Hawera a community of approximately 9,000 is the largest town in the South Taranaki District. Its key function has been to provide support and services to the farms that surround the town. Dairy farming in the area is a significant contributor to New Zealand’s exports with Fonterra’s second largest dairy factory Whareroa, located 2 km south of the town. Hawera is located on the coast of the South Taranaki Bight. The nearest cities New Plymouth and Wanganui are 50mins and 70mins drive respectively.
Hawera is Maori for burnt place, the name came about many years ago following an incident between two feuding Maori tribes in the area. One tribe surprised the other in the dead of night and burned the village to the ground ensuring that there were no survivors and the area became known as ‘the burnt place’.
The town suffered extensive fires in 1884, 1888 and 1912 causing the insurance companies to demand fire-fighting capacity as an alternative to increased premiums. For this reason a large water tower was built in the centre of town to increase water pressure and was completed in 1914.
SOUTH TARANAKI WARS 1867 – 1869
The war started on 19 June, 1867, when two surveyors and a military settler were killed by Maori at Ketemarae, a large bush clearing near Normanby. The Maori involved in the skirmish fled to Te Ngutu O Te Manu, the bush stronghold of Titokowaru who refused to hand over the Maori involved in the killings to the authorities. War was the result. Tensions were high in South Taranaki following the earlier war in North Taranaki of 1860-61, when the lands of Maori were confiscated. The constabulary retaliated but resulted in major defeat. On 2 February 1969 Titokowaru abandoned his pa and fled inland ending the South Taranaki wars.
South Taranaki District’s catchphrase is ‘Real Energy’ for three reasons:
1) the major gas and oil energy resources
2) high-energy wave and wind conditions as the region is exposed to the west
3) your energy required to pursue its large number of outdoor pursuits
With the mountain and sea so close it is possible to snow board on Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont) and surf on one of the rugged iron sand beaches in the same day. The rugged coastline along Surf Highway 45 is considered one of the world’s best for surfing. The region has beautiful scenery and plenty of opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and experience nature. The region's high rainfall and fertile volcanic soil encourages vibrant flora and fauna, with some of New Zealand’s best public and private gardens.
Over 60% of the region is in grassland or crops, and nearly 40% of the land area is in indigenous or exotic forest cover. Four distinct landforms make up the region;
- Volcanic ring plain, centred on Mount Taranaki (2518m), provides fertile free draining volcanic soils which support intensive pastoral farming.
- Hill country to the east is steeply dissected and prone to soil erosion, but can support well managed pastoral farming and commercial forestry.
- Coastal terraces along the north and south Taranaki coast.
- Coastal environment dominated by high-energy wave and wind conditions
The Taranaki economy relies heavily on its natural and physical resources;
- Dairy herds produce almost 20% of New Zealand's total milk solids.
- Sheep and beef farming in the hill country along with exotic forest plantations.
- Oil and gas reserves, including Kapuni and the larger Offshore Maui gas field.
South Taranaki has a number of large industries providing a high number of employment opportunities.
- Yarrows Bakery, Manaia
- Origin Kupe Gas, Manaia
- Shell Todd Kapuni Gas, Kapuni
- Fonterra Whareroa, Hawera
- Fonterra Eltham
- Fonterra Kapuni
- Silver Fern Farms, Hawera
- Riverlands, Eltham
- Balance Fertiliser, Kapuni
- Taranaki By-Products, Hawera
The Taranaki region has a temperate climate with abundant rainfall.
Average summer temperature 18°C
Average winter temperature 10°C
Average Annual Sunshine 2,182 hrs
Average Annual Rainfall 1,432 mm
Taranaki Cultural Events
- Power Co Taranaki Garden Spectacular
- Taranaki Fringe Garden Festival