Hastings, New Zealand Tourist Attractions
The town of Hastings lies 20km south of Napier in the fertile Heretaunga plain with its numerous fruit plantations and parks. The town's economy centers on food industries (canning, fruit processing, meat-freezing plants).In 1864 a group of 12 settlers, known as the 'twelve apostles', bought land in the Heretaunga plain. One of them, Francis Hicks, founded the settlement in 1873. It was originally to be called Hicksville, but this was replaced by its present name, in honor of Warren Hastings, first governor general of the East India Company. Like its neighbor, Napier, Hastings was hit by a severe earthquake in 1931, in which several dozen people were killed and many buildings were totally destroyed. The rebuilding of the town was largely in art-deco style.
Hastings Exhibition Centre
There are a number of interesting towns and attractions in the Hastings surrounding areas.
From the hill of Te Mata (400m) there is a marvelous view of Hawke's Bay. The hill can be climbed on a narrow road or an attractive footpath.
On the road to Te Mata is the modern Lourdes Chapel (1960), dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Its architect, John Scott, was clearly influenced by Le Corbusier. The timber interior is reminiscent of churches built for Bishop Selwyn, such as All Saints in Howick and Old St Paul's in Wellington.
30km southeast of Hastings by way of Havelock North is Waimarama, with a beautiful sandy beach. From here there are fine views of the high cliffs of Bare Island.
Ocean Beach, also reached by way of Havelock North, is another excellent beach.
In the Maori village of Pakipaki, 6km south of Hastings on Highway 2, is the Houngara meeting house (1916), with fine carving.
Te Aute College
30km south of Hastings is Te Aute College, a school founded in 1854, mainly for Maori pupils. The school is famed for having taught three future Maori leaders, Maui Pomare, Apirana Ngata and Peter Buck, and is seen by many as the cradle of the influential Young Maori Party. The school has a fine assembly hall, with magnificent carving by Pine Taiapa in the 1930s.
43km and 50km southwest of Hastings are the two little townships of Waipawa (pop. 1700) and Waipukurau (pop. 3700), founded in the 1860s by the owners of large sheep farms.44km south of Waipukurau and 5km before Porangahau, on a hill just off the road, is a village with the longest place name in the world - 36 letters in the official spelling and no fewer than 62 in the colloquial version. The place name is a story in itself: 'the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who fell down hills, climbed up again and ate them, became known as the land-eater and played a song to his loved one on the flute' (the loved one was his twin brother, who was killed in battle).