Hastings is located in the province of Hawke’s Bay on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is the larger of the two major cities in the region, and the Central Business District is located approximately 20 kilometres inland from the coast.
Hastings District is home to almost 75,000 people, ranking it 14th in population of the country’s 73 territorial authorities.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule says the District enjoys “a well-deserved reputation as the major food producing area of New Zealand.” The fertile soil of the Heretaunga Plains and a higher than average number of sunshine hours, ensures ideal growing conditions for a wide range of fruit and vegetables.
Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine producing region in New Zealand, with grapes first grown there over 100 years ago. Currently, over 80 per cent of the country’s plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes are in Hawke’s Bay, and vintners have established a reputation for producing superior quality red wines. The warm climate and varying landscapes also produce New Zealand’s richest and most complex Chardonnays.
“The region produces some absolutely stunning wines which have won major awards at wine shows all around the world,” Mr Yule says. “The winery owners are rightfully proud of the wines which are being produced.”
Hastings District is enclosed by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Kaweka Ranges to the west, with beaches, rivers and mountains all close to the major residential areas.
“Hastings is building a strong reputation as a tourist destination,” Mr Yule says. “The food and wine trails offer a chance to taste delicious fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses, fine meats, and locally produced delicacies. Winery restaurants offer world class cuisine while diners can enjoy uninterrupted views across stunning scenery.”
Hastings has become a mecca for cycling enthusiasts, with hundreds of kilometers of on and off road pathways linking with the national pathways. Two of the most popular rides are the Water Ride, which offers incredible views across the Pacific Ocean and the Wineries Ride that allows cyclists the chance to visit some of the districts fantastic wineries. Scenic highlights include Te Mata Peak, with views from the mountains to the ocean and the dramatic Cape Kidnappers, home to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony and one of the top 50 golf courses in the world.
“Whether you are raising a family, seeking a career change or looking to provide your children with quality education, Hastings offers a lifestyle that is the envy of many other regions in New Zealand,” says Mr Yule.
Hastings has a growing reputation for business development and investment. As the world demands higher quality food, a number of international companies have consolidated their food production in Hastings. Heinz Wattie and McCain Foods have both made considerable investment in their Hastings factories over the past two years.
Mayor Yule says that local companies are continuing to grow and seek out new and exciting export markets. “That enables substantial growth to occur in supporting industries including logistics and engineering,” he explains. “Considerable business investment is occurring all around the district, as more companies recognise the opportunities that exist in supporting the regions food production chain.”
“New Zealand has developed a reputation as an easy place to do business with a safe, stable and secure business environment,” Mr Yule continues. “More overseas and New Zealand based companies are now recognising the opportunities which exist to relocate to Hastings. There is obviously enormous potential for further growth in the industrial sector with the wine industry looking to increase its markets in New Zealand and exports to the world. The Port of Napier, Hawke’s Bay Airport and a robust transport infrastructure provide a welcoming business environment.”
Developing sustainable lifestyle options for its residents in the future is one of Hastings District Council’s top priorities. New and improved transport options aim to lower the cost of road maintenance and reduce traffic congestion. Funding of $4.1 million from The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has led to the construction of over 100 kilometres of on and off-road walking and cycling pathways around the district.
“We’ve linked those pathways to the national network of cycleways that the Government has funded over the past few years,” Mr Yule says. “That has led to Hastings having some of the best cycling and walking opportunities in New Zealand and it is living up to its reputation as the walking and cycling capital of New Zealand.”
To sustain a quality lifestyle for its residents, Council has invested a considerable amount into creating high quality facilities for sport and recreational activities right across the district. “Living a healthy lifestyle is so easy in Hastings,” Mr Yule says. “We have the climate, there are plenty of parks where you can take a relaxing stroll and the new pathways offer walkers and cyclists a safe and no fuss way to get some exercise. A healthy lifestyle has so many positive effects on the whole community.”
“The challenge for Hastings going forward is to create significant and sustainable employment opportunities for the younger generation, potentially leading to higher paying jobs,” says Mr Yule.
“We are optimistic that the challenges can be met and our business leaders will continue to seek new outlets for their products, particularly in the surging China and Asian markets. This will lead to improved prosperity for our residents and Hastings will continue to thrive.”
As for the long-term future, Mayor Yule would like the city to further expand its base of food production. “Food and wine will continue to be the backbone of business growth in Hastings and we must continue to capitalise on the work that has gone on in the past and embrace the market research which is happening today,” he says.
“Hastings has the infrastructure to support business growth, while providing quality lifestyle options for its residents. There is a strong desire from the business community to attract further overseas investment. I am confident that the district will be at the forefront of food production in Australasia for decades to come.”