Story: Hawke’s Bay places
Page 8 – Inland of Hastings and Napier
Settlement west of Hastings, with a 2006 population of 1,101. Bridge Pā is a predominantly Māori settlement and has two marae. The outlying district contains the regional prison, vineyards and wineries, an aerodrome and two golf courses – including the Hastings Golf Club, which was established in 1898.
Rural settlement west of Hastings off State Highway 50, with a 2006 district population of 1,143. 19th-century politician Donald McLean owned a pastoral station at Maraekakaho, which his son Douglas subdivided for closer settlement in the early 20th century.
The township is clustered around a primary school and community hall. The surrounding district contains pastoral farms, lifestyle blocks, orchards, vineyards and wineries. Maraekakaho is a comparatively wealthy district – the median income in 2006 was $29,000, well above regional and national averages.
Along the Napier–Taihape road
Rural district in the hill country east of the Kaweka Range, with a 2006 population of 2,436. Māori settlements were located around Oingo and Rūnanga lakes and neighbouring swamps. Pā were also built further inland on hilltops.
Large blocks were leased and later purchased from Māori by European runholders from the 1850s. In the 2000s the district was still mainly occupied by pastoral farms.
The historic Mangawhare station homestead (1879) is located off Taihape Road south of Sherenden. Further west is the Matapiro station homestead (1907), designed by noted architect Charles Tilleard Natusch.
The westernmost settlement of Kurīpāpango was well-known as a mountain resort in the 1880s and 1890s. The area was also farmed, and later became part of the Kaweka Forest Park.
Kaweka Forest Park
Department of Conservation park in the Kaweka Range. Māori settlements were located in the foothills near the Tūtaekurī River. The area was cleared and farmed by European settlers in the late 19th century. The mountainous country was not ideal for farming – erosion and soil infertility became a problem once the forest was cleared – and the farms were abandoned by 1900.
The area became a state forest in the 1960s and was extensively replanted with exotic pines. It became a forest park in 1972 and is popular with trampers, fishers and water-sports enthusiasts. Mangatutu and Mangatainoka hot springs are located in the park. The highest peak is Kaweka (1,724 m).
A vintage car and machinery museum is located inland at Puketitiri.
Rural settlement on State Highway 5, 45 km north-west of Napier, near Te Waka Range. Te Pōhue was located on a major Māori track between Ahuriri and Taupō. A pā was built above a nearby lake to watch out for war parties travelling down from the interior.
The first European runholders arrived in the district in the 1850s. A hotel for travellers between Taupō and Napier was first built at Te Pōhue about 1869, and in the 2000s the pub is the settlement’s focal point. The surrounding district is primarily pastoral farmland and exotic forest.
Settlement based around the Ngāti Hineuru marae in the mountain ranges on State Highway 5, 69 km north-west of Napier. A military blockhouse was constructed there in 1869, when Māori resistance leader Te Kooti was active in Hawke’s Bay. Te Kooti visited Te Hāroto a few times and named the meeting house Rongopai (peace) in 1885. In the 20th century the settlement became a busy timber-milling township, but declined when all the trees had been felled. In the 2000s a few houses and the meeting house remain.
A literary journey
On a journey to Te Urewera in December 1907 Katherine Mansfield, who was to become New Zealand’s best-known writer, and her travelling companions camped at Tarawera Hot Springs. ‘We swam … & when we came out each drank a great mug of mineral water – luke warm & tasting like Miss Wood’s eggs at their worst stage – But you feel – inwardly & outwardly like velvet.’1 The next day they visited Waipunga Falls.
Tarawera, 80 km from Napier on State Highway 5, is at the foot of the Ahimanawa Range close to the Waipunga River, and was originally a Ngāti Hineuru settlement. The colonial government built a stockade there in 1869, one of a number of fortified points between Napier, Taupō and Tauranga. The route from Napier was rugged and winding, and until the 1910s Tarawera was an overnight halt. Hot springs are located nearby and the Waipunga Falls a few kilometres north.