Rick Barker, MP: Hastings – Salt of the Earth?

It is now universally accepted that every city, town, or locality needs a by line, a catch phrase they use to describe and promote themselves. In New York it’s “The Big Apple”, in Auckland it’s “City of Sails”, in Wellington, “Absolutely Positively Wellington”, and the Hastings District Council is to be applauded for searching for a few words that capture the essence of Hasting. But “Salt of the Earth”…?

I am not sure why we believe that experts are always better at these things than the general public. I think the Hastings District Council could play its game smarter by inviting all to put forward their suggestions. Some will be good, some will be bad, and some just dreary. Having said that, I will put my own thoughts on the line.

While being “Salt of the Earth” has some very positive connotations – salt is after all a flavour enhancer, food from Hawke’s Bay tastes fantastic and does not require enhancing. Well, you can add a little if you want. For me, the quality of the food in Hawke’s Bay is its distinguishing characteristic.

We have the giant in Wattie’s of course – well known for feeding big and healthy kids and for its wonderful restorative powers. Peter Hillary, speaking at his father’s funeral, recalled how Sir Ed at one stage was overcome by altitude sickness and after being removed to a lower altitude, he was given a tin of Wattie’s sliced peaches which effected a complete recovery.

McCain’s are well known in Hawke’s Bay as are our outstanding wines – too many to list. Then we have other fabulous food producers, also too numerous to list realistically (and I am sure I will cause offence to some by not including them), but straight off the top of my head for example: ice cream from Rush Munro’s, pickles and preserves from Maison Therese, Te Mata mushrooms, Te Mata sauces and of course Te Mata cheese, Arataki honey, venison from First Light Foods, apples and summer fruit from Pernel’s orchards, olive oil from Telegraph Hill, cheese from Hohepa, lunch between the vines at Clearview Estate winery, deli supplies from The Deli in Havelock North, coffee from Hawthorne or Aurum; and if you are hungry at night and need good quick food, what better than Kaweka Foods and their boil up or microwave pouches? Who could forget the Farmers’ Market and the market at Black Barn? If you are not feeling hungry after reading that list then check your pulse.

When I think of Hastings I think of great food and when I think of food, I think “yum”. So my suggestion is “Hastings – yum”, or we could try “Tasty Hastings”. What are your ideas? Send them to the council. I think we can all have a shot at this and think for ourselves about how we want to be described.

Rick Barker, MP

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  1. well … given the Ocean Beach imbroglio … perhaps a suitable Hastings slogan could be … "How Lowe Can You Go?"

  2. Hi Rick,heard you on the radio last week on global warming and in particular the melting of the arctic ice cap. It makes me cringe when you just repeat the garbage spouted by the likes of Al Bore a nd Jeanette Fitsimmons. a few facts for your elucidation

    1 Arctic warming has nothing to do with global warming (real or imaginery)

    2 It is chiefly caused by decadal alterations in the ocean circulations affecting the region

    3 It was warmer in the Arctic in the 1940's than now

    4 thinner pack ice is harder to melt

    5 The ice cap was probably absent during the Medieval Warm Period and almost certainly absent

    during the Bronze Age climate optimum when temperatures were higher than todays for almost 2000 years.

    The Greenland Ice Shelf melted completely away 850,000 years ago. No arctic ice cap at all !

    So if the ice cap melts away it is neither unprecedented nor alarming!

    So please ,if you must be an alarmist, check some basic facts first.


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