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Push for city to fold galls councillors
Hastings has been told to fold its
tent and let Napier take control in
any amalgamation of the two
The suggestion was made to
Hastings district councillors dur-
ing annual plan hearings held
recently in council chambers.
That such a suggestion should
come from the great-great-nephew
of Hastings first mayor, and
something of a city father himself,
made it all the more galling to
The suggestion, by Hastings
lawyer Guy Wellwood, was met
with incredulity and a smattering
of whispers between councillors.
And with Hastings mayor Law-
rence Yule s push for a feasibility
study on amalgamation raising
heckles in Napier, Mr Wellwood s
submission went down like a
hippie at an art deco party.
Mr Wellwood, whose ancestor,
Robert Wellwood, was first mayor
of Hastings in 1886, stood
unflinchingly before the 14 coun-
cillors, Mr Yule and council
officers before suggesting they
consider that Hastings just fold
up its tent and disappears as a
local authority .
Councillors barely had time to
raise eyebrows at one another
before Mr Wellwood continued.
The urban part becomes part of
Napier and the rural part
becomes part of Central Hawke s
Bay. . .ThisisabigprojectbutI
wanted, early in the amalgama-
tion process, to make it clear
that s the way I felt.
He said he had been a local sol-
icitor for 30 years, his family had
been in Hastings for 140 years,
and he was not anti-Hastings in
any shape or form .
It seemed amalgamation was
favoured by Hastings but not
Napier, where he felt it was seen
as a Hastings takeover .
If they could be convinced,
albeit it wouldn t be true, that it
was a Napier takeover, then great
things may happen in Hawke s
Bay, Mr Wellwood said.
He was disappointed the annual
plan contained no mention of Mr
Yule s well-publicised proposal to
merge the two councils.
I think it would be great to
have one big city in Hawke s Bay,
I think the timing is right . . .
what has traditionally made the
urban areas of Hawke s Bay great,
namely the rural wealth, is about
to enter another very successful
period and I think we ll get a lot of
grunt out of having one city.
Councillor Mick Lester
questioned whether Mr Wellwood
had asked Napier to fold and just
let Hastings take over .
It would be fair to us if you d
done the same thing to them.
Mr Wellwood said he had
missed his chance this year, but it
was a good idea.
Mr Yule said he did not see
amalgamation as a takeover, and
the focus of debate on amalgama-
tion would be on improving the lot
of all people in the region
Hastings v Napier: the Port of Napier
Many issues have divided Hastings and Napier over the past
130 years, but one of the longest and most bitter disputes was
the inner harbour (Iron Pot) versus the development of the
breakwater (Bluff) harbour debate, writes Michael Fowler.
Troubled waters: Napier's breakwater port in the 1890s. Photo: ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY
Work started on the breakwater in
1886, and was completed in 1893. The
first ship to berth unloaded circus
A short-lived attempt was made in
new harbour near Cape Kidnappers.
Only one of the men, M R Miller,
was from Napier, and his involve-
ment was treated as an act of treach-
ery against Napier (he later moved
Concerned that another rival port
could be built by Hastings and rural
interests, a meeting of merchants
and others interested in the welfare
of Napier considered the formation
of a breakwater harbour at the Bluff.
The inner harbour could only take
ships of a certain size, and larger
ships required lighters (barges) to
carry goods out to them.
And the shingle bar at the
entrance needed constant dredging.
Napier was keen to develop the
breakwater harbour, but to do so, the
Napier Harbour Board had to borrow
£300,000 ($37 million today).
An act of Parliament was passed
in 1884 giving the board permission
to raise this loan finance.
The act also gave the power to
strike a rate in Hawke s Bay to pay
the interest costs.
Before this could take place, a
ratepayers poll on the loan was con-
ducted in January 1885, which easily
passed by 3919 to 202.
Work started on the breakwater in
1886, and was completed in 1893.
The first ship to berth unloaded cir-
A further loan of £200,000 was
proposed in 1907 by the board to
extend the breakwater harbour, but
this time Hastings and Waipawa
strongly objected to paying the interest.
A ratepayers poll conducted in February
1909 defeated the loan, and therefore plans
to extend the breakwater harbour.
A civil engineer in Hastings, George Nel-
son, had developed a plan in 1909 for the
inner harbour s extension, and strongly
advocated his scheme to the board.
His father was meat baron William Nel-
son who financed his son in 1910 into a
Hastings newspaper called the Hawke's
One of the main aims of the paper was to
champion the cause of the inner harbour.
Editor W C Whitlock, took up the inner har-
bour cause, and debated with Napier Daily
Telegraph editor, Trevor Geddis, who
favoured the breakwater.
The debate was a long one, and was
finally settled by the 1931 Hawke s Bay
earthquake, which raised the inner harbour
floor by about 1.5 metres.
Geddis reportedly rang Whitlock, and
said What price your inner harbour now
Whitlock -- and hung up.
Geddis stood for election to the Napier
Harbour Board in 1932, and was immedi-
ately elected chairman.
The board s mood had swung away from
the inner harbour, and in 1934 a poll of
Napier Harbour Board district ratepayers
was announced to vote on a loan proposal of
£335,000 to develop the breakwater as
Hawke s Bay s main port.
This time the ratepayers were in favour
by 4564 to 2176.
A Hastings majority voted against the
proposal, but unlike 1909, rural ratepayers
now supported Napier to develop the port
we now have.
firm in liquidation
Employee fraud and the depressed housing
market are being blamed for the collapse of
Clive-based Signature Homes Hawke s Bay
with a loss of four jobs.
Five clients homes under construction
will be completed by the company.
The liquidator is Lloyd Hayward.
Signature Homes other Hawke s Bay
franchise, Frimley Homes, is not related to
SHHBL and is unaffected.
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