What’s so great about Havelock North, Hawkes Bay: what to see, best things to do
Check out a cute, pretty town where designer stores compete with wonderful walks and vineyards for attention
Havelock North’s past reaches back 800 years with a rich history of human occupation. Today artists, local artisan food producers, orchardists and wineries offer visitors a range of activities to pick and choose from. Heritage buffs or outdoors exploration are on the doorstep of Havelock North. And best of all the place is off the visitor radar. No massive tour buses or crowds, just the locals and yourself.
Who turned up and settled in Havelock North?
Definitely Aotearoa New Zealand has British colonial associations with Havelock North a prime example. Sir Henry Havelock, of Indian mutiny fame, in 1860 is the association for the settlement of Havelock. The land was purchased in 1858 from Maori owners. Land development is fraught with speculators and wealthy pastoralists and Havelock North and vicinity is no different. Large pastoral stations restricted the town’s growth. The nearby town of Hasting and railway route through Hastings further limited growth. Twentieth century witnessed pastoral sub-division, establishment of commercial orchards and vineyards.
- Nineteenth century alternative thought and liberalism flourished in Havelock North with a sect of the Anglican church encouraging ritual mysticism.
- Dr Robert Felkin, High Mason brough theosophist English belief Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and set up Smaragdum Thalasses temple of Stella Matutina in Havelock North.
- Alan Duff novelist, born Rotorua, resident Havelock North ‘Once for Warriors’ and founder of Duffy books in homes’
- Herbert Sutcliffe health advocate 1878-1971
- Te Mata peak, a place where land has an identity
- Drinking water scandal in 2016 when several residents died and many suffered severe health issues due to contaminated water.
- The basement of the house would have been intriguing, Dr Robert Felkin’s occult practices are either famous or infamous depending on your viewpoint.
Where to take the best selfie
- Te Mata peak sunset or with mists rising at dawn.
- Local vineyard food platters
- Havelock North architectural drive from stately pastoral homesteads to arts and crafts early twentieth century houses and, of course the local church St Luke’s Anglican Church, built 1874 from native timbers rimu and kauri. (Travel Pack Information brochure for directions)
- Maraetotara Falls, a popular swimming spot for locals
What to see, highlights
- Tukituki driving route passes Te Mata Peak, Craggy Range Winery, Tuki Tuki River at Red Bridge with an option to explore Ocean and Waimarama beaches
- Heritage trails galore from gardens to buildings with a fascinating stories
- Shopping mecca (check link below)
- Wine trails with leisurely breaks in sheltered courtyards
- Cycling and walking trails
- Explore the Redwood forest
- Maraetotara Falls with freshwater swimming holes
- Havelock North Domain and playground
- Te Awa Winery & Restaurant, kids friendly with paper colouring mats, grass outdoors and giant Jenga blocks and petanque
- Walking trails with Te Mata peak as the family challenge
- Maraetotara Falls for waterfall fans
- Public baths / pools are located in Hastings (admission fees apply)
What makes the place work?
A mix of activity from vineyards, horticulture and service centre for sheep / beef farming. Havelock North is a well known local favourite for shopping.
Grapes, apple orchards and lush farming land speaks plenty about the climate.
Best time to go
Winter brisk walks or pop into the local deli for delicious treats, Summer is the peak season. Spring and autumn glorious garden displays.
- 14,900 (2018)
- A place where it is easy to find secluded places, the great outdoors is only a block away from Havelock North’s town centre. Repeat visits are guaranteed.
- For visitors the mix of vineyard courtyards, boutique artisan stores and a treasure trove of history is a compelling reason to visit.
- Short break destination easily accessible from Wellington or Auckland via domestic flights or a day’s road trip. The domestic airport is located in Napier.
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
- “Son of Te Hapuku (Ngati Kahungunu, paramount chief of Heretaunga in the 19th century) and Te Heipora. When the deed of sale for the Te Mata land block was drawn up, it contained a clause to protect a Maori reserve known as ‘Karanema’s Reserve’, and read ‘This land is for the descendants of Te Heipora for ever’. Yet Karanema died early due to the measles epidemic and a few years later the reserve was sold to the government. ‘Karanema’ is now known as Havelock North. (The history of Maori place names in Hawkes Bay’. By Buchanan.)” The 1850’s Musket Wars and battle in which Chief Puhara died at Whakatu in 1857 provided the space for government land buyers to secure the block of land designed Karanema’s Reserve, a 4000 acre block.
- There is a fascinating story of female power in nineteenth century Hawkes Bay for history buffs: a thesis Surveying Hineipaketia: the politics of power, rank and gender in nineteenth century Hawke’s Bay Kerry Conlon 2014 provides an insight into the complex politics of the period.
This painting of the members of Hawke’s Bay Chief Te Hapuku’s family was made by surveyor Robert Park (1812-1870) about 1851.
- Maraetotara Falls directions, parking and facilities Hastings District Council online information resource.
Te Mata Peak highlights & key facts
- Significant landscape peak, altitude 399m
- Legend has the landscape the body of Ngāti Kahungunu ancestor Rongokako.
- Te Mata Peak became a public park by way of a gift from John, Bernard and Mason Chambers in 1927.
- Pa sites and other earthworks
- Karaka forest grove in upper Te Hau Valley
The journey is worth it.