Here’s a progress report on our survey about the Big Mac coming to Havelock North.

Yes, two properties have been sold to McDonald’s, just off the roundabout after Havelock Road crosses the Karamu Stream, intersects with Karanema Drive and continues into Havelock Village. No formal application for any necessary permit or consent has not yet been submitted.

But 135 people have shared their opinions with BayBuzz so far. Here’s what they say.

35% — I’m philosophically opposed to McDonald’s very existence, as a ruiner of people’s health and the worst kind of American cultural and culinary export. I do not want a McDonald’s anywhere in Havelock North.

9% — I can tolerate the existence of McDonald’s somewhere in Havelock North, but not at this prominent gateway location to our village.

16% — Whether I (or anyone else) like it or not, McDonald’s has just as much right to sell Big Macs in Havelock North as does Jackson’s Bakery to sell sausage rolls. They can locate anywhere the zoning allows, including on these properties.

27% — I accept that McDonald’s has a right to do business in Havelock North, but I’d like to see the Council negotiate some kind of building permit that keeps the style and “look” of the store somehow in tune with other shops in the village, and spares us from a garish entry to the village.

9% — I love McDonald’s … they offer inexpensive, convenient (especially for parents with clamouring kids in the back seat) and tasty food. I’d welcome a store in Havelock North, and this location is acceptable.

4% — I love McDonald’s and would welcome one in Havelock North, but perhaps there’s a better location.

So, while 35% of respondents sound like they will lie down in front of the bulldozers, barely a third of that number, 13% would positively welcome McD’s to Havelock North. A 52% majority seems resigned to the right of McD’s, under the current district plan and its zoning, to locate in the Village, but most of these would prefer either a different location or an effort by McD’s to come up with a design that integrates with the community.

Here’s where it gets messy! Of those who say they live in Havelock North (56% of the respondents to date), a larger 45% are prepared to man the barricades.

And if you really want an earful, here’s what people said in their open-ended comments!

It will be interesting to see how Havelock North Councillors Bradshaw and Kimber play this one! They can expect a lot more intensity from the nearly half of their constituents who oppose the outlet than from from those who (unhappily?) accept it.

To help our Councillors along, BayBuzz will do two things:

1) We’ll keep the survey open online so more people can give their opinion. You can take the survey here.

2) We’re partnering with a class of Year 12 Geography students from Iona College to do some further surveying. Watch for them in Havelock Village next week!

And if you’re undecided on the issue, take a look at these pictures of McDonald’s stores that are trying to blend in with their communities. Presumably, McD’s is savvy enough to try to integrate with whatever they perceive as the “Village ambiance” of Havelock North (some would say defining that ambiance is a challenge in itself!).

Would this make you more welcoming or not?

Get your opinion in. Take our BayBuzz survey.

Tom Belford

Join the Conversation


  1. Take heart folks. McDonalds does not have to be garish. We have one here in Taradale in an iconic Art Deco building with the exterior kept intact and beautifully restored in a tasteful (excuse the pun) decor. The only thing in Taradale I object to is the sign which is so high we can see it from our second storey window – we are 10minutes walk away. McDonalds is a great place to take the children and grandchildren for a tasty treat after a fun day out and a place they love to go to. McDonalds is also a great place to find when traveling in foriegn countries like Egypt and Asia where the food in other resturants is often dubious or when everything else is shut. It is also a place where you know you will find CLEAN toilets that work and have paper and hand washing facilities available. We have on many occasions been relieved (OK pun again) to find a McDonalds during our travels. Because some people choose to live on fast food and become obese has nothing to do with the placement or appearance of the outlet – these people will find a way to indulge even with no junk food outlets. They have deeper underlying problems contributing to their obesity. There are many more follies available in our supermarkets – and supermarkets have garish buildings as well – are we going to ban them from Havelock North? Havelock North is part of a wider community and a little time taken for locals to lift their heads from their lattes and take a peek at the real world might help them realise there are a lot of desperate needs out in the community which they could contribute time and money towards, helpng make a better life for other people instead of just protecting their own little closet. Even a simple gesture like donating a monthly parcel of sausages (woops – they are fat loaded) to Henare for his youth work in Flaxmere would be a start. Referring back to a previous HNth issue I will also add the comment that apartment blocks can be very attractive and we have to accept them or loose our highly productive Heretaunga soils (some of the best in the world and only 4.5% of NZ's total, producing 60% of NZ's pipfruit production and substantial other food crops. How will we provide for the massive influx of displaced people expected to come here from other lands if we continue to expand outward because people have a negative view of higher density communities. The advantages far outweigh the negatives and allow for green spaces and park like surroundings as well as better more accessible community facilities and faster more efficient transport systems. So OK for McDonalds to open in Havelock North, even at the 'gateway,' but locals should have an input into the design of the buildings and placement of signage.

  2. For goodness sakes, NZ has more MD's per capita of population than any other country baring USA, and obesity that is 2nd or 3rd largest in western society. QED.

  3. E-I-E-I-O!!

    I think that obesity figure should be looked at again, as I'm pretty certain that NZ may be the third country on the list, but the USA would actually take up at least the first six places, followed by Mexico (Mmmm, tacos!…dribble…), followed by us. That makes us…. 8th! See it's all about spin… and taco burgers.

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