What’s so great about Bridge Pa, Hawkes Bay: things to do
A minuscule settlement whose name is linked to the popular Bridge Pa Triangle Wine Festival
A tiny settlement has been continuously inhabited by Maori. Bridge Pa is a blip on the road for visitors travelling to Napier or to the airport. Formerly known as Korongata pa, the current name reflects a bridge that used to span the Te Awa Ateaatua stream, now an underground culvert. The area is now a premium wine growing area with its own terrain.
What to see, highlights
- Annual Bridge Pa Wine Festival
Six wineries in the Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District have fostered the now very popular Bridge Pa Wine Festival. The wineries include Abbey Estate, Alpha Domus, Ash Ridge, Oak Estate, Paritua, and Red Metal. During the festival connections are via a Hop On/Hop Off buses, allowing attendees to visit multiple wineries and enjoy a wide range of wine experiences. Each winery has different offerings of wine, food, and music. Festival buses are also available to and from the festival, from Taradale, Napier, Hastings and Havelock North. Bridge Pa Triangle is defined by three roads, Ngatarawa Road, State Highway 50 and Maraekakaho Road. It is recognised as a premium wine growing area in the Hawke’s Bay wine region. Wines grown include Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.
Alwyn Corban and Garry Glazebrook of Ngatarawa Wines pioneered wine production in the area in the 1980’s with the late 1990’s Bridge Pa wine growing area grew in stature and significance as a premier wine growing area.
- Hawkes Bay aerodrome, at Bridge Pa is the home of Hawke’s Bay & East Coast Aero Club. Skydivers have magnificent views of the Hastings Golf course and the vineyards
- An abandoned house now is a youtube favourite among abandoned buildings fans, “Where others see a sun-faded crumbling wreck, Hinekirunga Hapi and Doreen Tipoki see the ebbing glow of a home filled with love, laughter and a door open to all.” Stuff 2017. The house is located on private land and must only be viewed from the public road. Hawke’s Bay Abandoned House – Bridge Pa – Stuff.co.nz
- Kevin Tamati – Kiwi Rugby League player and representative coach
- Taine Randell – All Black, In his 61-game tenure as an All Black, Randell played 51 tests, including 22 as captain. He is of Ngati Kahungunu descent.
- Car crashes and general mayhem on a busy road
Where to take the best selfie
- Festival time
- Skydiving from a great height
Who turned up and settled in Bridge Pa?
- A dot on the landscape, approximately 10km from Hastings visitors could be forgiven for thinking Bridge Pa is part of greater Hastings. The original name was Korongata Pa.
- Bridge Pa is local Europeans recreating a name to reflect a bridge that used to span the Te Awa Ateaatua stream. The Korongata Marae continues to occupy its historic site together with Nukanoa Marae. “The two meeting houses are communal homes of Ngāti Kahungunu hapū of Ngāti Pōporo and Ngāti Whatuiāpiti. Mangaroa Marae and Hikawera II meeting house is a meeting place of the Ngāti Kahungunu hapū of Ngāti Pōporo and Ngāti Rahunga.” [Wikipedia]
What makes the place work?
- Viticulture and vicinity to Hastings offers ample job opportunities
- Hawkes Bay glorious holiday weather
Best time to go
- Year round
- 1,140 (2018) over 57% Maori. An increase of 5.3% since the 2013 census.
- Traffic due to 100km zone in the vicinity
- An hour or more taking in the landscape and history of the area.
The journey is worth it.