Hastings is Napier's sister city and the 1931 earthquake equally wrecked the city leaving it to be restored in the same Art Deco style for which Napier is noted. Lying 20km from Napier, Hastings was named after Warren Hastings who was the first governor general of India. With agricultural work being the main source of income in these parts, there's plenty of work picking apples available between February and April. Hastings also hosts the Blossom Festival which is held at the end of September to the beginning of January.
Things to see and do
You can pick up a map at the Visitors' Centre which will direct you to places of interest. You'll notice the paving in the Civic Square with its commanding Clock Tower also built in Art Deco style. On Hastings Street, you'll find some impressive specimens of the Californian Mission Style in the form of the Municippal Theatre and Westerman's Building.
Clearview Estate Winery, Clifton Rd, Te Awanga (Tel06 875 0150). This winery specials in superb, premium wines that are only produced in small quantities and sold direct from the vineyard. They also have a quality restaurant. Te Mata Estate, Te Mata Rd, Havelock North not only has some fine wines but is also known for its house which was built by Ian Athfield, a kiwi architect who is equally loved and hated.
The cape was given its name after one of Cook's Tahitian interpreters was kidnapped by a trader who thought that he was being held against his will aboard the Endeavour. Although the interpreter escaped, cook didn't quickly forget the event which ironically occured on the point which is know the the Maori as Te Matua-a-maui or the 'fish hook of Maui' to describe the momemtous event of Maui fishing the North Island out of the sea.
Cape Kidnappers is a breeding colony for some 15,000 birds. It is reputed to be the only gannet colony on the mainland in the world. It is believed that they favour the spot due to abundance of driftwood to be found in the immediate vicinity. Gannets have distinctive headmarkings and are generally at the cape from the end of July to February. Unless you want to take a tour (horseback/quadbike/kayak/tractor-driven trailor/vehicle), access is only possible on foot and you'll need to check out the tides before you set off at the entrance to the walkway or at DOC. You need to leave 3 hours after high tide and begin your return trip one and a half hours after low tide. From Clifton, the walk is 8km/2hrs along the beach to the dramatic splendour of sheer, barren cliffs falling into the ocean accompanied by the sound of waves and the squawking of the birds.
The Longest Place Name in the World - Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu (if you think you're clever cos you can say it, try and spell it!). This hill lies some 100km south of Hastings on private land. To get here take the SH2 to Waipukurau and then turn off towards the coast on the Porangahau Road for 40km till it meets the Mangaorapa junction from where you can follow the signs. The name is roughly translated as,'the brow of the hill where the circumnavigator of the land Tamatea known as the landeater played the lute to his lover'. The Land Eater was Tamatea Pokaiwhenua was a famed traveller of the North Island who seemed to eat the land as he walked.