Local History

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography is published both in print version (available in our libraries) and online.

The website contains "over 3,000 biographies of New Zealanders how have 'made their mark' on this country.  It does not include people who are alive. So you will not find people like Helen Clark or Sean Fitzpatrick, but you will find people like George Nepia or Michael Joseph Savage."

Browse or search on names.  Find the DNZB at www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies

Hastings & District War Memorials

Hawke's Bay has many memorials to those who died in conflicts during the 20th Century.

Hastings War Memorial Library was built as a memorial to those from the Hastings district who died in World War 2.   Our Hall of Memories is a very special place.

In Civic Square we also have the Hastings Cenotaph, erected in memory of those who died in World War 1.

To commemorate those brave people who bought with their lives the freedom we enjoy today, library staff have compiled a list of Hastings District memorials and rolls of honour.  We have also attempted to add their first names where possible. 

Hastings Blossom Festival

Blossom Festival

See the Festival Programme at www.visithastings.co.nz

Photo collection of Hastings Blossom Parades:  See Knowledge Bank : Hawke's Bay Digital Archives Trust at http://hb.knowledgebank.org.nz/

The Knowledge Bank would welcome any other Blossom Parade images to digitise and add to their collection.

1950 - The First Blossom Festival

  • After a meeting in March 1950, Greater Hastings Inc was formed to promote Hastings, attract visitors and assert the town's rivalry with Napier which had just become a city. 
  • With support from retailers and fruitgrowers, Greater Hastings Inc. organised the first Blossom Week Festival to mark the start of the 1950-51 fruit season. Streets and shop windows were bedecked with paper blossoms. 
  • The highlight of the week was the parade with 41 decorated floats. 
  • People danced in the streets to band music until around 10.30pm. 
  • With the success of the first festival, it then became an annual event, attracting up to 50,000 people some years.  

Hastings War Memorial Library - History Highlights

From a free reading room to computerised services, the Hastings Library has evolved over many years. Our buildings have been built, fallen down (literally), moved, rebuilt and extended, to provide a much used community service in the heart of Hastings.

Photo: The old Hastings Library building in Market Street South, destroyed in the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.

Hawke's Bay Local History Repositories

The main repositories of local history information are the Hastings & Havelock North Libraries, Napier Library and the MTG - Museum, Theatre, Gallery Hawke's Bay.

Recently launched is the Hawke's Bay Knowledge Bank, an online digital "living record" - see http://hb.knowledgebank.org.nz/.

Hawke's Bay local history records, photos and items may also be located at National Archives and the Alexander Turnbull Library (part of the National Library) in Wellington. 

Historic Buildings in Hastings District

The Hastings District was devastated by the 1931 earthquake.  The damaged buildings were replaced by strongly reinforced buildings in the Art Deco and Spanish Mission styles. 

Some buildings did survive the earthquake, so we now have an interesting mixture of architectural styles and some very fine buildings. 

Local History Collection & Archives

Local History Collection

Hastings Library has a Local History Collection covering the history of Hastings and District. These are Reference items and may only be used in the library.  In addition there are many items available in the lending collections.

Community Archives

Both Hastings and Havelock North Libraries have Community Archives.  These are available Monday to Friday only, and it is best to make an appointment with the Archives Librarian at either library. 

Local History Images

Images of our district's history can be found in a variety of resources: books, catalogues, websites.



Regional Roll of Honour

Search for loved ones from Hawke’s Bay who fought in World War One as well as returned servicemen who settled in the Hastings District and are now lying at rest in RSA Service cemeteries.

Statistics and Yearbooks

Statistics New Zealand Tatauranga Aotearoa is New Zealand’s national statistical office and major source of official statistics.
They have been publishing statistics for nearly 120 years.  Website: www.stats.govt.nz

Publications include:

New Zealand Official Yearbooks

After 120 years of printing official yearbooks, the 2012 Yearbook has been published exclusively online.

View the New Zealand Official Yearbook 2012

The New Zealand Yearbooks have been published since 1893, giving a comprehensive statistical picture of New Zealand life. 

Many editions have now been digitised and are available online.

Digital Yearbook Collection

Hastings War Memorial Library holds print editions in the Reference Collection from 1893.


Overview of New Zealand

New Zealand in Profile

  • An annual overview of New Zealand's people, economy and environment.

Te Āhua o Aotearoa: 2013

  • He tirohanga whānui o te iwi o Aotearoa, te ōhanga me te taiao


Hastings Statistics

Statistics New Zealand gathers comprehensive data on many aspects of our region.

Visit their website to find the latest economic, social and demographic statistics for Hastings District and Hawke's Bay.

Havelock North Library - History Highlights

Havelock North Library has been around for a long time!

Inauguration of the library by shareholders of the Mechanics Institute. Housed in the Foresters Lodge.  A correspondent in the [HB] Herald of the time commented "it was hoped the efforts of the committee would be requited by a lower attendance at the hotels and a consequent improved attendance at the institute, which was well lighted and where there was always a good fire burning".

Terms of Use - Images from Hastings District Libraries Archives

The images made available by the Hastings District Libraries are for private use and study only.  You may not make copies, sell or otherwise distribute the images.

Please click Read More for information on Pernissions & Acknowledgments, Copyright, Terms of Supply and an order form.

Hastings, Heart of Hawke's Bay
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