into orchards and vineyards which, in turn, have been turned into sports parks. It’s been 133 years since you became a provincial district and you don’t look a day over 80.

You’ve been a home and an inspiration for me for the last 32 years, which is why it’s so hard for me to tell you that, well, I’ve been seeing another Bay.

It was only for one night, I swear and it meant nothing to me.

You see, Beloved’s sister moved to the Bay of Plenty a few months ago and Beloved started to miss her. As neither of us had been further northeast than Rotorua before, we decided to visit this “other bay.”

The drive, while very scenic, was posterior-numbingly long as we traveled non-stop. The mix of native bush and introduced conifer plantations provided some in-car entertainment due do my work in the forestry industry (“Look there’s a pine tree, and another one and another one…”). After just 30 seconds of playing “I spy something beginning with “P” and “T,” Beloved became intently interested in the CD collection we had brought along, so sadly we never got to my favorite game, “Spot the Pine Cone.” Three and a half non-radiata-related hours later we arrived in Tauranga.

There are many similarities between Tauranga and neighbouring Mount Maunganui compared to our very own Napier & Hastings. We both refer to ourselves as “The Bay”; both have roughly the same population (although we are slightly larger, they get a weather fly-by on the news and we don’t — Grrr!). You have to cross at least one bridge to get from one centre to the other in both cases, and the “BoP” even has some Art Deco style buildings, the thieving swine!

I’d have to say Tauranga feels more like Hastings. It has a larger CBD, which, while having a lot of traffic, does not feel overly busy. It has a railway running past the centre of town and is the site of the Hospital. The major difference is that Hastings is not mostly a narrow, ridge lined peninsula almost surrounded by water. The estuary that encircles Tauranga is very picturesque when the tide is in and, well, muddy when it’s not.

Mount Maunganui certainly has more Napier-like characteristics. It has the airport, the sea front (albeit covered in strange, fine, white-gold coloured particles the locals call “sand”), a large hill which people like to walk over, trendier bars and cafes than its neighbour … and they even named their beachfront road after ours – “Marine Parade.”

But they’re just not the same, Hawke’s Bay. They’re just not you.

Driving home I felt dirty, ashamed.

You know the weather I like and how I take my coffee. You have shop staff who will actually put down their magazine to notice or help me. Why was I such a fool to look elsewhere? It may call itself the “Bay of Plenty,” but you, Hawke’s Bay, are plenty enough Bay for me.

Please forgive me. I promise to make it up to you next anniversary.


Join the Conversation


  1. Another thoroughly enjoyable post. I love Saturdays for one more reason now.

    How did you manage a trip the 'other' Bay without having a run in with the boy racers? I had heard they were everywhere and lay in wait for men from this Bay? Or perhaps they only attack older and balder men looking for MacDonalds.

  2. Andrew! – you shameless hussy but at least you have seen the error of your ways.

    Isn't it interesting that Tauranga and the Mount seem to be able to hold those distinctive identities but still be within the same territorial boundary. Combined they get a flyby on the telly………

    I looked at the stats the other day. On a population basis (after the super city of Jaffas comes off) Hastings is 11th and Napier 16th in population size. Combined (heaven forbid I hear some say) we would be 5th (after Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton and before Tauranga, Dunedin; the list goes on. Our fotty team is in the top tier, why not us?

    Of course we would argue about the name for a century or more. This Pakeha boy would prefer names that tangata whenua have already given to this place.

    What about "Heretaunga o haukunui" – Heretaunga of the life giving dew? It is that life giving dew which underpins our bounty.

    Or "Heretaunga haoro o te kahu" – Heretaunga whose beauty can only be seen through the eyes of a hawk in full flight.

    Gosh we could still keep Hastings and Napier as well!!

    Sorry for shameless use of your post as a chance to play with political fire. :)


  3. Man about town,

    A further slant / comment re ",Man about Town" we have so fortunate, no" Man about Town" as per Whanganui Mayor Michael Laws and his newly discovered " Wankerville" nor have we as yet, a Very Holy Bishop, as Brian Tamati as another "Man about Town."

    Keep uo the good work, BayBuzz towards good debate, and more inclusulsiveness for our citizens, with less of our marginalized community sent to the darkeness of a prison with the expectation to heal our community woes. Then perhaps no" Personal "Mana" for a Laws or a Tamati.?

  4. Pat, what were you on when you wrote your comment?

    I recently had personal experience with some of your "marginalized community". They were annoying with their all-night parties. extremely abusive to anyone who tried to talk to them, threatening (a complaint was lodged with the Police, but they took six days to get around to investigating it, the sole constable who investigated the burglary that followed the threat was much quicker, taking only 20 hours to attend) and supported by a Tenancy Manager who consistently lied. None of them cared one jot about the impact of their activities on the community around them. A pending court case prevents me from being more specific, but this family definitely needs "redirection".

    Ian McIntosh

  5. The hospital and it"s grounds are smokefree.Yeah,right.

    I walk through the grounds most days and without fail people are smoking,quite blatantly,outside entrances,on park like benches.

    There are signs on the benches,on the doors,within the perimeter of the grounds,and there is also continual pre recoded announcements over a public address system banning smoking.

    I have been physically threatened when asking smokers to comply with the restriction.

    Manystaff sit in sand/deckchairs chairs on the perimeter smoking,which they are entitled to, but leave there butts on the ground.

    I wrote to the Health Board and after writing more than once was told if it is too dangerous to approach a smoker then maybe we should continue the educational approach!

    Maybe ashtrays and nibbles shpould be provided by the Health Board! My advice would be to designate a smoke free security officer with enforceable powers to issue a monetary penaly ;or am I to be viewed as obssessive and a nuisance complainant.

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