The combined population of the Napier and Hastings urban areas reaches the sizable figure of 65,206. The most important distinction between the two cities rests upon Napier's function as a port, though the importance of orcharding and the associated food-processing industries to Hastings, the more differentiated manufacturing structure of Napier, and the strikingly different sites of the two cities confirm one in an impression of two vigorously independent towns. Napier is much the older settlement – at the turn of the century Hastings' population was only half that of Napier's – and, though time may have reduced its relative importance, it has shown no signs of decline. During the period 1955–60 both the number of ships calling at the port and the tonnage handled has increased by somewhat more than a half. A list of cargo outwards constitutes a survey of the region's economy: 54,314 tons of frozen meat, 43,838 tons of wool, 26,540 tons of fresh fruit. The list of inwards cargo by coastal and overseas shipping reveals some of the basic imports required for production: 108,545 tons of manure, 107,954 tons of oil and petroleum products, and 20,391 tons of cement.
During the last decade (1951 – 61) the total population of the region has grown at the same rate as the national population (Hawke's Bay region 24·43 per cent, New Zealand 24·46 per cent), and, expectedly, the rate of growth of the urban population (33·58 per cent) has exceeded the rate of growth of the rural population (11·52 per cent). Hastings, with a 45·37 per cent increase, was the fastest growing centre; Dannevirke, with 18·2 per cent increase, was amongst the slowest. What is particularly impressive is the slight but continued growth of the county population, especially Patangata County, which contains no nucleated settlements of more than 500 persons. Dannevirke and Woodville Counties, however, which contain some of the wetter and more difficult hill country, have experienced continuing declines, as has Wairoa County, despite its large Maori population. With 13,434 Maoris, 11·52 per cent of the total population, Hawke's Bay contains a more than average proportion of Maoris, the majority of whom are located in the coastal regions of Wairoa County and Mahia (4,543) and Wairoa borough (772). The remainder are located in Napier and Hastings and in rural localities of the Heretaunga Plains and adjacent areas, such as Bridge Pa, Omahu, Pakipaki, Te Hauke, and Waimarama.
In the period April 1953 to April 1961 the total labour force grew by 20·13 per cent and those engaged in manufacturing by 36·66 per cent, both rates being well above the national levels. 21·59 per cent of the total labour force are engaged in primary industry, and this underlines the importance of agriculture in the region's economy. Nevertheless, compared with many other predominantly agricultural regions, Hawke's Bay has a relatively high proportion engaged in manufacturing (23·29 per cent). This relationship between manufacturing and agricultural activities is one of the more impressive reasons for anticipating a continued prosperity for the region. In the general lore of the North Island the Hawke's Bay sheep farmers have been selected, not without exaggeration, to typify the affluent element of the farming community. Some of this impression derives from the traditions of the early large runholders, and much of it is confirmed by a visit to any local gymkhana. All this is a tribute to the prosperity of the region, a prosperity enhanced by the background of well kept pastures and the delight of changing seasonal colours. Nevertheless, although attention is rightly focused upon the prosperous and central parts of the region the more marginal conditions prevailing in the peripheral parts should never be forgotten.
by Samuel Harvey Franklin, B.COM.GEOG., M.A.(BIRMINGHAM), Senior Lecturer, Geography Department, Victoria University of Wellington.
- Tutira, Guthrie-Smith, H. (1953)
- New Zealand Geographer, Vol. 15 (1959), “Commercial Orcharding in New Zealand”, Fielding, G. J.
- Ib., Vol. 10 (1954), “The Pastoral Fringe – Hawke's Bay”, Pirie, P. N. D.
- New Zealand Journal of Agriculture, Vol. 102 (1961), “Hawke's Bay Hill Country Farm”, Collin, F. H.
- Ib., Vol. 80 (1950), “Farming in New Zealand – Hawke's Bay”, Hill, R. P.
- Ib., Vol. 105 (1962), “Hawke's Bay Coastal Hill Country Sheep Farm”, Jagger, H. J.
- New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, Vol. 1. (1958), “Geology of the Wakarara Range, Central Hawke's Bay”, Kingsma, J. T.
- New Zealand Geological Survey Bulletin 46 (1953), “The Geology of the Dannevirke Subdivision”, Lillie, A. R.
Statistics: Hawke's Bay Region
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