Hawke's Bay (Maori name: Heretaunga) is a region on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It derives its name from Hawke Bay - a large semi-circular bay that extends for 100 kilometres from northeast to southwest from Mahia Peninsula to Cape Kidnappers - which was named by Captain James Cook in honour of Admiral Edward Hawke who decisively defeated the French at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759.
The Hawke's Bay region includes the hilly coastal land around the northern and central bay, the flood plains of the Wairoa River in the north, the wide fertile Heretaunga Plains around Hastings in the south, and a hilly interior stretching up into the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges.
Five major rivers flow down into Hawke Bay. From north to south, they are the Wairoa River, Mohaka River, Tutaekuri River, Ngaruroro River and Tukituki River. Lake Waikaremoana is situated in northern Hawke's Bay, roughly 35 km from the coast (nearest town Wairoa). It is the largest lake in Hawke's Bay, 4th largest in the North Island and 16th largest in New Zealand.
The region is renowned for its horticulture, with large orchards and vineyards on the plains. In the hilly parts of the region sheep and cattle farming predominates, with forestry blocks in the roughest areas. The climate is dry and temperate, and the long, hot summers and cool winters offer excellent weather for growing grapes. Missionaries in the mid 19th century planted the first vines in Hawke's Bay and it is now becoming an important place for full bodied red wines.
For more information about the region and things to do and see, visit the Hawkes Bay Tourism website, or the Information Centres in Hastings or Napier.