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.

Photo of the Gateway (waharoa) and path to the Ātea a Rangi star compass in Waitangi Regional Park, south of Napier.

Image: Gateway towards Atea a Rangi star compass by Pseudopanax on Wikimedia Commons.

Which places can I learn about?

Here are some places in Hawke's Bay you could find out about:

Cape Kidnappers | Te Kauwae a Māui

Cape Kidnappers | Te Kauwae a Māui
A reserve with access from Clifton at low tide. Te Kauwae a Māui means jaw-bone of Māui.

Find out about Cape Kidnappers
Mahia Peninsula

Mahia Peninsula
Located between the towns of Wairoa and Gisborne.

Find out about Mahia Peninsula

City that was rebuilt in art deco style after the Hawke's Bay earthquake in 1931.

Find out about Napier
Ōtātara Pā Historic reserve

Ōtātara Pā Historic reserve
An ancient Māori pa site and the place from which Ngāti Kahungunu spread through and beyond Hawke's Bay.

Find out about Ōtātara Pā
Pukemokimoki Marae

Pukemokimoki Marae
An urban marae located in Maraenui, Napier.

Find out about Pukemokimoki Marae
Te Mata Peak

Te Mata Peak
Also known as the sleeping giant. A place of cultural significance to local Māori.

Find out about Te Mata Peak

Tips: These are just some examples of places you could research. You may have somewhere different you're interested in finding out about. Just use the place name as your search terms in the resources below.

Hawke's Bay resources

Regional websites from museums and councils are some of the best places to look for information about historic places in the region.

MTG Hawke's Bay

Taonga and other artifacts on display at the MTG tell the stories of the region. A permanent exhibition about the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931, and the region's recovery shows the development of the art deco city.

  • The museum is found at 1 Tennyson Street, corner of Marine Parade and Tennyson Streets.

  • Open daily from 9:30 am-5 pm.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co 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 company’s mission and values are.

Knowledge Bank

Overseen by the Hawke's Bay Digital Archives Trust, Knowledge Bank is a digital record of Hawke's Bay and its people. The collection includes oral history, 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 "Scinde Island".

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 Te Mata Peak. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

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 people who 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.

Ngā ara Tipuna

This is a storytelling trail that you can visit in person or online. Led by mana whenua the trail highlights sites of historic, ecological, or geological significance in the Waipukurau-Takapau rohe (tribal area).

  • The best place to start the tour is Waipukarau Railway Station.

  • Maps help you find places of interest along the way.

  • Or go to Explore online to see what it was like 400 years ago.

Napier Libraries

This is the website for Napier Libraries which houses the Te Kohikohinga Māori - Māori Collection. Resources include tribal history, pre-European New Zealand history, and modern history from a Māori perspective.

  • The collection is reference only and can be viewed at Napier Library, 1 Tennyson Street, Napier.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co 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 company’s mission and values are.

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.

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 the name of a place in the search bar.

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

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

Wairoa District Council

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

Ongaonga Museum

Ongaonga Museum is the home of historical buildings and artefacts that you can explore to learn about Central Hawkes Bay (Tamatea) history. If you can't visit, there is a virtual museum tour available online.

  • The museum is found at 83 Bridge Street, Ongaonga

  • open Sundays 11am-3pm.

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.

Central Hawkes Bay Museum

The museum has a collection of photographs and other taonga on display. It is a good place to find out about the everyday lives of early settlers in Central Hawkes Bay (Tamatea).

  • The museum is found at 23 High Street, Waipawa.

  • Open 7 days 10-4 pm.

  • Go to History to read a short history of Central Hawke's Bay.

Te Urewera Centre

This ‘living building’ has been designed as a tribal meeting place, information space, and visitor centre. It is staffed by rangers who have local knowledge of heritage sites, local stories, legends, and history.

  • The visitor centre is found at 6249 Lake Road/SH38, Waikaremoana.

  • Open 8am-4:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Wairoa Museum

This museum is home to photographic collections, taonga, and other artefacts related to the Māori and European history of the Wairoa area and surrounding districts.

  • The museum is located at 142 Marine Parade, Wairoa.

  • Open Tuesday to Friday, 10am-2pm.

Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Country New Zealand

This is a Hawke's Bay Tourism site that has useful information on places of interest in Hawke's Bay.

  • Go to the See & Do tab.

  • Under Art, Design & Culture select History.

  • Choose a place to find out about.

Pukemokimoki Marae

Website for the Pukemokimoki Marae in Napier. It has information about its history.

Te Mata Park

This is the website for the Te Mata Park Trust. It looks after this area in Hawke's Bay.

  • Find a timeline of the park by going to About and then History.

  • Or explore the Learn tab to find out about the Natural Environment, Points of interest, and The Story of Te Mata.

General New Zealand resources

These websites have information about places in New Zealand Aotearoa, including Hawke's Bay.

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.

  • Go to the section on Places.

  • Then find Hawke's Bay on the map to find out about the Hawke's Bay region.

  • Or you can use the name of a place as a keyword.

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.


NZHistory is another website from the Ministry of Culture & Heritage with information about people, places, and events in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Go to Places to find Hawke's Bay. Then select a town, lake, or place to learn about its significance.

  • Also, go to Culture and Society to find the Memorials Register to view the Hawke's Bay memorials map.

  • This page has links to memorials built for people from the region who fought in the New Zealand wars, the South African War, and the World Wars.

Department of Conservation

The Department of Conservation (DOC for short) is the government website about preserving the natural and historical sites of New Zealand.

  • Go to Our work, then select Heritage to find a link to Explore heritage sites by region.

  • Then select Hawke's Bay.

  • Each listing has information on the history and significance of the place.

Rārangi Kōrero | New Zealand Heritage List

This is part of the Heritage New Zealand website. It is a record of place-based heritage in New Zealand.

  • To browse places, under Region select Hawke's Bay Region.

  • Then select the Show listings button to see all the places.

  • You also have the option to use filters to search by keywords, list types or show listings.

Māori Maps

Māori Maps shows the tribal marae of Aotearoa New Zealand. Marae are the centres of Māori identity, marking the home ground and mana of hapū (kin groups) and whānau (families). A marae is both a physical and spiritual location, a collection of buildings and an anchoring to the land, a place where people meet and the community of related people itself.

  • Next to the search box, use the menu to choose Region.

  • Then search using 'Hawke's Bay'.

  • Choose a marae to view a selection of photos, address and contact details, and key information.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co 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 company’s mission and values are.


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:

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

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.

Learn about events of Hawke's Bay