Each August, dozens of students from the University of Auckland’s School of Environment descend upon Hawke’s Bay for a week of field research.

They’re studying “Human Geography” which, as you’ll see from some of the research titles I mention, covers a lot of territory.

Many businesses, private citizens, NGOs, and local body staff and Councillors generously make themselves available to assist the students in their research.

I’m embarrassed to say that I overlooked this online compendium of the students’ final reports sent to me back in January by their course coordinator Dr David Hayward.

But here it is at last for your reading pleasure … and edification. About eighty papers were prepared. Here’s just a sampling of the report topics:

  • The Brain Drain in Hawke’s Bay (three students took this subject on)
  • Spatial Distribution of Fast-Food Outlets in Napier (now this is my kind of field research!)
  • Identities and Differences in Napier and Hastings (some great observations here … amalgamation is doomed)
  • Crime in Taradale: Patterns & Perspectives (several crime papers, all Napier-focused … sorry Barbara!)
  • Nature & Characteristics of Chinese Immigrants in Hawke’s Bay (quite a few Asian students in the group)
  • Pressed for Growth: An Analysis of Hawke’s Bay’s Olive Industry
  • Golf Courses in Hawke’s Bay — Economic Benefits vs. Environmental Costs: Are They making par?

Also, heaps of papers on one or another aspect of local tourism and marketing.

All in all, definitely worth a browse. Get some fresh perspective on how Hawke’s Bay looks under the social scientists’ magnifying glass.

Tom Belford

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1 Comment

  1. Some lunchtimes are better than others and this was one of them reading your daily news. Thank you for letting me know about this fantastic thing that happens each August – a truly outside view of the issues our little towns cope with on a day to day basis not to be confused with really bad third world issues?

    As a Havelockian immigrant (14 years) I was interested to read the 'Pie, Anxiety and Happy Meals' re McDonalds coming to HNTH. It's going to happen so lets be friends with the new owner / investors who will probably live in HNTH and try and mitigate at least the signage? Like a number of local issues it's emotional and perspective seems to go out the window.

    The paper on 'Identities and Differences in Napier and Hastings' is nothing we don't know all ready but hopefully a number of 'new settlers' in Napier since the last referendum will bring some logical thinking to the debate – we are two tiny towns in the NZ landscape not to mention on a global level. Like it or not we have to compete in the big wide world to generate income and we have to work as ONE to do it or go back to being the backwater we were in the early 90's. I know I hear a number of you screaming thats how we want it to be which is pretty sad.

    Successful and amazing people are searching the world and then 'choosing' to come to Hawkes Bay with their ideas and businesses and capital. Our kids who were brain drained at some point are returning with capital and creating businesses and making their own jobs building Hawkes Bay. They need more people and more money in the Bay how does anyone think that's going to happen by continuing to think as small towns?

    Unsure why you would think amalgamation is doomed Tom I didn't read that in the research paper? At the recent Think Tank you attended as did I the loud and clear message was fragmentation is a huge barrier for the Hawkes Bay region.

    It really is time for us all to build a bridge and move on please – in my life time would be really good.

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