The infamous Golden Arches of McDonald’s are soon to “grace” one of the main entry points to Havelock North. Passions will run hot as spilt coffee in your lap on this one!

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.

The area in question is zoned Industrial, and within this zone only commercial activities that do not occupy more than 100 square meters are permitted as a matter of right. That would seem to be too small a footprint for the typical McDonald’s operation. If so, the fast food operator would need a resource consent to proceed with a store. In any event, a building permit would be required.

At this point, no formal application for any necessary permit or consent has not yet been submitted. A McDonald’s corporate staffer told BayBuzz: “We still very early in the process.”

It is not immediately clear what form of public consultation, if any, would be required. Consequently, BayBuzz has begun some “consultation” of our own.

So far, 146 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. However, 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, read What YOU Say About McDonald’s on this page for a sampling of 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 our Mac Attack survey open online so more people can give their opinion. You can take the survey at — just click to the survey from our home page. At the end of the survey, if you want to receive updates on this specific issue, leave your e-mail address and we’ll put you on our Mac Attack Alert List.

2) We’re partnering with a class of Year 12 Geography students from Iona College to do some further surveying. We’ll report their findings later.

Get your opinion in. Take our BayBuzz survey.

What YOU Say About McDonald’s!
(Responder comments – BayBuzz Survey)

HN needs to retain its individualistic nature by not looking like all the other towns and cities plagued by the golden arches, especially at the gateway to the village!! People come here because McD’s, KFC etc is not here … it has character. Go to Hastings for all that stuff! 

As long as the first thing that you see when you come into Havelock isn’t like the Hastings McDonald’s but a discreet version of it, then I don’t have huge objections. 

This idea would ruin EVERYTHING that Havelock North stands for. When I (a local resident) think about Havelock, the words that spring to mind are … sophisticated, stylish, classy, elegant, exclusive etc. Yet MD’s does NOT stand for any of these. When I think of MD’s I think… trashy, fatty, tacky and cheap. HENCE… MD’s will not fit in Havelock North!

Havelock North folk may feel they are too posh for Maccas. Too bad.

If Council would like to see how McDonald’s can fit into a town without displaying prominent golden arches, they should contact Freeport, Maine, USA. The town held the line on its building design codes and McDonald’s operates in a early period house on a major intersection with Main Street. There is a very small McDonald’s insignia (including very small golden arches) over the front door.
I feel strongly that McDonald’s should not be the first thing that is visible to as you enter Havelock North. A discreet building may be acceptable, but there is still the issue of parking, litter, location and those hideous golden arches. 

It’s about time they finally came to Havelock.

If you’ve seen any McDonald’s built in recent years, they are actually well designed. I think there is this misconception they will build a monstrosity like the one in Hastings or any other McDonald’s in the world built between 1970 and the mid 1990s. 

I am also concerned that traffic entering and exiting McDonalds would be a hazard so close to the roundabout. 

As I understand it the ‘Restaurant’ is likely to require resource consent. Hopefully the HDC will ensure this is publicly notified so that both McD’s and the Public get a fair say. My view is that their building design should be sensitive to visual amenity and the Village Character – this character has already been incrementally eroded by more recent developments. The high profile entry location is important as it will ‘set the scene’ for Havelock North, a poorly presented development may ‘make or break’ the current high level of desirability of Havelock North as a place to live (Currently ranked by the Listener as 4th to 5th most desirable in New Zealand!).

Make sure it’s 24 hours to benefit off early Sunday mornings after the clubs shut. 

HN is hardly a ‘village’ anymore – there is no ‘look’ – what is the ‘style’? This will be a positive move for HN and bring in a lot more business for the whole area.

I am a 17 year old day girl at Woodford House and I was appalled too hear the news that McDonald’s might be coming to Havelock North. The Village will lose its unique quaint image and atmosphere. It will ruin local businesses, and further add to the obesity problem … With the tacky addition of a ‘maccas’ Havelock North would no longer be a destination, just another ugly town to drive through … Once one fast food restaurant comes, they all come! Do we really want two Hastings in Hawke’s Bay? 

Too many over-priced coffee shops in Havelock North. I would rather eat at McDonald’s than some of the places I have tried. Havelock is all pies sausage rolls and over-priced cakes. 

Havelock North is no longer a village it is a mish mash of building styles from rubbish to sympathetic. The village atmosphere was lost yrs ago when the few remaining character buildings were demolished in the name of progress. All that can now be done is to appeal to McDonald’s to build a tasteful building.

So McDonald’s – please listen to the Havelock North public, engage with us early. You say in your advertising you are proactive, so let’s see you put your hand up now with regard to comments on design , and with respect for the community – before you apply for resource consent. That is your challenge. 

A HUGE consideration should be the LITTER generated by these outlets.

Even though it has been around longer than the Flintstones and has achieved a kind of American cultural legitimacy on a par with Mickey Mouse, I personally find that it represents one of the more evil and unappealing faces of American corporate imperialism.

Themed McDonald’s are indeed found in places like Taradale and Pararparaumu, so a tasteful village type establishment could be designed surely? 
Can’t wait to see arches in Havis and will likely draw a better class of peeps to the increasingly middle aged white english burg! Let them eat chips, I say.

I am philosophically opposed etc. The thin edge of that particular tasteless, consumerist wedge was prodded into the now fat complacent belly of Havelock about a generation ago. “The Village”….. when was it last a village? The 80s perhaps. Even the church capitulated to a faux toy town bell tower…without a bell, a triumph of form over function, pretense over simple good taste. Havelock is gonna get what its accountants and developers want, a new tart called Ms McDonald but at least we know the Big Mac you buy in “The Village” will be a superior Big Mac to the one you buy in Hastings. 

What’s so special about either Havelock North or its Noddy-town architecture that disqualifies McDonald’s from setting up shop there? How precious can Havelocktytes be?

I think I’d like to live in a world where fools can be foolish. If they want to eat bad food, smoke, or drink too much then good luck to them. I would like to see health care reform force individuals to bear some cost for their folly though.  

Not in my town! 

We have a lot of teenagers in Havelock North that will need a job. Not all teenagers can access getting to Napier or Hastings to get to a job. If living in Havelock North it would be acceptable as the Village would only be walking distance. 

If they operate within the zoning then they must be allowed, yet hopefully on form. Did you know that their drive through will be operating 24/7, as all franchises will be oblidged to do?!!! 

If this is allowed, would we also be opening the area to other “fast food” eateries as they all seem to follow suit…. we like Havelock for being unique in the fact that we don’t have such places to eat.

Some of the more recent McD’s refurbishments such as Coastlands in Paraparaumu would be satisfactory with the image of the HN village. I recall it has a tasteful blend of grey earth tones. Long gone is the flashy red and yellow! 

It appears to affect the business of other providers of food negatively. That would be fine and competitive, if the product was not so bad for people’s health and if it was an equal playing field (eg: Jackson’s cannot make a meal as cheap as the mass produced garbage) that McDonald’s can. I would tick the first box, but I cant since I do very occasionally eat McDonald’s – that would be hypocritical.
It is along way to go to visit if you decide on it for dinner when you live in Havelock North. Let’s face it, we have got everything else….including far too many alcohol outlets. 

A more central location in HN would be easier to access. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Great to get such debate.

    I would hate to see McDonalds in such a prominent place, it is a smack in the face at the point of entry to Havelock, not to mention traffic complications on the junction.

    However, I think they should choose a less prominent site, as people should be able to choose what kind of takeaway they want. Let's not get too precious about it..

    In Rome and London McD stores have no major signage up front, just a small "M" on a lit sign within the window. They are also small sites no bigger than any other retail store in the street and certainly no drive through.

  2. is a huge a global corperation,of course havelock is eventualy gunna get is everywhere

    bring it on i say, macas is mean!

  3. Cor, judging by their comments on MacDonalds, what an arrogant snivelling drivelling bunch those Havelockites are.

    When are we going to erect a Toll gate to impede their access to Hastings?

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