Events of Hawke's Bay

Throughout our history, lots of things have happened that have had an impact on Hawke's Bay. Use the recommended resources to find out about them.

1863 painting of meeting of Europeans and Māori from Hawke's Bay to discuss the Treaty. Behind the group of people are huts and posts.

Image: Treaty at Pā Whakairo by Horatio Gordon Robley. Collection: MTG Hawke's Bay.

Which events can I learn about?

Here are some events related to Hawke's Bay you could find out about:


Traders, whalers, and missionaries arrive in the region.

Find out about European arrivals in Hawke's Bay
24 June 1840

24 June 1840
Signing of the Herald sheet of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Find out about the Treaty of Waitangi | Te Tiriti o Waitangi
12 October 1866

12 October 1866
Battle at Ōmarunui. Settlers and local Ngā Kahungunu fought the Pai Mārire (Hauhau) faction of Ngāti Hineuru.

Find out about Ōmarunui and Pai Mārire

Tomoana freezing works opened.

Find out about the Tomoana freezing works
3 February 1931

3 February 1931
An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the richer scale strikes Hawke's Bay at 10:47 am.

Find out about the Hawke's Bay earthquake

Te Urewera Act. Te Urewera ceases to be a national park and is vested in itself as its own legal entity.

Find out about Te Urewera

Tips: These are just some examples of events you could research. You may have something different you're interested in finding out about. Just use words related to the event as your search terms in the resources below.

Hawke's Bay resources

Use these collections and websites from the Hawke's Bay to find out about things that have happened in Hawke's Bay's past.

Knowledge Bank

Overseen by the Hawke's Bay Digital Archives Trust, Knowledge Bank is a digital record of Hawke's Bay and its people. You can search this site to find out about people, events, and day-to-day life that make up the history of Hawke's Bay. The collection includes oral history, as well as images, film, video, private collections, and newspaper articles.

  • Use the search bar to enter your keywords.

  • Double quotes can be used to search for exact names or phrases eg "Hawke's Bay earthquake".

  • Choose something to have a closer look at.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

MTG Hawke's Bay Online Collection

This is an online collection that has over 30,000 objects. You can search this site to find out about events that have played a significant, or interesting, role in the history of Hawke's Bay.

  • Use the search bar to enter your keywords.

  • Select an item to find out more about it.

MTG Hawke's Bay | Tai Ahuriri

MTG Hawke's Bay is home to the region's taonga and other treasures. The collection started in 1859 and includes archives of Hawke's Bay history.

  • Explore Visit to find out when the museum is open and how to find it.

Napier Libraries

This is the website of Napier Libraries. There is some good information on local history on the website. The best way to access this is to:

  • Go to Learn & Discover to choose Local History.

  • Under Research Help, there are some pdf guides.

  • Look at History Timeline of Napier and Hawke's Bay.

  • Bibliography of Napier and Hawke's Bay is a guide to local history resources at Napier Libraries.

Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.

Napier City Council

This is the website of Napier City Council. There is some useful information on the history of Napier.

  • Enter the keyword 'early history' in the search field.

  • Follow the links to Napier's Early History and History to find out about the early history of the city.

The Cape Coast Arts & Heritage Trust

This website preserves and promotes the history of the Cape Coast in Hawke's Bay.

  • Select the News & History button and choose a post to read.

  • Or, search for keywords using the search tab.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg Cyclone Bola. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Central Hawke's Bay District Council

This is the website of the Central Hawke's Bay District Council.

Central Hawke's Bay District Library Archives

This is the Recollect collection for Central Hawke's Bay Libraries. It has photos, books, articles, and audio clips of the local area.

  • Enter a keyword for an event in the search bar.

  • You can filter results by Format eg audio or image.

  • Select an item to view it and find out more.

Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Country New Zealand

This is a Hawke's Bay Tourism site that has useful information on the history of Hawke's Bay.

  • Select the See & Do tab.

  • Under Art, Design & Culture select history.

  • Choose an article to read.

Wairoa District Council

This is the website of Wairoa District Council and includes some historical information about the area.

General New Zealand websites

Below is a selection of history, news, and government websites that have a good amount of information on events from this region.

Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Search using words related to an event and choose an article to read.

  • Or choose the section on Places.

  • Then choose Hawke's Bay.

  • Hawke's Bay region is a story that covers Māori and Pākehā settlement, local government, arts, culture, and development.


NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage.

  • Search using keywords related to an event.

  • Or go to Topics and browse for something to look at.

Papers Past - Newspapers

This is a searchable collection of early NZ newspapers (19th and 20th centuries) by the National Library and its partners.

  • Select the tab called By Region, then select Hawke's Bay.

  • This has all the Newspapers from the region.

  • You can also search using keywords related to a topic you're interested in eg Mohaka massacre.

  • Then you can narrow down the dates and also choose newspapers from a local region.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.


This is a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites such as New Zealand libraries, museums, universities, and government sites all at once.

  • Use search words related to an event to view a range of videos, audio, articles and images, and more on your topic.

  • Choose something to look at.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.


E-Tangata is an online Sunday magazine run by Mana Trust to reflect a more balanced view of Māori and Pacific lives and issues in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • You can use the tabs to explore their topics.

  • Or use keywords to find content.

Te Arawhiti | The Office for Māori Crown Relations

This government website has information about Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

  • Select Te Kāhui Whakatau (Treaty Settlements).

  • Then choose Find a Treaty settlement.

  • Look down the page to find the Deeds of Settlement for a particular iwi or hapū.

  • The summary documents are good to start with and have an overview and historical background.


Look for books about Hawke's Bay in your school library or local library. Your local librarian and elders in the community such as grandparents or kaumatua (elders in Māori society) would be the best people to help you with your research about your local history.

Here are a few titles to help you begin your search:

SCIS no: 5496198

More about Hawke's Bay

People of Hawke's Bay

Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about individual people or groups of people from Hawke's Bay.

Learn about people of Hawke's Bay

Places of Hawke's Bay

There are many places that are significant to Hawke's Bay, known as Te Matau-a-Māui in te reo Māori. Here are some resources you can use to find out about their histories.

Learn about places of Hawke's Bay