Photo: Simon Cartwright

It’s an age-old, oft-debated topic: When it comes to summer in Hawke’s Bay, who does it better – Napier or Hastings?

With summer just around the corner, Napier is gearing up for an influx of visitors with a full events calendar including concerts, festivals and a bumper cruise season set to welcome more than 130,000 cruise ship passengers.

General Manager of Napier City Business Inc Pip Thompson said there was no denying the past few years had posed significant challenges for local businesses, but the resilience and optimism of the community was truly admirable.

“The great news is that there’s only one way to go, and that’s up,” Thompson said.

“When walking the streets, it’s fabulous to see leased signs on shop front windows – the appetite is there.

“Additionally, there is large scale investment being injected into inner city buildings, bringing into the CBD medium-to-large organisations which all helps with the vibrancy especially to the Monday to Friday trade. Napier City is well known as a weekend getaway destination, however weekend trade is not enough to keep businesses profitable year-round.”

In a Marketview snapshot for the month of July 2023, Matariki celebrations in Napier attracted the biggest crowds. Both Matariki and Winter Deco saw higher daily spend in the CBD. The highest daily spend recorded in the month of July was on the 13th, the day before the long weekend.

Of note, the hospitality spend for the month of July was up 5.4% in Napier compared with a nationwide drop.

But is Hastings faring better?

Hastings City Business Association acting general manager Emma Sey said Hastings was excited to welcome visitors from around NZ and the world, leading into Spring and Summer.

Marketview data for Hastings shows both transactions and spending for Hastings was up from April to June 2023, with transactions up by 8.1% and spending up by 5.2%.

“While our Winter months have seemed quieter than normal for businesses, card spend and transactions in the CBD are up on the same time last year and continue an upward projection,” Sey said.

“That shouldn’t be surprising however, with all of the new business and development happening in our CBD, Hastings is gaining more and more recognition as a city worth visiting and spending time in.”

She said Hastings offered a mix of cultural, outdoor, culinary, and recreational experiences which catered to a wide range of interests.

“Whether you’re interested in exploring art, indulging in local cuisine or shopping at a range of both big box and independents, Hastings has something to offer.

“Mixed in with the wider Hastings district where there’s outdoor activities, winery tours, or simply taking in scenic views, visitors are guaranteed to find things to happily fill their time.”

Coming into Spring, the Blossom Festival in the CBD will be the first of many great events happening over the 2023/2024 Summer period, Sey said.

Where to spend summer? The choice is yours.

And the Events pages on our BayBuzz website will soon be (dare we say it?) overflowing.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


Join the Conversation


  1. Next weekend is the start of the exciting HB Racing Spring Carnival that attracts many racing enthusiasts from out of the area for the weekend. Bring it on!!

  2. I say hats off to Hastings I was so pleasantly surprised with recent visits to the City!! What a clean vibrant and artistically developing experience. From the Opera House E-Site stylish eateries and cleverly designed “park” corners along with classy seating and art!! it speaks return.
    Napier needs a good clean up!! shop fronts pavements bins need attention! The black bollards do nothing for the Cities atmosphere where are the pastel Art Deco shades that delight.

  3. Perhaps competition is a good thing…but that between Napier and Hastings might just have gone on rather too long and can become downright unpleasant at times. How about encouraging a spirit of partnership and cooperation instead?

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