Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu (which translates into English as The hilltop, where Tamatea with big knees, conqueror of mountains, eater of land, traveller over land and sea, played his koauau (nose flute) to his beloved).
The Hawkes Bay district gets its name from Hawke Bay, a large bay in the North Island's eastern coastline. The district extends south to the Wairarapa.
The Hawkes Bay was one of the original colonial provinces when New Zealand was colonised by British settlers in the mid to late nineteenth century. The flat fertile land has been developed for farming. Initially sheep, later beef and dairying as well as forestry, orcharding and cropping. The warm dry sunny climate makes the region ideal for winegrowing and the vineyard industry has developed strongly in recent years.
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State Highway 2 passes through the centre of Napier and Hastings and the provincial towns.
State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - joins State Highway 2 just north of Napier.
If travelling from the south, State Highway 50 provides a scenic route that is more direct to Napier and bypasses Waipukurau, Waipawa and Hastings. This road is of a slightly lower standard than State Highway 2 and has some narrow winding sections that need to be taken slowly as well as a couple of single lane bridges with sharp approach coners at the bottom of steep grades, so take care.
If travelling from Taihepe the historic Taihepe road over the Kaweka ranges could be entertaining. It has an incrediably steep bit called the 'gentle anne' and and the store keeper at the bottom kept a team of Draught horses especially to carry wagons over this one piece of road. Much of the road is dirt, but still easily driveable in a 2 wheel hatch back. It comes out at Fernhill halfway between Hastings and Napier.
The Napier Airport serves the region with domestic flights from most locations withing New Zealand.
Luxury cruise liners often visit the port of napier and allow day excersions around Hawkes Bay. If you are visiting it would be wise to hire a car if you are interested in exploring
Cape Kidnappers - gannet colony and panoramic views of the bay
Te Mata peak - drive to the top for panoramic views
Hawke's Bay Wine Tours. Hawke's Bay is the country's oldest winemaking region, and tours depart Napier at 1PM, returning at 5PM. The tours visit 4-5 local wineries for tastes of Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and other wines as well as local cheeses.