Havelock North History

Havelock North

Named after British General Sir Henry Havelock, the town of Havelock North was founded in 1860 to provide land for small farmers and working-class settlers.

This followed the purchase of land in 1858 from Maori owners, of land previously known as ‘Karanema’s Reserve’. However, most sections ended up in the hands of speculators and wealthy pastoralists.

1859 sale of sections and by 1860 township development had started Early a860 a pub had opened

Havelock North was founded by the government in the late 1860 to provide land for small farmers and working-class settlers. However, most sections were bought by speculators and wealthy pastoralists, which prevented small farms from developing. The township was named after British general Sir Henry Havelock to commemorate his role in suppressing a rebellion against British power in India.

Havelock North started as plain Havelock. Another Havelock was founded in Marlborough about the same time. This caused problems for postal authorities and in 1910 the chief postmaster suggested the Hawke’s Bay township should change its name. Locals were incensed and members of the town board travelled to Wellington to protest to the minister of internal affairs in person. A name change was not enforced, but from this time ‘Havelock North’ was used informally.

Like other towns in the region, its growth was restricted by large pastoral stations on its fringes. The founding of Hastings in 1873, and the routing of the regional railway line through Hastings the following year, limited the growth of Havelock North for the next few decades.

The first orchards appeared in the 1870s, but they were not common until the early 20th century. Bernard Chambers established the first vineyard in 1892. Private schools were opened in the town to cater for the families of wealthy runholders.

Major town south-east of Hastings, with a 2013 population of 13,071. Havelock North is the urban centre of Hawke’s Bay’s wine country. Locals call it ‘the village’.