Napier-Hastings Urban Area

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Ahuriri, Heretaunga (Maori)
Location in New Zealand
Napier-Hastings is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 39°35′0″S 176°51′0″E / 39.58333°S 176.85000°E / -39.58333; 176.85000
Country  New Zealand
Region Hawke's Bay
 • Territorial 5,335 km2 (2,060 sq mi)
Population (June 2013 estimate)
 • Territorial 139,600
 • Density 26/km2 (68/sq mi)
 • Urban 131,000
Postcode(s) 4120, 4122

The Napier-Hastings Urban Area is a New Zealand urban area that covers the twin cities of Napier and Hastings. It is the fifth largest urban area in the country with a population of over 131,000. This is closely followed by Tauranga (116,000), and Dunedin (118,900).

While the two cities remain separated by 10 km (6.2 mi) of rural land, there is sufficient economic and social integration between the cities for Statistics New Zealand to aggregate them into a single unit. However, like the urban areas of Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, the Napier-Hastings urban area is subdivided into urban zones. The urban area contains around three quarters of the population of the entire Hawke's Bay.

On their own, Hastings and Napier are the 8th and 10th biggest cities respectively. If they were to amalgamate they would become the 5th largest city in New Zealand after Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton.

NASA satellite photo of southern Hawke Bay, including Hastings and Napier.


Amalgamation is currently a major issue for Napier and Hastings residents, mainly due to local body elections. Both cities had previously had smaller amalgamations (Napier absorbed Taradale, Hastings absorbed Havelock North), and even a referendum on a joint Hastings and Napier in 1999. This referendum resulted in 75% 'no' vote from Napier residents, and a 64% 'yes' vote from Hastings residents. Many say the referendum was called too early and many Napier residents were still bitter about the closing of Napier Hospital in 1998 and making Hastings Hospital the only public hospital in the region. The momentum is growing though as the majority of the residents see the benefit of a stronger unity of being 'officially' considered a single entity that would be larger than Tauranga and Dunedin. The plan for the new council is to also absorb the Wairoa and Central Hawkes Bay councils to make a super regional council of 150,000 people.

Part of recognition of New Zealand's 5th largest population centre is being labelled that way. Many residents have bought forth renaming the city to reflect this to the rest of the nation instead of referring to the cities by their current separate names. Names proposed include:

  • Heretaunga (the name of the plains that both cities are situated)
  • Hawkes Bay City (reflecting both recognised location and 'city' status)
  • Hawke (again, coinciding with the name of the region)
  • The Bay City (This perhaps is more in jest, and is already a common nickname)
  • Napier-Hastings (The status quo, but still does not address the issue)

Napier Urban Zone[edit]

Napier Urban Zone includes Napier and two tracts of rural land from Hastings District: Bay View to the north and Waiohiki to the south. It also includes the township of Taradale.

Napier hosts the region's only port (the majority of export coming from Hastings' industry and food processing), the region's domestic airport, High Court, the local polytechnic college, and the Hawkes Bay Regional Council headquarters.

Napier on its own is the 10th largest urban area in New Zealand.

Hastings Urban Zone[edit]

Hastings Urban Zone is completely within Hastings District and includes Havelock North and Flaxmere. The Hastings District Council consists of almost half of the total population of Hawke's Bay, with 74,000 people. The main urban zone of Hastings however contains around 60,000 people.

Hastings has gained a few services from Napier, for example, Napier Hospital was closed and services moved to Hastings Hospital, which became Hawkes Bay Hospital, around the end of the last century. Hastings also contains the region's only showgrounds, racecourse, newspaper print, sports park and Waterpark.

Hastings on its own is the 8th largest urban area in New Zealand. Coordinates: 39°35′S 176°51′E / 39.583°S 176.850°E / -39.583; 176.850