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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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The Hawke's Bay region, located on the eastern side of the North Island, extends in a direct line from Wairoa in the north to Woodville in the south, a distance of approximately 120 miles. Rarely does the region exceed 40 miles in width. The mountainous country of the Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges forms the western boundary, whilst lower hill country forms the northern limit. The Pacific Ocean lies on the eastern side, and in the vicinity of Hawke Bay the extensive and fertile plains of the Napier-Hastings districts (Heretaunga Plains) extend to the coast, whereas south from Cape Kidnappers the extensive belt of hill country reaches right to the coast. Lower lying land compressed between the Ruahines in the west and the eastern belt of hill country stretches southwards from the Heretaunga Plains towards the Manawatu Gorge, which can be regarded as the southernmost limit of the region. The regional boundaries outlined here correspond closely with the limits of the former Hawke's Bay Province and they include the counties of Wairoa, Hawke's Bay, Waipawa, Waipukurau, Patangata, Dannevirke, and Woodville, which with their interior boroughs and cities form the basic units for the collection of statistics. The figures for Weber County, which has been incorporated with Dannevirke County, are not shown separately, having been included for each year within the Dannevirke County totals. By including the whole of Wairoa County one may have rather exceeded the conventional limits ascribed to the region, but this is of little consequence as the bulk of the county's population resides in the coastal regions which are effectively part of Hawke's Bay. Napier (urban area population 1961, 32,716) and Hastings (urban area population 1961, 32,490) are the principal towns of the region which in 1961 registered a total population of 116,576 (4·82 per cent of the national total), 11·52 per cent of which were classified as Maoris.


Samuel Harvey Franklin, B.COM.GEOG., M.A.(BIRMINGHAM), Senior Lecturer, Geography Department, Victoria University of Wellington.